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Darren Appleton

Instruction Articles:
Tight Quarters
May 2020

Being able to maneuver in tight spaces is a valuable skill.

I’ve been been fortunate to have access to a table during these difficult times. It has allowed me to work on a lot of drills and tips for all levels that I have uploaded to my YouTube channel,

One of the drills I’ve posted is the 9-ball drill shown here. It requires cue ball control and playing into short, small areas. This is especially true on the first five shots. After that you can put a bigger stroke on the ball, but you will still need good cue ball control.

The rules are simple. Place the balls as shown in Diagram One and start with cue ball in hand. Run the balls in numerical order, contacting at least one rail on each shot and avoiding contact with any other ball. Follow the paths as shown in the diagrams and you’ll learn a lot about controlling your cue ball.

Start on the 1 ball with a touch of right English and a nice, easy hit. Come straight off the bottom rail for the 2 ball, on which you will use straight follow to send the cue ball to the long rail between the 3 and 5 balls. Again, right English and an easy hit on the 3 ball will bring the cue ball straight across to the middle diamond for the 4 ball.

Use a touch of high, left English for the 4 ball (Diagram Two) with enough speed to bring the cue ball up table for a good angle on the 5 ball. A nice smooth stroke at around 4 o’clock will bring the cue ball back across table to the long rail just below the side pocket and out for the 6 ball. You can let your stroke out a bit for the 6 ball, using just a touch of low left English to bring the cue ball across to the other side of the table just above the side pocket for position on the 7 ball.

Again, you’re going to let your stroke out and draw the cue ball across table above the side pocket to get from the 7 to the 8 (Diagram Three). Strike the cue ball around 4 o’clock. From the 8 to the 9, you’ll use low left English, striking the cue ball around 8 o’clock for straight-in position on the 9 ball.