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BD House Pro
Tony Robles
A longtime teaching pro at Amsterdam Billiard Club in New York City, Tony has dozens of regional and national titles to his name, including the 2004 BCA Open Championships.


Instruction Articles:
• May 2024
Throw Down


• April 2024
Three for the Road


• March 2024
Rail Birds


• February 2024
Fear Factor


• January 2024
Taking It on the Chin


• December 2023
A Matter of Degrees


• November 2023
Coming Back From Injury


• September 2023
Take Out the Guesswork


• August 2023
Stay Present


• July 2023
English Class


• June 2023
Deflecting Blame


• May 2023
Safety First?


• April 2023
Basic Training


• February 2023
Incremental Growth


• January 2023
Getting Pushy


• December 2022
Follow Me Home


• November 2022
Playing Off the Rail


• October 2022
Hanging by a Thread


• September 2022
Off On A Tangent


• August 2022
Going Straight


• July 2022
Take A Break


• June 2022
A Cut Above


• May 2022
Keep Your Chin Up


• April 2022
Where’s the Fire?


• March 2022
Be A Soft Touch


• February 2022
Focus on Task


• January 2022
A Cut Above


• December 2021
Sit and Win


• November 2021
Ready or Not


• October 2021
A Most Important Time


• September 2021
Never Stop Learning


• July 2021
Stay the Course


• June 2021
Not As Easy As It Looks


• May 2021
Watch Your Speed


• April 2021
Speed Kills


• March 2021
Uncomfortable? Good


• February 2021
Watch and Learn


• January 2021
Angles Off The Rail


• December 2020
When You Slip


• November 2020
The Inside Track


• October 2020
The Inside Dope


• September 2020
Experimentation


• August 2020
Challenge Yourself


• July 2020
Drill Sergeants


• June 2020
No Table Required


• May 2020
Opening Eyes


• April 2020
Three birds, one stone


• March 2020
Red Alert


• February 2020
Endless Possibilities


• January 2020
Starting position


• December 2019
Advanced Safeties


• November 2019
Frozen Solid


• October 2019
It’s A Thin Line


• September 2019
Joy in Repetition


• August 2019
Soft Touch


• June 2019
Thin To Win


• May 2019
Perfection Not Required


• April 2019
Shake ’n’ Break


• March 2019
Hangers


• February 2019
Correct Easy Errors


• January 2019
Weight Problems


• December 2018
Position, Everyone!


• November 2018
Be a Chairman


• October 2018
Never Stop Learning


• September 2018
Carom Corner II


• August 2018
Carom Corner


• July 2018
Slump Dog


• June 2018
Stopping Is Power


• May 2018
Professional Help


• April 2018
Break Dance


• March 2018
A Safe Path


• February 2018
Stunning Results


• January 2018
Know Your Rails


• November 2017
The Straight Dope


• October 2017
Confidence Boosters


• September 2017
The One-Armed Man


• August 2017
Making a Check List


• July 2017
Trust Issues


• June 2017
Rails Away!


• May 2017
Weight Watchers


• April 2017
Opposites Attract


• March 2017
Reach For It!


• February 2017
Adapting to New Rules


• January 2017
Systems vs Feel


• December 2016
It Happens to the Best


• November 2016
Maintaining Focus


• October 2016
Riding the ‘L’


• September 2016
Tips on Tips


• August 2016
The Art of Deflection


• July 2016
Note To Self


• June 2016
Object of Safety Play


• May 2016
Speed Zone


• April 2016
Frozen Ball Shots


• March 2016
Hide and Go Seek


• February 2016
Two-Rail Kicks


• January 2016
Staying Down


• December 2015
One-Rail Kicks


• November 2015
Breaking Bad


• October 2015
Call Shot, Call Safety


• September 2015
Own the Shot


• August 2015
Patterns - Part II


• July 2015
I Notice A Pattern


• June 2015
Two-Way Prt. 2


• May 2015
Two-Way Shots


• April 2015
The Fine Line


• March 2015
Straight Break


• February 2015
The 'Walkaway'


• January 2015
Pushing Your Luck


• October 2014
Walk This Way


• August 2014
Attitude Adjustments


• May 2014
Adapt to the Equipment


• Mar 2014
Turn The Beat Around


• Feb 2014
Straight Is Great


• Sept 2013
Cover the Basics


• June 2013
Getting It Right


• May 2013
Strength Training


• April 2013
Rust Proof?


