Practice Drills That Develop Consistency - Part 3
Due to your diligent efforts over the last two months, your shot address and pace of play should be a thing of beauty for all to see. Sure, you’re still going to miss sometimes, even lose a match or two, but suffering form Nopaceosis and Addressitis should be a thing of the past. It wouldn’t surprise me if you were playing at least one ball better and feeling pretty good about your game, joining a league or entering tournaments.
This month we want to ask the question, “Why do players with three open stripes plus the eight ball fail to run out?” More often it’s because they suffer from what I like to call, Wrongballemia; they shoot the wrong ball.
Drill No. 1 is the cure for Wrongballemia—shooting the wrong ball. The purpose of this drill is to learn how to determine and create a good pattern for running out.
Diagram A. shows an eight ball game in progress. You have stripes and it’s your shot with ball in hand. But how do you know what you should shoot first? The answer is, by knowing the best pattern to follow.
The good new is that determining the best pattern and creating a pattern are a learned skill. The time to learn this is during your practice sessions. The more you practice this drill, the faster you will be able to figure out the best patterns during your regular play time. The more experienced you become at creating patterns, over time, you’ll be able to look over the layout of the table and seeing the pattern will just come to you.
Here is how a pattern is created. Start by identifying what the last ball to be pocketed will be. That ball is called your Finishing Ball. Of course in 8 Ball or 9 Ball, the finishing ball is obvious. But other games like 14-1, Straight Pool, One Pocket and Bank Pool, just to name a few, you have to decide which ball will be your finishing ball.
In Diagram A, the Finish Ball is the 8-Ball. The location you’ll shoot from to get to the Finish ball is called position 1. To get to position 1, you have to pocket the 13 ball in the side pocket and roll off to the left as shown. Where the cue ball lands is called position 2. To get to position 2, you had to shoot the cue ball from just off the third diamond on the side rail. That is called position 3. You got there after pocketing the 15-Ball in the corner pocket. To do this you needed the cue ball to have an angle. This came from making the 10-Ball using stop English on the cue ball. That is position 4. This all happened because you set up the cue ball to make a straight in shot on the 10-Ball when you had ball in hand to start. That is called position 5, which now becomes the starting position of the run out.
Baring any kissing balls or clusters, when the balls are open around the table, you create a pattern by working backward from the point of the Finishing Ball. According to our planned pattern, you would count backward like this: The position of the cue ball, to pocket the Finish Ball, is called 5, the 4, 3, 2, and finally 1. This is how a pattern is determined, by first counting it backward from the Finishing Ball. Then you turn it around and see your created pattern by recounting it from its starting position.
To begin shooting, the Start position is now counted as 1. After pocketing the 10 Ball, the cue ball is now in position 2. Following the cue ball to the third diamond on the side rail after pocketing the fifteen-ball in the corner, in position for the 13 Ball is called position 3. After pocketing the 13 Ball, the cue ball will land to make the 11 Ball in side pocket, which is now called position 4. Shoot a straight-in stop shot on the 11 Ball into the side pocket and the cue ball is now in its final position to pocket the 8 Ball, the Finishing Ball, position 5.Remember, to create a pattern, start from the position you want the cue ball in to shoot your Finishing Ball. Then continue by counting backward until you reach the last ball. This is your starting point for the pattern. From the Start point, count forward to the Finish point. There, you have learned the concept of how to determine or create a pattern.
Be sure to mark the table lightly with chalk so you can replace the balls over and over until you have mastered this pattern. After mastering this pattern, continue by placing balls onto the table and create a new pattern. Master that one and do this again and again. In time you’ll be able to quickly see patterns during your regular playing time. Pro Skill Drills, Volume 2, is packed with 8 and 9 ball patterns you can work with to insure you have a well rounded pattern skill building experience.
Dominic Esposito, The Drill Instructor, is author of the Seven Volume Book and DVD series, Pro Skill Drills, Buy yours today.