top of page

How to play a Bank shot in 8 ball pool: Executing a precise bank shots


Greetings readers! My name is John and I'm here today to share some insights I've gained over many years of practising and perfecting my bank shot skills in the pool. The ability to execute precise bank shots is truly an artform in this beautiful game we love to play. With enough practice and understanding of the fundamentals, you too can develop your "banking mastery" to take your pool game to the next level.

In this blog post, I hope to demystify bank shots a bit by breaking down the key factors that influence how the ball will react off the rail. I will share some drills and techniques you can use to improve your vision, accuracy and confidence when faced with those tricky bank shot situations. I'll also offer a few tips on reading the angle and putting proper spin on the ball.

Developing consistency with bank shots takes dedication, but it is well worth the effort once you start converting shots you never thought possible. After reading this, I'm confident you'll leave with a better understanding of the physics at play and how to manage bad behaviour to your advantage. So let's get started on our journey towards banking mastery!

How to play a Bank shot in 8 ball pool:

Understanding the Fundamentals

Before we get into specific techniques, it's important to have a firm grasp of the basic principles that come into effect on bank shots. Knowing how the ball will react off the cushion can help you visualise the right angle and stroke needed for position or the win. Three key factors influence a ball's movement on a bank shot:

● Cushion angle: The steeper the angle between the rail and the ball's projected line, the more severe the angle of deflection will be. The ball tends to come off at roughly the same angle it strikes the rail at. A glancing blow will result in less movement than a direct hit.

● Ball speed: Slower shots provide more control but less forgiveness if missed. Faster shots have more margin for error but can become less predictable. Find the speed best for your ability and the difficulty of the shot. Generally start slow and work up.

 Spin: Topspin sends the ball back towards the rail it hits, backspin pulls it away. Players often use backspin to "throw" position balls onto breakable groups or "hook" balls around obstacles for position play. Top helps hold line on position shots. Mastering cue ball spin is key to bank shot mastery.

Keep these fundamentals in mind as you practise. Adjust your stroke speed, English and angle based on the factors above to start getting a feel for how the balls will react. Now let's dig deeper into specific techniques.

Developing Your Bank Shot Vision

One challenge many players face with bank shots is properly visualising the angle needed. Without banking many balls, it's difficult to picture the path the cue ball must take to meet the object ball in the right place. Here are a few drills to sharpen your "banking vision":

● Shadow Shooting: Stand by the table without a cue and practise the stroke motion, pretending to shoot numerous banks at varying angles without actually striking a ball. This trains your stroke and your mind's eye to see different shot possibilities.

● Chalk Line Drills: Use a piece of chalk to draw various lines radiating from the cushion to represent targets and angles. Practice stroking invisible balls at the lines to hit imaginary object balls. This engages your visualisation without distraction.

● Mark Ball Positions: After practising shadow or chalk line drills, have a friend place the cue ball and object ball in set positions. Call out your intended line and check if you were correct before shooting for real. Repetition improves accuracy.

Slowly work your way up to more difficult shots, taking note of the differing required angles. Record any trouble spots in your notebook for future reference. Over time, you'll develop confidence in your ability to read bank shot angles through these drills alone.

Developing Your Stroke Technique

While developing vision is crucial, the stroke is what actually converts your mental picture into a pocketed ball. Here are some tips to refine your bank shot technique:

● Use a consistent bridge hand position, Place your hand closed near the centre of the cue for control.

● Take your normal bridge position, then extend your back arm a few inches further to steepen angles.

● Keep your grip light and relaxed. Tension will disrupt the sweet spot and consistency.

● Pace your backswing to the difficulty of the shot. Short for position play, long for long rails or tough shots.

● Align the butt of the cue along the intended line, not pointed directly at the object ball.

● Sweep through smoothly and follow through after contact for power and predictability.

● Use a drawn back hand and body position for steep cut angles rather than hanging back over the line of the shot.

Taking the time to analyse all aspects of your stroke on banks will reveal flaws holding you back. Video record and compare your form to that of top pros too for added insight. Focus on one change at a time until it becomes natural.

Understanding Ball Spin

Learning to impart the proper cue ball English and spin for the situation is the mark of a truly gifted bank player. Here's a quick explanation of how sidespin and draw/follow work on banks:

● Backspin (follow): After hitting the rail, the ball will pull away from it towards the area of least resistance. Useful for throwing balls onto tables or hooking around obstacles.

● Topspin (draw): Makes the ball hold truer to the line of the shot by countering misdirection from brushing the rail. Ideal for position shots needing accuracy over power.

● Sidespin: When combined with top/bottom, sidespin steers the ball along different paths off the rail. Right sends it left and vice versa. Subtle amounts go far.

