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View Full Version : "Deska Drills" - center ball (vertical axis) is your friend


Williebetmore
06-29-2007, 09:55 AM
For those who don't know, Ed Deska visited Betmore's Basement a week or so ago for some straight pool. Ed is an aerospace engineer, who has gambled at pool most of his life, against some of the best players on the east coast. He has tremendous stories of his match-ups with Johnny Ervolino, Jimmy Fusco, Allen Hopkins, Grady Mathews, Steve Mizerak.....the list goes on and on. He is also a TRUE student of the game, and straight pool afficionado; I am positive that sjm would afford Ed "old school" status.

During our session, Ed was kind enough to analyze my game, and offer lots of tips and insight. One thing we discussed at length was control of whitey, and improving predictability of your paths and patterns. Of course, the key is mastering the vertical axis (we'll call it center ball, but that includes draw and follow; just no side spin). Ed reports in his early days learning to play with nothing but follow; and reaching a high level before he could even draw the cue ball with even a crude level of control. He did it with mostly center ball.

He noted that my directional control was not highly developed; and here are 3 drills he gave me to improve my control. NO SIDE ENGLISH to be used in these drills. Enjoy.

There are 3 pages you must click on the page number button a couple of times up, then down to get page 1 to appear.

http://CueTable.com/P/?@4AYkU4BULU4CPVV4DKXV4EFRW4FADW3GEsW3HJaW3IOHW3JT FW3KYTW4LAWR4PMFk2qQtFEvery_shot_starts_with_the_c ue_ball_and_12_ball_in_this_position.__Sink_the_12 _ball,_and_bring_whitey_back_to_hit_the_1_ball.__U se_NO_SIDE_ENGLISH;_only_the_vertical_axis.__When_ you've_hit_the_1_ball_twice,_move_on_to_the_2_ball ,_etc.__Keep_track_of_how_many_misses_you_have_bef ore_making_22_good_shots.&ZZ@3AMQV3BbFm3CbHX3DbJI3ENdi4FAOj4GOCj4HbBP4IayW4J awl4PNGU3UMQV2UdhC2UeGC4kNGU3kJnX3kXkd3kXkd2qcjSEv ery_shot_starts_with_the_cue_ball_and_1_ball_in_th is_position.__Sink_the_1_ball,_and_have_whitey_rol l_forward_into_the_2_ball,_at_a_speed_where_it_wou ld_die_on_the_rail_if_the_2_were_not_there.__Use_N O_SIDE_ENGLISH;_only_the_vertical_axis.__When_you' ve_hit_the_2_ball_twice,_move_on_to_the_3_ball,_et c.__Make_the_2_corner_pockets_part_of_the_sequence .__Keep_track_of_how_many_misses_you_have_before_m aking_22_good_shots.__I_use_a_chalk_cube_on_the_ta ble_as_a_target_instead_of_a_ball_-_it's_harder.&ZZ@4AADU4BKoa4HMxB4PExB4QHjB4RKUB4UADU3Ucpu4VKoa4V KuK4VQqd4VKoY4VKobzb4kExB4kCHJ4kLhl4kbPd4kOuV2qdJo Spot_shot,_whitey_starts_where_indicated,_moving_t oward_the_side_of_the_table_as_the_drill_progresse s._NO_SIDE_ENGLISH,_use_only_the_vertical_axis.__G et_position_in_the_indicated_zone_for_the_2_ball_b reak_shot.__I_use_a_business_card_on_the_table_as_ a_specific_target.__The_first_shot_indicated_is_na tural,_you_need_a_little_"stun_forward"_at_just_the_right_speed_as_you_move_whitey_toward _the_side_pocket.__Don't_quit_until_you_have_done_ 5_consecutive_successful_shots_from_each_of_the_4_ cue_ball_positions_on_BOTH_SIDES_OF_THE_TABLE.&ZZ@

Williebetmore
06-29-2007, 10:09 AM
deleted post, fixed the problem

Williebetmore
06-29-2007, 10:20 AM
For some reason, sometimes the embedded cuetable diagrams work, sometimes they show up blank, and sometimes they are blank until you click on them a few times, then they work fine. I have NO idea how to fix it; but I think Wei has a few ideas. I'll fix it if I can.

