Masse shots are those incredible pool shots that seem to defy the laws of physics. In a masse shot, the cue ball is hit with so much spin that the ball deviates from a straight line and follows a curved path. Professional trick shot artists or artistic pool players are particularly good at these shots, but is it possible to make these shots without a special cue?
A masse cue differs from a regular pool cue in many ways. While a typical pool cue weighs around 18 to 21 ounces, a cue for masses can be anywhere from 22 to 30 ounces. Also, the cue is much shorter at around 44 to 48 inches. Lastly, it is much stiffer with a large tip. These numbers are only approximations, however, because many masse cues are custom made. If you develop a relationship with a cuemaker, he or she can help you build the cue that fits your technique.
All masse shots have two basic movements of the cue ball, slide and spin. The slide is the original travel path of the cue ball, a straight line. It’s the immense spin that causes the ball to curve. In a masse shot such as The Passing Lane, where the cue ball curves around the object ball and beats it into the pocket down the rail, the curve happens over a larger distance with very little initial slide. This shot can be done without a masse cue because the slide is short and the curve is long.
On the other hand, The Big Kahuna shot is made much easier with a heavier masse cue. This shot slides a tremendous distance from one corner diagonally to the other before curving down the short rail to the other pocket. In order to get the cue ball to slide so far, the cue needs to strike the ball with a lot of speed from a near vertical position. Using a masse cue makes it easier to apply enough force (F=ma) to slide the ball AND put enough spin on it to bend it towards another pocket.
The simple answer to whether you need a masse cue in order to execute masse shots is no, you don’t. However, there are certain fancy masse shots that would be quite difficult to master without a specialized cue due to the first law of physics, F=ma. If you need more force, you should use a more massive cue. So, if you’re a pool player with a casual interest in masses, you don’t need to buy another cue. If you’re planning on getting more serious about artistic pool, it’s highly recommended to consider buying a masse cue.