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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

• 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

• 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

Shoot The Lights Out
December 2010
BACK WHEN I was an aspiring pro, I was starving for ways to improve and learn as much as possible about the game. My coach, Harvey Mason, was a great influence on me during this time in my career. I can still remember the day I showed up for practice a little late. Not even my father screamed at me like that. But it was great for me; I knew he really cared about me and truly believed in me.

In addition to teaching me a lesson on the importance of punctuality, Harvey showed me this drill, which is great to hone your shot-making abilities. As you can see in Diagram 1, the cue ball is placed on the center spot. Spread four balls out on the right side of the table and four balls on the left. They can be anywhere on one side of the table, as long as each ball has a direct path to the corner pocket.

Start by pocketing all four solids into pocket A using only draw. Don't worry about where the cue ball goes; this is a drill specifically targeted at pocketing balls. Next, go to work on the four stripes going into pocket B. When you can consistently pocket all eight balls without missing, repeat the drill - but this time use stun. Hit each shot so that the cue ball arrives at the object ball with no spin (which means your contact point will depend on the shot speed and the distance between cue ball and object ball).

When you have mastered this exercise using stun (mastered meaning a success rate of 90 percent or so), now it's time to use follow. Again, pocket each group of balls in its respective pocket.

If you can handle these three sets of shots, move the cue ball one diamond back from the center spot (keeping it on the center string). The extra distance and tougher angle on thin cuts (the 3 and 12 balls, for example) will further refine your shot-making skills.

Many players tend to become one-dimensional, because they are strong with draw but weak with follow (or vice-versa). Think of a basketball player who can only go to his right. That's a pretty big limitation. Well, the same can be true in pool. This simple practice technique will help make you a multi-dimensional threat. You'll be confident and comfortable, no matter where you have to hit the cue ball on its vertical axis.