LAST TIME, we talked about stop shots. The follow-up to that is to learn how to add the stun-follow shot to your arsenal. It’s essentially a stop shot with a quarter- or half-tip of follow.
The stun-follow is markedly different from a pure follow shot. Straight-pool players come to me all the time complaining that the cue ball simply gets glued to the rack every time they hit a break shot. I tell them that it is because they are using stun-follow, which doesn’t give the cue ball enough time to generate forward momentum. A lot of it has to do with speed. If you hit a break shot at a softer speed, the cue ball will generate a lot of follow even before it hits the break ball. If you hit that same shot harder, the cue ball doesn’t have time to develop that forward roll until it hits the break ball.
The same holds true for a stop shot. If you have a straight-in shot that is eight feet away, and you want to hit a stop shot, you must strike the cue ball low enough and hard enough so that it maintains draw for seven-and-a-half feet. It needs to turn into slide just before it reaches the object ball. The harder you hit it, the longer the draw lasts.
With stun-follow, the harder you hit it, the longer the stun lasts before it changes to follow. The difference between stun-follow and pure follow is that with stun-follow, the cue ball “walks” forward. With pure follow, the cue ball “runs” forward. In simple terms, with stun-follow, you don’t want the cue ball to begin its forward roll until it hits the object ball. With pure follow, your want the cue ball to have a forward roll before it hits the object ball.
To demonstrate, I set up a straight-in shot into the side pocket, with the cue ball a foot away from the object ball. When I hit the shot hard, with stun-follow, the object ball will rocket into the pocket, and the cue ball will trickle forward. Then, I hit the shot softer, and the cue ball and object ball move toward the pocket at virtually the same pace.
Here’s a drill: Set up any straight shot you want, from any distance. Practice by shooting a stop shot five times in a row. Once you’ve done that, shoot the same shot, at the same speed, but move your cue tip up one-quarter or one-half tip. Stun-follow is a shot at stop-shot speed, but struck a half-tip higher on the cue ball.
Knowing how to use stun-follow is important, because sometimes you have a situation in which a stop shot will leave you hooked, and a pure follow shot will also leave you in bad position. Your best shot is to trickle the cue ball forward a bit. In theory, you could use pure follow, but hit the cue ball really soft. Most players, however, don’t like slow-rolling balls, because they don’t trust the table.