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BD House Pro
Tony Robles
A longtime teaching pro at Amsterdam Billiard Club in New York City, Tony has dozens of regional and national titles to his name, including the 2004 BCA Open Championships.

Instruction Articles:
• January 2017
Adapting to New Rules

• January 2017
Systems vs Feel

• December 2016
It Happens to the Best

• November 2016
Maintaining Focus

• October 2016
Riding the L

• September 2016
Tips on Tips

• August 2016
The Art of Deflection

• July 2016
Note To Self

• June 2016
Object of Safety Play

• April 2016
Frozen Ball Shots

• March 2016
Hide and Go Seek

• February 2016
Two-Rail Kicks

• January 2016
Staying Down

• December 2015
One-Rail Kicks

• November 2015
Breaking Bad

• October 2015
Call Shot, Call Safety

• September 2015
Own the Shot

• August 2015
Patterns - Part II

• July 2015
I Notice A Pattern

• June 2015
Two-Way Prt. 2

• May 2015
Two-Way Shots

• April 2015
The Fine Line

• March 2015
Straight Break

• February 2015
The 'Walkaway'

• January 2015
Pushing Your Luck

• October 2014
Walk This Way

• August 2014
Attitude Adjustments

• May 2014
Adapt to the Equipment

• Mar 2014
Turn The Beat Around

• Feb 2014
Straight Is Great

• Sept 2013
Cover the Basics

• June 2013
Getting It Right

• May 2013
Strength Training

• April 2013
Rust Proof?

• March 2013
Not So Fast

• February 2013
Two-Step Jump

• January 2013
Open Your Eyes

• December 2012
Feeling Good?

• November 2012
Hang In There

• October 2012
Back on Track

• September 2012
Straighten Up

• August 2012
On the Rail

• July 2012
Mental Checklists

• June 2012
Respect & Fear

• May 2012
Chin Music

• April 2012
On the Line

• March 2012
Balancing Act

• February 2012
Creative Drilling

• January 2012
Power Outage

• December 2011
Jumping In Line

• November 2011
Soft on Soft Breaking

• October 2011
Find Your Stroke

• September 2011
The Path Off the Rail

• August 2011
Short Position

• July 2011
Inch Along

• June 2011
Into the Unknown

• May 2011
Sharpened Focus

• April 2011
Never Flatline

• March 2011
Stop For A Review

• February 2011
One To Watch

• January 2011
The Straight Answer

• December 2010
Shoot The Lights Out

• November 2010
Never Overmatched

• October 2010
Drawing Conclusions

• September 2010
Through & Through

• August 2010
Along the Rail

• July 2010
The Small Stuff

• June 2010
Three in One

• May 2010
One Ball At a Time

• April 2010
Going Thin to Win

• March 2010
Know Your Game

• February 2010
14.1 For 8-Ballers

• January 2010
Setting It Straight

• December 2009
Hanging Out, Part II

• November 2009
Hanging Out

• October 2009
Control Your Speed

• September 2009
Busting Out of a Slump

• August 2009
Easy Errors, Part III

• July 2009
Easy Errors, Part II

• June 2009
Easy Errors, Part I

• May 2009
Body Language & Breaking

• April 2009
The Break: Body Language

• March 2009
Must-Reads from Robles

• February 2009
Position: Four Square

• January 2009
Romancing the Stance

• October 2008
Look Out for Boingy Rails

• September 2008
Build a Better Break

• August 2008
Q&A: Ask the Pro

• July 2008
'Buzz' Kill: Stay Down

• June 2008
Stop Shots Safeties III

• May 2008
Stop Shots Part II

• April 2008
STOP-SHOT Safeties

• March 2008
How to Keep Winning

• February 2008
The Dreaded Straight-In Shot

• January 2008
Trying the Soft Break

• December 2007
The Hard Way Makes It Easier

• November 2007
How to Sight the Cue

• October 2007
Win from Your Chair

Speed Zone
May 2016

One thing I've noticed lately is that a lot of players struggle with speed control when it comes to safety play. I was shown a drill by Jerry Briesath, whom I consider to be the best instructor that ever lived, that I've been teaching to my students. They love it because it really helps them understand how critical speed control is.

Spread out all 15 balls on the table. Take cue ball in hand on the first shot only. You lag the cue ball to any object ball, with the object being that after contact, the distance between the cue ball and object ball is no more than 4-6 inches. You can start out with 6 inches, but try to keep it at 4 or less. Also, you don't want to pocket a ball, so if a ball is near a pocket, you may have to hit it on an angle. The challenge is still to keep them within 6 inches of each other after contact. You are not allowed to shoot the same ball twice in a row. Done properly, you could do this drill for a long time without failure. Do the drill at least until you feel like you have the speed down pat.

The purpose of the drill is not to play safe, but to get a better understanding of which speed to use when certain situations come up.

One thing that students begin to understand quickly is that this shot requires an extremely short stroke, and that is something that few students have taken the time to master. This shot requires a stroke that is only an inch or two long. Some players will cue closer to the object ball, some will use a normal bridge. It's personal preference, but the key is to keep the stroke really short. I keep my bridging distance the same, but use a shorter stroke.

Depending on the initial distance between the cue ball and object ball, you may have to follow through a little bit. Still, the follow-through will be minimal because you don't want the object ball to move very far after contact.

It's all about learning different speeds, and how much or little acceleration you need in your stroke.

This shot works best if the cue ball and object ball are straight on. The diagram illustrates how you benefit from this knowledge and from mastering this stroke. Over time you develop the proper touch, so even if you have to go one rail to land on the object ball, you know the proper speed.