How do I deal with and take advantage of pocket hangers?
A “pocket hanger” is an object ball (OB) that is very close to or in the jaws of a pocket. Everything you need to know about how to deal with and take best advantage of a pocket “hanger” is demonstrated in the following videos:
Here are convenient links to important sections in the first video:
- good things about hangers
- things that can go wrong with hangers
- avoiding a scratch
- driving a ball through a hanger
- cue ball control
- cue ball reference directions
- speed/cut/spin effects
- game-situation examples
- useful target drills
And here are specific points in the video that demonstrate pocket-point effects (e.g., when the OB is deep in the pocket and/or closer to one of the facings) and how to deal with them: 1:12, 1:36, 5:02, 13:45.
Here’s another useful drill involving hangers:
Hanger CB control is covered in great detail in:
- Video Encyclopedia of Pool Shots (VEPS) – Volume II – Section 19 (shots 306-324) – Hanger CB Control Principles and Reference Directions
- Video Encyclopedia of Pool Practice (VEPP) – Volume II – Section 13 (shot 79) – Hanger CB Control Practice and Effects
Is it a good practice to play a hanger rail-first?
… not in general, because it can be difficult to hit the OB with the desired or required amount of fullness of hit when going rail-first; and as demonstrated in the first video above, the amount of the OB you hit has a big effect on CB direction and travel distance. But going rail first is the right play in the following situations (from an AZB thread):
- when there is an obstacle ball forcing a rail-first hit.
- when you want the CB to travel faster and farther more easily (e.g., on a slow table).
- when you want to take a natural or alternative multiple-cushion path off the hanger that might not be easy or possible with a direct hit (e.g., to come into the line of the next shot or avoid “traffic”).
- when rolling into the rail first is a good alternative to a direct hit with draw, which is much more difficult to control.
- when hitting a point of the pocket might be a concern with a direct hit (e.g., when the OB is deep in the pocket or closer to one facing).
- when you want to use a softer stroke to come off the hanger with stun flat along the rail after the hit.