Carom Shots

Caroms shots are useful in pool and they’re deadly if used at the right time in the right situation. A carom is any shot where the object ball or cue ball ricochets into another ball to move or pocket that ball. These shots are helpful when pockets are blocked or in situations you can only see a piece of your object ball and need to use the cue ball to pocket another ball. These shots aren’t particularly common in most matches, but, occasionally, opportunities arise where a carom is the best shot choice.

Much like combination shots there are some criteria that you should run through to decide if a carom is the best option:

Evaluate if a carom is the best option

  1. Can the object ball not be made without a carom?
  2. Is the carom makeable?
  3. Is the level of risk to take on the carom tolerable?
  4. Does making a carom make getting position easier?

After you’ve evaluated the carom and decided it’s the best option, it’s time to think about how to make it.

How to aim a carom shot

  • 1. Use the 90 degree or 30 degree rules to figure out if the shot is makeable
  • The rules for the cue ball are the same for any object ball so you can use the 90 degree rule to your advantage. If an object ball can be hit into another object ball at a 90 degree angle from the pocket then it should go in.
  • 2. Aim the first object ball into the contact point that is at a 90 degree angle where you want the ball to go
  • This takes some practice to visualize correctly. Try to practice finding the 90 degree point on the object ball and adjusting your aim if you come wide of the pocket by hitting the second object ball fuller or thinner.
  • 3. Distance can change your aim for caroms
  • It should be noted that the 90 degree rule only works for short distances between both object balls. At longer distances the 1st object ball will gain follow as it rolls on the felt. This means that the angle it comes off object ball 9 will be less than 90 degrees and you should use the 30 degree rule here if both balls are far away.

Sometimes two balls are frozen together and are extremely close to being at the correct angle for a carom but not quite. Some players see that kind of shot and look for other options, but they might not realize this is still a fantastic opportunity for a carom shot. Just as left and right spin can be transferred onto the object ball when its hit so can draw and follow. So, when an object ball is hit by a cue ball with draw the object ball gets a little bit of follow. The opposite is true if you use follow on the cue instead. This means that you can change the trajectory of a carom when you need to.

If you need the angle of the object ball off the carom to be more than 90 degrees you should use draw because it will put a small amount of follow on the object ball which will put it in the pocket.

And if you need the object ball off the carom to be less than 90 degrees then follow is needed since a small amount of back spin will be on the object ball.

Now you have all the tools you need to make caroms so go out and practice them to raise your game.

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