Making Shots in Side Pockets

You may feel that it's easier to strike a ball into a corner pocket than into a side pocket, but don't avoid these pockets because they seem like too much of a challenge. After playing a few rounds of pool, you may have pocketed a few straight-in side-pocket shots, but you're a bit wary of trying anything fancy. It may be tricky to visualize the shot, but don't rule anything out.

Practice lining up a few balls in relation to the side pockets. You will find that it is not really that hard to pocket the ball from most angles. But try this: Stand at either the head rail or the foot rail and try to pocket a ball in a side pocket from about a 20-degree angle. You'll see that this is, in principle, impossible.

Here are some tricks for pocketing balls in the side pockets:

  • Pay attention to the speed of your stroke.

  • For a straight-in shot, aim for the center of the back of the pocket.

  • From a 45- or 60-degree angle, aim for the wide side of the pocket, which usually means the side of the pocket that faces the object ball.

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