Ask Allison – Speed Control

Hi everyone! Thanks for sending in more of your questions. Every month I will answer questions that come through my website – (
What is the secret to playing a jump shot?

First, when I play a jump shot, I turn my body sideways. This allows my cue to come through without my body inhibiting my follow through. I lean my weight forward on to my front foot with my back foot resting on the toes. Then I bend my front left arm, which again gives my back arm more room to stroke and pushes my weight forward towards the table. The most important part is to have a very loose grip on the cue. The delivery of the cue is more like a flick, with the fingers barely holding the cue. The elevation of the cue stick will determine how high and how long the jump will be. The higher the elevation, the higher the jump, and the lower the elevation the longer the ball will jump. I have a Cuetec jump/break cue that I break down into a 3/4-length cue for jumping. Remember, it is illegal to strike the cue ball below center.

How do you master the correct speed in pool?
Having a consistent stroke develops speed control. Warm-up strokes for every shot are very important, as you are trying to feel the shot prior to execution. The type of shot you are going to shoot will dictate how far you will draw your cue back on the back swing. For example, if I am going to play a delicate touch shot, I will not have extremely long warm-up strokes. I may draw the cue back one or two inches. On the other hand, if I am going to play a power shot, I will try to have longer warm-up strokes. My final back swing will be the same length as my warm-up strokes. If I used a short back swing on the last stroke, I would be forcing the cue ball with too much effort, and my acceleration would be incorrect.

Is snooker mentally harder to play than pool?
The two games are totally different. Pool is a very offensive game, and you have to be ready all of the time to get to the table. The momentum tends to swing back and forth in pool between the players much more than it does in snooker. With snooker, you may be sitting in your seat for 20 minutes while your opponent runs a century break on you. In snooker, you get rewarded for every ball you make, whereas in pool, if you are playing 9-ball and you run eight balls and miss the ninth, there is no reward. I would say they are both tough games for different reasons. Snooker matches can last for hours at a time, while in pool, matches may last an hour or just over. You have to be mentally alert for either game, which means it will benefit you to be a fit person.

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