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Darren Appleton

Instruction Articles:
• July 2024
V for Victory

• 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

• 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

• 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

Money Ball Drill
March 2023

Planning three shots ahead and facing last-ball pressure.

One of the biggest mistakes by amateur players is, of course, not thinking far enough ahead and eventually running into trouble or getting the wrong angles for the next shot. If the balls are in the open, most pros will be thinking at least three shots ahead. That will let them visualize the optimal angles for each shot. Rotation is all about angles and whatís next because the next ball is predetermined for you. (Of course, itís equally important to look for problem balls and address them as quickly as possible.)

Hereís a drill that is perfect for thinking three balls ahead and also for playing position on the money ball. Thatís where a lot of amateur players struggle. They get too quick, too excited and nervous. One of the added benefits of this drill is that it will keep you in a good rhythm, which in turn trains your mind to stay calm in key situations. The shots in this drill are shots that come up all the time, so youíll be prepared when it counts.

So, to teach you how to stay three balls ahead and also focus on that money ball (the 10 ball), this drill takes you from the lowest numbered ball on the table to the 10 ball and then from the 10 ball to the next lowest numbered ball. Itís really a great sequence. Just re-spot the 10 after shooting it, whether successful or not. You can never switch off. Focus and concentration are key, which helps create a match environment.

Like most drills, youíre not allowed to bump into other balls.

Starting with cue ball in hand, just use a little draw for shape on the first 10 ball (Diagram One). Leave yourself a nice angle off the 10 ball to come off the long rail for the 2. Draw back across table from the 2 for position on the 10 ball.

You want to play position for the 10 in pocket A because thereís less traffic on the right side of the table with the 1 ball gone (Diagram Two). Thereís less worry about obstructing balls. If you werenít thinking three shots ahead, you may not have noticed that. Play with follow and a little right to bring the cue ball to the bottom rail and around the 8 for position on the 3.

Draw back towards the middle of the table for the 10, again in pocket A so that you have an easy path from the 10 to the 4. If you are on the right side of the 10, you will have lots of options going forward one rail or around 2 rails. I prefer one rail with a touch of left follow for a nice angle on the 4 (Diagram Three).

You can let your stroke out a little on the 4 ball, using follow to go two rails side to side for the 10 ball in pocket B.

Life will continue to get easier because fewer balls on the table allows for more room for the cue ball to travel. Just try to avoid landing along the rail or straight in.

In this sequence, I landed almost straight on the 5 (Diagram Four), but a simple draw will get me back in good position for the next 10. The same shots will get you through the 10 and the following 6 ball.

So, you see how this drill progresses. You need to look three balls ahead so that you know the angles you want to maintain to continue the run.

Itís not an easy drill, but stick with it. Over time you will see real improvement in your position play.