The first diagram seems to be blank, but if you click the page number, it will show you the second and third page; when you then click down, the first page will magically appear. I'm confused.

SpiderWebComm
06-29-2007, 11:20 AM
Thanks Don. I really like your first drill. I never focused on directional drills before - I always assumed I knew where I was going. I bet I don't, after seeing that. I CAN'T WAIT TO PRACTICE THAT - thanks a lot!

Clarification on ball position. Is the CB and 1st ball lined up to about 1 ball width to the left of the side pocket, or is it the left tit?

Dave

Williebetmore
06-29-2007, 11:24 AM
Trying the second diagram again.

Here is another drill Ed showed me; but I had seen before. I always just took ball in hand for each shot, but he plays it as a position drill where you touch whitey only 1 time (first ball), playing for position on each subsequent shot. Use only center ball, NO SIDE ENGLISH.

During straight pool league season, I shoot this daily; giving myself a comfortable angle on each shot, and a comfortable bridge on the rail. Shoot 11 cutting to the right, and 11 cutting to the left. Then put whitey frozen to the rail (or within 1/4 inch depending on your desires) and shoot another 22 this way. It's great practice for straight pool, because the majority of safety battles will end with a shot like these.

My dad's degenerate pool gambling buddies claim Willie Mosconi would bet he could do the entire line in less than a minute (ball-in-hand only for the first shot); and routinely did it in less than 30 seconds. He was good.

http://CueTable.com/P/?@4AaBY4BUsY4CQLW4DLNW4EFaW3FATX3GFqW3HLFW3IPuW3JU TX3KYsY3PVbv3fYsY2fbrs3kVbv3kYso3kbHs3kRSo2qaiyMak e_as_many_in_a_row_as_you_canGood_luck.&ZZ@

Williebetmore
06-29-2007, 11:28 AM
Thanks Don. I really like your first drill. I never focused on directional drills before - I always assumed I knew where I was going. I bet I don't, after seeing that. I CAN'T WAIT TO PRACTICE THAT - thanks a lot!

Clarification on ball position. Is the CB and 1st ball lined up to about 1 ball width to the left of the side pocket, or is it the left tit?

Dave

SWC,
If you are talking about the second drill (which of course is the first one you can see by clicking on the diagram) where you shoot the 1 ball in the side pocket; the cue ball and the one ball are centered on the line connecting the points on the 2 side pockets; just a very slight cut, with definite room to cheat the pocket as you wish.



For a player of your caliber though, I would definitely recommend NOT cheating the pocket - use the exact same aim each time. I would also use a chalk cube for a target, sitting on the playing surface by each diamond - it's too easy using an object ball for a target.

The cuetable problems are a real headache; I'm about ready to go back to the old version.

cuetable
06-29-2007, 12:51 PM
....please ignore

cuetable
06-29-2007, 12:53 PM
http://CueTable.com/P/?@4AYkU4BULU4CPVV4DKXV4EFRW4FADW3GEsW3HJaW3IOHW3JT FW3KYTW4LAWR4PMFk@3AMQV3BbFm3CbHX3DbJI3ENdi4FAOj4G OCj4HbBP4IayW4Jawl4PNGU3UMQV2UdhC2UeGC4kNGU3kJnX3k Xkd3kXkd@4AADU4BKoa4HMxB4PExB4QHjB4RKUB4UADU3Ucpu4 VKoa4VKuK4VQqd4VKoY8VKobzb4kExB4kCHJ4kLhl4kbPd4kOu V@

Dear all:
You might want to keep out of any special punctuation marks in the text boxes for now. I will look into the problems.

Thanks for your patience :)

Williebetmore
06-29-2007, 02:10 PM
Dear all:
You might want to keep out of any special punctuation marks in the text boxes for now. I will look into the problems.

Thanks for your patience :)

Wei,
I eliminated most of the text from the second diagram; and the diagram shows up now just fine. Thanks for your help.

Let us know if there are limits to the amount of text; or if there are "poisoned" characters we should avoid using. We all appreciate your efforts, it is a great tool.

sjm
06-30-2007, 06:46 AM
These are extremely well-known drills, and I have long demanded that my students master the first two of them. Drill two is sometimes referred to as "the wagon wheel."

