Probably one of the very best maxims in billiards is: “Always play the same stroke in the same way, unless the exigencies of position demand some different treatment.”
The very worst thing in billiards is chopping and changing about unnecessarily.
The principal potting theories are (1) that at the moment of contact a line drawn from the pocket should pass through the centre of both balls; and (2) that the line of aim should always be a ball’s diameter from the centre across a line drawn through the centre of the object ball from the pocket. Neither of these theories is, however, easy to carry out in practice.
Most players pot by eye after long practice and experience, judging the angle from the dead straight shot and from what is known as the half-ball potting angle. If the half-ball pot is a recognised aim The Billiard Monthly does not see why the quarter-ball pot and the three-quarter ball pot should not be equally recognised. The only really workable rule would seem to be to take the aim exactly at twice the distance from the centre of the object ball that the intended point of contact is.
The jump shot in billiards is usually considered to be very difficult, but it is really almost simple. The cue should be laid flat upon the table and just slithered under the cue ball. If this is always done in the same way the result will always be the same, a little greater strength being applied if it is intended that the ball should jump farther. If the cue has to be raised the aim should be on the cloth an inch or thereabouts from the ball.
When, in playing middle pocket losers, the object ball is slightly more than twenty-four inches from baulk and as wide as half-ball angle it is better to play the top pocket half-ball than to use side, screw, or force to obtain the middle pocket hazard.
To illustrate the absurdity of playing near screws with strength except for the distinct purpose of driving the object ball a considerable distance, the fact may be stated that it is possible to screw square into a middle pocket from the centre baulk spot with the object ball on the middle spot of the table without bringing the latter into baulk.
When playing friendly games with players who do not care to accept starts but with whom a level game would be unequal it is a good plan to offer to score double-figure breaks only. This will maintain interest in the game on both sides.
Run-throughs can be made with a dead straight aim at the cue ball, if, at the moment of striking, the eye is turned to the second objective. It seems mysterious but the fact is that the position of the body, and with it the line of aim, is deflected in proportion to the angle between the object ball and the cannon ball or pocket.
The substitution of fuller contact for force in screwing is one of the most paying expedients in billiards. Thus, when the cue ball is only a few inches from the object ball a halfball contact means a right-angled screw, but if the angle is slightly wider than right angle a more gentle half-ball aim will achieve the same results, except that the object ball will not travel so far.