HomeAbout Billiards DigestContact UsArchiveAll About PoolEquipmentOur AdvertisersLinks
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

• 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

• 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

The Dreaded Shootout
January 2023

How to play the most-talked about shot in pro pool.

I guess Iím sort of to blame for this!

When I launched the World Pool Series a few years ago, I introduced the shootout as a means of breaking ties without the cruelty of bad luck or never getting a chance at the table. In the WPS, only 10 percent of the matches went to a shootout. The new Predator Pro Billiard Series also utilizes the shootout, but it happens far more frequently. Like penalties in soccer, the PBS shootout allows both players four spot shots, followed by longer sudden death shots if the tie is unbroken.

The shootout has become a lightning rod in discussion about the PBS. There is no doubt it is exciting, but many argue that itís too frequent and renders most matches a coin flip.

However, the fact is that if you are going to participate in an event like the PBS, youíd better work on your shootout technique.

Iíve watched many players in the shootout, and the percentage of those who prefer stun draw and those who prefer follow is evenly split. Some play the shot with a little outside English and some no English (for straight follow shots). Iíve even seen players slow roll the ball, which I find bizarre because you must rely on solid nerves and a level table.

Cue ball placement is also a mixed bag. Some players prefer to have their bridge hand on the rail with the cue ball close to the rail to minimize the cut angle. Others, like me, prefer a half diamond in from the rail so that they can get their entire bridge hand on the table. Some place the cue ball a diamond in from the rail and just play straight follow with no English.

The answer, of course, is to play the shot in whatever way allows you the most comfort and confidence. As for aiming systems, I just use the ghost ball and practice the shot to death. Iíll practice the same shot to each corner over and over, until eventually your muscle memory will see the line and the contact point. Then itís all about execution, which is difficult because of the pressure.

My advice would be to be absolutely consistent with cue ball placement and committed to playing the shot with follow or stun draw. Choose one and work hard at it. And in the end, itís a great practice drill on its own for your mechanics and cuing. Rotating sides makes it more easily missed, particularly when the cue ball is moved farther back for the sudden death shots.

Personally, I play with follow if I feel Iím in decent stroke, with a touch of outside English and medium speed (Diagrams One, Three, Five and Seven). If Iím not as confident in my stroke, Iím not afraid to change to stun draw because then I get to let my stroke out a little more and I donít feel as much pressure (Diagrams Two, Four, Six and Eight).

The shootout appears to be here to stay, so itís something I plan to work on even more in the coming year. And if it becomes more accepted and enjoyed, other promoters may add it to their formats. It may even reach regional and amateur events, so itís something all players should work on.