Are you in the ZONE?

You made the break and dropped a ball in the pocket. You just know you are not going to be able to run the table. You have seen others just clean up at this point. What is it that they have and you don't?

Learning how to get the cueball to the proper position zone is the most difficult aspect of playing position. However, there are many positioning tools available to help you meet this challenge. You have watched others use these tools but you just couldn't put it together. The position tools include angle, speed, spin, rail targets, and tip placement. The challenge for the player is knowing how to use these tools to their advantage.

Players with less than average skill are not able to accurately position the cueball for the next shot. Getting on the proper side of a shot is not as important an issue for them. They try to get straight in on the next shot and trust to chance that they will get a little cut angle and that it will be in the proper direction. For those players, there is nothing wrong with this, in fact, they are playing the odds. If they planned on getting the proper cut angle on the correct side of the shot they probably would miss the second ball more frequently.

There is a problem with the "get in straight" philosophy. Most players are very successful at going from novice player to average player using the "straight in" philosophy. Not learning the proper way to play position leaves them with a handicap to overcome in the future and that is a problem. It is difficult to abandon something that has worked so well in the past for them. As the player's positioning skills increase, they must convert to the "proper side" philosophy if they are to reach there full potential.

Do you find yourself:

We know the answer to those questions, you are hitting the balls to hard and your aim is off!!!

When you are selecting the boundaries of position play (the zone) you must consciously pay attention to the areas on the table you must avoid, you could think this is negative thinking, but it not, it is unbiased analytical thinking.

After you decide on your position zone, you must determine how to get the cueball to that position zone, or at least stay within the zone area. Many novice players become good at pocketing balls, but have little ability in controlling the cueball position. Position skills are gradational and will always require improvement.

In order to have a chance of consistently having long runs, you must be able to plan a three-ball runout correctly. The position zone concept will improve your game dramatically by making every shot a learning process. The best way to play position is to always keep the cueball within the position zone for as long as possible.

What works best a smaller cut angle or a larger cut angle? The smaller cut angle is the correct answer to that question. But what is the correct angle in terms of degrees? At The Institute of Billiard Sciences we know the correct degree of angle needed to complete each position angle you want. If the cut angle is too small then all the energy stays on the cueball and position becomes harder to achieve.

If you are ready to play for the zone and get there consistently then give us a call at 603-545-2709 or 603-225-8298 or send us an e-mail at