Draw: Level vs. Jab Stroke

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Not all draw strokes are alike

Pulling back for a level stroke. Photo (c) Matt Sherman

Interestingly, there are two basic types of draw strokes that can be learned, and one may fit your pool skills better than the other.

Most players, let alone most beginning pool shooters, have never heard or realized that the basic draw stroke can be made two different ways. One technique is to deliver a long, level stroking motion through the cue ball with your cuestick. The other choice is more of an abrupt jab motion.

In this photo, I have placed the cue ball straight behind the purple 12-ball. I am making a low, level stroke to give the cue ball bottom spin and have withdrawn the cuestick into my bridge hand in preparation for the stroke forward through the ball.

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The low, level stroke may cause an issue

Low through the bridge hand. Photo (c) Matt Sherman

This is the basic draw stroke most beginners struggle with--a long, low, level move. One of the best pieces of advice I can share is to assure yourself that your stick is low and level in the middle of your bridge hand before you begin this stroke.

Look at this photo to see how the cue, where it passes through the fingers of my left hand, is very near an imaginary plane running to the hand from the bottom half of the cue ball. The cuestick is low to the table, therefore my stroke must be low also as an outcome.

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Checking on the stroke

Visual confirmation of a low stroke. Photo (c) Matt Sherman
The low, level draw stroke in pool requires sensible follow-up to learn the technique.

As a visual aid, I can see the result of this stroke, the cuestick has remained low and level to the table. Note from the prior photo that the cue ball is already beginning a journey spinning backwards away from where it struck the 12-ball.

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The jab stroke - a clever pool move

Ready to stroke a "jab draw". Photo (c) Matt Sherman

The jab stroke is little understood, yet one of the most simple and elegant strokes in all of pool. Any beginner can learn this stroke in two or three tries.

I am lined up to hit the white cue ball into the purple four. I am going to make drawing the white ball a simple affair, as you will see in the subsequent photos. This stroke may provide you with easier backspin results than the level stroke displayed in previous photos.

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The jab stroke begins

Jabbing down through the cue ball. Photo (c) Matt Sherman

The jab stroke is one of the simple techniques that is a real eye-opener for most beginning pool players. Many advanced players, too, do not know this little beauty!

Compare this photo of the "jab" draw stroke to the previous photos. I am setting up to deliver a quick punching motion, bringing the tip down to the cloth as fast as I can, imparting much draw to the cue ball.

A comparison of the two strokes reveals I have placed less distance between my left hand and the white ball. I want to quickly "jab" at the cue ball, bringing the tip to the cloth of the table fast.

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Jabbing the cue ball with pleasure

The cue is brought down aprubtly onto the ball. Photo (c) Matt Sherman

The jab draw stroke continues, bringing bottom spin to the cue ball with ease! The key lies with my bridge hand.

Note the difference in these last few photos from the level stroke displayed earlier. I have drawn in the fingers of my left hand to elevate the cuestick so it moves on a more oblique angle from above the cue ball to the table's surface.

It is vital to note that I made a conscious effort to not lift the butt of the cuestick into the air to make this stroke. Even as I lifted the fingers of my left hand in preparation for this stroke, I consciouly relaxed the grip on the cuestick I had taken with my right hand, my shooting hand.

The jab stroke requires less of a level cue than a "regular" level draw stroke, but you still will want your cue as low and level to the table as possible. If your cue ball jumps high into the air instead, you've lifted your shooting hand. Compare this photo with the one here.

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The hand lifts away from the pool table

My hand is lifting for the table for emphasis in this exciting jab draw stroke. I have truly jabbed hard, stabbing through the cue ball in an effort to bring tip down to the table felt as fast as I can. Note the results as the cue ball has spun backward in spectacular fashion from impact with the 4-ball.