FAQFAQJump Shots in Pool and Billiards

... how to hit and control a jump shot in pool.

Dr. Dave's answers to frequently-asked questions (FAQs), mostly from the AZB discussion forum


for more information, see Section 7.10 in The Illustrated Principles of Pool and Billiards
and Vol. V of the Video Encyclopedia of Pool Shots


cue elevation effects

What effect does cue elevation have on the ability to hit stun, draw, and follow jump shots?


For more information, see "Jump Stop/Draw/Follow" (BD, September, 2015) and highly-elevated-cue jump shots.


highly-elevated-cue jump shot

How can you make the cue ball jump over a close ball, and is it a foul?



object ball jump shot

Is it possible to jump an object ball over part or all of an obstacle ball?

Yes. See:


over cutting

Why do I sometimes miss jump cut shots?

If the cue ball hits the object ball while it is airborne, the effective cut angle is larger. In these cases, you need to aim for a fuller hit to get the right cut angle. For more info, see:

The best way to see the effect is to hold a CB up against an OB and visualize a 1/2-ball hit (center-to-edge = CTE). Now slide the CB up on the OB, keeping the CB center in the CTE vertical plane. You will clearly see that different cut angles result, which you can verify by tapping the OB with the CB at different positions.

The jump over-cut effect can also effect non-straight follow shots, especially those with significant speed. For more info, see follow shot ball hop.

from Patrick Johnson:

No matter where the CB contacts the OB (on the equator or above it), the point where they make contact will be on the line between their centers (anything else is impossible), and the cut angle will be the line through their centers at that moment (ignoring throw). If you agree that an airborne CB travels farther before hitting the OB, then you must agree that the line through the CB/OB centers changes and therefore the cut angle changes.


rail jump shot

How can a rail cushion be used to assist a jump shot?



technique advice and drills

Lots of jump shot advice and demonstrations can be found here:

and here:

HSV B.3 - various jump shot techniques
HSV B.4 - object ball jump shot
HSV B.5 - jump and break shot strokes and grips
HSV B.8 - jump shot off the rail
HSV B.14 - jump shot tip, ball, cloth, slate interaction, with and without a spare piece of cloth
HSV B.19 - highly elevated cue jump shots
HSV B.37 - jump shot over-cut effect and examples

In general, the best technique advice is to use a light jump cue with a hard tip, keep your grip and wrist as relaxed as possible, follow the generally-recommended stroke best practices, and be aware of various elevated-cue effects. More advice can be found in "VEPS GEMS - Part XV: The Jump Shot" (BD, March, 2011). Others things not mentioned in the article include: 1.) Most of your weight will be on the front foot and bridge hand, and 2.) It can be more difficult to jump the ball on worn and thin cloth.

The most common causes for inaccuracy with jump shots are:
1.) not hitting the CB on the vertical centerline.
2.) not positioning your vision center over the cue in the elevated position.
Vol. II of "How to Aim Pool Shots" (HAPS) covers in details ways to ensure that your aim and alignment are true when you aim all sorts of elevated-cue shots. And good demonstrations of the basics is in the following video:

Tom Simpson also some good jump shot instructional videos on YouTube: part 1 and part 2. The dart grip and stroke is useful if you need to reach in front of you or if you need high cue elevation for a close-range and/or short-landing jump. In general, the normal (under-hand) stroke is more accurate than the dart (over-hand) stroke.

Here are some good drills, from Vol. IV of the Video Encyclopedia of Pool Practice (VEPP), for practicing and improving your jump shot technique:


For more information and advice, see: "VEPP - Part XII: Jump Shots," (BD, March, 2013) and the jump shot technique handout.


from Cornerman:

For a standard grip and standard cue length, I've found after lots of work:

Make your bridge hand as tall as comfortable. Some people with large hands will always have and immediate advantage for jumping.

Collapse the bridge elbow. This forces my front down, while I can keep my grip hand up. Being able to shoot comfortably with this angle is important. Robin Dodson teaches this to people at her Frog demo.

Don't look up when shooting. Wear a hat with a brim. Seriously, for training purposes. When cueing, stare at the cueball and don't look up. Looking up sometimes makes people prematurely come out of their stance prior to hitting the ball. You want all of your stroke going into the cueball. That being said, your aim line should be correct before you get down on the shot.

Corollary: Drive the cueball directly into the bed.

Aim at the pit. For starters, hitting at the dead center of the ball (where the pit would be) is going to get you the most bang. Aiming a hair below center (as your cuestick "sees" the cueball") will be your next step.

Hard tip. One area that is very important to jumping with a full-length cue is that it's going to be easier with a hard tip. Earl Strickland used to shoot with a tremendously hard tip for the times, and he always complained about other people not jumping with their shooting cue. That's one reason he could do it so easily.

Let the cue do the work. This seems to be true for any shot: draw shot, break shot, and even the jump shot. Don't jab or overstroke. If you concentrate on hitting the center of the cueball, with an angled cue, with a real stroke, it will jump, and jump higher than you can imagine.

After all that, then you can buy a jump cue (if you haven't), use the same techniques above, and you'll be able to jump over anything with ease.


from JB Cases:

Think of a jump shot as any other shot. The difference is that this time you are approaching the ball from an elevated angle.

The center of the cue ball on the outer edge or a better way to say it - the equator - is now at an angle to bed of the table instead of roughly parallel to it. Now to clear a blocking ball the MINIMUM angle you need IS the angle that represents the lowest clear path over the blocking ball.

The closer the two balls the sharper or steeper this angle will be.

The second thing you will need to know is how much force to apply. There is also a minimum amount that is needed and is learned through practice. Force is used to land the cue ball closer or farther from the blocking ball. In this way you can very precisely place the cue ball on a jump shot.

When you approach the shot you should approach it with center ball - no matter what your angle of approach is. When you are looking down at the ball divide it into two halves and the diving line is the center.

Now, you can point the cue tip a little below center and give the cue ball reverse or back spin, or you can go a little above center and give the cue ball forward or follow. You can also add any other side spin that you wish to from this point.

Now, whether using the dart stroke or the pendulum stroke you want to shoot the shot as you would any other with a smooth stroke and follow through. You will quickly find out the minimum force you need to make the cue ball jump over the object ball.

Things to be careful of are excess movement.

These are common mistakes that derail an otherwise perfect set up.

1. When using the pendulum stroke you lunge forward. This cause the tip to dip below where you were pointing it and leads to miscues.

2. When using the pendulum stroke you push you hand down on the final stroke which lifts the tip up.

3. You pull your hand into or away from your body on the final stroke which again pulls the tip off the point you were targeting.

4. You grip the cue with your fingers overlapping the top and thus inhibit a full stroke. This causes the stroke to be too short and causes the stroke to be distorted as well.

5. On the dart stroke you pull you hand down on the final stroke or lunge forward - both of these actions will pull the tip off line.

Basically you need to see the bridge as a fulcrum point. If you are at the proper point to address the cueball then any other movement will pull the tip off the point you are aiming at and while you may achieve the jumping portion of the shot it's quite likely that you won't achieve the precision placement or desired result.

90% of the problems with jumping balls is due to a faulty stroke, not following through and not stroking straight on the delivery. The other 10% are due to not fully understanding which angle and force to use.

It is a VAST misconception that one cannot control the cueball on a jump shot. It is a commonly taught idea that hitting the object ball is the goal.

It is not. The goal is to shoot the cue ball in a controlled manner in order to achieve a precise (as precise as possible) result. This is the same as any other shot.

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