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What Causes Difficulty with Spin and English?

What Causes Difficulty with Spin and English?

I've owned a pool table for a few years now, and play regularly on it. However, I've never been able to perfect the art of spinning the cue ball; in particular backspin/draw. On some occasions when the cue ball is very near the object ball, I can hit low on the cue ball and send it spinning back a short distance; but in most cases the ball tends to stop rather than get any true spin. Topspin seems to be a bit easier, though on some long shots the ball can gather a lot of topspin even if not intended.

If I happen to see any pool on TV, I see them spinning the ball back a huge distance. I put all of this down to my technique - until I visited a pool hall with a group of people recently. Without even applying much force, I could generate large amounts of backspin consistently by doing exactly what I had been attempting at home.

So my question is - what could cause this and is there any way it could be improved? Is it:

  1. The size/quality of the pool balls themselves (ours is a little smaller)
  2. The quality of the cue (though I didn't even need to apply chalk in the pool hall and could still obtain plenty of spin)
  3. The quality of the felt / amount of dust etc - occasionally brush the table to remove excess dust, though I've heard vacuuming may be a better idea.
  4. Something else?

I'm guessing it's some combination of 1) and 3), but does anyone have any ideas or suggestions?

What Causes Difficulty with Spin and English?

Replies & Comments

  1. guestMitch Alsup on 7/9/2012 1:12:16 PM

    First let us distinguish spin from english. Spin (draw and follow) take place on the vertical axis behind the CB, while spin takes place on the horizontal axis behind the CB. They cause different effects.

    Secondly, the stroke needed to cause draw is a long straight stroke finishing several inches beyond the initial location of the CB. The tip must make contact wiht the CB significantly below the centerline (equator) of the CB, and it helps if the cue is accelerating at the moment of contact. You cannot snap the stick back and get any draw, yo must comit to pushing all the way through the CB. The pros have developed a delicte stroke where they can accelerate through the CB while maintianing a slow overall cue speed; often they do this with a snap of the wrist. You do NOT have to hit the CB hard to impart draw, indeed, the harder you hit the CB the harder it is to draw.

    The tip on the cue needs to be correctly shaped (and smaller diameters work better). So get out a nickle or a dime and place it behind the tip and see if the tip has a reasonable shape. Also the tip must be chalked correctly.

    Now take a Sharpie and make 5 dots on the CB, 4 dots in a circle equidistant from each other, the 5th dot is a reference point on top of one of the other dots. Place the CB with the dots facing the cue such tath if you hit the CB at its center the chalk mark would be in the middle fo the 4 dots. Set up an OB to shoot at. Now chalk the cue well, place the CB as described, and stroke the CB low and see what happens. Now look at the mark on the CB. Is it lower then the equator? (see this is where the 5th dot comes into play). How much lower than the euqator? Reposition the CB as described leaving the chalk mark on it. Now position the cue so that it would make contact with the CB on the chalk mark. Finally, look at the cue (tip) and wee how much lower on the CB you culd strike the CB and still not hit the cloth. This is how low you want for good draw.

    The surface of the CB is important for draw. I take some car polish (Mother's sealer Glaze) on a damp towel and massauge off all of the chalk dust, pressing the CB into one palm with the other for several minutes to polish up the surface irregularities. This will make the CB significantly more lively, drawing farther, and reducing the effects of throw.

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What Causes Difficulty with Spin and English?

  • Title: What Causes Difficulty with Spin and English?
  • Author:
  • Published: 7/8/2012 6:17:06 PM