Saturday, May 25, 2013

Great Trick Shots

I've seen plenty of trick shot videos on the internet, from professional pool players to aspiring amateurs to friends just having fun. The range of shots on display is immense, but there are only a few that end up catching my eye as interesting and elegant. I want to explain what makes a good trick shot from my point of view. Trick shots, or artistic pool, is certainly a form of art and its beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so what I think is an interesting trick shot may not be so fascinating for others.

1. Creativity
There are hundreds of standard trick shots. Books are filled with them and often you can see the same ones all over the internet. This makes the original creations stand out. Even finding minor ways to tweak the classics can be refreshing. What's really impressive is when someone finds a new setup shot, arranging three or more balls in a cluster and making them all in one shot. I was quite proud of inventing Y Not. Creativity can also be evident on the other end of the spectrum too, if you can make the cue ball dance in ways no one has done before.

2. Simplicity
Some of the best trick shots are the simplest ones. Anyone can create a random trick shot using an esoteric prop that only they have, but it takes real genius to come up with something so simple that no one else has thought about it beforehand. Take something like Gene Catron's domino trick shot, it's probably the most complicated shot ever set up. And while it's impressive for what it is, it's not worth anyone's time to try to repeat it.

3. Repeatability
The more you practice a shot, the more you should make it. While a shot you can make one in a million tries certainly has a 'wow' factor, if you can't repeat it, I almost think it's not worth doing. And if no one else can do it either, it's soon to be forgotten.

4. Skill
I was debating whether or not to even include this on the list. There are certainly amazing trick shots that don't require any more skill than being able to shoot straight. But there are also shots that involve stretching your skills to the absolute limits, much farther than you would ever need if you only played typical pool games. Seeing what's possible with how much spin you can put on the cue ball or what you can do with a monster stroke pushes this sport to its boundaries.

These are some of the aspects that I recognize in great trick shots, but there are certainly others. I like to put shots on my site that I can do more than once and that I can teach others to do as well. If you have a shot you think I might like, leave a link in the comments!

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