• March 2013
Not So Fast


• February 2013
Two-Step Jump


• January 2013
Open Your Eyes


• December 2012
Feeling Good?


• November 2012
Hang In There


• October 2012
Back on Track


• September 2012
Straighten Up


• August 2012
On the Rail


• July 2012
Mental Checklists


• June 2012
Respect & Fear


• May 2012
Chin Music


• April 2012
On the Line


• March 2012
Balancing Act


• February 2012
Creative Drilling


• January 2012
Power Outage


• December 2011
Jumping In Line


• November 2011
Soft on Soft Breaking


• October 2011
Find Your Stroke


• September 2011
The Path Off the Rail


• August 2011
Short Position


• July 2011
Inch Along


• June 2011
Into the Unknown


• May 2011
Sharpened Focus


• April 2011
Never Flatline


• March 2011
Stop For A Review


• February 2011
One To Watch


• January 2011
The Straight Answer


• December 2010
Shoot The Lights Out


• November 2010
Never Overmatched


• October 2010
Drawing Conclusions


• September 2010
Through & Through


• August 2010
Along the Rail


• July 2010
The Small Stuff


• June 2010
Three in One


• May 2010
One Ball At a Time


• April 2010
Going Thin to Win


• March 2010
Know Your Game


• February 2010
14.1 For 8-Ballers


• January 2010
Setting It Straight


• December 2009
Hanging Out, Part II


• November 2009
Hanging Out


• October 2009
Control Your Speed


• September 2009
Busting Out of a Slump


• August 2009
Easy Errors, Part III


• July 2009
Easy Errors, Part II


• June 2009
Easy Errors, Part I


• May 2009
Body Language & Breaking


• April 2009
The Break: Body Language


• March 2009
Must-Reads from Robles


• February 2009
Position: Four Square


• January 2009
Romancing the Stance


• October 2008
Look Out for Boingy Rails


• September 2008
Build a Better Break


• August 2008
Q&A: Ask the Pro


• July 2008
'Buzz' Kill: Stay Down


• June 2008
Stop Shots Safeties III


• May 2008
Stop Shots Part II


• April 2008
STOP-SHOT Safeties


• March 2008
How to Keep Winning


• February 2008
The Dreaded Straight-In Shot


• January 2008
Trying the Soft Break


• December 2007
The Hard Way Makes It Easier


• November 2007
How to Sight the Cue


• October 2007
Win from Your Chair


 
Routine Shots
October 2023

We all love great, young players. They’re exciting and aggressive and fearless.

They’re also reckless. They approach even the most difficult shot as unmissable. And in doing so, they will make mistakes by not playing the highest percentage shots.

I know whereof I speak. I was one of these players when I was younger. Being young and fearless and stubborn, it took me quite a while to adjust and learn how to be a smarter player.

One of the first things young players notice is that there are players who they don’t think are as good as them finishing higher than them at events. It’s a sobering thing when you see that happen over and over. It becomes apparent that you may be a hot shot, but maybe you’re not playing the game the way it should be played if you want to be successful.

Once I started teaching, players continually told me that they play great one day and can’t win a game the next. Reckless players will occasionally have a day in which all the stars align. But they lack the consistency to play at that level again and again. I tell them that one of the reasons pro players win so consistently is that they adopt a routine that assures that their shot is always the right shot. Of course, even then you aren’t going to make every shot. But at least you know you played the highest percentage shot available.

I teach a rule called “The Honesty Rule.” It forces you to be honest with yourself. You’re the best person to enforce that rule because nobody knows your true ability better than you. When I look over a shot I ask, “If I had to shoot this shot 10 times in a row, how many times would I make it?” Then I ask myself, “If I played this particular safety here 10 times, how many times would I leave my opponent safe?” I always go with the higher percentage option.

Routine becomes a big part of your game in many ways. Your physical pre-shot routine becomes important. And so does your mental pre-shot routine. If you make this routine habit on every shot, you’ll be ahead of the game. This way you don’t rush a shot or rush to judgment on how a particular shot might be played. Younger players are always in a rush. They’re so eager to take the shot that they don’t see the options or evaluate the percentages. Ego, of course, is a big part of that. And at some point, you have to check your ego at the door and stop to look at the table.

It’s not easy. I almost quit the game years ago because I had a coach who sat there and insisted that I go through the same pre-shot routine before every single shot. To me, it made the game boring. But over time it became second nature. Now I can’t shoot until I’ve gone through the entire routine.

Create a routine for yourself that includes extra time to see all the options and weigh the percentages.

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