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Darren Appleton

Instruction Articles:
• July 2024
V for Victory

• June 2024
Circle the wagons

• 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

• 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

• March 2017
Bankerís Holiday

• 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

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.