The "Three Time" drill

Tin Man

AzB Gold Member
Gold Member
Silver Member
Everyone knows top flight pool is about consistency. The mistake the vast majority of amateurs make is they play terrible patterns that lead to inconsistent transitions and recovery shots. Some days they get where they intended or make the recovery shot, other days they don't. Since they have intermittent success they conclude they know how to play but need to improve their consistency of execution, therefore they need to improve their fundamentals. This is why so many people are obsessed with fundamentals.

Fundamentals are very important, but they can't make the wrong pattern into the right pattern. If you are playing low percentage transitions there is no amount of stroking into a coke bottle that will allow you to outrun those percentages.

In an effort to demonstrate this I've invented what I call the "Three Time" drill. Here's how it works: Play the 5 ball ghost (5 balls is PLENTY to make this drill a monster!). Mark the balls. Take ball in hand. But here's the rub. You have to shoot the first ball THREE TIMES. On each shot mark where the cue ball landed. Then you have to shoot the second ball from the WORST of the three positions. And you have to shoot that second ball in three times, making each landing, and then play the third ball from the worst of those positions. And so on.

Here's what this drill teaches. If you shoot the wrong shot, this drill will absolutely expose it. You will get good shape once, get out of line once, and butcher and miss the shot once while trying to do too much and it's game over. Or you will get out of line hopelessly, and unlike in a game where you can try to make a miracle shot and recover, you now have to make that miracle shot three times. Oh, and then play from the worst of the three lies should you manage that. Good luck with that.

This will hammer home the importance of good patterns and cue ball. When my students try this drill I use coins to mark their landing spots. When they shoot key transitions their coins are usually several feet apart or scattered over half the table. When I shoot my coins are stacked up on top of each other, or laying on a 8" strip of felt all on the same path of the angle I want on my next ball.

Are my fundamentals better? Do I have better cue ball control? Not really. It's just that my patterns are very, very strong, and I try to play patterns that eliminate the need for good execution.

This drill will really expose flaws in your reasoning. When you shoot a layout once you can get out of line and chalk it up to poor execution. When you do it again and again you learn really quick what works and what doesn't work. It's not about execution. It's about taking pressure off of execution. And you will learn which paths are high percentage and which sounded good in your mind but really weren't.

Bad players practice the shot they missed. Better players practice the shot where they got out of line. Great players practice the shot where they got a sub-optimal angle where they allowed even a chance of anything going wrong.

Now, many players are limited on patterns because they don't understand the full functionality of the cue ball. And many others don't understand why some patterns are better than others. That's what I do when I teach. If you want to learn how to play this game at a high level let me know. But if you are just looking for a good way to test your patterns and learn from trial and error, I have yet to see a better drill to get down to brass tax. Pro pool is about finding ways to stack those coins. Go to work!
 

Imac007

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
...Fundamentals are very important, but they can't make the wrong pattern into the right pattern.

...Bad players practice the shot they missed. Better players practice the shot where they got out of line. Great players practice the shot where they got a sub-optimal angle where they allowed even a chance of anything going wrong.

Even top players often fail to take what the table offers them. That first shot, makeable but with sub optimal position available can be so enticing. If a pattern exists to get into optimal position in one or two shots, then shotmaking can save them. Sometimes a pattern should include an “opportunity” position. The safety that provides that final piece in the “pattern”.

Ego becomes the issue. It’s a necessary part of confidence. But knowing you can make a shot and it being what you should do, are two different things. But ego can push us to envision that needed optimal position playing a lower odds shot to get to that position. The opening shot is often the one with the transition that is “unstackable. “

And you are so right. Players focus on the shot they missed instead of the transitions that got them to that spot. Avoiding shots that push balls into unpredictable position, taking balls out of play by choosing a pattern that doesn’t bring them into play versus one that does. And understanding when to violate these principles.

The differences that make a difference.

Top players in sports “see” the game. Wayne Gretzky, the GOAT hockey player, was noted for his ability to go where the puck was going to be. Players don’t even need great fundamentals if they are shooting with ball in hand with 2 or 3 balls left. “Seeing” what is needed to finish, separates players on so many levels. Strong pattern play is one way to get there.

GREAT POST! Worth a reputation upgrade.
 

