The Cue Ball Scratch
The cue ball scratch, also called a foul, happens when you accidently sink the white cue ball into a pocket during your pool shot. It happens to everybody occasionally, but you have to minimize its occurence if you want to win pool games.
There are a few types of shots that cause scratches more often than others. One that comes to mind is a straight-in shot at an object ball that is right in front of a pocket. If the cue ball is not hit correctly, it will follow the object ball into the pocket.
Another shot where people scratch a lot is when the object ball and cue ball are both in the center of the table. When the object ball is attempted into the corner pocket at a 45 degree angle, the cue ball will sometimes go into the opposite corner pocket, because the cue ball bounces off the object ball at a 45 degree angle also.
One thing you can do to avoid scratching is to pay attention to where the cue ball will rebound to after it hits the object ball. If it looks like it could scratch in a certain pocket, either shoot for another ball, or put a little english on the cue ball to make its path vary away from the hole where it might scratch.
English is a proven way to help avoid scratching so often. As just mentioned, you can put some spin on the cue ball to make it travel where you want it to after it hits the object ball. Not only can you avoid a certain pocket this way, but you can also set yourself up with an easier shot at your next ball. English isn't something that a beginner should be too concerned about at first, but eventually it can be learned and put to good use.
One of the best ways for a beginner to avoid scratching is to practice their cue ball control. How hard or soft the cue ball is hit has a huge affect on where and how far it travels after the shot is taken. If the cue ball is hit too hard, it will bounce around the table aimlessly after object ball contact, and this can often cause it to find its way into a pocket.
Many times the best way to shoot a shot is to hit the cue ball just hard enough to make the shot. As you play more you begin to learn how the cue ball reacts to soft, medium, and hard strength shots. Knowing this allows you to place the cue ball in better position for your following shots, avoid scratches, and ultimately causes you to win more games.
Avoiding the cue ball scratch is a very important part of good pool shooting, because you can't win the game if you keep losing your shot from scratching. Paying close attention to what happens to the cue ball during your shots is a major way of accomplishing this.
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