The Draw Shot
The Draw Shot (Having the Cue ball spin back after contact with an object ball) is one of the most fun and most impressive shots in the game of pool. It also is an essential part of every good pool player's game. The ability to draw and control the draw shot gives you a chance to get shape, avoid trouble, and break up clusters of balls.
In order to understand what makes a draw stroke successful we need to talk about what happens to the cue ball when the draw stroke is executed properly.
In normal shots where you strike the cue ball in the center, the initial action of the cue ball is a very short slide on the felt that than turns over into a normal forward roll of the cue ball. If you were to shoot a stop cue ball shot, the cue ball is sliding at that moment of contact with the object ball. When shooting a draw shot the cue ball is spinning backwards at the point of contact with the object ball. Executing this shot requires a firm and confident stroke below the center of the cue ball. See The Stroke
Controlling a draw shot requires a lot of practice. There are at least 4 variables involved in every draw shot. How far do I want the cue ball to draw back after contact with the object ball? How far away from the object ball is the cue ball? How low on the cue ball do I want my tip to make contact? Is the felt a smooth slick surface like Simonis cloth or a slow knap felt common on bar tables? The difference in the amount of friction on playing surfaces is significant, and will affect your shot.
When the object ball is farther away you will need to strike lower and harder on the cue ball to maintain the backspin far enough or the friction of the felt will stop the backspin. Generally the lowest you want to contact the cue ball is one full width of the tip below center. A good practice drill is to place a cue ball and object ball 1 foot, then 2 feet and 3 feet apart, each time trying to draw the ball back to its original spot on the table.
One of the keys to the draw stroke is follow through. You need to get used to the cue moving beyond the original cue ball position. On follow through your back arm naturally brings your wrist up, which then directs the tip of your cue down and through the ball. On most draw shots the tip on my cue will touch the table surface when follow through is done correctly. With a good amount of practice you can become proficient with the draw shot. Mastering the draw shot will also contribute to your overall stroking ability and understanding of friction and how it affects all shots in pool. When we start playing the game of pool it looks like all geometry. When we become proficient, it starts to look like almost all physics. Enjoy!