How to Use English in Pool

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English helps you put spin on the cue ball in pool and allows you to position the cue ball. Get expert tips and advice on billiards tables and pool cues in this free video series.

Part of the Video Series: Billiards: Using English
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Video Transcript

As I said in the last segment, I said that you do not use English to control the direction that a cue ball goes towards and object ball and it will not change the direction that the object ball takes. Now, let's take a little further look at it and see, again, what it looks like in a little different set up. We're going to kind of review why the level cue thing is so important. What I've got here is, I've got my piece of chalk set up as a target, right in the center of the table, and I've got this cue ball here set up right over the spot, which means that they're in an equal line there, straight down the table. So, if I hit this ball right in the center, straight towards that piece of chalk, it's supposed to travel straight down the center of the table and come straight back. Providing the table is good and level, that is. What happens if I use English? This is where people think that it's going to make the ball curve. Well, let's take a look at that. I'm going to line up, put left hand English on this ball, and I'm going to aim it straight towards that piece of chalk. Look at that. Went straight towards the piece of the chalk. Where it changed was the angle that it came off. That's what the left hand English did for me. Now, as a matter of review, let's look what happens if we hit it with that same left hand English, but we don't use the level cue. In other words, let's take a look at it like this. I'm going to put the same amount of left hand English on it, in other words, I'm lining up to the left hand side of the ball and I'm aiming directly towards that piece of chalk once again, but this time, you notice, I'm up in back. So I'm up, back like this, I'm hitting down on the ball with left hand English. Watch where it hits on the rail this time. Way over there. That means I missed my mark entirely because I didn't come through with a level cue. When I put the English on that, what happened was, I hit down on it with the un-level cue, I put a back spin in there and that built up friction which pulled along the left side of the ball because I had left hand spin on it. It curved it off to the left. That you don't want to happen, unless there is a reason for you to necessarily make it happen. But in most cases, you want the cue ball to go in a straight line. The best way to do that is , try to avoid any English, particularly with a downward stroke.


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