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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:
• 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

• 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

Know Your Game
March 2010
ONE OF the most problematic shots for developing players, a thin cut on a ball along the rail can be an effective way to play safe. But a lot of players are afraid to approach this shot, mostly because they lack confidence.

First of all, don't make things too hard on yourself. Start with the cue ball very close to the object ball, perhaps just a foot away as shown in Diagram 1. The goal here is to hit the left side of the 2 ball as thinly as possible, so the cue ball heads down to the opposite short rail, while minimizing the object ball's movement.

When starting out, you may notice you have a tendency to hit too much of the 2 ball. You're doing this because you're afraid of missing the ball completely. With a little work, though, you should be able to venture farther toward the edge of the object ball.

It is very important for you to maintain a loose wrist in your grip hand throughout your stroke. When you tighten your wrist, you may pull the cue off line and hit the cue ball off-center. Also, with a relaxed wrist, you will avoid poking at the cue ball. It's crucial that the cue accelerate into the cue ball, just as it would on any other shot. So by keeping your wrist loose and focusing on a smooth stroke, you can deliver a consistent hit and develop a feel for the shot.

Also, you will be better off if you stick to center-ball hits only. Become comfortable with the shot without adding the variables of spin and deflection. Once you master the shot, you can incorporate English, but build up to that point. Similarly, it's imperative that you keep your cue as level as possible during your stroke. An elevated cue can cause the cue ball to veer off its intended line, which can lead to hitting too much of the object ball or missing it completely.

When you've mastered the shot from a short distance, move the cue ball farther away from the object ball. But remember: Don't move the cue ball back until you can hit this shot every single time you try, and not just pull it off a few times here and there. You want to reach the point where you know you can successfully hit this shot, so you aren't just hoping for a good result.