The Billiard Punch Stroke

Is Essential To Good Position Play

STOP! This is a major tool for obtaining good position for your next shot as you know where the cue ball will be. If your next ball is close to the cushion, either down-table of up-table from your object ball, you need this tool.

By stopping the cue ball at the point of impact with the object ball, you will be less than a half table away from your next shot.

This often requires the cue ball to stop exactly at the point of impact.

A "Stop Shot" (Some insist it’s a “Stun Shot” , is when the cue ball stops dead in its tracks upon contact with the object ball. This is normally done by hitting the cue ball at its center.

If the object ball and the cue ball are only a short distance apart, a center ball hit on the cue ball with medium stroke will generally stop the cue ball after it collides with the object ball.

There are however, a few exceptions.

The further away the object ball is from the cue ball, the lower you need to hit your cue ball. Keep in mind that if you hit the cue ball too low, you will end up with a "draw" shot or a miscue.

The Draw shot will be discussed in another article. So simply lower the aim on the cue ball (as needed) no more than one cue tip below the center of the cue ball.

Note: Make sure that your cue stick remains level... do not lower the tip of your cue stick by raising the butt end of your cue stick. You need to have a dead-level stroke to succeed at this shot.

Spin Fatal To Effective Stop ShotIn order for the cue ball to stop at the point of contact with the object ball, the cue ball cannot have spin on it. This means that the cue ball has to slide smoothly on the table cloth without creating a back spin or a forward spin before it hits the object ball. Upon contact with the target ball, the cue ball should stop immediately. No forward roll, no slipping sideways and no drawing back.

The things that cause “slippage” in your stop shot are hitting the cue ball just above or below and either right or left of center. If the cue ball has a slight forward spin when it hits the object ball then it will move forward after hitting the object ball. If the cue ball has a back spin, then it will move back after hitting the object ball.

• At short distances, a stop shot is done with a center ball hit on the cue ball at medium stroke. The cue ball simply slides across the table without any spin on it and it stops dead in its tracks the moment it makes contact with the object ball.

• At longer distances, a below center hit is needed coupled with a slightly stronger stroke. Hitting the cue ball below center will create back spin on the cue ball which will gradually diminish (due to friction caused by the table cloth) as it comes closer to the object ball. By the time the cue ball comes into contact with the object ball, the cue ball will have lost all of its back spin and stop immediately.

Only with enough practice will you be able to learn at what distances to use center ball hit or a below center hit on the cue ball. All I have given you above is a guideline. Keep on practicing this shot and you should be able to instinctively learn when to hit center or below center.

Practicing the Stop ShotRefer to the image above. Start by positioning your cue ball directly across from your target which is right in front of the side pocket. Using a center ball hit and medium stroke, put the object ball in the pocket. I like to do 200 to 30 of these in succession by pulling another ball out of the side pocket I’m at and walking around the table to the cue ball, shooting another stop shot and repeating the process.

After you have mastered the stop shot at this distance, proceed to place your cue ball about center table and the target ball in front of the distant corner pocket. Make this drill progressive by moving the cue ball back a diamond after sinking 10 without cue ball movement after contact. As you progress through the drill, take note of where you need to hit your cue ball (center hit or below center hit) and the speed of your stroke. Remember that the farther the distance between your cue ball and object ball, the more speed you need on your cue ball. Also take note of the maximum distance where a center ball hit is effective and where a below center hit starts.

Make alterations to the drillYou will gain a lot of insight into what you can accomplish with the stop shot by simply moving off the straight in shot. For instance, in the side pocket drill, move the cue ball to about a 45-degree angle and use your best stop shot to pocket the “hanger”. If delivered properly the cue ball will slip to the side and depending on speed, will go all the way to the end of the table.

How handy would this be if the next shot in your pattern was an end rail shot into the corner pocket. As you may have realized, speed also has a lot to do with the eventual resting place of the cue ball.

Generally, when the cue ball is around mid-table. a center ball hit is sufficient to stop the cue ball. Any farther than that will require a below center hit on the cue ball. It still depends on the type of the cloth on the billiard table you use. Some are smoother than others which means the friction generated is dependent on whether the cloth is smooth or rough. You will have to adjust to the surface of the table.

Points To RememberA stop shot is a shot you need to master if you want to be an accomplished position player. Strive for perfection—STOP, no roll forward or backward, no slipping to either side. Varying distances between cue ball and target will require a slightly lower cue ball hit Almost any position can be achieved when you employ a stop shot at an angle on the object ball. Using a stop shot to cut the ball into the side pocket results in the cue ball sliding either down table or up table in a straight line, depending upon the starting point.