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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:
• 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

• 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

Three in One
June 2010
YOU CAN only improve so much at the practice table. At a certain point, you have to test yourself in high-pressure situations, whether that means playing in one of the national league systems or entering a tournament at the local poolhall.

It's at this point in your development as a player that nerves enters the equation. Whether it's your first match or the set that could send your team to Las Vegas, pressure situations negatively impact your performance.

The best advice I have for you is simple: Breathe. Just breathe. In and out, nice and slowly, focusing only on what you have to do to win. When you have a hundred thoughts racing through your mind at once, you need to keep things simple. Focus on your breathing to harness that extra energy in a positive way.

Also, and I've said this before, it's imperative that you rely on the fundamentals. I can remember one match in the Mosconi Cup when I let nerves get the better of me. Instead of reminding myself what I had done to get to that point, I got wrapped up in how nervous I was - not necessarily the best train of thought.

But now, I've trained my mind to react properly in such situations. I'm able to avoid the temptation of dwelling on the distractions, so my mind can stay focused on the task at hand.

In a broader sense, negative thoughts are always destructive, whether they creep into your head during a tense match or any old practice session. No matter how bad you're playing, as hard as it may seem, tell yourself that the past does not equal the future. If you keep focusing on how horribly the match is going instead of letting things happen naturally, you don't trust yourself.

Losing is easy. It's always just an excuse away. Allowing frustration or anger to take over, you're not only taking the easy way out, you're also relaying to your opponent that he's in total control.

It's also important to realize that, no matter what you do, sometimes it's not going to be your day. This certainly doesn't mean you should throw your hands in the air and accept defeat. Rather, use this as a reason to relax completely. Just focus on making one shot, then the next, and then the next. Try to enjoy yourself in a difficult situation. You'll be surprised how quickly you can get back in stroke when you're in "I don't give a hoot" mode.

Keep focused on the small stuff - like breathing and fundaments - and you'll only get better when the heat is on.