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Darren Appleton

Instruction Articles:
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.