HomeAbout Billiards DigestContact UsArchiveAll About PoolEquipmentOur AdvertisersLinks
Hottest threads from the Cue Chalk Board
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:
• 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

• 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

One Ball At a Time
May 2010
LAST MONTH, we looked at ultra-thin cuts on object balls in order to send the cue ball to the other side of the table, presumably in a spot where your opponent would be in some trouble. This month, I want to stick to safety play by discussing a trick that I teach my students.

Sometimes, when an amateur-level player is faced with a defensive shot, she can get wrapped up in trying to pinpoint the exact spots where the cue ball and object balls will stop. But in 95 percent of the shots you’ll face, you can play a perfectly effective safety by focusing on the speed of just one ball.

For example, imagine you are looking at the table shown in Diagram 1. The 7 ball is blocked from going into either corner pocket, so you’ll be best served looking to play defensively. The key here is to hit the 7 so it bounces off the bottom rail and hides behind the 9 ball. The cue ball will go toward the foot rail and then head back up-table.

I’ve seen so many players misplay this type of shot, because they’re too determined to freeze the cue ball to the head rail. If you focus on the speed of the cue ball, you may end up over-hitting the 7, which can leak out from behind the 9 and sit in front of the top corner pocket. It doesn’t matter if the cue ball stops a diamond short or long, because the 8 and 9 balls will still be blocking a clear path.

On the flip side, the example in Diagram 2 shows a case where the speed of the cue ball is the most important factor. You want to drop the cue ball behind the 9 ball, knowing the 7 will be rolling down to the other side of the table. As long as the cue ball is behind the 9, the 7 ball can be just about anywhere on the other half of the table.

Every situation is different, but you should be able to pick the right ball that you need to control. This little trick will simplify your safety play by limiting your focus to one ball.