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Darren Appleton

Instruction Articles:
• July 2024
V for Victory

• June 2024
Circle the wagons

• May 2024
Rehearse Your Lines

• April 2024
Lucky Seven

• March 2024
More for the Road

• February 2024
Four for the Road

• January 2024
Corner the Market

• December 2023
Look Ma, No Cushions

• November 2023
Weíre in the Money

• October 2023
Four-level Drill

• September 2023
More Money Ball

• August 2023
No rails, part II

• July 2023
Look Ma, No Rails!

• June 2023
Triangle To Triangle

• May 2023
Zone Blitz

• April 2023
Money Ball Drill II

• March 2023
Money Ball Drill

• January 2023
The Dreaded Shootout

• December 2022
Alternate Universe

• November 2022
Close Quarters

• October 2022
Corner to Corner

• September 2022
Diamond in the Rough

• August 2022
Draw Bridge

• June 2022
I Detect A Pattern

• June 2022
Stay Close to Work

• May 2022
Amateur Approved

• April 2022
Two for One

• March 2022
The Straight Secret

• February 2022
The Correct Shot

• January 2022
End Game, Part II

• December 2021
Buying Off The Shelf

• November 2021
Look, Ma! No Rails!

• October 2021
The Oval Drill

• September 2021
Getting In Shape

• August 2021

• July 2021
V For Victory

• June 2021
More Pattern Drills

• May 2021
Patterns and speed

• April 2021
See a pattern?

• March 2021
Blind Man

• February 2021
Five Up, Five Down

• 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

• 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

• 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

Cue Ball Control
April 2020

This nifty 15-ball, two-pocket drill will test your cue ball control.

This is a great pattern drill for all levels that Iíve been working on a lot lately. It is a 15-ball rotation drill using just two pockets, and it requires each shot to be on the right side of the ball. It will bring your cue ball control and pattern play to the forefront. Work on this drill and, as you improve, you will see a big difference when you go back to playing normal games.

The main purpose of this drill is to teach you how to control your cue ball speed, which is the number one factor in any game, particularly rotation games.

If you are a lower-level amateur, start by playing only the 1-9. Try to beat your personal best with each new attempt.

The rules are to pocket the 1-9 in pocket D and the 11-15 in pocket B. Obviously, you canít contact another ball. You may, however, use as many (or no) rails as you want.

Letís run through this rack together.

First, play the 1 ball using low, right English, just below center. Hit this shot nice and easy to come out two rails for the 2. The 2 requires only center cue ball with an easy hit to bring the cue ball back across the table.

Again, a little low, right English on the 3 ball will work. Use a nice, easy stroke and let the cue ball do the work. Depending on the angle, the 4 ball may require a touch of left English and an easy stroke to get the cue ball to float across for the 5, which is a simple two-rail punch shot.

On the 6, use follow with a touch of left English to make sure to land high on the 7 ball. Same as the 5, use a nice little punch shot two rails to the 8.

And, again, you want to come in high for the 9 ball, so use a nice, easy punch shot with a touch of left when pocketing the 8.

The transition from one end of the table to the other is relatively easy. Just use a little follow with a touch of right English to get the cue ball two rails and up table for the 10. Make sure youíre committed to the shot.

The keys to the 10-14 are to make sure you come up high for the 11 and 13. The shots on the 10 and 12 require a touch of left, cueing slightly low for the 10 and using a punch shot for the 12.

Use the same cueing and stroke for the 11, but top left for the 13. Make sure to put a good stroke on the 14 ball with a high ball or a soft punch, depending on the angle.

This drill is a great test and can be very rewarding. It will improve any playerís game. Cue ball speed is essential, and itís good to get accustomed to using the rails. These shots will show up pretty often in game situations.