These are some tips for those who struggle to put together runs

Straightpool_99

I see dead balls
Silver Member
It took me a long time to realize why I, and several of the players I know couldn't put together the long runs in this game, when I was still a beginner. There are tons of really technical info on this game, patterns and breakshots and all that, but if your high run is in the 30's or even 20's, then you should disregard most of that for now.

Whenever you come to the table, look the table over carefully. Do you have a shot? Is it realistically makeable? Remember, only you can make that determination. It is very important that you keep your cueball clear of the object balls. Whenever I watch beginners, I'd say that maybe 80% of their errors are made on the first shot after their opponent missed/safed. I'm not talking about just missing either, but usually they either get stuck or end up on the wrong side of the balls. If you have a tough shot that has to be shot, and is then missed, I wouldn't count that as an error, for a beginner.

Try to move the cueball as little as possible, especially if you have many balls on the table, and they are cluttered up. If you have a secondary break ball that is hard to get to, try to look for a failsafe way to get on it even if it takes pocketing more than one ball first to achieve it. All too often people try to achieve miracles with just one shot, instead of playing two easy shots. If you play easy shots, you may amaze yourself by pocketing lots of balls with hardly any effort at all.

Also, you may find that you have a "window" of position for a secondary breakball in the shape of a wedge. The wedge gets bigger the further away from the ball you are. Do not try to get too close in these circumstances. Often it is incredibly difficult to get good on that ball up close, but childs play just a little bit further away. Maybe there is a stop shot pattern to get on it, if you look carefully. It's easy to become blind to these opportunities, which is why it is important to stand back and look the table over when you are in doubt what to do.

Quite frequently you'll end up either on the wrong side of the secondary breakball, too flat, or with too much of an angle. DONT BE STUBBORN! Look the pack over. Maybe you have a dead one? Can you pocket something else and get back on your ball, perhaps? When you pound balls or try to fan in 90 degree cuts, usually the run is over. Also, if you are flat (too little angle) and you have to shoot, do not pound the ball as hard as you can. Hit it with the amount of speed you can control and make sure that you pocket the ball. Even just barely touching the rack can pull a ball out and you can continue from there. Much better than missing the ball. Even if you can't pocket it, you may get a good safety opportunity. Maybe a ball will end up "dead", if you are lucky.

If you have a small cluster of 3-4 balls, usually you can go into them quite softly with either draw or follow, to ensure you don't get stuck. Sometimes you can stun the cueball as well. It's pointless and potentially hazardous to smash such clusters all over the table. Just gently push them apart.

In short I'd say the following principles should be applied:

Look for the easy way to accomplish your goals.

Be realistic about your abilities

When you go for something difficult, do it in the highest percentage way.

When there are lots of balls on the table, be careful not to get trapped with the cueball. Clean up a bit instead of instantly trying to do lots of fancy things. Limit cueball movement to ensure that you stay clear.
 

Kevin Lindstrom

14.1 Addict
Silver Member
I love the game and have been playing it for over 10 years and I still struggle to put runs together. I will incorporate your thoughts and actions and see if it helps me to get higher ball runs.

Thanks

Kevin
 

michael4

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
It is very important that you keep your cueball clear of the object balls.

If you have a small cluster of 3-4 balls, usually you can go into them quite softly. It's pointless and potentially hazardous to smash such clusters all over the table.

Thoughtful post. :thumbup:

Interesting to me that even if someone gives you the above information up front, sometimes you still have to learn the old-fashioned way, (endless re-racking) before you pick up a new tip that helps your game....:eek:

As you point out, I have definitely learned to keep the CB "in the open", dont let it get tied up with other balls, or stuck all alone along the bottom rail (etc)....a hard shot or a long shot is 100 times better than no shot.

I have also finally learned that a soft brush against a cluster is often the best way to open them up, and you dont have to hit the "middle" of the cluster (where you might get stuck), but hitting the outside edge of the cluster is better, the CB will almost always stay in the open.

