# End-of-Rack Practice Game

#### John Matranga

##### New member
The real thrill of playing 14.1 is in making a high run. Every straight pool player knows what their personal best is, and whether it’s 17 or 97, a high run is a point of pride, a joy to produce, and a benchmark of your straight pool playing chops.

As a student and player of the straight pool game, I observed many runs come to an end (including my own!) because of poorly planned or poorly executed play at the end of the rack. You’ve seen it too; Four or five balls remain on the table after running, say, eight balls. A few shots later and it’s apparent the run will end because the cue ball or break ball is out of position, allowing no chance of pocketing the 15th ball and breaking the new rack.

I was watching Bob Jewett’s excellent video compilation on Az Billiards Forum entitled "Last five" video from Accu-Stats and Phil Capelle | AzBilliards Forums when I was inspired to develop a way to practice the "last five" on my home table.

Here is the game I ‘ve been practicing: Begin with a rack of five balls arranged with two balls at the top and center of your triangle and a second row of three balls pressed in behind the first row. The head ball is omitted as in all straight pool racks except the initial one. Then place a sixth ball anywhere near your rack of five balls. Using the cue ball in hand shoot the sixth ball into any pocket and break apart the rack of five with the cue ball from this shot. Continue shooting as you would in a straight pool match until the cue ball and one object ball remain on the table. Re-rack five balls in the triangle using the same configuration above to form a new rack and try to continue your run. The new rack of five balls may be placed in any advantageous spot within the triangle to allow for an optimal break (See my examples of different racks below). How many racks can you run this way?

This method of practicing has the following advantages: 1) It helps one to concentrate on developing a plan for the final five balls to give yourself a fighting chance for a reasonable break ball shot into the new rack, 2) it gives one more frequent practice than playing a 15 ball rack at executing a break ball shot, and 3) with repetition, it allows one to visualize or recognize effective end-of-the-rack patterns.

I admit this game does not accurately replicate a real 14.1 break shot in which the cue ball will behave differently hitting a rack of 14 balls versus five balls. It also does little in the way of perfecting your safety play or middle of the rack ball pocketing. Yet the game has the allure of running a rack quickly and being able to measure your success rate for busting open the next rack. In short, I believe this practice method has helped my straight pool game and allowed me to raise my league handicap. Good luck with your practice and onward for me to eclipse my high run this season!

#### TheBasics

##### AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Still Learning, Howdy;

Nice way to go about that process. Thanks for puttin' it forth.

hank

#### John Matranga

##### New member
Thanks Hank. As I say, the inspiration was Bob Jewett's compilation video, so kudos to Bob too. - John

#### Saturated Fats

##### AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Here's how Jerry Briesath suggested that I practice the last five (or so):

Hand place a ball where you'd like the break ball to be.​
Hand place a ball where you'd like the key ball to be.​
Maybe do the same for the key to the key ball.​
Position two or three more balls at either specific or random locations on the table.​
Starting with the last balls positioned, run down to the key ball and get position on the break ball.​
When the cue ball stops after potting the key ball, the exercise is finished.​

#### John Matranga

##### New member
Here's how Jerry Briesath suggested that I practice the last five (or so):

Hand place a ball where you'd like the break ball to be.​
Hand place a ball where you'd like the key ball to be.​
Maybe do the same for the key to the key ball.​
Position two or three more balls at either specific or random locations on the table.​
Starting with the last balls positioned, run down to the key ball and get position on the break ball.​
When the cue ball stops after potting the key ball, the exercise is finished.​
Good suggestion too, SF. One reason I like the practice game is the ability to string together racks; I believe four racks is my personal best thus far. John

#### Bob Jewett

##### AZB Osmium Member
Staff member
Gold Member
Silver Member
A game suggested by Alex Lely is:

Set up a break ball that you like and rack 14. Cue ball is in hand only for this first break.

Break the rack.

Remove all but five balls. Choose wisely.

Run four balls off hopefully as you planned during the removal, getting on a break shot.

Break the rack. (and repeat)

I think this is a very good drill to make you think about the last five from different positions. Sometimes you will have to move a ball into break position.

#### John Matranga

##### New member
Interesting variation, Bob. I think all three games above are excellent ways to improve the all-important end-of-rack-game in straight pool.

