Shoot a Masse Shot

The masse shot is an extremely complicated shot that usually requires the player to have a solid understanding of the fundamentals of physics, a trustworthy and high end billiards table and lots of dedicated practice time. A masse shot is a shot where the cue ball follows a curved path after being hit.


Most billiards shots would be comparable to a bullet being shot out of a gun since there is not side spin involved and the trajectory is naturally in a straight line. This is to say that most shots in billiards send the cue ball in a straight line.


A masse shot adds a force to the cue ball that the normal shot lacks. There is an extra dimension of energy applied to the cue ball which causes it to change its course beyond what the initial strike causes it.


Therefore, the initial strike applies energy to the ball which causes it to move forwards directly opposite the striking point and another form of energy, in the form of side spin, effects the balls trajectory until it, the secondary force which is side spin, is used up. This may seem like a concept that is too complicated and involved for a leisure game like billiards; and it is.


The masse shot does exist though and if one wishes to understand it or perform it there is a tedious learning process involved. Where the example of a bullet describes a normal billiards shot a throwing disk could help one understand the physics of a masse shot.


You have probably seen a throwing disk that begins to bank and curve as it sails forward. If you have paid attention then you will have noticed that the curve is always in the same direction, left for right handed throwers and right for left handed throwers.


The curved trajectories in both the case of the throwing disk and the cue ball in the masse shot are due to the horizontal spin which is also called side spin or flank spin. Some application of this phenomenon is actually applied in many games such as golf, soccer, baseball and card throwing.


In billiards one may be familiar with the concepts of draw and follow. These concepts utilize the spin of the cue ball to affect its path but they are easier to understand as well as to perform since the spin is applied in the same direction as the initial trajectory.

To perform a masse shot the ball must be caused to spin sideways around the ā€˜zā€™ axis as well as propelled forward by the cue. Along with other techniques that are applied, the angle of the shot must also be steeper so that the side spin is a more predominant factor than the forward push.


The cue tip will also need to be well chalked so that it grabs the cue ball well. The shot will then be off center and possibly as steep as 80 degrees to the table.