top of page

Cue Ball Control: Techniques to enhance precision and control


Hello there! My name is John and I'm an avid billiards player. Precision cue ball control is one of the most important fundamental skills for any pool player to master, whether you're just starting out or a seasoned veteran looking to take your game to the next level. Having good cue ball control allows you to set up tricky shots, control the speed and spin of the cue ball, and generally run more racks.

In this blog post, I want to share some of the techniques and drills I've found most helpful for improving my own cue ball control over the years. My aim is to give you a solid understanding of the basics as well as some more advanced strategies. I'll start with the foundation - proper stance, stroke, and impact point - then discuss things like draw, follow, english, and position play. Along the way, I'll also suggest some simple drills you can practise to enhance your precision and feel.

Remember, cue ball control takes time and repetition to develop. Be patient with yourself and focus on one aspect at a time. With regular dedicated practice of these techniques, you'll be amazed at how quickly your control improves. I hope you find this information helpful as you work to take your game to the next level. Let's get started!

Cue Ball Control: Stance and Stroke

Having a solid, repeatable stance and stroke is the foundation for cue ball control. Taking the proper stance allows you to be grounded and put your whole body behind each shot for maximum accuracy and consistency. Here are a few tips:

● Feet shoulder-width apart, with about 60% of your weight on your back foot and 40% on your front. This gives you stability without being too stiff.

● Bend at the knees slightly for a lower centre of gravity. You don't want to be hunched over the table.

● Hold the cue straight up from the bridge hand at belt level. Don't torque your body or swing the butt end out to the side.

● Bridge comfortably with your bridge hand placed close to your cue tip hand, using either an open or closed bridge style. Keep your elbow into your side.

As for the actual stroke, focus on keeping it smooth, straight, and replicable. Some things to keep in mind:

● Draw the cue straight back in a straight line using your arm muscles, not your shoulders. This stores power.

● Pause briefly at the bridge to gather yourself before shooting forward.

● Accelerate through the shot smoothly, following through past the cue ball slightly.

● Don't jab or lunge at the shot. Maintain control and accuracy.

● Use just enough power for position or ball speed needs. Overpowering often leads to mistakes.

● With practice, taking the proper stance and executing a smooth, straight stroke will allow for better consistency shot to shot. This repetition is key for cue ball control mastery over time.

Impact Point

Another critical element is striking the cue ball in the precise spot needed for the desired shot. For straight position shots or draws/follows, this usually means hitting 1/3 of the way down from the equator, also known as the "shooting centre" of the cue ball.

Some basic impact point guidelines:

● For draws (curling the cue ball back towards you), aim slightly below centre, around 1/3 to 1/4 of the way down.

● For following/running English (sending the cue ball forward at an angle), aim just above centre around 1/3 of the way up.

● For stun/stop shots (bringing the cue ball straight back), aim dead centre.

● For left/right english, move your impact point slightly left or right of centre on the cue ball.

Take time when practising to consciously feel and mark your impact point. Having a good cue ball "feel" comes with experience, but mindfulness of where you contact the ball is essential. Over time you'll develop a natural touch, but in the beginning be deliberate. Placement will become more accurate as your stroke sync helps repeatability.

Draw and Follow Shots

Being able to reliably draw the cue ball back towards your position or follow it forward at an angle with side spin is immensely important in billiards. These shots provide position, control ball speed, and open up tricky combinations. Here are some things to keep in mind when practising draw and follow:

For Draws

● Grip the cue lightly near the tip for more tip deflection.

● Accelerate smoothly through the shot for backspin.

● Hit slightly below centre, 1/3-1/4 down the cue ball.

● Focus on hitting centre-left or centre-right to draw left/right.

● Always "throw" the tip through contact for spin.

For Follows

● Grip the cue tighter for less tip deflection.

● Accelerate smoothly again but flick your tip through contact.

● Aim impact point about 1/3 up from the centre.

● Focus on hitting centre-left or centre-right to follow left/right.

● Develop confidence in the amount of spin you apply.

Some simple draw/follow drills: Try following the cue ball from one end of the table to the other, or draw shots from various positions around the table back to the kitchen. Go slow at first and focus on the feel. Repetition is key to muscle memory.


To gain more position options and run outs, you'll want to learn how to apply different types of english (side spin) to the cue ball. There are three main types: right english, left english, and bottom (draw) english. Each is imparted by subtle movements of the tip at impact:

● Right English: Press the tip slightly left at contact.

● Left English: Press the tip slightly right at contact.

● Bottom (Draw) English: Press the tip slightly downward at contact for extra backspin.

It takes some effort to comfortably add the right amount of english. Too much can lead to unpredictable results. But with practice you'll master subtle tip movements to move the cue ball where you need it.

A simple starting drill is to aim for the side pockets from various distances using right/left english. Focus on consistent results. Try following balls into corners using draw English too. Go slowly and really focus on your tip pressure. Take your time and don't get frustrated - English takes feel and muscle memory to apply well.

Position Play

Now that you understand draw, follow, and english, it's time to start thinking about how to use these skills strategically in position play. Having the cue ball end up exactly where you want after each shot is the key to running out balls. Let's look at some common position shots:

● Draw back for shape on the next ball or see the next balls.

● Follow forward around obstacles for shape/view of the next shot.

