Ride the Rails!

Sometimes you need to ride the rails in order to get to there. In the diagram below you need to get to the other end of the table for position on the three ball. Being straight-in on the two and blocked from the draw option by interfering balls means you must go rail-first to get another shot. Just stroke the shot firmly with running english (in this case, right english) and it will bring you into the right neighborhood to make friends with a win.

Practice rail-first shots until they are natural for you. This is frequently the best shot choice, even when other options are open, and it is overlooked by many amateurs. It is a shot that becomes easy and predictable with a little practice, so don’t let it intimidate you. Practice it with draw and follow to see the versatility of this approach. You will soon be able to gain position almost anywhere by simply varying the amount of top, bottom and sidespin that you impart to the cueball

Remember that the closer the object ball is to the pocket the larger the margin of error becomes. The further from the pocket, the more difficult this shot becomes. So learn it with the object ball close to the pocket and gradually move it away as you become more proficient.