By Erik Hjorleifson
Hello again everybody, I hope everything has been well with you and hope that you have had a good start to your 2014-2015 pool season. For our instructional today we are going to talk about the importance of using follow as opposed to draw when both options present themselves.
This is a topic that comes up regularly when I am instructing. The basis behind the theory is that draw is affected a great deal more by speed than follow is. Also, the distance between the two balls will make you have to judge how low and how hard to hit the ball. Thirdly the cut angle of the ball dictates how much draw and speed you will have to use when executing the shot. The problem with these three things is that they all require feel, which no matter how accomplished you are can be misjudged.
When following a ball the most important thing to know is the natural angle that the cue ball will take after potting the ball. You must remember that the higher the speed that the cue ball is struck at, the higher you must go on the cue ball to hold that natural angle. For example at a low speed the cue ball can be struck a little above center and it will still follow the natural angle but at a higher speed it will stun follow at that same contact point. It is a challenge to learn all the natural angles but when you do it becomes easier than relying on the feel involved with using draw. The natural angle does not vary with the distance between the object ball and the cue ball so this is another advantage to using draw.
A very common case where using follow instead of draw arises is when you can change the path of the cue ball with follow and spin (usually outside english) and obtain the same result as if you were to draw the ball. This case would usually arise when you could use soft draw to end up at the same point as using follow and outside. Soft draw is the toughest draw shot to judge so try and look for these spots and you will see an improvement in your game.
The main thing when choosing to draw a ball is to determine if using draw will make the cue ball travel less. If this is the case then draw could be the right choice for the shot but if the cue ball is moving the same distance or close to the same distance when following, then follow is usually the right shot. As a side note I would like to add that when shooting the last shot like the 9 ball or the 8 ball, you should almost always use a medium stroke with draw causing a stop shot. This allows you to hit the ball more confidently and on the last shot, position is not important so the other factors involved with using draw are not relevant. Thanks for your time and I hope this helps. I will be off to the US Open next week and will be writing daily updates so stay tuned.