Incidentally, I would argue that these drills are every bit as important for the nine-ball enthusiast.

Sounds like you hooked up with right guy, Willie. I saw Eddie play on a few occasions in his prime, and he's the real deal, an old schooler in every sense.

Williebetmore
07-01-2007, 09:39 AM
[QUOTE=sjm]These are extremely well-known drills, and I have long demanded that my students master the first two of them. [QUOTE]

sjm,
I found it very interesting how quickly improvement comes with these drills. I've spent about 2 years working almost exclusively on developing a precise, repeatable stroke; but really wasn't aware of how that precision is supposed to be used.

Your "wagon wheel" drill really surprised me at first. I can follow, draw, and stun a ball easily; and I guess I always figured there was a shot or two inbetween these angles. The "wagon wheel" though turns out to have a large number of slight variations on the theme. At first I thought the gradations were so numerous as to be impossible to achieve. After just a few sessions it is a LOT easier (and definitely possible) - I'm seeing where precision in vertical axis striking is a valuable tool - my idea of what is possible with position routes has expanded considerably since I started.

My question is; do you recommend the drill at soft speed AND firm speed? Right now I am doing it at whatever speed gets whitey to rest against the rail at the target. If I hit it firmer; that will require a different striking point on the vertical axis. Same question for the first drill as well. Thanks.

Bob Jewett
07-02-2007, 02:03 PM
... My question is; do you recommend the (wagonwheel) drill at soft speed AND firm speed? Right now I am doing it at whatever speed gets whitey to rest against the rail at the target. If I hit it firmer; that will require a different striking point on the vertical axis. Same question for the first drill as well. Thanks.
Assuming that you are trying to put the object ball in the center of the pocket and take the cue ball a certain distance, you will have no choice on speed for most of these shots.

MOJOE
07-02-2007, 06:21 PM
Don,

Thanks for sharing the drills that Ed showed you. I have been working on these for a couple of days now. It is amazing how much I one can do with the cue ball without ever getting off the vertical axis.

Something that I try to focus on anyways, it sure makes shotmaking more predictable. Hope that I can get these down so I can be a bit sharper next time we get to match up.

I am really enjoying the 14.1. I have had several runs very very close to 50 but have not gotten there yet. It will happen when I am ready.

Peace, JBK

LC3
07-02-2007, 08:40 PM
Is there a way to print these? When I do page preview, the tables don't appear.

steev
07-02-2007, 09:19 PM
FWIW, I tried one of these yesterday, found a couple of 'trouble' shots. Worked on 'em, feel better, thanks.

-s

Williebetmore
07-03-2007, 05:09 AM
Assuming that you are trying to put the object ball in the center of the pocket and take the cue ball a certain distance, you will have no choice on speed for most of these shots.

BJ,
I meant different speeds to move the cue ball to a different place. The drill was designed to have whitey rest on the rail by each target; but wouldn't it be nice to have whitey bounce off the rail or stop short of the rail - such shots would require a different combination of cue speed and striking point on the vertical axis (as I KNOW you are aware - your progressive drill philosophy is stellar). Do you use similar drills in your instruction?

Android
07-03-2007, 05:55 AM
I am just an 8-Ball bar banger however when I do get to a pool room to work on my game the wagon wheel is one of the first drills I do. I also work on a variation of it where I remove the 2 through 6 balls and try to hit the 7,8,and 9 with just follow. This helps me work on speed and gives me another option for paths to get the shape I need.
Sometimes it is difficult to draw the ball because you are jacked up or the q-ball in a bar is the size and weight of a VW bug.

Just my 2 cents worth.

Andy

Bob Jewett
07-03-2007, 07:23 AM
... Do you use similar drills in your instruction?
Yes, but with what you might call a 2-dimensional target rather than the 1-dimensional targets of the "wagon wheel" practice. I think I've described it before on AZB, but I don't remember where. It is:

Set up an easy shot, as above. Choose a random spot on the table. Send the cue ball to that spot. To choose the random spot to a precision of 1/3 diamond, draw two cards from a normal deck. Stand by a side pocket. The first gives how many 1/3-diamonds you count across the table. (There are 13 such spots across the table.) The second card gives how many 1/3-diamonds to count to the left or right. Count to the left for a red card. Put the two cards on the spot to mark it. (If you have the exact shot above -- nearly straight into the side pocket -- you can restrict the spot to the appropriate end of the table by counting only in that direction regardless of the color of the second card.)

