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:
• 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

• 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

• 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

Into the Unknown
June 2011
ONE REASON players struggle with a particular shot is because they are, as I like to call it, entering, as I call it, "the land of the unknown." When you're up against an unfamiliar situation, you're likely to miss because you can't trust your fundamentals and your stroke.

This month, I want to discuss shots where the cue ball is frozen to a rail — a situation that can be terrifying for developing players. But with a little practice, you shouldn't have any reason to fear.

Back when I was practicing 12 hours a day, seven days a week, I had a coach show me this exercise. It is really built a foundation for me, to the point where I would go months without missing a shot with the cue ball up against a rail.

As you can see in Figure 1, freeze the cue ball to the long rail against the first diamond from the corner pocket. Now, in a direct line to the opposite corner pocket, place an object ball about a foot from the cue ball. Drill this shot until you feel like you can't miss.

When you're able to make it multiple times in a row, start to move the object ball — first to the right, then to the left. Create an angle so you can get a feel for cutting the ball to the corner pocket.

Now, when cueing the ball off the rail, it's important to remember a few things. First, the rail prevents you from keeping your cue totally level, so you have to hit at an angle. Because it can be uncomfortable, players have a tendency to bring the cue back at one angle and then stroke forward at another. Keep it consistent.

Secondly, never use English when you're in this spot. The shot is difficult enough, so stick to hitting the ball on its vertical axis.

Once you get a hang of the shot into the corner pocket, try the shot in Figure 2. It's the same setup, only now your going from that first diamond to the side pocket. You'll be surprised how quickly you'll get a feel for these shots.