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Darren Appleton

Instruction Articles:
• 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

• August 2020
The Big Diamond

• July 2020
Nine-Ball One-Hole

• June 2020
Youíll 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
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

A Dip of the Tip
September 2020

This eye-pleasing punch draw shot can be a great weapon.

Something a little different this month. Not really a drill, but well worth setting up and practicing.

Iím talking about the punch draw shot to get out of rough situations. The punch draw will allow you to get unnatural draw for shape. Itís a shot I see amateurs and even pros struggle with. It is a shot that requires constant practice because it is not quite your normal stroke. You need to be more creative and braver, and you need to trust your ability to execute this shot. That is why it requires a fair amount of practice.

As the diagram shows, Iíve got a slight angle on the 3 ball but not a natural angle. If I play a normal draw shot from this spot (flat cue, normal stroke), I will probably scratch in the side pocket. Because itís not easy to get action on the cue ball, most amateurs panic and hit the shot too hard. More times than not, they either miss the shot altogether, miscue or scratch.

Hereís how to execute this shot: You need to bridge a little higher than normal for this shot, aiming slightly down at the cue ball. The contact point on the cue ball should be just below center with perhaps a touch of right English. This is a punch stroke, which should not be confused with a quick, jerky stroke. To avoid a jerky stroke, your backstroke should be a little longer than normal. Keep a loose grip on the butt of the cue and drive through the cue ball more than usual. You want the cue going right through the cue ball a good 5-10 inches. This will generate the power to get the cue ball to draw two rails, especially off the second rail. Itís a crowd-pleasing, impressive looking shot, but itís also an important one to have in your toolbox. This type of layout comes up more often than you might think, and this is the only shot that will get you shape on the 4 ball.

Again, this is a shot that requires a lot of practice. But when you get proficient at it, this shot will increase your confidence and allow you to escape some tricky situations. Just knowing you have the ability and the cue power to get out of this tough predicament is a big boost.

This is also a great shot to help you get in stroke. If you feel a bit rusty and want to let your stroke out, this shot will do it. You will also gain a better understanding of cue ball physics and how the rails react.

Remember, a little more elevation on the cue and a little extra back stroke will help get the job done. Be sure to hit slightly below center and, in this particular case, a little right English. (On old, worn cloth you may have to dig even deeper into the cue ball.)

Some people may look at this as an exhibition shot, but it isnít. This is a very important shot to have in your pool toolbox. Having a little fun at the same time is a bonus.