Billiards Essay, Research Paper
T.J. Brochu English period 3 2-16-97
The history of billiards begins in the fourteenth century. The game was
invented in Europe, but there was a conflict as to what country. The French
believed that the English invented the game, but at the same time, the English
thought the French did. In the end, a French billiards specialist found
evidence that the game originated in France about the fourteenth century. The
word “billiard” is derived from two French words, “billiart” and “bille”. These
two words mean “stick” and “ball”. Put them together, and you get stick-ball or
pool as it’s called these days. At first the game was played outside, but
during the winter it got too cold so the game was moved inside onto large tables.
After a couple of years, green cloth was installed on the bed of the table to
make an illusion of the grass outside. The sticks used at the time were large,
and men used slightlycurved sticks while the women used straight, narrow ones.
The sticks weren’t used as they are today to hit the ball but rather to push the
balls around the table, similar to the game of shuffle board. As the game got
more popular, as it is today, the sticks got narrower and easier to use
A few games today are similar to billiards, such as shuffleboard, and
the same equipment – stick and balls. One of the most important tools to
playing any game of this type is the table. In the fourteenth century, the
length of the tables was much longer than today becuase they were used instead
of playing outside. Today the sized of the tables varies all over the worl.
The dimensions range anywhere from nine by four and a half feet to ten by five
feet (?Billiards,? Colliers).
Another tool used to play the game is the cue stick. The cue srick
weighs in a range of twelve to twenty-two ounces, and the straighter the cue,
the better. At the end of the cue is a leather tip, which is used to hit the
ball with great accuracy. If the stick were to hit the ball with the leather
tip chalked, then a better shot would be made rather than one without the
chalked end. As most people now know, the chalk is used to give a better shot.
The chalk is a blue color and comes in a little square inch type cube.
Another item needed to play a game of billiards is the balls, fifteen
object balls and one cue ball. The cue ball is the only ball that is to be hit
with the stick. To play a game of nine ball, only ten balls are needed to play:
nine object balls, numbered from one to nine, and then the cue ball.
When all the necessary equipment is gathered, the game can start but
what shots should be used in what situations? The first shot of the game is
called the break shot. After that, a variety of shots can be used. Some of
them might be the draw shot or the follow shot. These are the more common shots
that people use without knowing it. They are so easy to master that even the
beginner shoots them. The break shot should be shot from the opposite side of
the table that the racking, or positioning all the balls, except the cue ball,
in a triangle, is done on (Ireland, Denise).
After the break is done, it really doesn’t matter what shot is used next.
The object of pool or billiards is to make balls in the pockets so the shots
taken should be thought through well. After the break if a sollid ball is hit
in then those are the balls that need to be hit in the rest of the game. The
same if a stripped ball is knocked in, those are hit in instead of the sollids.
So if a ball just happens to go in on the break, the player keeps shooting until
he/she misses. In an eight ball game, hit all the balls that fall into the
color of the one hit in at the break, in the pockets, and then the eight ball.
The draw shot is used to reverse the direction of the cue ball. The way the cue
ball jumps is by having the top down of the stick hit it on an angle. This will
make the ball hit the table at such a rate that it will cause it to jump.
So in conclusion of my research, I found a lot of new information about
billiards that I didn’t know before. Most interesting of all is that I found
web pages, books, and magazines that I didn’t know were around before I did my
research paper. This has been an eye opening experience. I am very glad that I
chose ?billiards? as my topic and I look forward to the next time that I have to
write a research paper!