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Darren Appleton

Instruction Articles:
Up and Down
February 2018

Another great drill for one-rail position.

Rotation games often require you to move the cue ball from one end of the table to the other for position, sometimes on successive shots. The keys to getting up and down the table are speed and staying on the right side of the object ball.

Of course, not even the top pros are perfect, so landing on the wrong side of the next object ball is not uncommon. What is uncommon with the pros is their ability to get back in line.

Here is one of my favorite drills. It incorporates shots you are certain to face in every game ó finesse, use of the rails, cue ball control, center ball shots, shots with English, hit follow and extreme draw. This drill will also test you mentally, will test your feel and will test your trust in the table you are playing on. And if you do get out of line, you can let your stroke out.

Remember, pocketing balls is the easy part. Position play is essential and is the difference in this drill being easy or impossible.

This is a 10-ball drill. One caveat: You are not allowed to contact another ball during the drill. Shots on the 1 ball through the 4 ball are one-rail shots (Diagram One). Table speed is essential in leaving the correct angle on your next shot. Again, you can use more rails if you donít get perfect, but that will make the drill significantly more difficult.

Getting from the 5 to the 8 (Diagram Two) is tougher because you have to get lower on the table. It requires a different stroke than the first four shots. One-rail shots with running English are important in any billiard game.

Donít panic if you get a little out of line. For instance, if you land a little high on the 5 ball (cue ball position C-2 in Diagram Two), you can punch the cue ball to get back in line (dotted line). There are a number of ways to play shape from the 9 ball to the 10 ball. The easiest and safest way is three rails with inside English to avoid the scratch (Diagram Three). If the angle is too severe, you can go two rails or even one rail. The key is to avoid getting the cue ball too close to the pocket.

This is another great drill that required 100 percent focus, and it is guaranteed to improve your pattern play and your ability to be creative.