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Darren Appleton

Instruction Articles:
• December 2022
Alternate Universe

• November 2022
Close Quarters

• 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

• 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

Corner to Corner
October 2022

A great all-around drill for players of every skill level.

Here is an easy-to-set-up 9-ball drill that has different rules, allowing players of all levels to add it to their practice sessions.

The Corner-to-Corner drill is essential for all rotation games. It will improve your positional play and pattern play, forcing you to move the cue ball around the table. It will also improve your quarter-ball and half-ball cut shots.

The first thing youíll realize is the importance of staying on the right side of the balls and how much easier it makes the game when you leave angles that send the cue ball to the next shot. Anytime the balls are wide open and nothing is tied up, you should be thinking three shots ahead.

Of course, sometimes you might get a little out of line. Thatís not a bad thing in a practice drill. It forces you to use some creativity to get back in line.

I would start with the amateur level with this drill. Try it out and see how far you get. Donít move on to the advanced level until you are completing the drill with some regularity. Once you are completing the advanced level, you can run racks playing in real time. You will be thinking like the pros do as they negotiate a rack, gaining a feel for the rails and speed and strokes.

As Diagram One shows, this drill is easy to set up, so if you fail itís easy to get started again.

Beginner Level: Start with cue ball in hand. You can pocket the balls in any order, but the 9 ball must be the last ball pocketed. Bumping another ball is not allowed. Rail contact is not required moving from one shot to the next, and balls may be made in any pocket.

Amateur Level: Start with cue ball in hand. You must pocket the balls in rotation, 1-9. Bumping another ball is not allowed. Rail contact is not required moving from one shot to the next. Balls may be made in any pocket.

Advanced Level: Start with cue ball in hand. You must pocket the balls in rotation, 1-9. Bumping another ball is not allowed. Rail contact is not required moving from one shot to the next. Odd-numbered balls must go into the top left corner pocket, even-numbered balls must go into the bottom right pocket. The 9 may be pocketed into any corner pocket.

Here is how I would approach this drill:

First, keep note of the 9 ball. It is a big ball in this configuration, so always keep that in mind when devising your cue ball path. Start with the cue ball offering a nice angle on the 1 (Diagram Two), using high right English to go two rails. Try to leave the same angle on the 2 ball.

From the 2 to the 3, once again use a tip of high right.

I have always felt that itís easier to judge speed on a two-rail shot than on a one-rail shot, so use high right English again, only a half-tip less right than on the first two shots to get from the 3 to the 4 ball (Diagram Three).

Again, high cue ball and a tip of right from the 4 to the 5. As you move through the drill, youíll be getting a little closer to the 9 ball, so donít leave too much angle on the 5.

As the shot is set in the diagram, I would either play high ball with no English off the 5 (Diagram Four) and try to get closer to the 6, or just a touch of right and leave myself a little longer shot on the 6. The 6 ball is the key shot in this drill, so donít try to get too fancy.

From this position I would play the 6 with lots of outside spin and swing it two rails between the 8 ball and 9 ball. You could also use low right with more of a kill stroke and let the cue ball do all the work. If, on the other hand, you land a little closer and with less angle on the 6, you could play the shot with no English.

The shot on the 7 once again depends on the angle youíre faced with. As shown in Diagram Five, itís either high ball with a half tip of right, using two rails, or a tip of left and playing one rail only. If you have less angle, try using high left and go two rails to the opposite side of the table. This is a personal preference decision. You have lots of options on the 7 ball because there are no other blocking balls.

Remember, in the advanced version of this drill, the balls prior to the 9 must go into their corresponding corner pockets, so play the 8 with a soft punch just above center cue ball and no English. You could always play for the 9 ball in the same pocket. Either way, commit to one pocket or the other before you shoot.

If youíve made it safely to the 9, stay down and focus only on making the ball (Diagram Six).

Its ability to help you understand the cue ball and pattern play better makes this drill perfect for all levels.