Imac007

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Joe Davis, former world snooker champion, wrote in his How I Play Snooker book, that the average player tends to make about 3 balls then screw up either the shot or position on the fourth. Too many players in pool tend to spend their time on a 4th ball mentality. Many leagues are 8 ball meaning there are often multiple shot options. So practicing players break the balls and see how far into the rack they can get. When it breaks down I see them rerack and start again. When they do manage to get down to those last few balls they have been there so seldom that they have trouble thinking their way through the patterns. With fewer balls suddenly options become fewer and precision is needed.

Watching Effren Reyes I noted that he threw the balls on the table and with ball in hand ran balls. When he missed a shot he either pushed it to a hole or set it up again. He didn’t start over though. He went on to finish the run. The spread balls were an easier setup than many breaks. His attitude seemed to be that when the pattern was there to allow him to run out that he needed to always count on that.

Starting students with the end in mind, I run the game situation in reverse. Learning how to get from the setup ball to the money ball is first. Then add a ball. I start them with ball in hand. They need to choose a setup ball. The other ball needs to get shape on the setup ball so it can transition to the money ball. This starts their pattern play development. Adding a 4th ball with ball in hand adds more options. These 3 and 4 ball positions are now complicated by a concept of taking the game into the practice, as opposed to taking practice into the game.

Take the 3 ball setup then add interfering balls, like stripes when they are solids in eight ball, now with ball in hand, navigate through the obstacles. Start by adding a single ball in the midst of three balls. Don’t freeze it to any balls. Set up situations as Effren did, the runout is there and should be made. Learn to finish is at the heart of these setups. Players who do this have an advantage over those who develop an ability to run past that 4th ball making 5 then 6. Their inability to finish becomes the hallmark of their game and stalls their progress.

The functional intent behind strong pattern play development is not the pattern play itself, it’s about generating chances to finish.

The difference is clear in games

Players who are break and run practice types get anxious when they get down to the part of the game they haven’t practiced. In contrast those who work on finishing often fumble through the early stage of a game but relax when they get down to the familiarity of the finishing stage.
 
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Lawnboy77

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Excellent thread, as usual. I’ll put this drill in the rotation for sure. Thanks again Tin man.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

Andrew Manning

Aspiring know-it-all
Silver Member
Everyone knows top flight pool is about consistency. The mistake the vast majority of amateurs make is they play terrible patterns that lead to inconsistent transitions and recovery shots. Some days they get where they intended or make the recovery shot, other days they don't. Since they have intermittent success they conclude they know how to play but need to improve their consistency of execution, therefore they need to improve their fundamentals. This is why so many people are obsessed with fundamentals.

Fundamentals are very important, but they can't make the wrong pattern into the right pattern. If you are playing low percentage transitions there is no amount of stroking into a coke bottle that will allow you to outrun those percentages.

In an effort to demonstrate this I've invented what I call the "Three Time" drill. Here's how it works: Play the 5 ball ghost (5 balls is PLENTY to make this drill a monster!). Mark the balls. Take ball in hand. But here's the rub. You have to shoot the first ball THREE TIMES. On each shot mark where the cue ball landed. Then you have to shoot the second ball from the WORST of the three positions. And you have to shoot that second ball in three times, making each landing, and then play the third ball from the worst of those positions. And so on.

Here's what this drill teaches. If you shoot the wrong shot, this drill will absolutely expose it. You will get good shape once, get out of line once, and butcher and miss the shot once while trying to do too much and it's game over. Or you will get out of line hopelessly, and unlike in a game where you can try to make a miracle shot and recover, you now have to make that miracle shot three times. Oh, and then play from the worst of the three lies should you manage that. Good luck with that.

This will hammer home the importance of good patterns and cue ball. When my students try this drill I use coins to mark their landing spots. When they shoot key transitions their coins are usually several feet apart or scattered over half the table. When I shoot my coins are stacked up on top of each other, or laying on a 8" strip of felt all on the same path of the angle I want on my next ball.

Are my fundamentals better? Do I have better cue ball control? Not really. It's just that my patterns are very, very strong, and I try to play patterns that eliminate the need for good execution.

This drill will really expose flaws in your reasoning. When you shoot a layout once you can get out of line and chalk it up to poor execution. When you do it again and again you learn really quick what works and what doesn't work. It's not about execution. It's about taking pressure off of execution. And you will learn which paths are high percentage and which sounded good in your mind but really weren't.

Bad players practice the shot they missed. Better players practice the shot where they got out of line. Great players practice the shot where they got a sub-optimal angle where they allowed even a chance of anything going wrong.

