How To Play Pool Using English

Strokes Of Genius Are Within Your Reach

How To Play Pool Using English
If you know which end of a cue to hit the cue ball with, you're almost there. Photo (c) Matt Sherman, licensed to, Inc.

Sage English Advice

No, I'm not thinking of grammar and idioms as much making a cue ball dance on the pool table. So let's begin there and affirm that the main use of english, even by the pros, is to secure shape for the cue ball.

If you think you need english for this shot you need me or another competent instructor to give you a full pool lesson.

I think of english as "a quarter-tip here, a quarter tip there" which is to say I avoid flirting with shots where the cue tip is far from the vertical axis of the cue ball.

You can influence cue ball direction with shot speed, strength of grip (as it changes the attack angle on the cue ball), hits along the vertical axis to add draw or topspin to the stroke, and more, so english is the last resort of the best players in general.

Shots taken with a high amount of english (far from center ball) are best employed on object balls within about one diamond's distance from a pocket. And if the cue ball is far away, you still may have issues.

Aim English "Within"

The stripe on a typical striped object ball tells you all you need know about how far is too far. Put the ball number at center ball with the stripe and number turned vertically. Keep english aim within the stripe and you won't often miscue.

If you do miscue, review the chalk on your cue tip following the shot for telltale black spots without chalk powder.

There's More Than One Kind Of English, And More Than Three Kinds, Too

I have details for you at on parallel, pivot and backhand english--parallel english not being true english at all but a positioning tool for the cue ball and backhand english being a lifesaver for certain shots.

But there are still more ways to play english. Be sure you get your head wrapped around the three above-other ideas will come to you, especially when your cue is twisted off straight but it looks like the shot may still be made (hint, hint).

And here's a fifth, wild way to add a dash of english or more than a dash.

I take it on the chin sometimes for having unorthodox things to say about learning pool. Here comes one such thing now...

Body english feels like a dead center hit on the cue ball when you move your whole self to play english by pitching part of you gently and slowly from the feet toward the toes or heels. Learn more at this article about "body english".

Hot English Moves

Back to general tips on english. Know this down to your bones. English doesn't change the cue ball's direction off the object ball. It's great effects are employed when the cue ball strikes a cushion.

The reason why many fine players think english changes the direction off the object ball is simple. If Line A represents a center ball hit on the cue ball for a given shot, changing the direction the cue stick points brings the cue ball along a different line to strike the object ball before rebounding on a different direction than Line A.

**Steady As She Goes, Mr. Sulu** Want to reduce squirt and cue ball "curve" or "swerve" along the shot line? Unfamiliar with those terms but you've seen the cue ball not go where you've aimed using english? Try to maintain a near-level cue during your strokes with english.

Take a minute to stroke a few balls softly into a far corner pocket with english.

Now shoot to the same pocket with a near-level cue using the same english and stroke speed. See a difference? That slight difference is enough to throw off a perfectly aimed stroke.

All you need remember is that just as raising a cue stick high into the air makes the cue ball take a huge curve along the table, well, do the opposite when you have a concern about shooting english over a distance.

**"Stroke in the english channel".** I like this tip from top coach Donny Lutz. Imagine a channel or tunnel extending through the cue ball and no wider than its diameter. Stroke english through the channel and keep the stick from flailing to one side.

**Learn the differences between outside and inside english.** "Outside english" is simply left english on the cue ball when you're cutting an object ball toward your right and vice versa.

Outside helps the cue ball roll a bit longer and faster--and let's keep it simple and just say that for now.

Inside english is right english when cutting to your right and vice versa--it's english "inside" the cut angle. It slows down the cue ball and many players find outside a little easier to employ. Enough said for now except that you can try using different english strokes on balls kicked off the cushion without any object ball to watch the ball rebound around the table at some interesting angles.

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Your Citation
Sherman, Matthew. "How To Play Pool Using English." ThoughtCo, Mar. 8, 2014, Sherman, Matthew. (2014, March 8). How To Play Pool Using English. Retrieved from Sherman, Matthew. "How To Play Pool Using English." ThoughtCo. (accessed November 21, 2017).