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Hi Bill,

Watching television coverage of snooker here in the UK, had me thinking about how the style of play today varies from the days of, say, Joe Davis.

It seems to me that players are able to do most things to a cueball. I hear terms such as check side, deep screw, stun, etc and wonder if these techniques were ever used in the 50s, 60s and 70s?


Hi Dave,

Back in the 50's players had their own pool secrets. Some of their "magic" was known to only a small number of players. A lot has changed since then. High speed video cameras have helped us all see and analyze the interplay between balls. There are now many educational books and videos available that didn't exist years ago. They describe in detail the physics of the game using terms that have been invented specifically for the purpose talking/writing about them.

I observed the effects of "squirt and swerve" and adjusted my shooting to accommodate them for years before they were ever named that. A "stop shot" which hits an object ball at an angle is now called a stun shot. We never used that term but certainly we knew the benefit of using that kind of hit in position play. When players started using leather tips and chalk back in the late 1800's you can bet that top players learned all kinds of things they could do in addition to just letting balls roll forward.

So I'd say, yes, the techniques you mention and others were in regular use in the 50's, etc. They just didn't have names yet and knowledge of them was not available for the cost of a book or video. You had to play great players, watch carefully, and lose money to pick up techniques. Nowadays, anybody with access to the Internet can learn much without setting foot in a pool room. So there are more really good players today.

Play well and enjoy,



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Bill Newsted


I can answer questions related to shot-making, aiming, position play, strategies, practice, mental preparation and the psychology of the game. Also, rules as they vary from venue to venue and how to become a winning player. I have experience recovering and maintaining tables and will also answer questions related to cues and billiard equipment. However, I prefer not to make brand recommendations. I do not offer information identifying old tables and equipment or estimating their values.


I have played over forty years in every state in the US (except Alaska). My experience is largely in pool rooms but I have also played extensively on bar tables and in league organizations. I have directed numerous tournaments up to the professional level and have played several world champion players. I am a former Billiard Congress of America instructor.


B.S. in Visual Communication M.A. in Education: Career and Technology Education

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