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Darren Appleton

Instruction Articles:
Two-Pocket Drill
June 2019

This tricky rotation drill will test your stroke and speed.

It is always advisable to mix up your practice drills so that you can work on different parts of your game. This month’s drill is a rotation drill that forces you to focus on cue ball speed and using two or three rails on every shot. It’s a tricky little drill that looks easy on paper but is guaranteed to frustrate a lot of players. It requires a good, solid stroke and proper use of English.

Set up the balls as shown in Diagram One. The 1, 3, 5, 7 and 9 get lined up from the center spot along the end rail to the second diamond (foot spot). At the other end of the table, line up the 2, 4, 6, 8 and 10 from the center spot along the top rail to the second diamond (head spot).

Starting with cue ball in hand, shoot the balls in rotation, making the 1, 3, 5, 7 and 9 in pocket B and the 2, 4, 6, 8 and 10 in pocket E.

In this drill, the cue ball must hit a minimum of two rails, which will really help you develop your feel for English and cue ball speed. Obviously, the cue ball is not allowed to make contact with another ball.

Most of these shots will call for low left English and a pretty powerful stroke.You will get a good feel for the table and how it reacts to power strokes and English. This drill will also give you a good feel for the rails and speed, which are two of the most important factors in rotation games.

Like always, the secret is to stay on the right side of the ball. It will make position infinitely easier for the next shot.

I like this drill a lot because every shot requires you to use the entire length of the table. This drill, and drills like it, will be a big boost to your pattern play and in your confidence in cue ball speed. Of course, you will be required to be a little creative if you get out of line with any of the shots. See if you can find your way back in line.

This is a drill that can be completed, but it requires a lot of concentration on every shot.