14.1 is really like a mental puzzle (which I like), not unlike Sudoku, in that once you figure out how to do it, you can do it. (of course with decent shot making ability and CB control). I was very interested to hear that many players, once they run 100, can do it on a regular basis....basically they have figured out the puzzle....

Of course I am no where near that, but it told me how important strategy was in this game.

Sorry for rambling.
 

Straightpool_99

I see dead balls
Silver Member
Thoughtful post. :thumbup:

Interesting to me that even if someone gives you the above information up front, sometimes you still have to learn the old-fashioned way, (endless re-racking) before you pick up a new tip that helps your game....:eek:

As you point out, I have definitely learned to keep the CB "in the open", dont let it get tied up with other balls, or stuck all alone along the bottom rail (etc)....a hard shot or a long shot is 100 times better than no shot.

I have also finally learned that a soft brush against a cluster is often the best way to open them up, and you dont have to hit the "middle" of the cluster (where you might get stuck), but hitting the outside edge of the cluster is better, the CB will almost always stay in the open.

14.1 is really like a mental puzzle (which I like), not unlike Sudoku, in that once you figure out how to do it, you can do it. (of course with decent shot making ability and CB control). I was very interested to hear that many players, once they run 100, can do it on a regular basis....basically they have figured out the puzzle....

Of course I am no where near that, but it told me how important strategy was in this game.

Sorry for rambling.

I agree, 14.1 is a very mental game, but much of the knowledge comes from trial and error. The knowledge is sometimes hidden from all but the most astute observers, which is why some reach a plateau and don't progress. Here are some puzzle pieces I've picked up:
http://forums.azbilliards.com/showthread.php?t=428989&page=3
http://forums.azbilliards.com/showthread.php?t=429312

I'm working on a new addition to the second thread, but it's highly technical and I want to make the information "bomb-proof" before I release it. It's about combinations, english and tangent line modifications to make breakballs..
 
Last edited:

acousticsguru

player/instructor
Silver Member
My own Straight Pool game is pretty much built around the fact that I'm a mediocre (at best) shotmaker (or at least, that I firmly believe so), with the result that I won't take anything lightly, and try to keep things as simple as I can at all times. I do feel my position play is reasonable, however, so I'm more prepared to take a risk shooting an easier shot and trust in my ability to "get there", if not immediately, then in time. It doesn't always work out, but on the whole, the attitude results in fewer misses. I'm convinced that the long-term idea is what counts: try to shoot the easiest shot there is at all times, i.e. make all else follow suit.

Greetings from Switzerland, David.
_________________

„J'ai gâché vingt ans de mes plus belles années au billard. Si c'était à refaire, je recommencerais.“ – Roger Conti
 
Last edited:

Danny Harriman

One of the best in 14.1
Silver Member
My own Straight Pool game is pretty much built around the fact that I'm a mediocre (at best) shotmaker (or at least, that I firmly believe so), with the result that I won't take anything lightly, and try to keep things as simple as I can at all times. I do feel my position play is reasonable, however, so I'm more prepared to take a risk shooting an easier shot and trust in my ability to "get there", if not immediately, then in time. It doesn't always work out, but on the whole, the attitude results in fewer misses. I'm convinced that the long-term idea is what counts: try to shoot the easiest shot there is at all times, i.e. make all else follow suit.

Greetings from Switzerland, David.
_________________

„J'ai gâché vingt ans de mes plus belles années au billard. Si c'était à refaire, je recommencerais.“ – Roger Conti

Not trying to split hairs David as I always find your posts to be a good read , the one part of this that I might not agree on no matter if pro or beginner is when you say "try to shoot the easiest shot there is at all times". I would agree except when there is a loose ball near the stack. In this case you may want to take the more difficult shot and try to disperse the rack - as it may not be easy to get another chance at the secondary break shot.
 

mjantti

Enjoying life
Silver Member
Mediocre shotmakers aren't running 3 figures on a regular basis. I'm not buying that ;)


My own Straight Pool game is pretty much built around the fact that I'm a mediocre (at best) shotmaker (or at least, that I firmly believe so), with the result that I won't take anything lightly, and try to keep things as simple as I can at all times. I do feel my position play is reasonable, however, so I'm more prepared to take a risk shooting an easier shot and trust in my ability to "get there", if not immediately, then in time. It doesn't always work out, but on the whole, the attitude results in fewer misses. I'm convinced that the long-term idea is what counts: try to shoot the easiest shot there is at all times, i.e. make all else follow suit.

