Pool is a great game – especially when you are winning. It’s still awesome even when you are not, but it is all that much sweeter when you win. I played the other night and it seemed like the pool gods were shining down on me.
I was making great cut shots and my position play was better than normal. What I was particularly happy with was the bank shots that were going in. I was dropping some banks that had my opponents shaking their heads.
Pool and Pocket Billiards Resource
In one game, I made three table-length bank shots in a row – that really got them muttering. LOL. I wasn’t doing anything special, it seemed like I just had “the eye” working well and the stroke was coming through for me.
I was using my usual mirror banking method to make the bank shots. This is where you basically shoot the same angle going into the bank as the one leaving it. As I mention in the article that is linked to above, there are several methods to play a bank shot, but mirror banking works the best for me.
You really don’t need to use the diamonds on the pool table to use this method, although they can help to visualize the angles sometimes. The diagrams below illustrate a basic bank shot using the mirror method.
As seen in the Bank 2 diagram, we want to bank the purple ball cross-corner into pocket X. The Bank 3 diagram graphically shows the concept of mirror banking this shot. Using your cue stick to sight in the necessary ball path, move the stick around until you come up with the “bank point” where the object ball needs to bounce off the rail to send it to the pocket.
Once you come up with the correct bank point, your object is to make a cut shot on the object ball to make it contact the rail at the bank point so it will rebound into the pocket. Sometimes the bank angle will be right on the money and all you have to do is hit the object ball straight on, but in this case some angle was needed to correct the trajectory of the object ball.
This method can be used pretty much wherever the object ball is located on the table; however it is probably easiest to visualize the angles when the object ball is fairly close to a rail.
Visualizing the correct mirror angles to make the bank shot is one aspect of this form of banking. Another tricky item is to hit the object ball at exactly the right spot. I call this right spot the “aim spot”.
In the diagram Bank 5 above, the aim spot to make the shot shown is pointed out. This aim spot is determined in the same way for a bank as it is for a cut shot – draw an imaginary line through the object ball in the direction you want the ball to take and the point where the line enters the ball is the aim point. If you can make the cue ball contact the object ball at exactly this spot, the shot will go in.
So that’s a quick and dirty explanation of the mirror banking method. To see more, go to my Pool For Beginners site. Of course we are only dealing with one-bank shots here. Multiple-bank shots are a whole different thing and are much more difficult.
As with any other pool shot, practice makes perfect always applies. Spend some quality time visualizing and practicing bank shots and your pool playing will take a step up, as will your number of games won. Good luck!