Now, many players are limited on patterns because they don't understand the full functionality of the cue ball. And many others don't understand why some patterns are better than others. That's what I do when I teach. If you want to learn how to play this game at a high level let me know. But if you are just looking for a good way to test your patterns and learn from trial and error, I have yet to see a better drill to get down to brass tax. Pro pool is about finding ways to stack those coins. Go to work!

I love the concept. I often like to tell myself (but my discipline at actually doing it is very spotty) that I need to "whisper to the CB" instead of "shouting at it"; i.e. play shots that closely resemble the CB's natural path, using spin and speed to alter that path as minimally as possible. Too often I realize in hindsight that what I wanted the CB to do wasn't a realistic expectation and I should have played for a different pocket, different number of rails, different gap in the traffic, etc.

Looking forward to trying this one out.
 

garczar

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Reminds me of a golf tip Trevino gave. He said to play two balls off every tee and then play from where the worst one ended up. He said if you could shoot around par doin that you we're a player. "Three Time". I like it.
 

Tooler

Inside Engrish Prease
Silver Member
This is exactly how Kopkea practices at home.....hits 3 balls,then plays 3 more from worst position.

So simple, yet very effective learning tool.

Thanks for sharing this.
 

dr_dave

Instructional Author
Gold Member
Silver Member
Everyone knows top flight pool is about consistency. The mistake the vast majority of amateurs make is they play terrible patterns that lead to inconsistent transitions and recovery shots. Some days they get where they intended or make the recovery shot, other days they don't. Since they have intermittent success they conclude they know how to play but need to improve their consistency of execution, therefore they need to improve their fundamentals. This is why so many people are obsessed with fundamentals.

Fundamentals are very important, but they can't make the wrong pattern into the right pattern. If you are playing low percentage transitions there is no amount of stroking into a coke bottle that will allow you to outrun those percentages.

In an effort to demonstrate this I've invented what I call the "Three Time" drill. Here's how it works: Play the 5 ball ghost (5 balls is PLENTY to make this drill a monster!). Mark the balls. Take ball in hand. But here's the rub. You have to shoot the first ball THREE TIMES. On each shot mark where the cue ball landed. Then you have to shoot the second ball from the WORST of the three positions. And you have to shoot that second ball in three times, making each landing, and then play the third ball from the worst of those positions. And so on.

Here's what this drill teaches. If you shoot the wrong shot, this drill will absolutely expose it. You will get good shape once, get out of line once, and butcher and miss the shot once while trying to do too much and it's game over. Or you will get out of line hopelessly, and unlike in a game where you can try to make a miracle shot and recover, you now have to make that miracle shot three times. Oh, and then play from the worst of the three lies should you manage that. Good luck with that.

This will hammer home the importance of good patterns and cue ball. When my students try this drill I use coins to mark their landing spots. When they shoot key transitions their coins are usually several feet apart or scattered over half the table. When I shoot my coins are stacked up on top of each other, or laying on a 8" strip of felt all on the same path of the angle I want on my next ball.

Are my fundamentals better? Do I have better cue ball control? Not really. It's just that my patterns are very, very strong, and I try to play patterns that eliminate the need for good execution.

This drill will really expose flaws in your reasoning. When you shoot a layout once you can get out of line and chalk it up to poor execution. When you do it again and again you learn really quick what works and what doesn't work. It's not about execution. It's about taking pressure off of execution. And you will learn which paths are high percentage and which sounded good in your mind but really weren't.

Bad players practice the shot they missed. Better players practice the shot where they got out of line. Great players practice the shot where they got a sub-optimal angle where they allowed even a chance of anything going wrong.

Now, many players are limited on patterns because they don't understand the full functionality of the cue ball. And many others don't understand why some patterns are better than others. That's what I do when I teach. If you want to learn how to play this game at a high level let me know. But if you are just looking for a good way to test your patterns and learn from trial and error, I have yet to see a better drill to get down to brass tax. Pro pool is about finding ways to stack those coins. Go to work!
Very well stated. And what a great drill.

Good work,
Dave

PS: I added a quote of your post to the bottom of the position play drill resource page.
 
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ShootingArts

Smorg is giving St Peter the 7!
Gold Member
Silver Member
a very minor quibble with the write up

Everyone knows top flight pool is about consistency. The mistake the vast majority of amateurs make is they play terrible patterns that lead to inconsistent transitions and recovery shots. Some days they get where they intended or make the recovery shot, other days they don't. Since they have intermittent success they conclude they know how to play but need to improve their consistency of execution, therefore they need to improve their fundamentals. This is why so many people are obsessed with fundamentals.

