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Darren Appleton

Instruction Articles:
• May 2024
Rehearse Your Lines

• April 2024
Lucky Seven

• March 2024
More for the Road

• February 2024
Four for the Road

• January 2024
Corner the Market

• December 2023
Look Ma, No Cushions

• November 2023
Weíre in the Money

• October 2023
Four-level Drill

• September 2023
More Money Ball

• August 2023
No rails, part II

• July 2023
Look Ma, No Rails!

• June 2023
Triangle To Triangle

• May 2023
Zone Blitz

• April 2023
Money Ball Drill II

• March 2023
Money Ball Drill

• January 2023
The Dreaded Shootout

• December 2022
Alternate Universe

• November 2022
Close Quarters

• October 2022
Corner to Corner

• September 2022
Diamond in the Rough

• August 2022
Draw Bridge

• June 2022
I Detect A Pattern

• June 2022
Stay Close to Work

• May 2022
Amateur Approved

• April 2022
Two for One

• March 2022
The Straight Secret

• February 2022
The Correct Shot

• January 2022
End Game, Part II

• December 2021
Buying Off The Shelf

• November 2021
Look, Ma! No Rails!

• October 2021
The Oval Drill

• September 2021
Getting In Shape

• August 2021

• July 2021
V For Victory

• June 2021
More Pattern Drills

• May 2021
Patterns and speed

• April 2021
See a pattern?

• March 2021
Blind Man

• February 2021
Five Up, Five Down

• January 2021
Donít Lag Behind

• December 2020
Head games

• November 2020
Life on the Edge

• October 2020
The Family Tree

• September 2020
A Dip of the Tip

• August 2020
The Big Diamond

• July 2020
Nine-Ball One-Hole

• June 2020
Youíll Kick Yourself

• May 2020
Tight Quarters

• April 2020
Cue Ball Control

• March 2020
Straight Cueing

• February 2020
Saddle up!

• January 2020
9-ball Crossover

• December 2019
Ride Those Rails

• November 2019
Up and Down

• October 2019
Money Balls

• September 2019
Captain Zig-zag

• August 2019
15-Ball, No Rails

• July 2019
One Extra Ball

• June 2019
Two-Pocket Drill

• May 2019
Up and Down

• April 2019
Ultimate Rotation

• March 2019
In A Good Spot

• February 2019
Center Cut

• January 2019
Breaking Bad Habits

• December 2018

• November 2018
X marks the spot

• October 2018
Striking It Rich

• September 2018
So Many Options

• August 2018
Put Hangers On Rail

• July 2018
Mirror, Mirror II

• June 2018
Mirror, Mirror

• May 2018
ďVĒ for Victory

• April 2018
Up and Down

• March 2018
Kick Into High Gear

• February 2018
Up and Down

• January 2018
Up To The Challenge

• November 2017
Taking A Break

• October 2017
End Game Safeties

• September 2017
Get Comfortable

• July 2017
Shape Up For Summer!

• June 2017
The Selection Process

• May 2017
Two For One

• April 2017
A Ghost of a Chance

• February 2017
Great Eight

• January 2017
Getting Into Shape

• December 2016
Hocus, Focus

• November 2016
Kicking Into High Gear

• October 2016
More Drill Bits

• September 2016
Hand Model

• August 2016
Breaking Tradition

• July 2016
Drawing On Experience

• May 2016
Proper Practice

• April 2016
Drilling For Improvement

• March 2016
Mind Games

Bankerís Holiday
March 2017

Banking doesnít have to be a guessing game.

It is interesting to play in the banks and one-pocket divisions at Derby City because you can really see the difference between the players who specialize in banks and the players who are great players but who donít play the game of bank pool. On the first day of the tournament, the non-specialty players are all using some system. But by the second or third day, the systems go out the window. After that, everyone is playing by feel, which goes to show you that, as is the case with most other repetitive shots, once your muscle memory kicks in you just know how and where to hit the ball.

Obviously, banking is important in rotation games as well, so I practice bank shots a fair amount. I use points in the room to line up where to hit shots.

For example, if Iím going to bank the 3 ball into pocket E (Diagram One), I look at the natural angle from pocket A to pocket E. The midway point is through pocket C. So I follow that angle to a point on the wall (thick black rule). Thatís my mark if I want to bank any ball into pocket E. Itís the mirror image. As long as Iím banking to that side of the table, that is my point. Itís something I see very quickly. And then you can just run your cue parallel to that line for other banks. The mirror system is an easy system for players to learn at the start. Obviously, in a big tournament venue like Derby City, you donít find those points as easily, so I try to practice a lot at home before this tournament so that Iím already pretty comfortable when I get here.

As for speed, Nick Varner always says there are only two ways to hit a bank ó slow speed or firm speed. Once that sank in, my banking really improved. Two years in a row I finished in the top 10. Before that, I had no chance.

When you watch a player who doesnít bank well, he is usually playing each shot with different speeds and spinning the cue ball. When you watch great bankers like Shannon Daulton or John Brumback or Billy Thorpe, itís almost always a firm speed and no English. Or, just the opposite is someone like Ike Runnels, who hits all his shots at pocket speed. The key is that they all stick to one thing. It helps develop consistency and a better feel. If youíre switching all the time, itís a lot harder to gain any consistency.

The same system holds true for three-rail banks (Diagram Two). Again, I know that if the cue ball was at pocket A and I wanted to bank it to pocket B, the line runs through pocket C. Now, I know from systems that I would need to shoot the cue ball a half diamond to the right of pocket C to hit the first diamond on the top rail near pocket E. And from that angle the cue ball would travel toward pocket B. I know itís going to be close to the pocket. At that point itís more about the speed. After a few tries, youíll know the proper angle.