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Correcting Common Faults In Billiards

Jan 23, 2008
In billiard playing, so very much depends on the avoidance of all too common faults. Here are some of the common faults, and the way you can cure them. They are the problems with stance and weight distribution, sighting, and variation in cue line and line aim.

Stance and Weight Distribution

When shaping at their shot, many people try to distribute their weight more or less equally on both legs. This is wrong, it prevents that decided forward lean of the body from the hips upwards which is inseparable from a correct stance.

To remove this fault, you must throw the left leg well forward to give you plenty of support when you lean over the table to get down to your ball. At the same time, you stretch your left arm as nearly straight out as you can, thus providing a firm and steady base for your bridge hand, and generally solidifying the whole of your stance.


Sighting a stroke is not easily done in the proper way. There is plenty of room for error, and the most common fault in sighting the object-ball is to start the cue moving while attempting to gauge how the object-ball must be hit. This is asking your eyes to do two things at one and the same time.

The moving cue-tip must distract the eye from the object-ball, and I strongly advise you to be on your guard against this handicap to
good play.

When your cue-tip is stationary, it may or may not afford an excellent guide to your actual point of aim. For instance, if I were aiming to play a plain half-ball stroke, my cue-tip, then identical in direction with the line of the stroke, would point straight through the centre of my ball.

Variation in Cue Line and Line of Aim

The line of the cue varies widely in three strokes played to hit the object-ball in exactly the same place, and in only one of these strokes, the plain half-ball, does the line of the cue coincide with the line of aim. This element of variation is constantly at work in billiards, and ignoring it is one of the commonest of mistakes.

Innumerable strokes are missed through attempting to get the cue too near to the line of aim when playing strokes demanding the use of side, and there is also a constant tendency to mix the line of aim with the line of the cue when sighting these strokes.

These faults are not readily apparent to the absolute beginner, who finds the theory of them rather puzzling. But the player who makes his thirty or forty breaks fairly often, can see these faults if he takes the trouble to think of what must be happening when so many of his strokes go wrong, if played with pronounced side on the cue-ball.

The remedy is very simple - it is just this - never forget that the line of aim is always through the centre of your ball to the point aimed at, and that it is quite unaffected by what the line of your cue may be when you are imparting side to your ball.

I find that the way to avoid faults in sighting is to begin by taking a rapid general survey, which decides where you want to hit your cue-ball to produce a given effect from the contact you estimate to be necessary with the object-ball. Then you align your cue on the spot where you desire to hit the cue-ball, keep your cue quite still, and fix your eye on the object-ball, as you actually make your stroke.

These are some or the more common faults and their cues when playing billiards. Conquer these faults and you are well on your way to success!
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