How can you tell if one ball is hit before another for a close-call legal hit?

The following video provides a good overview:

Also see “Rules – Part IV: Which ball did you hit first?” (BD, November, 2009) and:

Also, for many example calls along with explanations, see:

Here’s a great shot example by Efren Reyes against Keith McCready where the call is difficult. It is impossible to tell from the video whether that was a good hit or not (i.e., it is a “split hit”). One possibility is that the CB just barely feathered the 5 and then hit the 3 and then the 5 again. A shot very similar to this scenario can be found at the 1:52 point in NV B.54 – How to determine which ball was hit first by watching the object balls, with Bob Jewett. Another possibility that the CB barely missed the 5 on the way to the 3 and then came off the 3 to hit the 5. The two possibilities would result in the same or very nearly the same action of all three balls. In situations like this, where it is too close to tell, the call should probably be a legal hit, in favor of the shooter.

from Scott Lee AZB post:

A great test of “split hits” is something Jerry Briesath showed me 30+ years ago…freeze three balls together, with the odd ball towards the middle of the side pocket. Place the CB directly opposite the three frozen balls. Try to pocket the single OB frozen to the frozen pair, trying to get a split hit. You MIGHT make it once in a 100 tries. Move the CB right or left of the balls a few inches and you can pocket the OB every time. This is a proposition shot from decades ago.

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