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Darren Appleton

Instruction Articles:
• 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

• 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

• 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

The Family Tree
October 2020

A 15-ball rotation drill that will challenge all levels.

If you want to really gain something from your practice sessions, you have to be willing to challenge yourself. This drill is a favorite because it requires creativity and problem solving, which are the cornerstones of any rotation game. The 15-Ball Rotation Tree Drill will challenge advanced and even pro players, but intermediate and beginners can give it a go as well.

The rules are straight forward. Position the balls as shown in Diagram One. Start with cue ball in hand and pocket the balls numerically. Object balls can be made in any pocket, but the cue ball is not allowed to touch another ball.

The drill offers several distinct challenges. From the 1 ball through the 8, you need to go up and down the table for proper position. This part of the drill requires good cue ball speed. Youíre not always going to be on the right side of the next ball, so youíll have to figure ways to get the cue ball back down table and into position. The final seven balls are on the rail, so the drill actually gets more difficult the further you advance. Those rail shots take focus. Pocketing the ball and playing position are key.

The first four shots are fairly basic. You will immediately start to see the pattern ahead and the importance of leaving angles and getting the cue ball more or less to the center of the table. Thatís the beauty of rotation games.

The trickiest shot during the first half of this drill is getting from the 7 ball to the 8 ball (Diagram Two). Leaving the cue ball just off straight-in on the 7 will allow you to go to the bottom rail and straight back up table for the 8.

The angles really become essential and the hard work really starts at the 10 ball. From the 11 to the 12 you have the option to come underneath the 14 or the top side of the side pocket. You can let your stroke out more on this one.

Like most games, the key shot is the penultimate shot, the 14 (Diagram Three). Getting from the 14 to the 15 is a pressure shot and a good test.