Fundamentals are very important, but they can't make the wrong pattern into the right pattern. If you are playing low percentage transitions there is no amount of stroking into a coke bottle that will allow you to outrun those percentages.

In an effort to demonstrate this I've invented what I call the "Three Time" drill. Here's how it works: Play the 5 ball ghost (5 balls is PLENTY to make this drill a monster!). Mark the balls. Take ball in hand. But here's the rub. You have to shoot the first ball THREE TIMES. On each shot mark where the cue ball landed. Then you have to shoot the second ball from the WORST of the three positions. And you have to shoot that second ball in three times, making each landing, and then play the third ball from the worst of those positions. And so on.

Here's what this drill teaches. If you shoot the wrong shot, this drill will absolutely expose it. You will get good shape once, get out of line once, and butcher and miss the shot once while trying to do too much and it's game over. Or you will get out of line hopelessly, and unlike in a game where you can try to make a miracle shot and recover, you now have to make that miracle shot three times. Oh, and then play from the worst of the three lies should you manage that. Good luck with that.

This will hammer home the importance of good patterns and cue ball. When my students try this drill I use coins to mark their landing spots. When they shoot key transitions their coins are usually several feet apart or scattered over half the table. When I shoot my coins are stacked up on top of each other, or laying on a 8" strip of felt all on the same path of the angle I want on my next ball.

Are my fundamentals better? Do I have better cue ball control? Not really. It's just that my patterns are very, very strong, and I try to play patterns that eliminate the need for good execution.

This drill will really expose flaws in your reasoning. When you shoot a layout once you can get out of line and chalk it up to poor execution. When you do it again and again you learn really quick what works and what doesn't work. It's not about execution. It's about taking pressure off of execution. And you will learn which paths are high percentage and which sounded good in your mind but really weren't.

Bad players practice the shot they missed. Better players practice the shot where they got out of line. Great players practice the shot where they got a sub-optimal angle where they allowed even a chance of anything going wrong.

Now, many players are limited on patterns because they don't understand the full functionality of the cue ball. And many others don't understand why some patterns are better than others. That's what I do when I teach. If you want to learn how to play this game at a high level let me know. But if you are just looking for a good way to test your patterns and learn from trial and error, I have yet to see a better drill to get down to brass tax. Pro pool is about finding ways to stack those coins. Go to work!



A minor quibble with the write up, you of course don't eliminate the need for good execution, you make good execution easy. Seems like a challenging drill. I might suggest sticking notebook reinforcement donuts or drafting dots which are low adhesion on the table to avoid running into coins which deflect a ball more.

Seems like an entertaining drill!

Hu
 

jason

Unprofessional everything
Silver Member
Everyone knows top flight pool is about consistency. The mistake the vast majority of amateurs make is they play terrible patterns that lead to inconsistent transitions and recovery shots. Some days they get where they intended or make the recovery shot, other days they don't. Since they have intermittent success they conclude they know how to play but need to improve their consistency of execution, therefore they need to improve their fundamentals. This is why so many people are obsessed with fundamentals.

Fundamentals are very important, but they can't make the wrong pattern into the right pattern. If you are playing low percentage transitions there is no amount of stroking into a coke bottle that will allow you to outrun those percentages.

In an effort to demonstrate this I've invented what I call the "Three Time" drill. Here's how it works: Play the 5 ball ghost (5 balls is PLENTY to make this drill a monster!). Mark the balls. Take ball in hand. But here's the rub. You have to shoot the first ball THREE TIMES. On each shot mark where the cue ball landed. Then you have to shoot the second ball from the WORST of the three positions. And you have to shoot that second ball in three times, making each landing, and then play the third ball from the worst of those positions. And so on.

Here's what this drill teaches. If you shoot the wrong shot, this drill will absolutely expose it. You will get good shape once, get out of line once, and butcher and miss the shot once while trying to do too much and it's game over. Or you will get out of line hopelessly, and unlike in a game where you can try to make a miracle shot and recover, you now have to make that miracle shot three times. Oh, and then play from the worst of the three lies should you manage that. Good luck with that.

