English Amateur Billiards Association

EABA : The Billiard Monthly : February, 1911

The Billiard Monthly : February, 1911

About Ball Contacts and Aims

In the November issue of The Billiard Monthly we referred
to the ball contacts on the quarter inch scale only,
namely: Grazing ball, for which aim is taken one inch outside
the edge of the object ball; quarter ball, for which aim
is taken half-an-inch outside the edge of the object ball;
half-ball, for which aim is taken at the edge of the object
ball; and three-quarter ball, for which aim is taken half-an-inch
inside the edge of the object ball. There are, of
course, intermediate contacts, and these are reckoned by
eighths. These are, however, comparatively seldom used,
and chiefly at short range.

To make a seven-eighths (or almost full) contact, aim
must be taken three-quarters of an inch inside the edge of
the object ball or a quarter of an inch from its centre; to
make a five-eighths contact aim must be taken a quarter of
an inch inside the edge of the object ball; to make a three-eighths
contact aim must be taken a quarter of an inch outside
the edge of the object ball; and to make an eighth contact
aim must be taken three-quarters of an inch outside
the edge of the object ball.

Perhaps at this point the exact meaning of half-ball and
other terms denoting degree of contact may be referred to.

A half-ball stroke means one in which, at the moment of
contact, half of the cue ball covers or eclipses half of the
object ball. In like manner the fuller than half-ball contacts,
namely, the three-quarter and the full ball contacts,
together with the intermediate five-eighths and seven-eighths
contacts, mean contacts in which the object ball is
covered by the cue ball to the extent indicated by the term;
and the same thing applies to the quarter and grazing ball
contacts, together with the intermediate three-eighths and
one-eighth contacts.

This may seem elementary, but it is quite essential, and
is often insufficiently understood or ignored. There is no
stroke in billiards that cannot be made by means of one or
other of the nine contacts that have been described and
seventy-five per cent. are to be made by the use of the half,
three-quarter, and quarter ball contacts only. The great
thing to remember is that, with all plain strokes, the point
of contact is midway between the point of aim and the
centre of the ball, and that it is along a line from this
point that the object ball takes its course.

The three great essentials in the making of a plain stroke
break are:—(1) Knowledge of the nine aims and contacts,
and the effect of each upon both cue and object ball; (2)
accurate and light delivery of the cue; and (3) the strength
requisite to leave the object or cue ball, or both, in a desired
position. This desired position, as regards the object ball,
may be (1) somewhere near the central line of the table, or
(2) near a pocket, or (3) near a second object ball which
needs to be extricated from a non-scoring position.

As regards the cue ball, especially after a pot stroke, a
desirable thing is to leave it somewhere “on the line,” as
it is called, and which means an imaginary line drawn from
the upper shoulder of a middle or top pocket to the billiard
spot—typical and easy half-ball in-offs. The “strength”
required to leave a ball in good scoring position varies according
to the distance to be covered and the amount of
contact between the balls. The object ball may be scarcely
moved, or it may be driven in and out of baulk.


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