Like most of you, I have found myself quarantined. Luckily I have access to a pool table, and for those of you who do you have probably run out of things to practice. After all you can only beat yourself so many times in a game of 8-Ball before you can’t take it anymore. So I thought I would give you some fun ideas for a few games that can help fill the time and work on your game. These are some of my favorite games to play at home by myself. They keep you focused on having fun and improving your game. The last thing you want to do is develop bad habits during this competitive down time. I hope you all enjoy them as much as I do.
EQUAL OPPORTUNITY OFFENSE - Practicing Full Table Clearances
This game is to work on your ability to work out patterns and get creative with your shot making. Since you have no opponent you cannot play any defensive shots, hence the name equal offense. To play you start by racking all fifteen balls in a triangle. You have an open break, meaning break them open however you want, there are no penalties for scratching or jumping the cue ball off the table. Once you have broken the balls you start with ball in hand. You can shoot any ball in any order, but You must call your shots. You get one point for each ball you make. If you miss, or foul your turn has ended. A perfect score is fifteen points.
I like to play ten frames. And total up my scores at the end. A 150 point possibility. Do this so you can plot your improvement as you practice. Try this every day and see if you can keep improving your score.
LAST-CHANCE 8 BALL - Completing Open-Table Runouts
This is my favorite way to practice 8-Ball. If you get good at this game you will become an eight ball monster player.
Rack up all seven stripes with the eight ball in the middle. Break the rack. Any balls that you make on the break will spot up. You get to start with Ball in hand. Try and pick out a pattern to run out. You can only play offense, no defensive shots. This will help you get good at spotting a pattern and getting creative with breaking up clusters. If you miss you lose and have to start over. If this gets too easy try starting without the ball in hand. I like to see how many times in a row I can run out. There is an old cardinal rule in 8-Ball, if you can’t run eight, don’t run six. This happens a lot in league play. So many times you come to the table with all your balls on the table with no traffic from your opponent’s balls. This practice routine is not only fun and easy to get into but it will help you win more matches at league.
RACE THE GHOST: 10 BALL – YOU Are Your Best Competitor
This is probably one of the toughest ways to spend your practice time, but it is totally worth every minute. What you will do is start by racking up a game of 10-Ball. The point is to break and run out. You can start with breaking and then starting with ball in hand. Try to run out without missing. If you miss the ghost gets a game. (The ghost is your imaginary friend/opponent) if you run out, you get a point. See if you can beat the ghost in a race to seven games. This is by far one of the best ways to force you to focus on position play and ball pocketing. Nobody wants to lose to the ghost but it happens more times than you think. If it is too difficult try adding some stipulations. Allow one miss per rack and start each turn with ball in hand. As you get better take those stipulations away and see how you do. Before long you will be a regular Ghostbuster.
I know these are strange and scary times right now. I hope all our readers are safe and healthy. Keep practicing.