This Week’s Curriculum

Saturday, September 18 is fast approaching.  That’s the date for the Northern California preliminary round of the US Amateur Championships.  Yep, that means there’s only two more weeks until the big tournament.  That’s right:  two, dos, deux, zwei.  Am I ready?  Do I feel good about it?  Hell no!  I can’t believe it’s already around the corner.  Where did time go?  As the clock ticks and precious seconds slip away, I decided I’d better suck it up and get serious.  I’ve put together a little list of items that I need to work on over the next several days.  Here goes my list:

  1. The lag shot – In the tournament, I’m not sure if we are going to flip for the break or lag for the break.  Just in case we lag, I want to make sure that I nail the shot and get the option to either choose to take the break or select the game to be played (8 ball vs. 9 ball).
  2. The 8 ball break shot.  I have a couple different break shots that I use for 8 ball.  The first is very loud, powerful, and blasts that balls wide open for a potential run out.  The other is more of a finesse break which has a higher chance of making the 8 on the break for an instant win, but generally leaves the balls clustered together.  This makes run outs less likely.  The break shot that I use depends upon my assessment of my opponents run out ability, and the momentum of the game play.  If I’m running out and feel confident, I use the power break.  If my opponent is on a hot streak, I use the softer break and play cat and mouse until he gets frustrated and throws in the towel.
  3. The 9 ball break shot.  Again, I have a couple different break shots that I use.  The first is very loud, powerful, and sends the balls screaming around the table.  The benefit is the higher likelihood of making the 9 on the break and generally the table is wide open for a run, but the downside is I may or may not make any balls on the break.  The second break shot is less likely to pocket the 9, but much more likely to pocket the 1 ball and leave me in control of the table.  Again, my decision on the use of each depends upon an assessment of my opponent and the momentum of the game.
  4.  The Bert 5 drill – This drill requires a good stroke and good planning.  It stresses your ability to move the ball precisely around the table to get position on the next shot in rotation.  I really like this drill because you usually have multiple options to gain position on the next shot.  It requires that you think, plan, focus, and execute.  Oh yeah, and you need very good fundamentals to pull it off.
  5. The Samm 2 drill – Why the Samm 2 drill?  Because I’ve always sucked at it!  Might as well try to master it now!
  6. The Deo 3 and Deo 4 drills – Why the Deo 3 and Deo 4 drills?  Well, I figure Deo Alpajora is a whole lot better than me, and if these drills are good enough to keep him sharp, they should be good enough for me. 

3 responses to “This Week’s Curriculum

  1. Its lag for the break.

  2. Sorry, what I meant to say, its lag for either choice of game or first break. So if you win the lag, you can either take the first break and your opponent chooses whether to start with 8-ball or 9-ball OR you can choose the game for the starting set, and your opponent gets the first break. Winning the lag is a big deal in this format.

    • Thanks for the info! The APA sent me a list of the guys who will be competing in the Nor Cal qualifier, so I did a little research in the APA weekly league stats to figure out each person’s primary strength (8 ball vs. 9 ball). Now I just need to think about a strategy for approaching each match…start with their weakness and try to build a big lead, or attack their strength and try to demoralize them. In the end, I guess it doesn’t really matter. I just need to treat each game as if the whole tournament depends on me winning it. The reality is, regardless of whether I do great in the tournament or not, as long as I play to the best of my ability, that’s what really matters.

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