Better Cueing - Playing with Topspin

Better Cueing: Playing Top Spin, or Follow.
Following on from one of our previous articles where Neil Cummins spoke about using backspin I am going to write about the use of top spin or what Americans call Follow.
Top spin is a great shot to play as it can not only help you gain position on an object ball but can also get you out of sticky situations.
The first things to remember when playing any shot (let alone one requiring spin) is the three rules below:
  1. Relaxed and wide stance
  2. Relaxed and loose grip on the cue
  3. Steady and secure bridge hand
Without first concentrating on these elements it is difficult to produce a quality stroke and therefore hit on the cue ball.
To generate good topspin the first thing we need to do is slightly raise our bridging hand, I don’t mean off the table! It should still be in contact with the bed of the table but simply bend the knuckles that will raise the hand off the bed.
Any hit above the centre point on the cue ball would be classed as topspin the higher you move above centre the more spin you are imparting on the cue ball.
The reason it is important to adjust your bridging hand is that in order to create a quality shot you need to cue through the ball in a straight line, the cue needs to maintain the same line all the way through the shot. So you need to make sure you don’t cue upwards to impart spin as this can result in miscues.
Why do we use Topspin?
There is one main reason and that is to gain position on the next object ball, by varying the amount of spin you impart and the pace of the stroke you can create a myriad of positional shots. This can be a small run through to a full 4 rail force follow shot to go around the table and gain position.
There is a second thing to understand with topspin by applying follow you are making the angle after contact much more shallow than a natural shot (takes a much straighter path). This is great when you need to keep the cue ball out of a pocket or from colliding with another ball on the table.

(c) Pete Williams
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