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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

• November 2016
Maintaining Focus

• October 2016
Riding the ĎLí

• September 2016
Tips on Tips

• 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

It Happens to the Best
December 2016

You can be the best player in the world, the best player in your town or even simply the best player on your league team. Once you reach a high level of proficiency, you are going to have a letdown. The telltale signs are slips in your work ethic and taking things for granted at the table.

Thatís the dangerous things about playing the best pool of your life; you put in so much work to get to that point, and once you reach a high level, you make the assumption that you are now going to continue at that level, regardless of changes in your work ethic and focus at the table. Players get into a comfort zone. It happens all the time. Next thing you know, you canít make two balls in a row and you donít understand why.

Luckily, there are simple answers and remedies. The most common problems are a drop off in practice and competition. Think it is any coincidence that Shane Van Boening stays on top? He has never eased up on the amount of serious practice he puts into his game, and he plays in as many tournaments as he physically can year in and year out. He knows that if he took several months away from the game, his playing level would drop noticeably.

Of course, that is why it is harder to stay at the top than it is to get there. Your drive during your rise to the top is unstoppable. But you are driving toward a goal. Once you reach that goal it is difficult to maintain the dedication and commitment you made on the way up.

Not surprisingly, fundamentals are key to maintaining a high level of play over a longer period of time. Even great players can get nonchalant at the table, and when the balls stop dropping, their subconscious mind goes into panic mode. Their focus shifts from technique to the outcome of the shot. That is when players start jumping up on shots, twist their wrists, try to steer the ball and grip their cue too tight.

I have a drill that helps get my mind and body back in synch. I throw 15 balls on the table and focus on two things: I make certain I follow through on every single shot; and I stay down on the shot until all balls have come to a complete stop, no matter what the outcome of the shot is.

After practicing with a couple of racks like that, I get back in a groove pretty quickly.

If you come to me and tell me you are getting out of stroke, Iíll check your fundamentals. Iíll see if your stroke is timid at all. Iíll ask about your thought process. When you are shooting, forget about the outcome and focus solely on your technique; grip your cue lightly, follow through on a straight line and stay down until the balls stop rolling.