June 14

More Front Pin Shot Tips

Average Bar Player wrote:

Bruce, Rocky et al.,

First of all, thanks a lot to Bruce and Stefan for the great tips. I have realized that maintaining firm downward (rotational) pressure on the ball is important to preserve accuracy and maintain ball/man contact. Here are some other questions though:

  1. Do you press downwards on the rod, the way most rollover shooters do, when preparing to shoot? It seems if I don’t do this, the rod has a tendency to rattle around in the bearing which I suspect decreases accuracy. By this I mean pressing downwards on the rod so there is pressure on the six o’clock position of the bearing…I tend to not press down as hard. I try to balance the pressure on the ball (which allows the ball to do what you want it to) with relaxation (which keeps you from gagging the shot). The phrase I use when teaching rookies is “tight but not tense”.
  2. When learning this shot, like me, is it best to start with a very simple series, i.e. pinning it on the center dot, tiny walk/rock back and forth, then shoot? As boring as a rollover I know, but keeps it simple as far as shot mechanics go. Is it better even to just not walk the ball at all but rock/fake back and forth, then shoot? This is just for learning, I feel that if this is all you are going to do with the shot there is very little benefit to using the front pin vis the rollover.

I’m making a little progress. After practicing at home, I have started to play bar games with the shot and can win some. I played my first DYP in months last week and used all front pin (singles). Didn’t win any matches but did take one of the intermediate level players to match ball (couldn’t put it away, sigh). It’s a real confidence builder to score on the push, pull and middle holes in a tournament setting.


I started shooting the shot as an alternative to the pull shot. I figured that I could set it up near the far wall and play options similar to the pull shot–straight, middle, long.

I wouldn’t suggest this now. I would start with the ball at the center dot and eventually work to the point where I was “dribbling” the ball laterally trying to get the opponent defender to open up a hole. A few fakes are also nice for getting to know where your opponent tends to move when you start moving.

Slowly, but surely, by moving the ball laterally you will begin to see patterns and know when you have the opponent in a position you can take advantage of.

Probably the best option on the fron pin series is the double-pump. That is you fake a shot once then, after the fake, you shoot the shot. Timing is important here, but I have shot this option repeatedly against opponents and scored nearly 100%. They think that you are splitting them or something when in reality they are just reflexively coming back as you are shooting. It is quite entertaining when they say “Damn, you’re lucky, you split me again!” when you can see clearly that you are going around them.

I don’t argue with them, I just smile and shoot it again.

–Rocky Willson

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