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Darren Appleton

Instruction Articles:
• 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

• 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

• 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

End Game, Part II
January 2022

Hereís a clever drill that will test your skills and your nerve.

Iíve previously discussed end game strategies (ďStop Missing Key ShotsĒ) and drills, but hereís one thatís different and a little more difficult. In a past column, the 8 ball was on the head spot. This time the 8 is in the center of the table, which makes this drill a little trickier. While there is less room for error in this drill, the balls are easier to pocket if your cue ball is on point.

For this drill, I came up with some interesting rules to make the drill more challenging for players of all levels, pros included. The added pressure of the end game makes all players a little more vulnerable. Can you perform when the heat is on? This drill takes concentration because cue ball speed and staying on the right side of the ball are much more critical in this drill. And even though there are only two balls on the table, this drill still makes you think three balls ahead.

Here are the rules: For amateur league players (FargoRate under 500), you can play the 8 in either side pocket (A or D) and the 9 in either corner pocket (B or C) at the bottom of the table. Obviously, you must make the 8 and play position for the 9. Before you shoot the 9, respot the 8 and play position from the 9 to the 8. Then respot the 9 and continue. (You cannot bump an object ball.) Keep repeating as many rounds as you can. You earn two points for making the 8 and 9. Complete 10 consecutive rounds (20 points) and itís time to make the drill more difficult.

For players whose FargoRate is over 500, the 8 ball must be made in pocket A and the 9 in pocket C. This version of the drill is very tricky and requires good thinking, good touch, and good cue ball speed. And now, thinking three shots ahead is critical if you want to pile up successful rounds.

In this scenario, a score of 10 points (five successful rounds) is pretty good. Like all drills, push yourself to better your score every time. A score of 20 is very good, and a score of 30 or higher is pro level. (This drill is pretty new, and my record so far is 44. Beating that score is my target.)

As for advice, when playing from the 9 back to the 8, itís best to land short or straight on the 8. Over-running the 8 will make life a lot more difficult and will put you at risk of bumping the 9. Use the space and take what the table gives you.

Once you get into a good rhythm you will see the secret to the drill and the benefits of cue ball speed and staying on the right side of the object ball.

And as I always tell my students, be the cue ball. Study it and understand it and make it do what itís supposed to do, and the cue ball will take care of you.