ROCKET MASSE AND HAIL MARY MASSE By Tim Chin

We’re going to cover two related masse shots this month. I chose the Hail Mary Masse for my last shot at the 2015 WPA World Artistic Pool Championships held from Aug 27-30 and hit it on my first attempt to win the masse discipline medal!

First though, we’ll start with the Rocket Masse, the top shot in the diagram. The objective is to pocket ball ‘C,’ which is about one chalk width from the cue ball, and have the cue ball spin back up the rail and pocket ball ‘A’. If you’re masochistic, you can try this one-handed!

As you get better with the Rocket Masse, you can progressively move the cue ball and object ball further apart, just like any progressive skill drill. The Hail Mary Masse is as diagrammed in the shot program we use for tournaments with the cue ball behind the 3rd diamond and the object ball even with the pocket point. We use a helper ball combination to make it slightly easier.

What you’ll see as you need more distance you use less elevation. I actually don’t think in terms of degrees any more though when shooting. I pick the spot on the cue ball I want to contact and I envision a spot on the cloth I want to follow through to and that sets my elevation and aim line. For the Hail Mary Masse, I aim at the outer edge of ball ‘D’.

For both shots, I aim at about 6:30 on the cue ball. The inside spin should keep the cue ball hugging the rail. For the Rocket Masse, my follow through point is almost directly underneath my contact point. For the Hail Mary Masse, my follow through point is under the center of the cue ball.

Think of this masse as a vertical draw stroke at first. All of the same principles apply: loose wrist, miscue circle, follow through, etc. With more practice, you can refine your own masse stroke. If the cue ball heads towards the center of the table, your cue may not be parallel with the rail. Have a friend check this from behind.

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