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Darren Appleton

Instruction Articles:
• 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

• 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

• 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

More Pattern Drills
June 2021

The shots are easy, but the path to reach them will challenge you.

Here is another great little 10-ball pattern drill. Itís not the most difficult drill to complete, but it will force you to think through your patterns and think at least three balls ahead. I like this drill because there is plenty of room to move the cue ball around and you stay pretty much in the middle of the table.

There are plenty of options on most shots, so it will force you to think through which option offers the best and safest route. You can use a little creativity with this drill as well.

Players that have a FargoRate above 500 need to make all balls in a corner pocket. Players below 500 are allowed to use the side pockets as well. Of course, the balls must be made in rotation.

You start with ball in hand, and thatís where amateur players usually make their first mistake. They tend to simply set up a straight in stop shot on the 1 ball and then cut the 2 without thinking of getting the proper angle for the 3 ball. The problem with that is the angle off the 2 ball is on a line that leads to a very small target. They immediately lose position or worse, scratch in the opposite side pocket after cutting the 2. Thatís why I always tell players to look at least three balls ahead. I always tell players to play shots that will allow you to take the side pockets out of play.

I play this first shot (Diagram One) with just a touch of left to come to the middle of the table for the 2. Then I would use follow with a touch of left to leave an angle on the 3 ball to the upper corner. That will allow me to get on the right side of the 4 and keep the cue ball around the center of the table. Again, Iím thinking now about the 3, 4 and 5 balls.

When I attempted this drill at home, I ended up straight on the 4 ball (Diagram Two). In instances like this you have to survey your options. Instead of trying anything crazy, I simply killed the shot, pinching the 4 into the corner and keeping the cue ball away from the side rail. Sometimes you just have to take what the table gives you and trust your stroke.

Again, several options going from the 5 to the 6, but I chose to let my stroke out a bit and use two rails. To try to roll the 5 in with a little right and come off one rail makes the shot a little nervier and increases the chances of missing the shot.

Same with the 6 ball (Diagram Three). I could kill the cue ball with a soft draw or let my stroke out and use the side rail.

I could come two rails around the 8 ball after making the 7, but itís easy to lose position this way and you could get really close to the 8. I prefer to stay close to my work. I would baby this and come off one rail. It leaves a long reach for the 8 and you may have to use the bridge, but youíre left with a pretty easy shot on the 8.

From the 8 ball to the 9 (Diagram Four) is a pretty easy two-rail shot for position on the 9. You donít want to be too straight on this shot.

When there is not much angle on a shot like the 9, and you have to come back up table for the 10, I see a lot of players try to punch the 9 in. To me, itís too easy to land in the middle of the table and leave a thin cut on the 10 ball. Keep it simple and take all the pockets out of play. Just use follow with a hair of left and feel the speed to leave an easy shot on the 10.

But donít fall asleep on the money ball. Iíve seen too many players roll this ball in, which is dangerous because the possibility of a skid could be enough to throw the 10 offline. I like to punch my balls in or draw to avoid any skids.

Expect to have to use your creativity to recover on some shots. No one plays perfect patterns all the time. Stick to the process.