Down the line shape means that your cue ball is moving towards the next shot close to or down the shot line. Playing down the line position gives you a greater margin of error without sacrificing accuracy.
When playing down the line shape the direction of the cue ball travel is still very important but finishing long or short does not affect the angle of the next shot. It makes leaving the shot long but on the correct angle easier.
Down the Line Shape – Increase Your Percentages.
For instance, if your position play takes the white ball “down the line” of the shot just like the diagram above even if you overrun your shot by a couple of feet you will still be in line. This can usually be achieved by using a two rail route, usually this will send the cue ball down the line.
This route has a fairly large target area and a big margin of error because if you overrun or underrun the target area you will still be on line. In practice start to look for alternative routes for position in particular try to avoid playing for pinpoint position unless it cannot be avoided.
Across the Line Shape Reduces the Target Area For Shape.
What is Across the Line Shape?
Across the line shape, on the other hand, sends the cue ball across the positional target area which is quite small in comparison. The small margin of error is a low percentage positional choice.
It is harder to judge the power needed with this route and the ball is crossing the shape target area.
How To Play Down The Line Shape?
The great Buddy Hall, who is a 9 Ball Hall of Fame player, said that he prefers to play 2 rail shape because playing two rails brings his white ball down the line. This appears to be the case but it doesn’t always work.
Sending the cue ball off two rails might seem to be riskier, but you have to weigh the benefits of better shape against a slightly tougher shot.
Entering the Target Zone Correctly.
With down the line shape, the ball enters the target zone and where ever it stops you will be in line. You may be closer to the ball than you wanted to be but you are still in line. You could end up further from the ball than you wanted but you will still be in line with the next shot.
When playing 9 ball pool I prefer to leave myself further away from the object ball but on the correct line for the next ball. The right angle makes the shot easier and reduces the need to force the cue ball along unnatural routes.
Down the Line Shape And Pressure Shots.
Choose your routes wisely when you are moving from the 8 ball to the nine-ball. Down the line shape is preferable but don’t sacrifice easy shape without good reason. When the pressure is on most players like to let their stroke out rather than play delicate shots.