How often can you run the table? Top Pros run out a lot, but they didn’t just gain that ability over night. Today I thought we would work on a few practice routines that will help you get better at running the table.
One of the most difficult things about 9-Ball is finishing the Run out, or closing out. The reason for this is as we approach the last few balls on the table, we get anxious to finish the game. Sometimes we get a little nervous or even have a moment where we realize “I am about to run out”. All these mental obstacles can hinder us from closing out the rack. The only way we can overcome these thoughts is to get used to having them. In Diagram A we have taken the seven, eight and nine balls and randomly placed them on the table. The object of this drill is to take ball in hand and see how many times out of ten we can run out without missing. This will force us to stay focused on those last three balls that seem to invoke so much stress at the end of a run out. If you can run these three with regularity, add a fourth ball, and fifth and so on. Always try to think three balls at a time. Every time you pocket a ball, just add the next ball to the three ball sequence.
One of the cardinal rules of 8-ball is that if your opponent runs off all their balls and misses, then you should be the favorite to win. The reason for this is that you no longer have to maneuver around the obstacles of their balls to play position. You can also very easily play a good safe, since they have only one or two balls to shoot at. The drill in Diagram B shows a good way to practice running out from that scenario. First take all the stripes and the eight ball and randomly toss them onto the table. Now take ball in hand and try to run out the stripes. If you miss you must start over. See how many times you can run the table. If you struggle with running out the entire eight balls at first, allow yourself one miss before starting over. This will really get you looking for proper patterns to play so that you can easily run the table. If you can do this ten times out of ten, try adding a solid ball or two as obstacles.
Using these run out practice drills will improve your ability to close out the game. It will help not only in your ability to pick out the patterns and shots that make the run easier, but it will also improve on your confidence to complete the run under pressure situations.