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Darren Appleton

Instruction Articles:
• May 2021
Patterns and speed

• April 2021
See a pattern?

• March 2021
Blind Man

• February 2021
Five Up, Five Down

• January 2021
Donít Lag Behind

• December 2020
Head games

• November 2020
Life on the Edge

• October 2020
The Family Tree

• September 2020
A Dip of the Tip

• August 2020
The Big Diamond

• July 2020
Nine-Ball One-Hole

• June 2020
Youíll Kick Yourself

• May 2020
Tight Quarters

• April 2020
Cue Ball Control

• March 2020
Straight Cueing

• February 2020
Saddle up!

• January 2020
9-ball Crossover

• December 2019
Ride Those Rails

• November 2019
Up and Down

• October 2019
Money Balls

• September 2019
Captain Zig-zag

• August 2019
15-Ball, No Rails

• July 2019
One Extra Ball

• June 2019
Two-Pocket Drill

• May 2019
Up and Down

• March 2019
In A Good Spot

• February 2019
Center Cut

• January 2019
Breaking Bad Habits

• December 2018

• November 2018
X marks the spot

• October 2018
Striking It Rich

• September 2018
So Many Options

• August 2018
Put Hangers On Rail

• July 2018
Mirror, Mirror II

• June 2018
Mirror, Mirror

• May 2018
ďVĒ for Victory

• April 2018
Up and Down

• March 2018
Kick Into High Gear

• February 2018
Up and Down

• January 2018
Up To The Challenge

• November 2017
Taking A Break

• October 2017
End Game Safeties

• September 2017
Get Comfortable

• July 2017
Shape Up For Summer!

• June 2017
The Selection Process

• May 2017
Two For One

• April 2017
A Ghost of a Chance

• March 2017
Bankerís Holiday

• February 2017
Great Eight

• January 2017
Getting Into Shape

• December 2016
Hocus, Focus

• November 2016
Kicking Into High Gear

• October 2016
More Drill Bits

• September 2016
Hand Model

• August 2016
Breaking Tradition

• July 2016
Drawing On Experience

• May 2016
Proper Practice

• April 2016
Drilling For Improvement

• March 2016
Mind Games

Ultimate Rotation
April 2019

Here is a drill that will test your cue ball control.

Since cue ball speed and pinpoint position are so critical in rotation games, Iíve been working on this drill for the last couple of weeks in preparation for upcoming events. To me, it is the ultimate 14-ball rotation drill.

The layout for this drill is shown in Diagram One. The 14 balls are positioned in rows one diamond off each side rail and a diamondís width apart. You start with cue ball in hand from somewhere inside the two rows of balls.

There are several ways to practice this drill. Unless you are at the pro level, I would recommend making 1-14 any way possible. The caveat is that the cue ball must not touch another object ball. Once youíve completed the drill, you are ready to move to the pro version.

In the pro version of the drill, the playerís cue ball must strike at least one rail after contact with the object ball (again, not touching any other object ball remaining on the table) and all balls must be pocketed in corner pockets only.

The drill starts off relatively easy, with simple one-rail shots using follow on the 1, 2, 3 and 4 ball (Diagram Two).

The key to continuing is to make sure you are on the correct side of the 5 ball. So, from the 4 ball I will play the 5, come off the side rail and go between the 9 and the 14. I will play the 6, 7 and 8 balls the same way. It gets trickiest with the final balls because the side pockets are not an option (Diagram Three). The 9 ball is a simple one-rail shot, as are the 10 and 11 balls. Again, make sure you leave an angle on the 13 to come across for the 14.

This is a great drill because it forces you to use all shots ó follow, one-rail into perfect spots, punch shots with a touch of outside English. You also have to be able to move the cue ball between object balls. And leaving yourself on the right side of the next ball is critical.

These shots come up in nearly every rack of 9-ball, and all rotation games emphasize the use of various shots (follow, spin, punch) and pattern play.