How to Shoot a Trick Pool Table Shot

by Floyd Drake III
A trick shot will fail if not properly set up.

A trick shot will fail if not properly set up.

Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images

Pool table trick shots, particularly those called set-up shots, can be learned with a bit of practice. Everything has to be set just right, from the location of the balls to the force used on the cue ball. All pool table trick shots require a fundamental knowledge of how to handle the cue stick and shot angle while fancier shots can call for advanced techniques such as the masse. However, when everything is set up properly, with the correct aim and force executed, set-up trick shots work; they are designed that way.

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Shoot a Set-Up Trick Shot

Step 1

Line up the 3, 4, 2 and 1 balls at the second rail dot between a corner and side pocket. The balls need to extend outward and be frozen together (lined up tightly). Begin with the 3 ball on the rail followed by the 4, 2 and 1 balls.

Step 2

Place the tip of the cue stick to the left corner of the side pocket opposite the four lined-up balls. Gently bring the butt end of the cue stick to the 1 ball, trying not to disturb the lined-up balls. Place the 9 ball against the butt of the cue, leaving a one-inch space between the 9 and 1 balls. The 9 ball is at an angle toward the side pocket.

Step 3

Remove the cue stick from the table, taking care not to disturb the set up. If the lined balls become unfrozen, gently tap the 1 ball against the rest of the line.

Step 4

Place the cue ball in the center of the table and line it directly at the four balls against the rail. Hit the cue ball toward the 1 ball with a medium stroke, being sure not to hit the 9 ball. The 9 ball goes in the side pocket.

Tips & Warnings

  • Work on improving the shot. The force used on the cue ball is as important as the ball setup. Set up the shot and practice hitting the cue ball with the proper force. For the illustrated shot, hitting the cue ball too softly causes the 9 ball to go long while hitting it too hard causes it to fall short.

Photo Credits

  • Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images