Dr. Dave's answers to frequently-asked questions (FAQs), mostly from the BD CCB and AZB discussion forums
maintained for the book: The Illustrated Principles of Pool and Billiards, the monthly "Illustrated Principles" instructional articles, and the instructional video series: Video Encyclopedias of Pool Shots (VEPS), Pool Practice (VEPP), and Eight Ball (VEEB), How to Aim Pool Shots (HAPS), and the Billiard University (BU)
more information, see Section 7.09 in The
Illustrated Principles of Pool and Billiards
and Disc V of the Video Encyclopedia of Pool Shots
after-collision masse shots
What are some examples of how masse curve after object ball contact is useful?
Explanations and examples of this can be found here:
aiming swerve and masse shots
How do you aim swerve and masse shots?
"VEPS GEMS - Part XVI: The Masse Shot" (BD, April, 2011) and "Coriolis was brilliant ... but he didn't have a high-speed camera - Part V: masse shot aiming" (BD, November, 2005), and Bob Jewett's December '97 article, explain and illustrate a method that can be used to help aim masse shots. It was discovered in the early 1800s by a famous mathematician and physicist named Gustave Coriolis. It can also be referred to as the "BAR" method ("B" for ball contact point, "A" for cloth aim point, and "R" for CB resting point). For a demonstrations, see this video from Disc V of the Video Encyclopedia of Pool Shots:
More information and examples can be found here:
from Patrick Johnson (in AZB post):
cue and tip
Can a different cue or tip make masse shots easier?
Yes. Generally, people will be more comfortable with a shorter cue (especially with low ceiling height). However, the cue must have enough weight to drive into and impart spin to the ball. The cue should also have a larger diameter shaft to help it withstand the abuse of masse shots. Some people prefer a softer tip, but it won't hold up to abuse as well as a harder tip. But with a harder tip, you need to make sure it is well chalked (as with any tip) and that it is holding the chalk well to provide good contact with the ball. A medium-hard tip offers the good compromise of durability and chalk-holding reliability.
from Bob Jewett:
The cue that the artistic billiards players typically use is short, heavy and has a 14-16mm tip. Maybe 50 inches and 24 ounces. If you're going to be playing these shots in matches, you have to decide which cue you're going to be using for them. Also, the tip is typically soft, which means that your break cue is probably not appropriate. I think the soft tip helps keep the ball on the table.
Be prepared to change tips.
Wax the cue ball to get action more like on new cloth. If your cloth is old, there are two problems. The cue ball will tend to stick to the cloth as it's driven into it, which tends to kill the action and/or rip the cloth. The spin will take quickly, which doesn't get you the big arcs you're looking for.
Most jump cues will have a phenolic tip. Masse cues will use a leather tip because you still need grip to impart all that spin. A lot of masse cues will have a larger tip (14 mm). Some jump cues will, but most stay around 13 mm. I like a lighter masse cue, between 19-21 oz. I'll use a heavier one (24 oz) on certain shots. But some guys have them up to 30 oz or more. Jump cues tend to stay between 6-10 oz. Masse cues will also tend to be a little longer than jump cues. Most jump cues stay around 40 inches, I think primarily because of the weight issue. Masse cues are usually between 46-52 inches (don't take these numbers as hard stops though). Check out the articles below I wrote on each type of cue to get a little more specifications on them.
elevation and speed effects
How do cue elevation and stroke speed affect masse shots?
More elevation results in less cue ball speed. Less speed results in the CB curving sooner. For more info, see the second half of "Coriolis was brilliant ... but he didn't have a high-speed camera - Part V: masse shot aiming" (BD, November, 2005).
How can I improve my masse shot technique?
This video from Disc V of the Video Encyclopedia of Pool Shots provides a good summary and demonstration of important technique elements:
Bob Jewett also has a good set of articles dealing with the masse shot here:
Welcome to Masse 101 (BD, December '97) -- basic masse concepts
Masse 102 (BD, February '98) -- masse techniques and practice
The Right Time to Masse (BD, March '98) -- sometimes it's the right shot
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