Shoot Down That Rail

The object ball getting stuck on the rail happens pretty often, so practicing these shots should be a priority. Spend some time with this drill, and you just may start to look foward to these shots in the future.

One of the most common shots during pressure situations is when the object ball has found itself stuck to the rail and you need to make sure that it rides that rail into the pocket. This drill will help you to make these rail shots more consistently.

The proper way to make this shot is by hitting the rail before hitting the object ball. Not by a lot, not even more than a credit card space when you make contact with the rail. As the cue-ball goes into the rail it will then make contact with the object ball, cutting it into the pocket.

On tough rails you will need to hit this shot with medium speed, just to make sure that the cue ball digs itself into the rail before making contact with the object ball.

The goal of this drill is to make your way down the table until you are setting the cue ball up near the second diamond on the long rail.

Illustration of pool table shooting down the rail

This drill works its way down the first diamond on the bottom rail. This should give you just enough room to make your bridge on the table. Slowly moving up table with the cue ball, about 3″ for each attempt. If you miss the object ball then bring yourself closer and try again.

A beginner player should be able to make it to the first diamond on the long rail 7/10 times. An intermediate player will make it to the second diamond down the long rail 9/10 times. An advanced player should be able to cut the object ball into the corner pocket from the middle of the table, and 1 diamond away from the long rail.

Bonus: It is a good idea to practice this drill while making a bridge on the rail in addition to making a bridge on the table. You may want to alternate for every shot bringing the cue ball closer to the rail so it is easier for you to make a bridge on the rail.