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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

• 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

• 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

ďVĒ for Victory
May 2018

More pattern play that combines cue ball speed and creativity.

Here is an excellent follow-up to the pattern drill I offered last issue (ďUp and Down,Ē April 2018). Those of you that have been following these drills and making progress will find this Vís Rack Drill right in your wheelhouse. This is another drill that focuses on cue ball speed and learning to use the angles the right way, so it offers an excellent opportunity for even greater progress.

As most of the pattern drills emphasize, staying on the right side of the next object ball is a major focus in this drill. You canít constantly be chasing position, so really focus on staying on the proper side of the ball. It will help you immensely with all pool disciplines.

The setup on this drill is fairly simple. Create a five-ball wedge on both the head spot and the foot spot, keeping a little less than a ballís width between each ball. The odd-numbered balls will go on one end, with the even-numbered balls set up on the other, as shown in Diagram One. The object is to pocket the 1 through 10 in rotation. The cue ball is not allowed to contact another ball. You can use as many rails as you wish. In some cases, you may not even need to use a rail.

Starting with cue ball in hand, choose a path that will allow you to get around the table for position on the 2 that, in turn, will lead you back up table for the 3 ball, and so on. In the instance shown here, Iím going two rails for position on most shots. The critical thing is speed control with the cue ball, which will assure that you stay on the right side of the object ball.

As was the case with last monthís drill, this drill takes the cue ball up and down the table, so it offers an excellent opportunity to let your stroke out a little. That, in turn, will help you get a great feel for the speed of the table and the table conditions (rails, etc.).

Of course, one of the things that separate top players from others is their ability to recover when they do go out of line or on the wrong side of the object ball. Being a little creative will help you recover. You already know the spot that you would like the cue ball for the next shot, so check the angles and see if you can find a recovery path.

Diagram Two shows an example of how I misjudged the speed on a shot and the cue ball ran a little long. Iím definitely on the wrong side of the 2 for easy two-rail position on the 3. Instead, the natural angle off the 2 will get me there. This is a nice little three-rail recovery shot that will get me right back on track.

Many of these pattern drills seem similar. But they all force you to use slightly different speeds and creativity. They give you a great feel for the table, the speed of the cloth and the rails. And there are different ways to get to the proper position. Again, some of these shots might not even require you to use a cushion. Continually look ahead from one object ball to the next so that you are aware of which side of the next object ball is preferable. Once youíve mastered these drills, you will be prepared to confidently and effectively work your way around any table in any pool discipline.