This will hammer home the importance of good patterns and cue ball. When my students try this drill I use coins to mark their landing spots. When they shoot key transitions their coins are usually several feet apart or scattered over half the table. When I shoot my coins are stacked up on top of each other, or laying on a 8" strip of felt all on the same path of the angle I want on my next ball.

Are my fundamentals better? Do I have better cue ball control? Not really. It's just that my patterns are very, very strong, and I try to play patterns that eliminate the need for good execution.

This drill will really expose flaws in your reasoning. When you shoot a layout once you can get out of line and chalk it up to poor execution. When you do it again and again you learn really quick what works and what doesn't work. It's not about execution. It's about taking pressure off of execution. And you will learn which paths are high percentage and which sounded good in your mind but really weren't.

Bad players practice the shot they missed. Better players practice the shot where they got out of line. Great players practice the shot where they got a sub-optimal angle where they allowed even a chance of anything going wrong.

Now, many players are limited on patterns because they don't understand the full functionality of the cue ball. And many others don't understand why some patterns are better than others. That's what I do when I teach. If you want to learn how to play this game at a high level let me know. But if you are just looking for a good way to test your patterns and learn from trial and error, I have yet to see a better drill to get down to brass tax. Pro pool is about finding ways to stack those coins. Go to work!

I like it...alllllot! ~Jim Carey

Seriously, I will have to try this with my students and myself as well. This seems like a great idea. Thanks for sharing.
 

DecentShot

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Everyone knows top flight pool is about consistency. The mistake the vast majority of amateurs make is they play terrible patterns that lead to inconsistent transitions and recovery shots. Some days they get where they intended or make the recovery shot, other days they don't. Since they have intermittent success they conclude they know how to play but need to improve their consistency of execution, therefore they need to improve their fundamentals. This is why so many people are obsessed with fundamentals.

Fundamentals are very important, but they can't make the wrong pattern into the right pattern. If you are playing low percentage transitions there is no amount of stroking into a coke bottle that will allow you to outrun those percentages.

In an effort to demonstrate this I've invented what I call the "Three Time" drill. Here's how it works: Play the 5 ball ghost (5 balls is PLENTY to make this drill a monster!). Mark the balls. Take ball in hand. But here's the rub. You have to shoot the first ball THREE TIMES. On each shot mark where the cue ball landed. Then you have to shoot the second ball from the WORST of the three positions. And you have to shoot that second ball in three times, making each landing, and then play the third ball from the worst of those positions. And so on.

Here's what this drill teaches. If you shoot the wrong shot, this drill will absolutely expose it. You will get good shape once, get out of line once, and butcher and miss the shot once while trying to do too much and it's game over. Or you will get out of line hopelessly, and unlike in a game where you can try to make a miracle shot and recover, you now have to make that miracle shot three times. Oh, and then play from the worst of the three lies should you manage that. Good luck with that.

This will hammer home the importance of good patterns and cue ball. When my students try this drill I use coins to mark their landing spots. When they shoot key transitions their coins are usually several feet apart or scattered over half the table. When I shoot my coins are stacked up on top of each other, or laying on a 8" strip of felt all on the same path of the angle I want on my next ball.

Are my fundamentals better? Do I have better cue ball control? Not really. It's just that my patterns are very, very strong, and I try to play patterns that eliminate the need for good execution.

This drill will really expose flaws in your reasoning. When you shoot a layout once you can get out of line and chalk it up to poor execution. When you do it again and again you learn really quick what works and what doesn't work. It's not about execution. It's about taking pressure off of execution. And you will learn which paths are high percentage and which sounded good in your mind but really weren't.

Bad players practice the shot they missed. Better players practice the shot where they got out of line. Great players practice the shot where they got a sub-optimal angle where they allowed even a chance of anything going wrong.

Now, many players are limited on patterns because they don't understand the full functionality of the cue ball. And many others don't understand why some patterns are better than others. That's what I do when I teach. If you want to learn how to play this game at a high level let me know. But if you are just looking for a good way to test your patterns and learn from trial and error, I have yet to see a better drill to get down to brass tax. Pro pool is about finding ways to stack those coins. Go to work!

I love this! Ingenious! Gonna try it tonight.
 

fastone371

Certifiable
Silver Member
Everyone knows top flight pool is about consistency. The mistake the vast majority of amateurs make is they play terrible patterns that lead to inconsistent transitions and recovery shots. Some days they get where they intended or make the recovery shot, other days they don't. Since they have intermittent success they conclude they know how to play but need to improve their consistency of execution, therefore they need to improve their fundamentals. This is why so many people are obsessed with fundamentals.