● Draw/Follow with spin and/or english to navigate traffic.

● Draw tight into the rail behind the done ball for 90° angle.

● Use rails to your advantage by throwing some left/right off them.

● Consider draw and follow shot lengths you can reliably control.

Get in the habit of always planning multiple shots ahead during your run. See the angles and pick spots to leave the cue ball where it gives you options. Developing "position first" thinking takes reps but will lower your misses over time.

Some drills to work on: Use obstacles like balls/chalk to practise navigating tricky position scenarios. Draw to specific numbered balls around the table. See how many balls in a row you can run with pre-planned positions. And as always, go slowly with focus on fundamentals.

Advanced Techniques

Once you have the basics mastered, it's time to dive deeper. Here are some advanced skills pro players use:

● Sidespin Draw/Follow: Spin the cue ball left/right on a draw or follow to curve its path. Takes feel & precision.

● Screw Shot: Apply draw english and draw/follow spin to make the cue ball travel in an exaggerated S-curve path.

● Kick/Bank Shots: Use object balls/rails intentionally to get shape on far balls. Predictive skill.

● Swerving: Slice cue ball at an extreme angle by dragging the bridge hand fingernail on the follow through.

● Jump/Massé Shots: Go airborne over intervening balls for tough position. Risky!

● Soft Stun Shot: Bring cue ball to near stop with perfect speed/draw. Intuitive mastery.

For now, focus on clean execution of draws, follows, english and navigation shots down to an inch. Once those are second nature, experiment sparingly with air shots or tricky combos only. Baby steps - perfection before progression!

Additional Practice Tips

A few final pointers to maximise your practice time:

● Warm up thoroughly without pressure before serious drills. Limber up with basic strokes.

● Practice consistency shots like stuns, centre ball draws/follows first to build touch.

● Isolate problem areas - work only on english, or position around one obstacle.

● Slow it down. At half or quarter speed focus comes easier than sloppy fast play.

● Vary ball sets, obstacles, and viewpoints around the table for muscle memory.

Variety is Important

When practising, it's important to not just repeat the same drills over and over. Your skills will plateau faster. Mix it up regularly by changing the type of shot (draw vs follow), amount of spin/english, shot distance, obstacles in your way, and even viewing angle if possible. This challenges your muscle memory so progress continues.

Slow it Down at First

Especially when learning a new cue ball technique, practice at half or quarter speed compared to a real game shot. Slowing things down allows you to really focus on feel, stroke, and ball reaction without pressure. Once comfortable, gradually increase pace. Many pros even still do “slow motion” practice.

Use Your Eyes, Trust Your Feel

Early on, consciously watch your stroke, where you're hitting the cue ball, and how it reacts on every shot. Over time, learn to ‘feel’ the right stroke and impact point without need for visual feedback. Trust that your instincts are improving even if you can’t “see” it yet.


What is the most important thing for developing good cue ball control?

The most important things are having solid, repeatable fundamentals in your stance, stroke, and impact point. Getting the basics right and being consistent with them will allow you to control speed, spin, and position over time.

How long does it take to get good cue ball control?

It typically takes hundreds of hours of dedicated practice spread over months or years to truly master cue ball control. But you should start seeing meaningful improvements within the first 20-40 hours if focusing on fundamentals. Be patient and don't get discouraged - it's a gradual process.

What drills would you recommend to improve cue ball control?

Some great drills are stun shots from varied distances, centre ball draws and follows, navigating obstacles with position shots, and breaking down position play by planning multiple shots ahead. Isolating individual skills like draw, follow, english is also very helpful when starting out.

How much should I practise each time?

Most instructors recommend 2-4 hours at a time when possible, to fully focus without losing form. But even 30-60 minutes daily can show big results over time if done consistently. The key is quality repetitions, not duration. Take breaks to avoid fatigue.

What is the single most important cue ball control skill?

In my view, being able to consistently draw the cue ball straight back towards your stance position is the most important foundational skill, as it unlocks so many position and traffic control shots. Mastering draws opens many strategic doors in your game.

How can I improve faster?

To improve faster, focus intensely on fundamentals in each practice, record your results, get feedback and lessons from better players when possible, break down specific weaknesses to isolate practice, and vary your drills regularly to challenge muscle memory in new ways. Constantly setting goals also helps motivate progress.


In conclusion, developing precise cue ball control takes time, practice, and patience. But mastering the fundamentals of stance, stroke, impact point, and developing your feel for draw, follow, and english will pay huge dividends in positioning, running outs, and overall consistency.

While it may seem daunting, keeping focused on the foundational techniques and spending just 30 minutes a day practising simple drills will rapidly move the needle in your game. Experiment and have fun with the more advanced skills, but perfection before progression is best.

Most importantly, don't get frustrated during the learning process. cue ball control is a journey, not a destination, and maintaining a positive mindset will serve you well. Trust that with steady dedication to repetition and incremental goal setting, your touch and abilities will continue growing over time.

I hope you found some helpful tips in this blog post to apply to your practice regime. Let me know if any part of cue ball control technique needs more explanation. And please keep me posted on your progress - it's always motivating to hear when the strategies discussed here are helping someone to improve. Have fun on your billiards journey, and all the best with taking your game to the next level


bottom of page