Greetings from Switzerland, David.
_________________

„J'ai gâché vingt ans de mes plus belles années au billard. Si c'était à refaire, je recommencerais.“ – Roger Conti
 

acousticsguru

player/instructor
Silver Member
Mediocre shotmakers aren't running 3 figures on a regular basis. I'm not buying that ;)

Even though it's been a while, you've seen me shoot, welcome to judge from memory! I certainly don't have much confidence in that department. :rolleyes:

There's a reason most of my runs end at 14 x […] + 1 in that I keep missing the occasional tough shot I'm left with after an otherwise successful break shot. I've long lost track of how many 43s, 57s, 71s, 85s and 99s I've run over the years, and how many times I've said to myself that if only I could overcome that tough shot that inevitably comes up once in a while, but no… :embarrassed2:

Greetings from Switzerland, David.
_________________

„J'ai gâché vingt ans de mes plus belles années au billard. Si c'était à refaire, je recommencerais.“ – Roger Conti
 

acousticsguru

player/instructor
Silver Member
Mediocre shotmakers aren't running 3 figures on a regular basis. I'm not buying that ;)

Just ran 85 again today, the usual problem. Cue ball got kicked upstream, left with a long if makable shot, with the object ball barely five inches from a corner pocket, only with my eyes, I really can't tell a difference aiming one way or another. Seriously, I'd swear that 99% of all players half my speed wouldn't ever miss a shot like that… :angry:

Greetings from Switzerland, David.
_________________

„J'ai gâché vingt ans de mes plus belles années au billard. Si c'était à refaire, je recommencerais.“ – Roger Conti
 

Danny Harriman

One of the best in 14.1
Silver Member
Mediocre shotmakers aren't running 3 figures on a regular basis. I'm not buying that ;)
I realize what may be the rt pattern or shot for me could be wrong for a beginner. What I meant is say your practicing and have only a couple options. First a secondary break shot that is a little tough, 2nd an easy shot - but it's straight in or the angle is not condusive to position on secondary loose ball break shot. If one is competing, I would say cinch the straight in shot and then look for a safety. If practicing (total offense) you may want to go for the difficult break shot and continue the run.
 

acousticsguru

player/instructor
Silver Member
I realize what may be the rt pattern or shot for me could be wrong for a beginner. What I meant is say your practicing and have only a couple options. First a secondary break shot that is a little tough, 2nd an easy shot - but it's straight in or the angle is not condusive to position on secondary loose ball break shot. If one is competing, I would say cinch the straight in shot and then look for a safety. If practicing (total offense) you may want to go for the difficult break shot and continue the run.

Thanks Danny, no worries, I don't think Mikko was referring to what you said, but to my claim to be no more than a "mediocre at best shotmaker" - we know each other in person, as a matter of fact, we do so because he refereed one (perhaps several - there's one in particular I remember) of my matches, so he thinks he knows something that I don't, LOL! :wink:

Greetings from Switzerland, David.
_________________

„J'ai gâché vingt ans de mes plus belles années au billard. Si c'était à refaire, je recommencerais.“ – Roger Conti
 

TILT9

Banned
Just ran 85 again today, the usual problem. Cue ball got kicked upstream, left with a long if makable shot, with the object ball barely five inches from a corner pocket, only with my eyes, I really can't tell a difference aiming one way or another. Seriously, I'd swear that 99% of all players half my speed wouldn't ever miss a shot like that… :angry:

Greetings from Switzerland, David.
_________________

„J'ai gâché vingt ans de mes plus belles années au billard. Si c'était à refaire, je recommencerais.“ – Roger Conti
"the usual" , break out of your pattern.
 

