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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 ĎLí

• August 2016
The Art of Deflection

• July 2016
Note To Self

• June 2016
Object of Safety Play

• May 2016
Speed Zone

• 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

Tips on Tips
September 2016

It is not uncommon for me to have students come to me for help with their draw. There are many reasons that newer players struggle with draw shots. But one reason that has popped up more frequently lately has nothing to do with the playerís stroke. The issue has to do with the tip on the playerís cue.

This may sound simple and rudimentary, but it is surprising how often players simply put their cue together and start playing without inspecting the cue tip. In a number of cases, the studentís cue tip was almost flat. When a flat cue tip strikes the outer edges of the cue ball, the edge of the tip makes contact with the ball, causing a miscue.

What should the tip look like? The shape of the tip has always been compared to the curve of a nickel or a dime. Simply lay a coin on a table and hold your cue tip right on top of it to check its shape. I prefer a dime-shaped tip, because for me it takes longer for the tip to flatten out. Some players may think that the tip will play differently if it has a dime shape as opposed to a nickel shape, but Iíve played with both and I get the exact same action on the cue ball.

Do some research before you buy a tip, because some tips tend to mushroom out more quickly than others. Obviously, soft and medium tips will tend to flatten out sooner. Iíve found that new tips mushroom pretty quickly. Once youíve reshaped it and burnished the sides a few times, it will hold its shape longer.

If your cue tip needs reshaping, start by running a piece of sandpaper over the tip. Donít use anything too coarse, like 100 or 80 grit. Those will tear the tip up. Iíve always preferred 220 grit.

I always sand the tip down from the top. I place the paper on the top and start gently sanding down toward the edge. As I do that, I constantly spin the shaft slowly so that Iím sanding the entire tip evenly. As you work your way around the tip, sand on a slightly steeper angle until you get the desired shape. Youíll start seeing the shape develop.

Sanding the side of the tip is the tricky part. I usually take some masking tape and lightly wrap it around the ferrule just beneath the base of the tip so that Iím never scratching the ferrule as Iím sanding the side of the tip. I rub the sand paper vertically, again spinning the shaft as I go.

When youíve finished sanding the side of the tip, put a little water on your finger and run it along the side edge only of the tip. Then burnish the side of the tip with a piece of leather or a dollar bill. The burnishing hardens the side of the tip, preventing mushrooming.

After youíve reshaped the cue tip, always use a tip tool or scuffer to rough up the leather just a bit so that the chalk will properly adhere to the tip.