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Darren Appleton

Instruction Articles:
• 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

• 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

• 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

December 2018

Challenge yourself with the ultimate practice drill!

Itís the most wonderful time of the year: Christmas, winter and the Mosconi Cup! This time of year gets me excited, so I figured I would give you a special holiday gift: the ultimate drill!

ďThe MonsterĒ is the ultimate test of feel and patience and skill. It is the craziest drill Iíve ever done and one of the most satisfying drills Iíve ever completed. It took me more the four hours to complete this drill, and I was so excited when I finally did, that I pinned the video to the top of my Facebook page (Darren Dynamite Appleton). The video has well over 1 million views!

I realize most of you will be thinking this is way too hard. Well, that may be true, but thatís part of the fun. You donít need to complete it. It is the equivalent of running a 147 in snooker or a nine-pack in 9-ball. My highest run in snooker is 145. I keep pushing to get to that 147. This drill is the same thing. You constantly push yourself to a better result. You always have a number to try to beat. And with that extra effort comes improvement in your game, and thatís the ultimate goal, isnít it?

This is an easy drill to set up. As you can see in Diagram One, you shoot the 1 through 15 in rotation. The cue ball is not allowed to contact another ball. All 15 balls must be shot into one pocket!

The diagram shows the positions for the perfect run out. Just getting to the 9 ball is a real test. Again, keep pushing yourself to be one ball better on every attempt. It will really force you to focus. It will also force you to learn to stay on the right side of the object ball, so this is great for pattern play in rotation and most other games. The further you advance, the more feel and trust become factors because the nerves and excitement increase as you progress. The pressure of completing the drill or setting a new standard becomes really noticeable and you have to teach yourself to battle through those nerves.

If this seems a little too daunting, you can always start by allowing yourself to pocket the balls in rotation but in any pocket. Diagram Two illustrates how I completed this drill using all of the pockets on the one side of the table. This drill is very makeable for all players. Every shot requires your full attention.

As you can see, I played the 1-6 into pocket E, as shown in Diagram One. I opted to shoot the 7-11 into the side pocket (F), always leaving a slight angle on each ball.

The real test starts with the 12-14. These are the key balls. This part might send you mad, but it is a lot of fun when you know you can complete it. I played the 12 into pocket E and drew straight back to leave a little angle on the 13. This is the hardest shot in both drills because the window for position is so narrow. Position must be perfect. If you can get proper position for the 14, simply follow the shot a bit to finish the 15 in pocket A.

This drill is a true test of patience and focus and will have a big impact on improvement with the cue ball.

This drill offers a great challenge, but anything is possible if you put in the work. If you reach the 11 in Diagram One you are doing very well. If you get to the 12-13, you are really good. And if you complete this drill, you are ready for any challenge I give you in the future.