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Darren Appleton

Instruction Articles:
• July 2024
V for Victory

• June 2024
Circle the wagons

• May 2024
Rehearse Your Lines

• 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

• October 2020
The Family Tree

• 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

Life on the Edge
November 2020

Learn to ďthinĒ the object ball to improve your safety game.

Safeties win games. Itís that simple.

So, this month letís explore a 10-ball safety drill that puts a premium on being able to hit the thin edge of an object ball. This drill will also teach you about deflection from your shaft and tip, so plan on taking some time to understand how much to allow for deflection.

More important than deflection, however, is that this drill will teach you a lot about thinning balls. So many players, even pros, struggle with this shot and play it wrong. They are tough shots, for sure, but with practice you will understand and trust the spin and your stroke so much more.

The drill layout is shown in Diagram One. The rule for pros is that the cue ball must hit four rails each shot. Amateurs have a three-rail minimum. You are not allowed to contact another ball or pocket the object ball. Of course, your shot must also result in a snooker behind the wall of balls 11-15.

If you fail, restart the process and see if you can continually improve your result.

I play most of these shots with low English and spin because it kills the object ball speed more than playing with follow. Also, with follow the cue ball gathers speed. Low spin gives you more control and takes the scratch out of the equation. In essence, youíre swerving the cue ball into the object ball with low English, which in turn throws the cue ball wider and kills the object ball. Whenever I practice, I play thin edge shots to feel the stroke and get my sighting down.

On this drill, I play the 1 ball with low right English. I aim for about a quarter ball on the righthand side. The deflection takes, and I catch the thin edge.

For the 2, 3, 4 and 5 balls, I hit the cue ball just below center with right English. This doesnít throw the cue ball as much, which makes it an easier shot than the shot on the 1 ball. There is just enough throw to contact the object ball wherever you want. You donít need to play these shots as thin.

For the 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10 balls, I go back to low right English, but slightly less spin than I use on the 1 ball. I use just a tip of right. I donít need to deflect the cue ball as much, so I hit the object ball where I aim.

Again, this is a great practice drill. It will help you understand the physics of the cue ball and how to be creative with shots that are not natural.