Practising Bank Shots With Purpose

Now that we've covered vision, technique and English, it's time to put it all together through organised practice. The key is to make your time focused and goal-oriented rather than random runs. Here are some sample routines:

● Angle progression: Start with easier 45 degree banks, then gradually work up to more severe cuts using the drills covered earlier.

● Opposite side spin: Alternate shooting the same shots first with right, then left side on consecutive visits to both sides of the table. Sharpen control.

● Specific challenges: Set up tough position shots needing throw ins, long rails, follow shots around obstacles, stun recoveries etc. to solve real game situations.

● Score sets: Mark down balls you make on your first visit versus total attempts. Aim to dramatically increase your conversion rate over time.

● Match play drills: Partner spots balls around the table for you to bank in sequence, under pressure with someone watching your stroke.

● Video analysis: Record sessions and compare your form to note errors slowing progress. Feedback accelerates learning.

The key is focusing on one aspect at a time like steeper angles or refining spin with regular, concentrated practice. Leave your ego at the door, and celebrate even slight improvements as you progress along your journey.

Bank Shots In Real Games

While drills are essential, the real test comes in competitive matches applying your new skills. Some tips for using bank shots effectively:

● Pick your spots: Only go for makeable banks you need, not risky Hail Mary attempts. Patience will serve you better in close games.

● Manage risk/reward: Simpler position banks offering huge table advantage often outweigh trickier combos leaving you in trouble if missed.

● Visualise outcomes: Mentally play out the possible positions from different banks to determine the high percentage shot.

● Use them as resets: Banks allowing you to start a safe roll rather than long defensive shots open scoring options back up.

● Slow deliberate approach: Take your time to properly read angles and line up spin rather than rushing hasty attempts under pressure. Pressure is what they're for! Confidence fuels execution.

Staying calm and thinking one shot ahead while prudently employing your newfound banking skills should see dividends on the scoresheet. Just remember to enjoy the process of constant refinement as well. Rome wasn't built in a day after all!


What is the most important thing to understand when learning bank shots?

The most important things to understand when learning bank shots are the fundamentals that influence how the ball interacts with the rail - namely the cushion angle, ball speed, and spin. Grasping these core principles lays the groundwork for developing your banking vision and technique.

How can I improve my ability to accurately visualise bank shot angles?

Some effective ways to sharpen your bank shot visualisation include shadow shooting without a cue, using chalk line drills to envision different shot lines, and having a partner position balls for you to "call" shots on before attempting them. Repeating these exercises regularly trains your brain to see possible shot angles.

What is the proper technique for stroking bank shots?

The proper bank shot technique involves keeping a consistent bridge hand position near the centre of the cue, aligning the butt of the cue along the intended line rather than directly at the object ball, taking a smooth stroke through the shot, and following through after contact for consistency and power. Having a relaxed grip and pace suited to the shot difficulty are also important.

How do I figure out which spin (english) to use on a bank shot?

As a general rule, backspin (follow) is used to "throw" position balls onto a target, while topspin (draw) helps the cue ball hold its line on position shots needing accuracy. Backspin also hooks the cue ball around obstacles. Topspin is the safest choice unless position dictates otherwise. Optimal spin varies by situation and takes practice to discern.

What are some effective bank shot practice routines?

Good bank shot practice routines include systematically working up shot angles, alternating spin on repeat shots, setting up challenging position shots, keeping score to track progress, partner drills under pressure, and video analysis of your form. Focusing on one element, like steeper angles, in each session maximises improvement.

How should bank shots be incorporated into real games?

In games, only take makeable bank shots you need rather than risky attempts. Consider risk/reward and mentally play out position outcomes to choose high percentage banks. They are also useful as "resets' ' from safety rolls. Stay calm when setting them up and confidence will fuel execution under pressure. Be selective and patient when employing your new skills.


In conclusion, taking the time to truly understand the fundamentals behind bank shots, developing your vision and technique through dedicated practice, and thoughtfully incorporating these tricky shots into your real game strategy are the keys to achieving banking mastery. While it requires commitment to continuously hone your skills, each bank you convert that once seemed impossible makes the journey well worth it.

Developing consistency with bank shots is a lifelong pursuit. Continued analysis of your strengths and weaknesses, seeking feedback from more experienced players, and studying the strategies of pool's greatest bank shot artists will keep your progress moving forward. Maintaining a growth mindset and celebrating small wins along the way are integral to sustaining your motivation.

With patience and application of the principles discussed in this article, you too can reach a level of banking excellence to be proud of. Whether you're looking to take your game to new competitive heights or simply seek a more well-rounded understanding of the pool, mastering precise bank shots offers immense satisfaction. I hope you take what you've learned here and apply it to focused practice, advancing one step closer to your goal with each session spent nurturing this beautiful element of the game. The journey is long, but stay determined and enjoy the process of continual refinement. Your banking mastery awaits!


bottom of page