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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:
• December 2019
Advanced Safeties

• November 2019
Frozen Solid

• October 2019
It’s A Thin Line

• September 2019
Joy in Repetition

• August 2019
Soft Touch

• June 2019
Thin To Win

• May 2019
Perfection Not Required

• April 2019
Shake ’n’ Break

• March 2019

• February 2019
Correct Easy Errors

• January 2019
Weight Problems

• December 2018
Position, Everyone!

• November 2018
Be a Chairman

• October 2018
Never Stop Learning

• September 2018
Carom Corner II

• August 2018
Carom Corner

• July 2018
Slump Dog

• June 2018
Stopping Is Power

• May 2018
Professional Help

• April 2018
Break Dance

• March 2018
A Safe Path

• February 2018
Stunning Results

• January 2018
Know Your Rails

• November 2017
The Straight Dope

• October 2017
Confidence Boosters

• 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

• 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

• 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

Walk This Way
October 2014

LAST TIME, we talked about stop shots. The follow-up to that is to learn how to add the stun-follow shot to your arsenal. It’s essentially a stop shot with a quarter- or half-tip of follow.

The stun-follow is markedly different from a pure follow shot. Straight-pool players come to me all the time complaining that the cue ball simply gets glued to the rack every time they hit a break shot. I tell them that it is because they are using stun-follow, which doesn’t give the cue ball enough time to generate forward momentum. A lot of it has to do with speed. If you hit a break shot at a softer speed, the cue ball will generate a lot of follow even before it hits the break ball. If you hit that same shot harder, the cue ball doesn’t have time to develop that forward roll until it hits the break ball.

The same holds true for a stop shot. If you have a straight-in shot that is eight feet away, and you want to hit a stop shot, you must strike the cue ball low enough and hard enough so that it maintains draw for seven-and-a-half feet. It needs to turn into slide just before it reaches the object ball. The harder you hit it, the longer the draw lasts.

With stun-follow, the harder you hit it, the longer the stun lasts before it changes to follow. The difference between stun-follow and pure follow is that with stun-follow, the cue ball “walks” forward. With pure follow, the cue ball “runs” forward. In simple terms, with stun-follow, you don’t want the cue ball to begin its forward roll until it hits the object ball. With pure follow, your want the cue ball to have a forward roll before it hits the object ball.

To demonstrate, I set up a straight-in shot into the side pocket, with the cue ball a foot away from the object ball. When I hit the shot hard, with stun-follow, the object ball will rocket into the pocket, and the cue ball will trickle forward. Then, I hit the shot softer, and the cue ball and object ball move toward the pocket at virtually the same pace.

Here’s a drill: Set up any straight shot you want, from any distance. Practice by shooting a stop shot five times in a row. Once you’ve done that, shoot the same shot, at the same speed, but move your cue tip up one-quarter or one-half tip. Stun-follow is a shot at stop-shot speed, but struck a half-tip higher on the cue ball.

Knowing how to use stun-follow is important, because sometimes you have a situation in which a stop shot will leave you hooked, and a pure follow shot will also leave you in bad position. Your best shot is to trickle the cue ball forward a bit. In theory, you could use pure follow, but hit the cue ball really soft. Most players, however, don’t like slow-rolling balls, because they don’t trust the table.