Object balls often end up close to a pocket, making them much easier to pocket. These shots are called universal positioning shots and provide a wide range of cue ball positions due to the many angles that allow the ball to be pocketed.
Universal positioning shots are deceptive, so don't let the ease of pocketing the ball fool you into not concentrating! It is easy to lose control of the cue ball on these types of shots, but with some practice, you can learn how to position the cue ball anywhere on the table.
Pay particular attention to your line of aim and the fraction of the object ball you wish to hit. This will determine the amount of speed transfer to the object ball, and is one of the biggest factors for controlling the speed and distance of the cue ball.
Think the shot below is easy? Set it up as diagrammed and shoot it 10 times. Count the number of times you land on the target. Did you meet your expectations?
There is no magic spin to this shot, it is all about controlling the cut angle on the object ball and using the correct stroke speed. Too thin of a cut, and the cue ball will not deflect enough to land on the target. If you cut the object ball too thick, you might kill the cue ball speed by causing it to hold the rail. This effect is caused by the cue ball maintaining top spin after it rebounds off the cushion.
When you are faced with a universal positioning shot, always remember to plan where you want the cue ball to go and visualize this path. Pay close attention to your line of aim and stroke speed and deliver the best stroke you can.
If you are having difficulties with a particular shot, practice just that shot for 30 minutes and master it! The next time you see that shot, it will be much easier.