At, we are all about helping out pool players. Whether it is finding the right equipment or providing instruction on how to improve your game, we’ve got your back! Billiards is an extremely technical sport that requires a combination of physical and mental skills to play properly. If there is any part of your game that you are having trouble with, the best way to correct it is to get advice from an expert. That’s why we recruited PBIA Master Instructor/Billiards Alchemist Tom Simpson, one of the best and most respected minds in billiards, to answer your questions with the Ask The Master Q+A articles.


Ask The Master – Tom Simpson

Tom Simpson is one of only 9 PBIA Master Instructors worldwide as well as a top rated Instructor/Coach with the ACS (American Cue Sport).  Tom founded and runs the accredited National Billiards Academy out of Columbus, OH and also travels to do weekend intensive classes at premier pool halls around the country. As an inventor he brought the pool world some of the best training tools on the market including the Elephant Practice Balls, Ghost Ball Aim Trainer and the Stroke Groover.  With over 40 years of playing pool and nearly 20 years as an instructor, Tom has developed the unique ability to clearly explain his technical understanding of the game to help amateur and professional pool player alike.


Tom Teaching Aiming Techniques To a Class

Ask the Master allows you to email your questions and get free, professional advice from one of the best in the business. Tom is an amazing resource that you can consult to get help with your personal billiard mysteries so be sure to send him your questions at:



19 Responses to Ask the Master – Submit Questions to a Professional Billiards Instructor

  1. Heather says:

    What is the best way to better my cue ball control?? It is the downfall of my game!

  2. Thanks for the question Heather! We will send it over to Tom and will get back to you with his answer. If we use your question/answer in our weekly email featuring Ask the Master you will get a $25 gift certificate.

  3. Bryan says:

    Does everyone have to reposition their head for line of sight corrections for long shots? I notice when I am taking table length type shots I have to turn my head slightly or else I miss. Everything 5ft or less goes right where I am aiming. The shots past 5-6 ft require the readjustment. I don’t wear glasses but could certainly use them for reading.


  4. We got your question Bryan and will send it over to Tom!

  5. Chris says:

    What is the best way to stop twisting my wrist when I stroke the cue?

  6. Hey Chris, I had that issue at one point and used the Pro Shot Glove and it worked great for me. After playing with it for a few days I wasn’t twisting my wrist anymore so now I only use it every now and then. It trains your muscle memory and corrected that problem for me. I’ll send your question over to Tom to see if he has any other advice and we will get back to you. Here is a link to that product if you want to check it out:

  7. Meagan says:

    How much english is too much? I feel as though I’m missing the nuances of small amounts of english to accomplish my leave. Do you have any tips or general rules to help keep me from using more english than needed?

  8. Ken says:

    How would you build the skill to perform a stop shot that rolls an inch forward, or an inch backward, depending upon how you want the leave? It’s the type of shot you need to practice repeatedly, perhaps thousands of times, but can depend upon the cloth of the table you’re playing on. Is there more of a trick to it?

  9. Ken says:

    Kick shots when you’re jailed, without a clear line of sight on the next ball in 9-ball, can be lower percentage shots to hit. One pro suggested just making contact with the ball in those situations – there’s got to be more to it, especially watching pros play. How might you suggest a player could consistently contact and sink tough kick shots, and leave good position for the next ball?

  10. Hey Ken,

    In regards to your question about the stop shot, check out the suggestions he had about draw. The same advice would apply to a stop shot or follow. Take a look at this article:

  11. Hey Chris, We got some more input on question about twisting your wrist from Tom! You can see the response here:

  12. wayne says:

    how to read the diamonds on kick and bank shots where can i find a book on reading the table

  13. Hey Wayne,

    I submitted your question to Tom Simpson and here was his answer: “I don’t have a good book recommendation in this area. There are excellent books in the 3 cushion world.
    However, I do have a video recommendation. Dr. Dave’s Video Encyclopedia of Pool Shots – Disk 4 is banking & kicking. Awesome.”

    Personally, I could recommend the Eight Ball Bible. It covers a ton of material and has a great section on the diamond system. Also, we just have a free write up on this topic from Jennifer Barretta called “Diamonds Are a Girls Best Friend”.

  14. Dennis says:

    I just bought a Pro Aramith Pro cue ball and have been playing with it for 3 days. I have not cleaned the ball at this point. I know the tolerances for this ball is 1/10,000 of an inch or centimeter in roundness or less. On the cue ball that is the best in the world, I would think it would be perfect. However, I have found that the cue ball does not come to rest in a uniform pattern. It has approximately 700 marks all over the ball yet in one 1 1/2″ area of the cue ball it literally only has 2 marks. This leads me to believe it is either not perfectly round or the weight is not perfectly distributed. On the opposite side it has hundreds of marks. What do you think. Thinking of replacing the ball. Long time pool player.

  15. Dan Flemming says:

    Dear Sir,

    Do you answer questions about the rules of 9-ball?
    I had an experience that I think the person running the tournament cheated on, and I want to find an authority that can tell me if the play he made was illegal or not.

    Play Situation:
    2 balls on the table, 8 & 9.
    I caromed off the 8 and made the 9 (extreme super shot), but scratched in another pocket.
    I got the 9 out of the pocket and rolled it toward the spot (so he could spot the 9), but it rolled off the side about 12-14 inches.
    I headed to my seat and was talking to another person about the shot I just made and wasn’t watching the other player.
    The ball wasn’t on the spot, but with ball-in-hand, he when ahead and shot the 8 but got bad shape on the 9 (shape was the spot).
    He walked over and moved the 9 back to the spot.
    I said bull *&^%, you can’t move the ball after you elected to play without moving the 9 to the spot!
    He said “the rule, is the 9 goes on the spot”, then another top-player called out “yes he can move the 9 to the spot” (they’re good friends).
    I said “No! You can’t just move the 9 after you elected to play with the 9 NOT on the spot.
    He moved the 9 to the spot for a straight-in shot.

    I wasn’t happy about their “made-up” rule.
    Can you or someone you know help me with this ruling?

    This type of “bad rulings” happens a lot at this billiard room, and it has cost me “the set” many times before.
    Unfortunately it’s the only place to play within 50 miles, so I have to “put up with their cheating”, or stay at home.

    Dan Flemming
    Avid Pool Player

  16. Hey Dan,

    Sorry to hear about that sketchy move. Ask The Master is for advice on improving your game. We do not really have an article series for rule questions currently. It definitely sounds like a foul but you probably should have just spotted the ball correctly in the first place. Chalk it up to a lesson learned and go back and beat them fair and square next time.


  17. Walter says:

    I have issues hitting the ball correctly.DO my eye’s look at the cue ball or the ball being hit at time of stroking (impact) the shot in play.

  18. Hey Walter,

    You can go to this link to see the response from Tom Simpson answering your question about where to look during your stroke!
    Let us know if you have any other questions!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

© 2011, Inc