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Darren Appleton

Instruction Articles:
Up and Down
November 2019

A rotation drill that works all facets of your game.

The drills that I set up are often exercises that focus on cue ball control and pattern play. The best way to work on those elements is to go up and down the table from shot to shot. This “Up and Down” 10-ball drill is in that vein, requiring that you stay on the right side of the ball and control your speed. Even played perfectly, this drill will force you to navigate a few tricky cut shots, shots that require a good stroke and a decent amount of trust.

Set up the 1-10 as shown in Diagram One. You must run the balls in rotation and the cue ball must stay on the same side of the table. Naturally, the cue ball is not allowed to make contact with another object ball. The cue ball must also hit the short rail first on each shot and must contact at least one more rail.

The opening shots are relatively easy, playing the cue ball just below center and with a trace of left English. I prefer to use three rails for better control of the cue ball’s speed. This approach allows me to let my stroke out. That way, slightly over hitting the shot won’t hurt too much. Attempting these shots using only two rails is tougher to judge.

For the 3 and 4 balls, I use high, running English. Take the same approach to the 5 and 6. The position of the 5 and 6 (further out from the end rail, meaning a shorter distance to travel) allows you to cue just above center cue ball. This will make the cue ball go a little wider, guaranteeing an angle on the next shot.

The same holds true on the 7, 8, 9 and 10 balls. Using a touch of running English. Of course, the amount of English will depend on the steepness of the angle on your shot. The tighter the angle, the more running English you’ll want to add. Don’t be afraid to add spin.

This is one of my favorite drills. It requires good strokes, trust in your execution and is great for getting a feel for the table and how the rails react. It’s not an easy drill, but it’s a good challenge. Push yourself to improve your results every time you attempt the drill.