Constructing Your Game

Posted by : Liz Ford

Constructing Your Game - An Introduction to Pool Practice Drills
Time to put on your hard hat, because we're about to start constructing your game from the ground up. If you're ready to put in some serious man-hours, start with these six basic building blocks - each one reinforces different and complementary parts of your game. Danger - Homework Ahead!

1. Cue-ball drill

Place the cue-ball on the foot spot. Shoot the cue-ball straight at the far end rail so that it hits the cushion at 90 degrees and rebounds back along the same line. Stay down over the ball with your cue extended so that the cue-ball returns to touch your tip.

Why it helps:

By watching the cue-ball's reaction off the rail you're able to determine both the accuracy of your aim and whether or not you're contacting the center of the cue-ball.

2. Spot shot

Place an object ball on the foot spot. Set the cue-ball anywhere in the kitchen and pocket the object ball in either of the corner pockets, without scratching. Make sure to practice both sides equally.

Why it helps:

This shot-making drill will strengthen your aim and confidence on both long shots and cut shots.

3. Concentration

Break a rack of 15 balls and take ball-in-hand. Pocket the balls in any order, calling your pocket each time. Shoot until you miss or until the table is clear (one inning.) Keep track of how many balls you pocket in ten innings. A perfect score is 150 balls.

Why it helps:

This tests your basic shot-making and cue-ball control, as well as your focus, by seeing how many balls you can pocket in a row.

4. No rails allowed

Place all 15 balls on the table, making sure that no ball is within six inches of another ball or of a rail. Choosing your shots carefully, take ball-in-hand and try to pocket all the balls without letting the cue-ball hit a rail.

Why it helps:

One of the basic tenets of pool is to minimize cue-ball movement. This drill sharpens your economy of movement with the cue ball, your stun-control, stop shots and ball-selection.

5. Playing the ghost

Rack and break three balls. Take ball-in-hand and run them out in numerical order. If you make all three balls, you win the game; if you don't, the ghost wins. When you can beat the ghost in a race to 7, add another ball to the mix, with the long-term goal of being able to run out a full rack of nine balls.

Why it helps:

This will strengthen your 9-ball patterns and cue-ball control. It will also give you confidence in your ball-in-hand run outs.

6. Ten in a row

Choose a shot of medium difficulty that has been giving you problems. Keep shooting it until you make it ten times in a row without missing.

Why it helps:

This drill is one way of introducing the factor of pressure into your practice routine. Just imagine if you miss after eight or nine times - you'll learn valuable ways to manage your nerves!