Is It Illegal To Jump A Ball In Pool? (Legal vs. Illegal Jump)

pool ball on table

Pool is an incredibly fun hobby, as well as a profitable profession. Whether you are simply learning the game at a local billiards club or want to start getting serious about the game, you will certainly need to understand the rules. So let’s find out: Is it illegal to jump a ball in pool?

Jumping a ball in pool is legal in an American-style game as long as you hit the ball from a high angle causing the ball to hit the felt first before jumping up to knock the ball you wanted to move. It’s important to note that jumping a ball is illegal in English-style pool. 

In this article, we are going to go through everything there is to know about jumping a ball in pool, including legal and illegal jumps, and how to perfect the technique so that you don’t foul when playing. So keep reading; you are going to be a ball jumping expert in just a few minutes! 

Legal vs. Illegal Jumps in Pool 

Now that you know that when it comes to jumping a ball in pool, there are several factors that can make it either legal or illegal, let’s find out what these factors are so you can be sure you jump legally. 

  • The rules of the specific game: In American-style games, jumps are legal as long as they are performed correctly, whereas, in English-style games, jumping is always illegal. 
  • The technique you use to jump the ball: As we will learn, you must hit the cue down onto the cue ball before jumping to make it legal.
  • If you “scoop” the ball: Scooping the ball, or hitting it from the bottom, is illegal in all games of pool. 
  • What happens after you jump the ball: If the cue ball or the ball you are trying to hit jumps off the table, the shot is considered a foul. 

If you know that the game of pool you’re playing legally allows jumps, you will certainly want to know how to use the correct technique so that the jump is 100% legal. 

How to Legally Jump a Ball in Pool

In order to legally jump a ball in American-style pool, there is a specific approach you need to use. 

The first thing you need to understand is that scooping the ball is always illegal. Scooping refers to hitting the ball from underneath or the bottom to have it jump straight up into the air. 

Many new players are not aware of this regulation and use scooping in their games either at home or at a local club. But if you play with a pool shark or in a competition of any kind, that shot will be deemed illegal. 

To ensure you legally jump a ball in pool, you need to hit the cue ball with the pool stick from a high angle, i.e., the cue ball needs to first be hit into the felt before jumping up. 

In order to accomplish this, you need to elevate the back of the pool stick, then strike the ball above the center plane with a downward motion.

It’s important to note that this tactic is more challenging than a scoop, and therefore, before using it in public or in a competitive game, you should practice it first! 

If you do jump the ball illegally without hitting it down into the felt first, it is considered a foul, and you will lose your turn. In many games, three consecutive fouls means an automatic win for the other player, so you should be careful not to try to jump unless you actually know how to do so legally. 

Why Should I Jump the Ball in Pool?

Understanding the legality of jumping a ball in pool is important, but so is understanding why this playing tactic is used. 

As you probably know, in most games of pool, you must hit your ball before hitting a ball of your opponent. If one of their balls is in the way of your shot, jumping the ball can be a great way to ensure you still have the chance to make a shot. 

However, getting the legal jump down perfectly is not easy, so unless you are confident in your ability to jump their ball, you may want to go for a different shot. 

The Bottom Line

So, is it illegal to jump a ball in pool? Well, yes and no!

Whether or not you can legally jump a ball in a game of pool depends on the style of game you’re playing and what technique you use to jump the ball.

Luckily, you have all the information you need to understand when and how you can jump a ball legally while playing pool. 


Benny is the owner of Supreme Billiards and has been shooting pool and teaching people how to shoot pool for a few years now. He enjoys showing new players techniques and drills to improve their pool game.

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