Danny Harriman

One of the best in 14.1
Silver Member
Thanks Danny, no worries, I don't think Mikko was referring to what you said, but to my claim to be no more than a "mediocre at best shotmaker" - we know each other in person, as a matter of fact, we do so because he refereed one (perhaps several - there's one in particular I remember) of my matches, so he thinks he knows something that I don't, LOL! :wink:

Greetings from Switzerland, David.
_________________

„J'ai gâché vingt ans de mes plus belles années au billard. Si c'était à refaire, je recommencerais.“ – Roger Conti
Well you look solid the time I watched one of your runs. I once heard Steve Lipsky talk about how he said he was still lookin for that perfect run. I think I know the reason he does not say high run. 'The Perfect Run' is when over 80% of the end game patterns look easy (simple shoot stop patterns). Of course there will be a few shots that are more difficult than others. The word perfect' instead of high' could also lean towards flow' or feel' rather than focusing on surpassing a personal best (which is ego and less related to having a smooth focus at the table). What do you think acoustic guru? Should I write a book and sell a few copies eh. :) it was Steve's idea I maybe expanded on it some that's all.
 
Last edited:

billiard dave 7

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Bad shot making, Diamond's, dogging end rack patterns, dirty balls sticking to racks, scratching off break shots, lack of focus, sent me to 3 cushion.
 

Danny Harriman

One of the best in 14.1
Silver Member
Bad shot making, Diamond's, dogging end rack patterns, dirty balls sticking to racks, scratching off break shots, lack of focus, sent me to 3 cushion.

OK - thanks for keep in us in your loop. But not a good reasons to quit playing completely. As you must know I play a little 3 cushion also. Always interesting to hear what Motivates people to learn. You will learn some systems from Billiards that will improve your one pocket big time. No reason to 'leap frog'. Sounds like you did not have a table at yer house or you could have corrected the cleaning issues. I guess that's what I'm supposed to say eh. Its better than OK to find big ball, but don't forget about shooting straight.
 
Last edited:

Straightpool_99

I see dead balls
Silver Member
Bad shot making, Diamond's, dogging end rack patterns, dirty balls sticking to racks, scratching off break shots, lack of focus, sent me to 3 cushion.

Ok. Sorry to hear that, but 3 cushion is a great game, so I guess you'll enjoy that.

That being said, there are solutions to your problems.

Scratching off breakshots is one thing that should happen very rarely, and suggest to me that you were probably playing some of them the wrong way. There is a steep learning curve in this game if you come from 9/8 ball, part of that is learning the breakshots. There are subtle variations to some of them which take a long time to figure out for yourself, but can be learned quickly from a knowledgable person. Maybe a short lesson is all it would take? Worth a shot.

On Diamonds (I assume you mean Diamond tables), I understand what you mean. They are not the easiest tables on which to play straight pool. I suggest a normal Gold Crown to start. If you have to play on Diamonds, there are adjustment that could be made in order to increase pocketability of especially break shots. The rails are very bouncy, so rail breakshots could be shot a lot slower for instance. That's important, because they sometimes reject hard shots along the rails, yet suck down the slow shots like a vacuum cleaner.

On clean/dirty balls, it is very important to clean the balls. If your regular pool halls have dirty balls, I suggest buying some ball cleaning solution and bring a microfiber towel with you. 3-4 minutes of cleaning should give you balls that will react much better. It's worth it.

On lack of focus..We all struggle with that. Not much I can really say.

But shotmaking...That's a big subject on which I know quite a lot, since it used to be my biggest weakness. I think the biggest thing I ever did was to adopt snooker fundamentals. Secondly I realized that I had to make sure I had decided all the factors of the shot (speed, english, aim) while standing up, so that I could focus only on pocketing the ball when in my stance, and ignoring everything else. It all ties into the focus thing.
 

billiard dave 7

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I did play a lot of straight pool on Gold Crowns growing up. Then I went south in the navy and ran into 9 ball more. Played fairly well, then less and less. Once you start to dog, it's hard not too. I didn't know what it meant to dog when younger. Don't get me wrong. I missed but never dogged. Playing 3 cushion for 10 years on so so tables sealed the deal on pocketing balls well anymore. If I play pool I always try to play and recommend straight to anyone for practice. Thanks for the constructive comments.
 

