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:
• 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

• 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

• 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

Back on Track
October 2012
IT’S ONE of the most frustrating aspects of the game: Once you get to a point where you’re playing as well as you possibly can, it often seems like that’s when you take a step backward. Just when you can see and feel real progress, you go from feeling like you can conquer the world to doubting whether you’ll ever make a ball again.

It’s not uncommon for players, when they’re playing at a higher level than ever before, to get in a comfort zone. Whether you’re winning professional tournaments or a few league matches in a row, it’s natural to think you’ve figured something out — and this type of performance will continue. But what’s often at fault is your commitment to practice and competition. The best players in the world are always working on their games. They are always looking for another tournament to hone their skills.

Take a few weeks off or skip a few practice sessions here and there? You’ll see your form drop. That’s why it’s so hard to stay at your best once you’ve gotten there.

If you experience a dip in form, I recommend going back to the basics. Drill your fundamentals. Tell yourself to focus on the small stuff. Are you following through in a perfectly straight line? Are you staying down on each shot as long as possible (until the balls have stopped rolling if you’re not in the way)? Are you keeping your wrist from twisting in an effort to steer the object ball in the pocket?

Throw out all 15 balls on the table without any clusters. Pick off the balls one by one, taking plenty of time to make sure you can answer “yes” to the three questions above. Once you work your way through four or five racks, where you’re consumed with how you’re performing each stroke and not its final result, you should have a better feeling. Just taking a few minutes to reconnect with the basic fundamentals can help you turn a corner.

When things aren’t going your way, hard work and patience will help you get back on track.