Basic Banking

Angle in equals angle out. This mantra of banking is correct, sometimes. Unfortunately, for players trying to pocket an elusive bank shot to win a game, this conventional wisdom sometimes clouds their judgement, causing a missed shot.

When faced with a fairly straight forward bank shot where the object ball is no more than one diamond to the left or right of the intended pocket, but on the opposite side of the table an inch or two off the rail or less, and the cue ball lies at a point that doesn’t require a difficult cut on the object ball, in-experienced bankers tend to make the same mistake over and over. If the object ball is on or near the rail it will always come off that rail short. If you were able to remember specifically the last twenty times that you were faced with a shot of this nature, you would have undoubtedly come up short of your intended pocket on the vast majority of your attempts. Our mind is able to pick the correct contact point on the object ball that you would expect would bank the ball in, and yet it hits the opposite rail short of the intended pocket. There are several reasons why this happens, balls banking short consistently, but we needn’t examine why this occurrence happens as much as just acknowledge that it does happen, and compensate for it.

There are a certain percentage of players that consistently shoot their bank shots using outside English on the cue ball in order to widen the angle by which the object ball leaves the rail. Although this technique will work with some table arrangements, it opens up a Pandora’s Box of potential pitfalls like squirt and deflection, plus the position problems that will occur when inside English is required to send the cue ball to it’s next position location. As a better alternative to adding outside English, you should alter your cut angle. Once you are aware of the problem and its simple solution, which is to overcut those shots as if to bank the ball two to four inches past the intended pocket, part of the analysis that you perform in your pre-shot routine, if you are faced with a bank shot of this type, is to automatically compensate by changing your cut angle slightly. How much to compensate is a tricky question in that each layout still has a few variables in its composition. The best way to familiarize yourself with this concept is to practice it occasionally. Perform some of the banks as cross side and some as cross corner banks with the object ball within one diamond of the intended pocket and far enough off the rail that a couple kiss problem doesn’t exist. After shooting fifty of those practice banks, you should be consistently making them if you are compensating correctly. Once you see that slightly over-cutting them puts many more banks in the pocket, expect the added confidence that you will have in your banking ability to have you taking and making more simple bank shots in the course of your play.