To extend this further, see if you can get to the selected spot with 0, 1, 2 or 3 cushions. Some of these might not be possible.

Another extension is to also select the spot for the object ball randomly and take cue ball in hand. In this case, you should nearly always be able to find paths with 0 to 2 or 3 cushions to the target position.

Williebetmore
07-03-2007, 08:31 AM
Yes, but with what you might call a 2-dimensional target rather than the 1-dimensional targets of the "wagon wheel" practice. I think I've described it before on AZB.....

Bob,
Yes, I now remember that you have described such a drill before (though it was a while ago, and my stroke was still pathetic so I just kept working on the stroke). I like your variation very much, and will incorporate it.

Many thanks for your input; the true students of the game really appreciate not only your participation on the forum; but also your efforts in promoting straight pool.

P.S. - I remember looking at the "sfbilliards" site several years ago, and being really impressed by the progressive drills. Now that I am going to start with some drills (my stroke is at an adequate level of mediocrity) I will have to check them out again. I have found that the more tedious and difficult a drill is; the more it seems to help me if I force myself to keep at it and master it.....go figure.

Pushout
07-06-2007, 04:12 PM
Is there a way to print these? When I do page preview, the tables don't appear.

PM sent your way.

JoeW
07-07-2007, 07:53 AM
Willie and others.

I am holding in my hand a book by Ted G. Brown (undated). Wagon Wheel System: Secrets of fine position play.(38 pages). First edition published by Ted G. Brown, P.O. Box 418353, Sacramento, Ca 95841. I purchased circa 1992.

It also says: To order copies write, American Billiard Library, 1570 Seabright, Long Beach, CA 90813 telephone (213) 437 – 5413

There is no online site for ABL and I assume they are no longer in business. If someone knows they are out of business I can photocopy and make the text available.

Brown wrote,” I have no doubt that playing this game (One Pocket Points discussed later) lead me to find a more scientific way to play position and the ‘Wagon Wheel’ system.. … More accurately it could be called ‘A theory of caroms’ or better yet, ‘when in doubt grab a quick ninety.” (page 2).

On pages 22 and 23 he shows a variation on shot three.

My understanding of the diagrams on page 11 for the WWS is that the OB is placed one ball off dead center towards the center pocket. The cue ball is placed slightly over half the distance from the opposing pocket to dead center on the table. Apparently, Brown moved the CB and inch or two up and down table towards the head or foot of the table as he moved around the wagon wheel to make the shot as described in your post.

In my practice routines I find it more consistent to place the CB as indicated but ½ ball off of the OB towards the foot of the table for every shot. After this is mastered then the CB can be moved around. Initially it is best to learn to control the CB from one place (changing as few variables as possible)

According to Brown, control is learned by cue tip placement and the amount of energy required. You should not cheat the pocket.

Here is an interesting story by Brown, paraphrased from his book so as not to violate his copyright. It seems that Virgil Fillmore, from LA, taught him a game called “One Pocket Points.” Break a 15 ball rack in any way and pocket all balls in one designated pocket. When you miss, count the number of balls made and that is the score. Re-rack all balls for the next shooter. If you make all 15 you get a free rack. The first ball in the second rack counts as 16, etc. The score is limitless. If you scratch you lose one point.

If you make a ball in the wrong pocket on the break your score is limited to 14! You can’t get a free rack.

According to Brown it is / was not uncommon for some players to run five racks and it becomes an obsession to get into your next rack. Seems they have some serious shooters in Calif. :cool:

There are several other comments in this small mongraph that are quite helpful. For instance, do you think about what part of the cue tip hits the cue ball on various shots?

I forget who just now, maybe Blackjack, suggested throwing six balls on the table and playing in rotation. This is an interesting drill to find one’s weaknesses.

