Carom games are one of the most effective ways of developing precise cue ball control and understanding the intricacies of positional play.  You should take any chance you get to practice carom games as they will pay dividends when you return to your normal game. In this game, we combine ball pocketing and caroms to create an extremely effective way of developing your positional and potting skills at the same time. This is especially useful for developing your break out skills, it has proved very useful for me in Chinese 8-ball.

Set the balls up as shown. Ball in hand behind the line, pot the 3 and carom into one of the other balls. Continue shooting. A successful shot involves potting a ball and caroming into another and scores 1 point. When a ball is potted re-spot it. Keep track of your high run.

The opening shot.
A common shot, you can get the cue ball anywhere on the table from this position.
A common 3 rail route.
A great shot for opening up the back in straight pool, or after a weak break in 8 ball.


This game is tough, scoring even a single point can be hard if the balls are far apart. Try focusing on just the carom, to begin with, and don’t worry too much about making the shot.

Play the game as described. You can count a successful shot as making either a pot or a carom, but you should always be attempting both.

Limit yourself to certain positional routes. For instance, try to make every carom off 1 rail.

Try to make caroms as softly as possible, just barely touch the second ball. This will give you the greatest cross over to actual position play in a game.


Use little to no side when starting out. You’ll make more pots and see just how much the vertical axis can do.

On the opening shot, pot the 3 with a little high outside to come two rails into the 2.

When something unexpected happens, set the shot up and try again, experiment with different positional routes until you make the shot.

Let loose on the shot making. This gives you the opportunity to fire at some tough pots, you’ll be shocked at how many go in when you focus on where the cue ball is going!

Use the tangent line. Imagine the tangent line on every single shot and try to deviate from it as little as possible to make the carom.

Pool Drills