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Darren Appleton

Instruction Articles:
• 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

• 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

• 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

Amateur Approved
May 2022

A great drill for amateur players.

Here is a nice one-ball pattern drill for amateur players. It was sent to me by an amateur player named Otto Olkkonen and I really like it. Iíve given this drill to my students because it forces them to learn the right angles and patterns, but it also affords them some breathing room if their cue ball control isnít perfect. This allows for more recovery options.

Itís easy to set up and pretty straight forward. Keeping it simple is what I like about it. You could certainly make it more difficult by developing a pro version of it, but for amateurs this is a fun drill and can be a little tricky.

The tricky part of this drill, of course, is that you canít bump another ball while negotiating your way through the rack.

Starting with the 1 ball, pocket the ball and play shape for any of the four balls closest to the 1 ball (6, 7, 8 or 9). After each shot you re-spot the 1, but now you must play the 1 ball in the opposite corner pocket. After pocketing the four balls at the close end of the table, continue the drill by getting position on the four balls at the top of the table (2, 3, 4 and 5). Thatís when this becomes a little tricky. That part of the drill will require a bigger stroke and good angles to get back down for the 1 ball. Like all good drills, this will test your touch and speed control. You will need variations with a little English and maybe some slow-rolling the cue ball to complete the drill.

Of course, there are many ways to get through this drill, but the diagrams indicate how I would try to work through it. Different players will have different preferences, based on their strengths and weaknesses. The key is to give yourself more options and more room with the cue ball.

Take the 9 or 7 first (Diagram One). In this case, I opted for the 9 first (Diagram Two) and then played the same shot for the 7 (Diagram Three). Doing this opens the table nicely and gives you much more room to maneuver for the 6 and 8 (Diagram Four). Allowing yourself more room to move the cue ball is always a bonus.

The bottom four balls are not as difficult as the top four. After playing the 6 and 8 the same way and moving up table, take the side rail balls (2 and 4) first. It opens the table more for the 3 and 5 balls (Diagram Five). Play the 2 and 4 the same way, alternating the 1 ball to the opposite corner pocket. Finally, play the 3 and 5 following to the top rail and back down for the 1 (Diagram Six). Being able to go forward with the cue ball also improves your percentages.

Itís a nice drill that forces you to think about ways to open bigger lanes for cue ball travel. And that decision-making will come in handy under pressure.