: Liz Ford
When you feel a little down in the dumps about your game, it's time to simplify. The key to confidence lies in the basics - doing the simple, everyday things well will do more to restore your mojo than hitting obscure four-rail bank shots. Each of these three exercises is designed to produce a lot of makable shots and positions not only to hone your skills, but to remind you of how many things you do well!
This drill will give you the opportunity to play a lot of simple shots and a lot of simple positions. It will also get you comfortable with staying at the table for longer and longer periods, as you start to pocket more and more balls.
Rack and break all fifteen balls. Start with ball in hand and pocket balls in any order, until you miss or the table is clear. That's one frame. Play ten frames and keep track of your total score. Each ball is worth one point. Fifteen points are available per frame and the maximum score is 150.
This drill takes the pressure off of pocketing to allow you to focus your energy on the speed and direction of the cue ball. It's an excellent way to get used to longer position plays or to familiarize yourself with a table that you've never played on before.
Place a random ball one to two inches in front of each of the six pockets, so that you are faced with six “hangers.” Start with ball in hand and pocket the balls in numerical order while following these steps. For each shot, choose a position route that sends the cue ball a minimum of two rails for a leave on the next shot. Before you shoot take the time to go over and place your finger on the exact spot where you want the cue ball to land. After shooting, take note of how close you came to hitting your mark. Since “hangers” can be pocketed from almost anywhere, continue shooting in this fashion until all the balls are pocketed, even if your cue ball didn't end up where you had initially planned.
The Empire Builder:
The beauty of this drill is that it's appropriate for all levels, whether you're just beginning to learn how to plan for the next three shots or you're a high level pro who can run out a game of rotation.
Rack and break three balls. Start with ball in hand and shoot at the balls in numerical order (pocketing any ball counts as long as you hit the lowest numbered ball first.) Play until you can successfully complete the run out three out of five times. Add a ball to the rack (strange racking shapes are a given.) If you fail to run out four balls (three out of five times) return to three balls. If you complete the task with four balls, add a fifth and so on. Theoretically, this game can be played until you are playing with all fifteen balls!