Tag Archives: Dr. David Alciatore

Confessions of a non-follower

I have a confession: I hate to follow. In a potential game winning situation if I had to choose between following off one rail or drawing off one or more, I’d take the draw shot almost every time. Why? I’m well aware that the follow shot is a more “natural” shot and is less prone to deflection, making it more accurate than the draw shot, but I just can’t help it. I love draw shots and I know that my shot making is more accurate with draw rather than follow. Doesn’t that statement fly in the face of generally accepted pool wisdom and the laws of physics? I recently had a Facebook exchange with a friend who reminded me of research done on the subject by Dr. David Alciatore, professor of Mechanical Engineering at Colorado State University.  According to Dr. Dave, the follow shot is a more accurate and forgiving shot than the draw shot.  In his excellent book, “The Illustrated Principles of Pool and Billiards”, Dr. Dave explains and backs up with science (and videos via a website) the physical principles involved. 

Here are some links to Dr. Dave’s materials:

  1. The Illustrated Principles of Pool
  2. Article on the accuracy of follow vs. draw shots
  3. Article on deflection for follow vs. draw shots

Okay, I understand and acknowledge the science, but in my pool journey I’ve found that I’m more accurate with the draw shot. On the other hand, my analytical mind must acknowledge the follow shot is a more reliable shot, and if I really want to do whatever is necessary to improve my game, I need to change my habits and take advantage of what science has already proven.  How do I do this?  I have three ideas:

  1. Practice some follow shots
  2. Practice more follow shots
  3. Practice even more follow shots

That doesn’t sound too difficult does it? I guess there’s really no excuse. Over the next month I will be putting more emphasis on follow shots and utilizing better speed control to get proper position on my next shot. I’ll post an update on my progress in about a month. Until then, I’ll do my best to be a follower!


Secret Safe Drill Revealed

Here’s a drill I invented a few months ago to help me work on my rolling safes.  As I’ve stated before, the ability to execute a good safe can easily mean the difference between winning or losing a match against a tough opponent.  Very few people practice safes.  Dont’ fall into that trap!  If you maintain discipline and practice your safeties, you’ll have an advantage over more skilled opponents and you’ll win many more matches.  I filed this drill in The Drills tab under Safeties

See the setup in the diagram below.  The cue ball is on the head spot.  The object ball is one diamond down table from the cue ball.  The objective is to shoot the cue ball through the object ball using normal follow, and make the cue ball come to rest in one of the ghost ball spots.  Start on the far right side and try to hit each ghost ball spot.  This is not as easy as it looks, but with practice you will develop a feel for it. 

One of my friends at California Billiards claims I’ve developed an analytical method for determining exactly where to aim on the object ball to hit each of these spots.  According to him, I developed this method based on some of the theoretical work of Dr. Dave Alciatore, who works in the Mechanical Engineering department at Colorado State University.  At this point, I will neither confirm nor deny this accusation.    😉

Rolling Safe Drill