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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 ĎLí

• 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?

• 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

• 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

Not So Fast
March 2013

A COMMON complaint I hear from developing players concerns speed control. Not only do many players tend to hit the cue ball significantly harder than necessary, itís especially easy to overhit softer shots.

Often, the root of the problem is in the follow-through. When you have to use a firm stroke, itís easy to allow the cue to go through the cue ball and come to a stop naturally. But when using a softer stroke, players are more likely to decelerate their cues in mid-stroke to reduce power. Or some people try to poke or jab at the cue ball.

Developing a proper ó and natural ó follow-through will help immensely when it comes to varying your speed. When it comes to how far the cue should travel after impact with the cue ball, thereís no hard and fast rule. The stroke is complete when the cue comes to a natural stop from its own momentum. You canít think, ďOK, the cue will stop exactly four inches past the point of contact.Ē Comfortably and smoothly deliver the cue to the cue ball and allow the stick to decelerate naturally.

When you need to stroke the cue ball softly, you can shorten your backswing appropriately. For extremely soft shots, bring the cue back two or three inches; youíll then have a follow-through of only an inch or two.

Take a look at the diagram. You want to set up an angled shot on an object ball that wonít be too challenging, so you can really focus on the cue ballís speed after impact. First, try to pocket the object ball and send the cue ball off the long rail and back across the table, to the cue ball marked C-1 in the diagram. Once you can consistently send the cue ball to within a reasonable distance of the target, shorten your stroke, decrease your speed and send the cue ball to C-2 in the center of the table. Your backswing and follow-through should be shorter.

Finally, aim for C-3. Again, with an exceptionally soft stroke, you should shorten your backswing and follow-through. Working on the same shot at different speeds is a great way to efficiently improve your cue-ball control.