3 Cushion Kick Shots

Posted on 13. Sep, 2006 by in Uncategorized

Multiple rail kick shots can be difficult for many players. A standard system from the game of 3-cushion billiards can be used on a pool table to aid making a legal hit or pocketing object balls. If you have played poor position or your opponent has made good safety where you’ve got to kick more than one rain, often a 3 rail kick shot can be executed with accuracy if a system is employed.

In order to use this 3 cushion bank system, one must first determine if the table plays short, long, or accurate. The first thing a player should do when arriving to play on a table is shoot a test lag shot as in Diagram 1. Shoot the cue ball from the corner (50) to the 3rd diamond (30) and see if the cue ball path returns to the corner pocket (20) after contacting the 3rd cushion. This shot must be hit with a slight bit of high running English and at a medium speed so that it would only go 1 or 2 feet after hitting the 4th cushion if it misses the pocket.

Test Kick Shot

If the cue ball misses the pocket on the long rail, the table plays short. If it contacts the end rail, then the table plays long.

Several factors will determine how the table plays:
1. Cushion rubber age and type
2. Cloth age and cleanliness (both bed and rail)
3. Ball cleanliness and age
4. Speed of cloth and cushions
5. Cueing accuracy for direction, speed and spin
6. Table level and rails assembled squarely
7. Humidity (Rainy weather will shorten the table considerably.)

Let us assume your table plays correctly and the cue ball hits the pocket aiming the natural. We now know the math works properly and can use the numbering system to calculate 3rd rail return paths with some accuracy.

Example 1

In Diagram 2, the object ball (“X”) lies at about 35, but we’d like to have the cue ball (“Q”) come into 38 so that it will be cut into the lower right hand pocket. We must then find a combination of cue ball origin number minus 1st rail contact numbers that differ by the desired target number 38. Notice that if you pivot the line about the cue ball, there is only one combination that yields 38. For example, we can draw a line from 55 through the cue ball to the 3rd diamond on the right hand rail which is 30. That shot will bring us around the table just to the left of the corner pocket into 25. The math for that path is 55-30=25. Our correct shot is into 22. The cue ball lies on the line from 60 to 22 which brings the cue ball into 38 which should have a good chance of pocketing the object ball.

Kick Shot Example

Most pool tables play short. To make the adjustment use the same calculations, then simply make an adjustment just as you did for your test shot. For instance, if you had to shoot to 18 to make your cue ball scratch from 50 on the test shot you had to subtract 12 from what it should have been. A perfect table would have been to aim for 30. So 30-12=18. Therefore in example 2 on this short playing table, we’d shoot for 10 on the first rail. Unfortunately for us, this shot may come dangerously close to a scratch in the side pocket!

It is a good idea to start out practicing this system with the cue ball close to the rail when shooting three rail lags until you get a pretty good understanding of how it works. Remember that as the cue ball gets farther away from the rail, the more significant the pivot and change of cue ball origin number becomes. For more information on this kicking system please contact me.

Mike Fieldhammer
Professional Billiard Instructor

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