Is a high-tip follow shot more accurate than a center-ball hit or draw shot?

This is definitely true for shots like the straight-up-and-down-the-table drill. Here are some possible reasons high-tip follow shots can be more accurate (especially with long shots):

  • It is easy for some people to hit the CB’s centerline when the cue tip is closer to the top of the ball where the top of the tip is more closely visually aligned with the top of the ball (although, it can be even easier for some people to visualize the center of the ball with a draw shot, where the tip is closer to the ball contact point on the cloth, which is very easy to see).
  • The cue can be closer to level (not elevated) with a follow shot as compared to a draw shot with the same cue clearance above the rail. This will result in less swerve when the CB is hit slightly off center (although, see squirt/swerve cue elevation effects).
  • When the CB is hit slightly off center, net CB deflection (the net effect of squirt and swerve, AKA “squerve”) can be less with a higher tip than a lower tip.
  • An above-center hit offers a slight advantage with speed control (see optimal tip height).
  • The slowing drag effect of a lower-tip shot increases the effect of the sidespin, which can affect OB throw and rebound angles off rails. Both follow and draw shots will have the same amount of sidespin for the same amount of offset from the vertical centerline; but with a draw shot, the CB will be moving slower at the rail causing the sidespin to alter the rebound angle more.
  • With a cut shot, there is less throw (and possible cling/skid/kick) for a follow shot, as compared to a stun shot (see follow throw effects).

FYI, some of this is described and illustrated in “Squirt – Part III: follow/draw squirt and swerve” (BD, October, 2007) and “Squirt – Part VIII: squerve effects” (BD, March, 2008).

Now for force follow shots, where fast speed is required, you have no option. The tip must be high. For examples, see:

Follow shots also provide the best speed and distance control (see optimal tip height for speed control). Also, the “natural angle” of follow shots is very easy to judge and predict (see 30° rule for more info). These are the reasons for the classic saying: “Draw for show … follow for dough.

Now, there are some reasons why follow shots (or using a high tip) might not be as accurate for some people:

  • For some people it can be more difficult to judge center-ball alignment with the tip higher on the CB.
  • Some people tend to move their shoulder and drop their elbow more with follow shots to exaggerate the follow through, maybe thinking you need to help the tip push the ball more or ride up on the ball more with an above-center hit. And often when the elbow is dropped, it is also chicken-winged out, which can cause inaccuracy (see elbow drop).
  • For some people, the bridge hand might not be as stable with a higher tip position.
  • There is a greater chance of miscuing with a higher tip (especially if there is elbow drop).
  • Follow shots often involve slower speeds, and many people are less accurate and consistent with a softer stroke (especially if it is hesitant or decelerating).
  • Any intentional or unintentional sidespin results in sooner swerve with a follow shot (especially at slower speed), which will send the CB offline.
  • Faster-speed follow shots can involve significant ball hop, which can lead to overcutting of the OB, especially if the CB is close to the OB (see follow shot ball hop and overcut effect).
  • If there is a “bad” hit due to cling/skid/kick, which can happen more frequently with straight follow shots, the CB will hop and not follow forward nearly as much as expected.

Also, more sidespin can be applied (when desired) with the tip closer to the horizontal axis or equator of the CB.

Draw shots can be more accurate for some people because more speed is used to retain backspin, especially with longer shots where much of the spin is lost due to cloth drag action. Because of the faster speed required:

  • Many people are more accurate and consistent with a firmer, more confident stroke.
  • There will be less throw (even if there is cling/skid/kick), resulting in a “cleaner” hit.

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