Fundamentals are very important, but they can't make the wrong pattern into the right pattern. If you are playing low percentage transitions there is no amount of stroking into a coke bottle that will allow you to outrun those percentages.

In an effort to demonstrate this I've invented what I call the "Three Time" drill. Here's how it works: Play the 5 ball ghost (5 balls is PLENTY to make this drill a monster!). Mark the balls. Take ball in hand. But here's the rub. You have to shoot the first ball THREE TIMES. On each shot mark where the cue ball landed. Then you have to shoot the second ball from the WORST of the three positions. And you have to shoot that second ball in three times, making each landing, and then play the third ball from the worst of those positions. And so on.

Here's what this drill teaches. If you shoot the wrong shot, this drill will absolutely expose it. You will get good shape once, get out of line once, and butcher and miss the shot once while trying to do too much and it's game over. Or you will get out of line hopelessly, and unlike in a game where you can try to make a miracle shot and recover, you now have to make that miracle shot three times. Oh, and then play from the worst of the three lies should you manage that. Good luck with that.

This will hammer home the importance of good patterns and cue ball. When my students try this drill I use coins to mark their landing spots. When they shoot key transitions their coins are usually several feet apart or scattered over half the table. When I shoot my coins are stacked up on top of each other, or laying on a 8" strip of felt all on the same path of the angle I want on my next ball.

Are my fundamentals better? Do I have better cue ball control? Not really. It's just that my patterns are very, very strong, and I try to play patterns that eliminate the need for good execution.

This drill will really expose flaws in your reasoning. When you shoot a layout once you can get out of line and chalk it up to poor execution. When you do it again and again you learn really quick what works and what doesn't work. It's not about execution. It's about taking pressure off of execution. And you will learn which paths are high percentage and which sounded good in your mind but really weren't.

Bad players practice the shot they missed. Better players practice the shot where they got out of line. Great players practice the shot where they got a sub-optimal angle where they allowed even a chance of anything going wrong.

Now, many players are limited on patterns because they don't understand the full functionality of the cue ball. And many others don't understand why some patterns are better than others. That's what I do when I teach. If you want to learn how to play this game at a high level let me know. But if you are just looking for a good way to test your patterns and learn from trial and error, I have yet to see a better drill to get down to brass tax. Pro pool is about finding ways to stack those coins. Go to work!

Great stuff!!!! Something I am definitely going to try. I play mostly 8 ball, I usually get stuck on the 6th or 7th ball, it happens so often I feel like Im going start pulling my hair out. You hear people talking about playing the "right" pattern for the rack, other than running out the rack how do you know it was the "right" pattern? I try to pay attention to patterns and shot choices watching videos of tournaments on the interweb but without actually walking around the table it can be very difficult to see the angle of the shot or the exact table layout to know why the shooter did what he did.
 
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alstl

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Interesting drill. I would assert straight pool is a great way to improve your game. It punishes poor position, poor pocketin, poor patterns and poor cue ball control.

In 9 ball you can get away with "area" shape where getting on the correct side of the object ball is good enough.
 

Tin Man

AzB Gold Member
Gold Member
Silver Member
straight pool

Interesting drill. I would assert straight pool is a great way to improve your game. It punishes poor position, poor pocketin, poor patterns and poor cue ball control.

In 9 ball you can get away with "area" shape where getting on the correct side of the object ball is good enough.

I love straight pool and you're right that it punishes poor choices. The problem is that it doesn't punish them consistently and immediately. In other words, someone can fall out of line and have to shoot their break ball to keep their run going, telling themselves they'll have to find or manufacture a new one later. By the end of the rack they settle for a sub-optimal break ball. Then they make the break ball, hit the rack and open up two balls. They shoot them in and try to find a way to open up the rest of the rack but they aren't lying good, so they are able to contact the rack but fail to open up more shots. Run over. Now, do they really remember and attribute their run ending to the pattern error they made last rack? Or do they blame the poor break attempt they just made? Or do they just shrug and accept that sometimes their runs simple end for reasons unknown and move on to the next?

In my experience pool players are very, very bad at correctly identifying the mistakes they make that actually lead to their failures. This is why they pound their heads against the walls and stop improving. That is why every student I work with between the 500-600 Fargorate range, sometimes 30-40 year pool veterans, feels like they are playing a different game after we work together.

