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Darren Appleton

Instruction Articles:
• November 2023
We’re 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
Don’t Lag Behind

• December 2020
Head games

• November 2020
Life on the Edge

• October 2020
The Family Tree

• September 2020
A Dip of the Tip

• July 2020
Nine-Ball One-Hole

• June 2020
You’ll Kick Yourself

• May 2020
Tight Quarters

• April 2020
Cue Ball Control

• 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
“V” 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
Banker’s 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

The Big Diamond
August 2020

A drill that emphasizes cue ball control in tight spaces.

Here is another fun 9-ball drill that will also help your 8-ball and straight pool game. It’s called the Diamond 9-Ball Drill because you set it up like an oversized 9-ball rack.

The basic rules of the game are to start with ball in hand and pocket all of the object balls in one of the side pockets without contacting another ball, saving the 9 ball for last.

If your game is in the beginner or intermediate range, you can pocket the object balls in any order, so long as you still save the 9 ball for the last shot. You are allowed to use the rails for position.

For semipro and elite level players, the object balls must be made in numerical order and the cue ball is not allowed to contact a rail. If the first version is too easy and the second version is too difficult, shoot the balls in numerical order but allow yourself to use the rails for position until that becomes too easy.

What I like about this drill is that it forces you to play in a tight space. You really need cue ball control. The drill is a series of kill shots, soft stop shots and extreme draw shots, all soft hits and allowing the cue ball to do all the work. You must avoid traffic and play into small areas. That is what makes this drill beneficial to your 8-ball game and in straight pool, where avoiding balls and playing into small spaces are critical.

This drill will also require you to focus because one little lapse will cost you, especially in the elite level version.

Playing this at the elite level, I would start with a little angle on the 1 ball, stunning the cue ball to get on the right side of the 2. A little draw on the 2 will get the cue ball to the right side of the 3 ball. Going from the 3 to the 4 is the key shot. It requires great touch. If you land in the right spot for the 4, the remainder of the rack opens up for you. From there, it is straight forward center ball shots and soft draw shots.

Check out my YouTube page for a video demonstration of the drill.