Instruction - The Foundation
By Mazin Shooni - 2006 US Champion
The 3-cushion game can be played on several sizes of tables, the most common being the match tables (inside length of 2.34 or 2.54 meters), depending on the country. Since the proportions remain the same, the game is not fundamentally modified.
Of course, the bigger the table, the more accurate the player should be. We do not advise to play on too big a table because of the level of difficulty.
The balls must be clean and in good shape, otherwise one cannot achieve proper results. A set of balls should not be used more than (6) six months when used intensively, such as in a pool hall.
THE CUE STICK
Billiard sticks come in quality and prices that vary a lot. Just as for the table and the balls, the stick is an essential element in order to play well.
One should use a stick weighing a minimum of 510 or 520 grams, because the length of the shots requires a heavier weight. In addition, the stick should be well balanced: the gravity center must be about 40 centimeters from the butt. Also, the stick should obviously be perfectly straight. The shaft should not be too flexible of it will bend when hitting the balls, causing unpredictable effects. Finally, the tip should have a diameter of 11 to 12 millimeters, made of leather, and slightly rounded.
POSITIONING THE BODY
Holding the stick.
The stick is held by the right hand and rests on the bridge made by the left hand. The right hand should hold the stick not too tight and close to the end of the stick. The right arm should stay in the same vertical plane as the stick, even during the shot.
The left hand makes a bridge to guide the shaft. The bridge should allow the stick to guide effortlessly, but without allowing it to move laterally.
The distance between the tip of the stick and the bridge will change: the harder you hit the ball, the longer the distance should be. Note that a longer distance will not be as accurate.
Positioning of the player.
The player should position his body so that he can move his stick very straight and still have a good view of the balls and a good balance.
The face should be vertical to the stick, forcing the balls, low enough for a good aim.
Feet should guarantee a natural balance: the right foot vertical and perpendicular to the stick, while the left foot should be about 45 to the left.
If you respect these conditions, you should not be too far from the ideal position. On certain shots, however, the table will get in the way of the player, who will not be able to achieve a perfect position. He will nevertheless need to keep the positioning of the face and right arm, while the rest of the body maintains balance. Reminder: the rules of the fame dictate that at least one foot should touch the floor.
Movement of the stick.
To simplify the gesture and limit the mistakes, the right elbow should be the only moving joint. This way, the only moving part will be the forearm, which will stay vertical to the stick.
Before throwing the stick into the ball, the players should make a few practice strokes to check that everything is in place and the direction of the stick is right. The player should stay in this position for a few moments after the shot to make sure that he will not move while shooting.
PARAMETERS OF THE SHOT
The parameters are the elements that determine the trajectory of the balls. They make for the technical foundation of the game. The player should proceed in several steps. First he must analyze the different possibilities to score the point, taking into accounts the level of difficulty of each one. This analysis should be based on his knowledge of theories and his experience. Once he has chosen a solution, he will have to determine which parameters to use in order to read his goal. Finally, he will have to make the shot.
The ball quantity measures the angle of impact on ball #2 (The ball hit first by the player's ball.), thus determining the initial direction of the ball, this direction being the same as the cue stick's.
This quality can have an infinite number of values, so we will look only at a few ones commonly used by players.
The ball quantity determines almost entirely the initial direction of ball 2 after impact with ball 1. As for ball 1, the direction it takes will be determined by this quantity and also by the height from which it was struck (top, center or low effect.)