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Darren Appleton

Instruction Articles:
• February 2024
Four for the Road

• 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

• 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 the Market
January 2024

Get back into shape after the holidays with a great pattern drill.

Letís face it, our games are going to suffer during the holidays! Parties, family gatherings and travel figure to put a dent in our training and playing regimen until well after New Years.
But when you do get back to the table, hereís a great drill that will let you ease back into playing shape. Itís good for pattern play and using the rails in the correct manner. You will see the benefit of using two rails, as the second rail slows the cue ball down for you.
You must use a minimum of one rail, and youíre not allowed to bump any balls. Beginners and intermediate players can shoot in any order, but the 9 ball must be last. Pros shoot in rotation.
Letís take a look. Iíll cheat on the first shot and use only one rail with a little left to float over in a straight line for the 2. From here, two rails is the preferred path. Use high left from the 2 to the 3, letting the cue ball do all the work. You will quickly get the feel for the speed and the use of the second rail to help with your line. Itís harder to control speed and direction using only one rail.

Here is the way I approached the drill:
The shot from the 3 to the 4 is where a lot of amateurs would use right English and one rail, but execution is a lot tougher. You could get the wrong angle or come too far down table, which will make life a lot harder. Instead, a high cue ball with just a touch of left using two rails guarantees a nice little angle.
Leaving a smaller angle on the 4 will allow me to go around the 9 and avoid the scratch. Use high right but donít overspin the ball. Less spin will hold a more natural line.
Again, itís easy to overdo it trying to punch this using one rail for the 6. Angles are important, so use high left. You can use more of a stroke on this shot without worrying about the cue ball.
Use high right on the 6. The second rail will bring the cue ball into a better line. For the 7, use high right. Remember, you donít want a big angle on the 8, which would mean more work and more things that can go wrong.
The 8 is an easy shot with high left. You can let out your stroke, taking away any scratch and gaining perfect shape on the 9.