I can use drills like this to show the difference in our play and help them bridge that gap. This drill will absolutely call immediate attention to any bad decisions. You can't rug sweep three coins spread out across the table. You can rug sweep the fact that you aren't even getting to the third ball of a five ball run by telling yourself "I should've been able to make that shot". Nope. Most people will learn they shoot patterns with huge failure rates built in to them and they live a life of hoping stars line up or they can come with a series of recovery shots. It will even allow you to start to figure out which ways work better. It won't solve all the problems, but at least it will call them out so you can start trying to fix the right part of the machine.

As for area shape in 9 ball, simply being on the right side of the ball may be good enough when they balls are laying friendly, but when there are key transitions, congestion, balls on rails, or many other situations you'll have to do much better than that to beat even the 6 ball ghost.
 

Lawnboy77

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
This reminds me of when I was starting out in high school playing at an old pool hall in my home town. I was probably one of the top players in the small community, but this old WWII vet, who was also the science teacher at the high school could really put a hurting on me by simply playing smart, high percentage CB control. I was by far a better shot maker, but a pure shot maker has no chance against someone who is smart and plays the correct patterns.
 

Tin Man

AzB Gold Member
Gold Member
Silver Member
patterns

Great stuff!!!! Something I am definitely going to try. I play mostly 8 ball, I usually get stuck on the 6th or 7th ball, it happens so often I feel like Im going start pulling my hair out. You hear people talking about playing the "right" pattern for the rack, other than running out the rack how do you know it was the "right" pattern? I try to pay attention to patterns and shot choices watching videos of tournaments on the interweb but without actually walking around the table it can be very difficult to see the angle of the shot or the exact table layout to know why the shooter did what he did.

The 'right pattern' is always subjective, so it really comes down to the planning of a run that maximizes your chances of success. I don't know where your patterns break down exactly but there are a lot of general rules. Things like minimizing cue ball movement, identifying and dealing with trouble balls early, working from one end of the table to the other, utilizing key balls and safety valves appropriately, planning the run from the 8 backwards, trying to minimize draw/sidespin/force/multiple rails, and so on.

Beyond that most people's patterns are limited because they don't have a full tool set in terms of cue ball control. In other words, they don't know about some of the ways the cue ball works and don't feel comfortable with some of the ways they do understand. This really limits their patterns because they are trying to run out without all of the options I would have facing the same layout. It would be equivalent to if I had to play without hitting below center on the cue ball. I could maybe do it without my full tool set, but it would be harder and I might have to plan routes that were lower percentage.

A 8x8x8 cube is 512 units cubed, a 10x10x10 cube is 1,000 units cubed. Improve your cue ball knowledge, cue ball execution, and pattern understanding by a little bit each and you can double your run out percentage. If your run out rate is 50% or less of the pros then this is probably why.

I think you're on the right track by watching top pool matches. I'd encourage you to pause the video at the start, plan your own pattern, see what they do differently, and note any shots you wouldn't have felt comfortable with. This is one way to improve. Another would be to read good books, I recommend Mastering Pool by George Fels. The "Three Times" drill is a good one which is why I passed it on. But no matter which way you go, hopefully this will help you understand what to work on.
 
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Seth C.

AzB Silver Member
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I like it...alllllot! ~Jim Carey

Seriously, I will have to try this with my students and myself as well. This seems like a great idea. Thanks for sharing.

Please take the political message to the Non Pool Related section.
 

9andout

Gunnin' for a 2 pack!!
Gold Member
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Thanks Tin Man!
I was having enough problems playing from my BEST position! Lol jk
Can't wait to give it a go.
 

Tin Man

AzB Gold Member
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Silver Member
49:50

Gonna have to try this drill out in the next couple weeks when I get finished what I am currently working on.

Just wanted to share also at the end of the cue it up podcast this week it's talked about in the coaches corner.

https://play.google.com/music/m/Dra...eks_champions_-_Cue_It_Up_A_Billiards_Podcast


49:50 is the minute mark and it is about 12.5 minutes. I talk about why everyone plays terrible patterns and why they are so hard to learn, then I talk about the 3 time drill which is the best practice method I've ever witnessed for someone who can run tables already.

I'm working with another student and it is more of the same. People aren't nearly as knowledgeable about cue ball and patterns as they think. This drill is a mirror that will show the truth. Who here has been brave enough to look inside?
 
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