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Darren Appleton

Instruction Articles:
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.