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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:
• September 2017
The One-Armed Man

• August 2017
Making a Check List

• July 2017
Trust Issues

• June 2017
Rails Away!

• May 2017
Weight Watchers

• April 2017
Opposites Attract

• March 2017
Reach For It!

• February 2017
Adapting to New Rules

• 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

• 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

• 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

On the Rail
August 2012
IT HAS got to be one of the most basic fears for beginner and intermediate pool players — you’ve made the shot at hand and the cue ball looks like it’s rolling in perfect position for your next shot. Only it comes up a few inches too short or too long and the cue ball cozies up to the cushion.

Dealing with a cue ball that’s frozen to, or very nearly frozen to, the rail can be daunting because it can put you in a difficult spot. You’re limited by the fraction of the cue ball you can see, instead of having the entire ball to work with. But with a little work and an slight adjustment in your mental approach, you can begin to overcome your fear of the rails.

First of all, if the cue ball is an inch or two off the rail, you can hit closer to center-ball if you raise the back of your cue and hit at a downward angle. If this is a possibility, you will have to tweak your stance to accommodate the cue’s elevation. Instead of keeping the forearm of your bridge arm straight, bend it a bit and move your torso forward toward the cue ball. You want your back arm to have space to properly stroke the shot. If you can keep your back elbow at a 90-degree angle and your upper body is perpendicular to the cue, you should be in good shape.

Now, as far as your cue’s contact point on the cue ball, you have to be realistic. If you are a few inches from the rail, like we discussed previously, you have a little more room to work with. You can at least hit the ball along the horizontal axis, if not lower.

But if you are completely frozen to the rail, the options are limited. Depending on what you need to do with the cue ball after it hits the object ball, you may want to use left or right English. I strongly advise against this. Because you’re already hitting so high on the cue ball, venturing away from the vertical axis is going to greatly decrease your control.

During the delivery of your stroke, be sure to maintain the cue’s even plane. You will be hitting down slightly, so be sure to deliver a smooth stroke straight through your contact point. If you lift up the cue, you may hit the cushion and bounce up and top the cue ball. If you lower your back arm, you may hit the cue ball too high and miscue.