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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:
• 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

• 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

Easy Errors, Part III
August 2009
FOR MY third column examining some errors that are fairly common among beginning students, I want to look at thin cuts. These shots are among the most intimidating for developing players, and that fear can make improvement much more difficult.

A major reason some players have so many problems with a thin cut is a lack of confidence. If you don’t trust yourself when you approach a certain shot, you will subconsciously try to “steer” the cue ball toward its intended destination, instead of performing a smooth, natural stroke. When you steer a shot, your grip hand tightens up, which causes a lot more problems than it solves.

So how do you develop the necessary skills to be able to trust yourself? Start by simplifying the situation. Diagram 1 shows a thin cut on the 1 ball into the corner pocket. With the cue ball one diamond away, begin practicing this shot. By starting close to the object ball, you are allowing yourself to get a feel for the cut, without unnecessarily raising the level of difficulty.

What happens is that a lot of people try this shot at a significant distance. If you begin working on this shot from four diamonds away, you are going to become anxious and frustrated. When this happens, the fundamentals of your stroke will fall apart.

The point here is to develop confidence and feel. By starting at a close distance, you can stroke normally, without feeling the need to steer the cue ball. Once you feel comfortable cutting the 1 ball at this distance, back up a bit — keeping the same angle on the object ball. Continue increasing the difficulty of the shot as you get more and more used each distance. But, if you struggle to execute a shot successfully from a particular distance, don’t be afraid to move the cue ball back toward the 1 ball.

After you have spent some time working on these shots, you will be more confident the next time you’re faced with a thin cut during a match. When you’re not intimidated, you will relax and won’t feel a tendency to tighten up on your grip.