Bank Shots and Kick Shots
Kick shots and bank shots are important weapons in your pool-playing bag of tricks. The ability to bank can get you out of trouble when your opponent's balls are in the way or when you don't have a direct shot on the pool table.
Bank and kick shots are not easy to make consistently. They require a good eye for judging angles and the right touch on the cue stick. Like every thing else in pool and billiards, the best way to improve your banking skills is to practice, practice, and practice some more.
After you have developed your ability to make straight shots, you will naturally want to learn how to bank. One thing that will help you learn banking easier is to avoid putting any english on the cue ball at first.
Hit the cue ball at the horizontal center so you don't put any side spin on it, and just above vertical center to cause it to roll forward in the direction of travel. By hitting the cue ball this way, you will have the straightest bounce off the cushions, making this type of shot as easy as possible. After you get good at banking you can get fancy and start adding some english.
In the illustration above, I have demonstrated the difference between the two types of shots. While some people would call Shot A a bank, it is actually a "kick shot". The cue ball is the ball that is bouncing off the rail instead of the yellow object ball.
In Shot B, the cue ball is contacting the red object ball and knocking it into the rail cushion. Since the object ball, not the cue ball, is bouncing off of the rail, this is truly a bank shot.
Making a good bank or kick shot during a game is truly an enjoyable experience, to say nothing of how impressed your opponent will be. Once your skill level at pool starts to rise and you can make these shots fairly consistently, you will definitely win a lot of pool games.
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