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Darren Appleton

Instruction Articles:
• 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

• 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

• 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

Straight Cueing
March 2020

This drill will let you know immediately if your stroke is straight.

One of the most difficult things to do in any cue sport is to strike the cue ball accurately. Thatís why I like this drill. Iíve been using it with some of my students and myself, too.

This drill will test your stroke and will let you know if you are hitting center ball. It requires ultimate cueing, center ball striking, and really good tempo and transition from your backswing to your follow through. It gives me immediate feedback of what I need to do to correct my stroke. Donít simply throw balls on the table and pocket them; do this drill to nail down your game and stroke. Itís okay if you canít make all the shots but try your best and make adjustments.

The set up for all three variations of this drill is the same. In Diagram One the focus is stop shots. Pocket the object ball from the cue ball starting position, leaving the cue ball dead in its tracks on contact with the object ball. I like to use a medium stroke and cue just below center. Itís all about tempo from the backstroke to the follow through.

Diagram Two focuses on follow through shots. Make the cue ball follow the object ball into the pocket. Donít try to hit the ball too hard. I use a flat cue and use a medium stroke. Cue the ball a good tip and a half or two tips above center. Amateurs tend to hit this shot too hard or too high. They have a tendency to aim too high because their cue is flat. Aiming too high also affects your sight line. This is probably the most difficult of the three shots.

The focus in Diagram Three is the draw shot. The object is to draw the cue ball straight back to the rail after contact with the object ball. Most players donít hit low enough on the cue ball. They tend to choke the cue and try to hit it too hard. The tempo and fundamentals collapse.

These shots require the same tempo. Try pausing at the cue ball, at the back stroke and at the follow through to get your timing down. Donít stop this drill until you make four in a row for each.