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Darren Appleton

Instruction Articles:
• August 2021
Getting In Shape

• August 2021

• July 2021
V For Victory

• June 2021
More Pattern Drills

• 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

• 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

Patterns and speed
May 2021

A drill that looks easy but has its traps if you are not focused.

Iíve long contended that pocketing the balls is the easiest part of poo, if you play good patterns and have good cue ball speed.

Here is a cool little 10-ball pattern drill. It is not that difficult but tougher than it looks. But, again, my practice drills are primarily about patterns and cue ball control, which make the game so much easier and less stressful. You will play these types of shots in every rack of pool you play.

There are two ways to practice this drill. If your FargoRate is over 500, you start with ball in hand and have to pocket the balls in rotation. The cue ball must contact at least one rail but must not contact another ball. If your rating is below 500, start with ball in hand and shoot the 1-4 in rotation and the 10 ball last. You can shoot the 4-9 in any order. The cue ball is not required to contact a rail, but it still must not contact another ball.

Letís take a walk through the drill for over-500 players.

Starting with cue ball in hand, I like to stay close to the top rail and one or two feet from the 1. I would play this with a tip of low right English.

Believe it or not, the 2, 3 and 4 are the toughest shots in the drill because of the distance the cue ball will cover and getting the speed right. Play the 2 a little fuller and, given that the cue ball is further from the 2 than it was on the 1, maybe a touch more draw.

For some reason, the 3 ball is the toughest shot because you need to get all the way down the table without touching another ball. This is also the money ball because if you get good shape on the 4, the rest is there for the taking. Low on the cue ball, left English and a smooth stroke are the keys. Hit the 3 a little thicker to avoid the 7 ball.

Bottom left English and a nice easy stroke is used on the 4 ball because youíre not going all the way up to the opposite end rail. You want to land short for the 5. There are two options on the 5, one rail for the 6 in the side or firmer for the corner. Your angle on the 6 will determine your choice.

If you take the 6 in the side, just use a touch of high right English to go one rail. The last thing you want to do is draw the cue ball to the side rail and risk leaving yourself straight in on the 7. The 7 is pretty much the same shot as the 5, and the 8 is the same shot as the 6. Your angle and comfort level will dictate the path. Donít be afraid to experiment.

Pocketing the 9, you can use two rails to come in line for the 10 or play it with straight follow and use only one rail, depending on the angle. But you always want to land on the high side of the 10 ball.

Remember, if your rating is above 500, you must contact a rail. From this shot on the 10, I just draw back to the side rail because it eliminates skids that can happen when you try to roll the money ball with slow to medium speed follow.

Again, this is a really nice drill. Trust me, the 2 to 3 and 3 to 4 will get many of you! Grind through it and reap the rewards of your hard work.