It’s Time for the Six O’Clock System
FREQUENTLY THE BALLS will be left in a straight line, resembling the 6 o’clock position of a clock’s hands.
I place a very high priority on knowing exactly how to aim at the object ball in this situation, because if you don’t strike that object ball properly, the rest of the shot is doomed to failure. Accordingly, this is another ball-aiming and cue-technique system of sorts. The basic information you’ll need is how the cue ball caroms off the object ball when certain strokes are applied, and on center-ball as well as high-center cue-ball hits.
When you hit the cue ball in the dead center and strike the object ball half-full, (that means you aim the cue-tip at the edge of the first object ball), you achieve a carom of wider angle than you would by applying 12 o’clock English. Also, by keeping the cue tip on the cue ball a fraction of a second longer, you can create a wider carom than with a shorter stroke.
All three diagrams show the most common position for this type of shot. The cue ball and the second object ball are in opposite diagonal corners; the first object ball lies at varying distances from the second, and all three are in a straight line for the 6 o’clock look.
The setup in Diagram 1 requires you to strike the cue ball dead center and aim the tip of the cue at the left edge of the first ball (in other words, you’re aiming for half a ball). Use a normal follow-through, that is, the same length as your bridge. An added bonus for the correct execution will be a favorable position for your next shot.
In Diagram 2, the first object ball is one diamond closer to the cue ball, giving us a different angle into the first cushion. Thus we’ll apply 12 o’clock English here, but the hit always remains the same. Your normal stroke will serve well again here.
In Diagram 3, use the same hit and English as in Diagram 2, but use a shorter stroke. That will help keep your cue ball from making too wide a carom and will flatten its path a bit as it rebounds off the first rail.
If the second ball lies up the long rail a diamond or so, use a little running English or a different stroke.
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