Follow to a Close Rail


This is a pretty easy shot to get good at with a little practice and it's extremely useful in many situations. The object is to use a little top on an easy shot and have the cue ball land on the rail. In this case, you want to land on the long rail so that you have a natural angle on the 11-ball to get around the cluster of solids and have a good shot on the game winning eight ball.

Once you are comfortable with this shot, you'll want to also practice it in the corners and at varying distances. When you can reliably make this shot and land on the rail as shown, change it up and practice with the cue ball and/or object ball further away. As a bonus, this helps develop your speed control which will improve your entire game.

The last thing to mention is that for this skill to be effective you need to be looking at least two shots past the one you're shooting. Thinking about the whole run is another crucial skill to develop in order to get better at pool in general, so try to always think ahead even when it appears easy. Imagine you're approaching the table for the 13-ball in the shot pictured. If you only look at how easy it is to get on the next stripe, you may end up too straight or fall a little short and make it difficult to get on the eight. Your subconscious may even favor putting you on the straight-in shot which would make your run a lot tougher. Always think ahead!