JoeW
07-07-2007, 08:06 AM
I forgot to mention, when using the Wagon Wheel, I try to touch the rail ball three consecutive times to know that I have "mastered" it. It is surprising how often I can hit it twice and miss the third attempt.:mad:

Pushout
07-07-2007, 11:08 AM
I forgot to mention, when using the Wagon Wheel, I try to touch the rail ball three consecutive times to know that I have "mastered" it. It is surprising how often I can hit it twice and miss the third attempt.:mad:

I did this playing three-cushion. Ran three and missed the fourth by the thickness of a sheet of paper for about four years. {I didn't play it too often:)}

D Player
08-14-2007, 06:37 AM
I just tried to run through the wagon wheel drill this morning before work and had a bit of trouble (which was not unexpected)...

My question is -- should I plow through the drill until I make two successful hits on each target, or should I impose a time limit (say 15 minutes) and just work on certain shots until I build up some proficiency?

Thanks,
Jeff

sjm
08-14-2007, 06:42 PM
I just tried to run through the wagon wheel drill this morning before work and had a bit of trouble (which was not unexpected)...

My question is -- should I plow through the drill until I make two successful hits on each target, or should I impose a time limit (say 15 minutes) and just work on certain shots until I build up some proficiency?

Thanks,
Jeff

MY SUGGESTION IS THAT YOU FOCUS ENTIRELY ON THE FIRST THREE SHOTS IN THE DRILL. ONCE YOU'VE LEARNED THEM, AND THAT MIGHT TAKE A WHILE, THEN MOVE ON. THIS IS A DIFFICULT DRILL, AND IF YOU ARE, AS YOU CONTEND, A "D" PLAYER, THIS WILL HELP YOU TO AVOID BITING OFF MORE THAN YOU CAN CHEW.

Bob Jewett
08-14-2007, 07:12 PM
I just tried to run through the wagon wheel drill this morning before work and had a bit of trouble (which was not unexpected)...

My question is -- should I plow through the drill until I make two successful hits on each target, or should I impose a time limit (say 15 minutes) and just work on certain shots until I build up some proficiency?

Thanks,
Jeff
If you're having a lot of trouble, relax the requirements. First, change the positions of the balls to the way it's shown in Byrne's "Advanced Technique in Pool and Billiards" with the object ball and cue ball closer to the pocket. This will let you cheat the pocket more. I would say that the way the shot is illustrated above will not work for players below A-level or B-level depending on the angle taken.

Also, you can reduce the accuracy requirement. Put three balls up as the target or require that you leave the cue ball within a hand span from the target. (A hand span is the distance across your hand when you stretch out your fingers. Mine is nine inches.)

Good luck.

Williebetmore
08-14-2007, 07:15 PM
I just tried to run through the wagon wheel drill this morning before work and had a bit of trouble (which was not unexpected)...

My question is -- should I plow through the drill until I make two successful hits on each target, or should I impose a time limit (say 15 minutes) and just work on certain shots until I build up some proficiency?

Thanks,
Jeff

DP,
In addition to sjm's sound advice; let me also state that these drills are positional in nature, and presuppose that you already have a sound and repeatable stroke. If your stroke has flaws, some (?much?) of the value of the drills may be lost; and it is possible that stroke/ball pocketing drills might be more valuable to you. Just a thought.

One of the great values of having a great instructor is that he can identify weaknesses in your game (and accordingly drills to correct and improve them); allowing you to focus your efforts, and allowing progress to be MUCH faster than if you try to figure it out on your own.

D Player
08-15-2007, 06:17 AM
MY SUGGESTION IS THAT YOU FOCUS ENTIRELY ON THE FIRST THREE SHOTS IN THE DRILL. ONCE YOU'VE LEARNED THEM, AND THAT MIGHT TAKE A WHILE, THEN MOVE ON. THIS IS A DIFFICULT DRILL, AND IF YOU ARE, AS YOU CONTEND, A "D" PLAYER, THIS WILL HELP YOU TO AVOID BITING OFF MORE THAN YOU CAN CHEW.

SJM,

I appreciate your advice here...

With all the threads I have read which discuss the "optimal" amount of time to spend during practice on any one skill/drill, I often get confused as to what is the best approach for me.

I like the idea of breaking the drill into more manageable chunks, so I will focus on just the first three shots until I get more comfortable with them.

I am pretty realistic about my playing ability and would consider myself a D player, although I could be mistaken for a low to mid C on certain nights.

