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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

• 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

• 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

V For Victory
July 2021

Another great drill that focuses on pattern play and cue ball speed.

Pattern play drills that focus on staying on the right side of each object ball are my favorite, and the 8-Ball V Drill is at the top of the list.

This drill is set up in a V shape, but donít spend too much time trying to get the balls perfectly set like in the diagram. As long as each ball goes, the exact placement isnít that important.

Again, this drill really focuses on pattern play and cue ball speed. You need to use the rails to slow down the cue ball and get into the right lines for position. Aside from the placement of the 8 ball, the other balls donít need to be in any particular order. Youíve got to rotate from one side to the other after pocketing the 8 on each shot. You shoot in order from the top down.

You start this drill with ball in hand, and you are not allowed to bump another ball. The balls on the left side of the V must go into the bottom right pocket. After each shot on the left side, the 8 ball must go into the top right pocket. Balls on the right side of the V must go in the bottom left pocket, and the 8 ball must go into the top left pocket.

Trust me, this is going to be difficult at the start for many players, but thatís really the point, isnít it? Donít ever give in to the drill. It may take you weeks to complete, but if youíre getting a little better each time, you are on your way to taking your game to the next level. The benefits of sticking with this will be really apparent.

Starting with ball in hand, create a nice angle and punch off the rails to shape on the 8 (Diagram One). After pocketing the 8, it gets respotted on the head spot.

If you can leave the proper angle on each shot, itís just a sequence of punch shots with outside spin. If the angle is bigger than anticipated, use follow with outside spin. Like all pattern drills, getting at least a little out of position is an almost certainty, which will require creativity to get the cue ball back on path. This will give you a better understanding of patterns and the importance of cue ball speed.

The great thing about this drill is that you are playing up table for the 8 on every shot. Most amateurs will struggle with the last few shots. This is not necessarily an 8-ball drill, because the shots to the 8 ball in this drill are very similar to shots to get on the money ball in 9-ball games.

Another thing I like about this drill is that you canít switch if off for any of the shots if you intend on completing it. Cue ball speed and using the rails to your benefit are critical. Even though you are respotting the 8, this drill still forces you to play two shots in one ó pocketing the object ball and getting the proper angle for the next balls. You have to think several balls ahead. The difference in skill level comes out with good planning and creativity when required.