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By Jeanette Lee
International billiard icon "The Black Widow" answers your questions about life, love, and everything else that happens in the poolhall.

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VIDEO: Pool Fundamentals

April: Jump Up
April 2013
Q: Why don't more pros use the dart stroke to jump balls in 9-ball? Trick shot tournaments use it all the time. Is one way better than the other?
Johnnie Street; Nashville, Tenn.

A: This is a great question! I use the dart stroke in tournaments when facing a very short jump shot, so it's not entirely unheard of to see an overhand stroke (as if throwing a dart) in 9-ball. But it's not common, mostly because professional players are so accustomed to shooting underhanded; the transition from a level cue to a highly elevated cue isn't a major concern. We've already learned to elevate the cue for numerous purposes; we just raise it a bit more to jump the cue ball. The dart stroke is drastically different and takes a lot of practice to master. For a great player, it doesn't take much to learn. But taking it to a level where you can master accuracy position is more difficult. For longer jump shots, the traditional stroke is better, while the dart stroke, if you have a feel for it, can be more comfortable and effective when the obstructing ball and object ball are close to the cue ball. It's best to be comfortable with both, so you're always ready.