BackSpin, Forward Roll, and Freeze

When playing pool or billiards you will notice that the cue ball, after making contact with the object ball, will do one of three things: continue rolling forward, start rolling backwards, or stop entirely.  Learning to control cue ball is the biggest part of pool. Not only do you want to sink the shots you are aiming for, but you want to set yourself up for future shots too, and cue ball control is how you do it.

After the kinetic energy of the cue ball is passed into the object ball all that is left is the spin.  This is what will determine whether or not it will move backward, forward or just stay still.


  • Freezing The Ball

This is when your ball makes contact with the object ball and stays exactly where it is.  The reason it does this is because the cue ball has no spin.  Spin is created by two things drag and strike.  The drag is going to eventually give the ball a forward roll unless it collides with a ball before traction has caught hold of the ball. The strike can apply a variety of different spins, but we will get to that in a minute.

Learning to freeze the ball is going to be a great advantage for you beginners.  To do this aim your cue stick at the center of the cue ball.  Get low so you can see the ball from a level angle, the number one mistake I see is people standing up and striking from a bad point of view.  If you hit the ball dead center with enough power to prevent any drag you will freeze the ball.


  • Forward Roll

Rolling the ball forward is going to be the easiest, either you hit the cue ball softly and let drag take over or you can aim a little above the center of the cue ball.

Notice the stick is a little above center.

Aim a little higher on the cue ball only if the object ball is too close to allow drag to take effect.  So if you ever need some follow through this is how you get it.  When aiming up on the cue ball you really only need to move up a tiny bit.  Most people will overdo the spin. Watch the pros 90 percent of the time they are striking the center of the cue ball.


  • Backspin

This is an extremely useful tool.  When you have the object ball on the edge of a pocket and the cue ball directly inline to fall in, this is when you would use backspin.  To prevent your ball from falling into the pocket you will want to hit the cue ball a little below center.

Notice now it is below the center.

You will have to practice this. Overdoing a backspin shot will result in a cue ball hop, which is a neat trick but most the time ineffective.  90 percent of the time players will still over do the backspin, just make the adjustments subtle. Remember drag is eventually going to catch the ball, so you will have to adjust the force put into the shot to compensate for drag.