On a personal note, thank you Bob for all that you do for this web site and for the billiards world in general. Your efforts are much appreciated.

#### Cameron Smith

##### is kind of hungry...
Silver Member
A game suggested by Alex Lely is:

Set up a break ball that you like and rack 14. Cue ball is in hand only for this first break.

Break the rack.

Remove all but five balls. Choose wisely.

Run four balls off hopefully as you planned during the removal, getting on a break shot.

Break the rack. (and repeat)

I think this is a very good drill to make you think about the last five from different positions. Sometimes you will have to move a ball into break position.
I like this because you can choose to focus on specific break balls. I’ve spent time on this deliberately chose to practice getting position on non-traditional break shots.

#### jeagle64

##### AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I’ve played that way also. I like it. Easier to break the stack and it usually develops a break ball.

Sent from my iPad using AzBilliards Forums

#### 14oneman

##### Straight, no chaser!
Silver Member
The real thrill of playing 14.1 is in making a high run. Every straight pool player knows what their personal best is, and whether it’s 17 or 97, a high run is a point of pride, a joy to produce, and a benchmark of your straight pool playing chops.

As a student and player of the straight pool game, I observed many runs come to an end (including my own!) because of poorly planned or poorly executed play at the end of the rack. You’ve seen it too; Four or five balls remain on the table after running, say, eight balls. A few shots later and it’s apparent the run will end because the cue ball or break ball is out of position, allowing no chance of pocketing the 15th ball and breaking the new rack.

I was watching Bob Jewett’s excellent video compilation on Az Billiards Forum entitled "Last five" video from Accu-Stats and Phil Capelle | AzBilliards Forums when I was inspired to develop a way to practice the "last five" on my home table.

Here is the game I ‘ve been practicing: Begin with a rack of five balls arranged with two balls at the top and center of your triangle and a second row of three balls pressed in behind the first row. The head ball is omitted as in all straight pool racks except the initial one. Then place a sixth ball anywhere near your rack of five balls. Using the cue ball in hand shoot the sixth ball into any pocket and break apart the rack of five with the cue ball from this shot. Continue shooting as you would in a straight pool match until the cue ball and one object ball remain on the table. Re-rack five balls in the triangle using the same configuration above to form a new rack and try to continue your run. The new rack of five balls may be placed in any advantageous spot within the triangle to allow for an optimal break (See my examples of different racks below). How many racks can you run this way?

This method of practicing has the following advantages: 1) It helps one to concentrate on developing a plan for the final five balls to give yourself a fighting chance for a reasonable break ball shot into the new rack, 2) it gives one more frequent practice than playing a 15 ball rack at executing a break ball shot, and 3) with repetition, it allows one to visualize or recognize effective end-of-the-rack patterns.

I admit this game does not accurately replicate a real 14.1 break shot in which the cue ball will behave differently hitting a rack of 14 balls versus five balls. It also does little in the way of perfecting your safety play or middle of the rack ball pocketing. Yet the game has the allure of running a rack quickly and being able to measure your success rate for busting open the next rack. In short, I believe this practice method has helped my straight pool game and allowed me to raise my league handicap. Good luck with your practice and onward for me to eclipse my high run this season!
View attachment 690915
Very interesting...I think you've developed a very nice training tool !!!....gonna have to try this...thanks for sharing!!!

#### KeithK

##### New member
Tony Robles has a great way to practice the end of the rack for straight pool. Toss 4 or 5 balls randomly on the table, put another ball down in a break shot position and then take ball in hand and see if you can run the balls and be on the break ball. He STRESSES before you do anything, try to determine the simplest pattern to get on the break ball and try to execute it. If you have the means, shoot video of yourself doing this drill. If you screw up the run, put the balls back in the same place and try again.

#### justnum

##### Billiards Improvement Research Projects Associate
Silver Member
I rack the first three rows of a rack on opposite spots of the table. I also leave a breakball near each one. The challenge I focus on is precision cueball control.

Work one side of the table, then learn the angles to get to the otherside.

The drill helped me learn break speed control and identify lanes I want my cueball to roll along.

It helped me segment my thought process. Having the reflection setup also helped narrow down routes for where I want to the cueball to be.

Also helpful is observing world class matches. Youtube is a great source. The shot selection during a 14.1 match is significantly different than other pool games.