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Darren Appleton

Instruction Articles:
• 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

• 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

• 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
May 2019

Tough cuts and angles are the key to this practice gem.

After being away from the table for an extended period, my preparation practice for the U.S. Open 9-Ball Championships started with drills to get my stroke straight and my cue ball speed dialed in. After a while, it was time to start incorporating drills that required precision on shots and also gave me a better feel for action off the rails. Since we will be playing on Diamond tables at the U.S. Open, Iíve been practicing on a Diamond to get accustomed to the rails. Itís important to know the differences between tables when you are gauging the speed and angles, particularly in rotation games.

This ďUp and DownĒ rotation practice drill is pretty tough, but it is also enjoyable and rewarding. Itís great practice for cut shots and for seeing the edge of the object ball. And because you have to use English on a lot of these shots, you will gain a lot of confidence cutting these balls with outside and inside English.

The drill itself is basically what you see. Itís an easy drill to set up and the order of the balls pretty much dictates which pocket you shoot into. To make the drill a little more manageable, I set up the balls just a fraction off the rail. If they were all frozen to the rail, the drill would probably be too hard. Of course, once you start completing this drill as shown, feel free to try it with all the balls frozen to the rail.

Start with cue ball in hand and run the balls in rotation. I play most of these shots with two rails, although I will use one rail on the shots that require a more severe cut, which also requires me to hit the cue ball with inside and outside English. The balls at the center of the rails (5 ball and 6 ball) are the most likely candidates for one-rail position. You will get a lot of feedback on how the rails play with this drill.

This is a great drill, since it forces you to really zero in on the edge of the object ball. These shots come up in nearly every rack in rotation games.