I thought in this article we would have some fun and mess around with a few fun shots that often present themselves in a game and are quite fun to play around with in practice. Kicking with low and side spin can be very tricky to perfect, but if we play around with it a little you can get a better grasp on how it works.
Diagram A, shows us playing a game of Eight Ball. We are shooting at the Eight and our opponent has done a very mean thing by hiding us behind all those striped balls. Our natural path to kick at the Eight is blocked by an intervening Stripe Ball. What can we do? Simple, we can kick with draw and side spin to help us Bend the Cue Ball around the interfering Ball. In this shot I would aim at point A. Strike the Cue Ball with extreme low English and about two tips of right side spin as shown. The key to this shot is not to hit it too hard, medium speed will do. Make sure you follow through. If you find yourself not bending enough try elevating the back of your cue stick a few degrees. This shot is not only very simple to master but I love watching my opponent’s eyes get the size of silver dollars as you escape his trap.
Another fun scenario is shown in Diagram B, here we are playing a game of Nine Ball. Our opponent has broke the balls and failed to make a ball. He has however gotten fortunate enough not to leave us a good shot. Which is too bad because that One-Nine Combo looks awfully appetizing. Well if you know how to bend the ball you can gobble that combo right up. In this shot we will hit the Cue Ball with extreme low spin and about two tips of right hand side spin. The key to this shot is to elevate the butt of your cue about twenty degrees or so, and make sure you really follow through. Experiment with the speed as it may vary depending on how slick the cloth is. Once you have mastered this one you can make that ball bend back and knock in the winning combination.
The final shot is an oldie, but a goodie. Diagram C has you trapped. Frozen to the rail with the Eight Ball frozen to the Cue Ball. The Seven is hanging in the opposite corner pocket and you have no way of making a legal hit. Or do you? With a level cue aim at point A (this may vary an inch or so to either side depending on the equipment) strike the Cue Ball with extreme low-left spin (as shown) and that make sure you follow through until your tip is trapped under the cushion. The Cue Ball will sink into the rubber and squirt out from behind the Eight Ball and once clear of the obstacle the back spin will grab and the Cue Ball will bend towards the Seven and hopefully drop it in the pocket.
These are all great shots to play around with. Sometimes you find yourself in a tough spot in a match and having a good understanding of how backspin can affect the cue ball as it comes off the rail can really improve your chances of getting out of a tight spot.