Thanks again for the help.
Jeff

D Player
08-15-2007, 06:40 AM
Bob and Don,

Thanks as well for the responses...

I practice on a 7' table at my house so the level of difficulty of this drill is reduced a bit. I'll try focusing on a few shots at a time for a while to see if I can develop some proficiency, and if need be, I'll make a hand span from the target an acceptable result.

I am also working on my stroke during every practice session. I have taken a few lessons and have some specific stoke drills I do before working on other areas. Even though it is difficult, I think this drill will benefit my game...

My position play is my weakest area, and I tend to use english in many situations where it is not required.

Thanks again,
Jeff

Takumi4G63
08-17-2007, 02:34 PM
For drill 2, am I supposed to have straight enough of an angle to cheat the pocket and draw right into the 10? Or am I supposed to go a rail to get there, avoiding the rest of the balls? It might be very difficult to do all of these without a rail on a table with tight side pockets.

Takumi4G63
08-17-2007, 02:39 PM
My position play is my weakest area, and I tend to use english in many situations where it is not required.

I think it's good to start, when you're less experienced, not worrying about using english much. Although English is immensely useful and necessary for a higher level of play, it complicates the game drastically (deflection, throw, etc.) and you should have really good fundamentals before using english tons. Many top players use English on almost all shots partly to lessen the chance of skids (i.e. even when no rail is used).

elvicash
08-18-2007, 08:38 AM
Willie and others.

I am holding in my hand a book by Ted G. Brown (undated). Wagon Wheel System: Secrets of fine position play.(38 pages). First edition published by Ted G. Brown, P.O. Box 418353, Sacramento, Ca 95841. I purchased circa 1992.

It also says: To order copies write, American Billiard Library, 1570 Seabright, Long Beach, CA 90813 telephone (213) 437 ? 5413

There is no online site for ABL and I assume they are no longer in business. If someone knows they are out of business I can photocopy and make the text available.

Brown wrote,? I have no doubt that playing this game (One Pocket Points discussed later) lead me to find a more scientific way to play position and the ?Wagon Wheel? system.. ? More accurately it could be called ?A theory of caroms? or better yet, ?when in doubt grab a quick ninety.? (page 2).

On pages 22 and 23 he shows a variation on shot three.

My understanding of the diagrams on page 11 for the WWS is that the OB is placed one ball off dead center towards the center pocket. The cue ball is placed slightly over half the distance from the opposing pocket to dead center on the table. Apparently, Brown moved the CB and inch or two up and down table towards the head or foot of the table as he moved around the wagon wheel to make the shot as described in your post.

In my practice routines I find it more consistent to place the CB as indicated but ? ball off of the OB towards the foot of the table for every shot. After this is mastered then the CB can be moved around. Initially it is best to learn to control the CB from one place (changing as few variables as possible)

According to Brown, control is learned by cue tip placement and the amount of energy required. You should not cheat the pocket.

Here is an interesting story by Brown, paraphrased from his book so as not to violate his copyright. It seems that Virgil Fillmore, from LA, taught him a game called ?One Pocket Points.? Break a 15 ball rack in any way and pocket all balls in one designated pocket. When you miss, count the number of balls made and that is the score. Re-rack all balls for the next shooter. If you make all 15 you get a free rack. The first ball in the second rack counts as 16, etc. The score is limitless. If you scratch you lose one point.

If you make a ball in the wrong pocket on the break your score is limited to 14! You can?t get a free rack.

According to Brown it is / was not uncommon for some players to run five racks and it becomes an obsession to get into your next rack. Seems they have some serious shooters in Calif. :cool:

There are several other comments in this small mongraph that are quite helpful. For instance, do you think about what part of the cue tip hits the cue ball on various shots?

I forget who just now, maybe Blackjack, suggested throwing six balls on the table and playing in rotation. This is an interesting drill to find one?s weaknesses.

I like this book. However, I think it is out of print. I bought my copy in the late 80's. I have not seen it for sale for quite a while.

arsenius
08-21-2007, 02:30 AM
I did drill #2 last night, no time for more. I had a heck of a time getting ball number 5! It's the smallest target. I kept getting close, but not on it. It took me a whole rack of balls before I hit it!

Great drills, thanks for these!