Danny Harriman

One of the best in 14.1
Silver Member
Gabriel

I did play a lot of straight pool on Gold Crowns growing up. Then I went south in the navy and ran into 9 ball more. Played fairly well, then less and less. Once you start to dog, it's hard not too. I didn't know what it meant to dog when younger. Don't get me wrong. I missed but never dogged. Playing 3 cushion for 10 years on so so tables sealed the deal on pocketing balls well anymore. If I play pool I always try to play and recommend straight to anyone for practice. Thanks for the constructive comments.

That is a nice table, I would add while billiards and 14.1 are different animals, I play a lot on a non heated table and I do not find billiards hurting my straight pool game. Not trying to be obtuse here - just know that what will hurt your straight pool is lack of play. Anyhue you may have known this already, just needed someone to point it out. I use two different cues, one with conical taper 56", and one with pro taper 58", the adjustment to shorter cue and conical taper for 3 cushionwas not easy. I am rusty as of late in 14.1 - due to lack of practice and that is all. Billiards may actually be the better game but its omnipotent to think positive, or you will choke playing billiards also. Check out the book " the inner game of tennis" it can help you learn how to turn off the analytical side.

Three cushion is a beautiful game - so is straight pool, you might need a sports psychologist to help you keep from choking. To play well at either discipline you have to really love the learning process. I have a better excuse to focus on 3 cushion, I won't share it ad its a negative
the bottom line is you have to love it. I hope you don't think I'm all bark and no bite as it takes a champion to defeat me at either game. No reason to be bitter at straight pool billiard Dave.
 
Last edited:

Straightpool_99

I see dead balls
Silver Member
I think one of the main differences between straight pool and other pool games (many except for 8 ball) is the requirement for precise vertical cueball striking. Often we are forced to play position into open space and we need precise cueball control both in terms of speed and direction. That means hitting the cueball within a mm of where we need, sometimes. We don't have the luxury of using the rails and spin to put us back into line. I think that is the main reason why so many 9 and 10 ball players struggle with straight pool, and why the game often comes naturally to snooker players. Sure, 9/10 ball players have great cueball control, but when the rails are no longer available, they lose a lot of their edge and they are not used to hitting shots at an off speed, which is another thing that may come up. Many of them are not acustomed to use the entire ball, but rather have only a few tip postions that they use and vary the speed instead...In straight pool that is no longer good enough.

Precise cueball control begins with pocketing the balls accurately in the center of the pocket. While I do realise the value of cheating the pocket, I think this is often overstated and very often leads to missed shots. When we hit the exact center of the pocket, we can hit the ball as hard as we like (not always, but nearly) and it will go in. I think I see more missed shots and position plays due to pocket cheating than I see successful shots using it, even at high levels of play. I've almost stopped doing it. I'd rather slam the shot in the center than try to finesse and cheat. It has improved my consistency quite a bit. Obviously one then needs to be able to hit the center at high speeds.

First and foremost, practising on hitting an exact area of the pocket will help you unlearn the shots that you pocket sloppily. Meany people have shots they always rattle in, rather than hit cleanly, and you can bet, when the pressure is on, that those balls are going to rattle out rather than in! That could easily shave 20,30 or even more points off your high run, IMO. Also I think many people will be surprised of the cuball control you gain, just by hitting the pockets center and the possibilities you do have (but maybe didn't realize) in situations where you have very little angle. There is a lot of cueball between maximum high/low and center.. CJ Wiley once said that having too many choices is not always good, and I agree. I've chosen to become the best I can be at hitting the exact center of the pocket, and take the position possiblities that offers me. For me that paid off and it's helped my technique as well as the ball count.
 
Last edited:
Top