I’m getting very close to *knock on wood* full recovery from my recent neck and back problems. Last night I went to California Billiards to loosen up a little and put in some practice. I wanted to focus on two primary skills: (1) cue ball control, and (2) route planning. After my normal warm up routine, I started a new practice game. Here are the rules of the game:
Yeah, ok, I like to make charts. Sorry! Bascially, you start with 3 balls and try to run the table. If you can run the table twice in a row, you add a ball, so then you’ll be playing with 4 balls. If you can run the table twice in a row again, add another ball, and now you are playing with 5 balls, etc. If at any point you fail twice in a row, you remove a ball (to make it easier). If you run a table, then fail, then run, then fail, you could theoretically stay at the same level indefinately. I think you get the point.
Try this game out and see what level you tend to stay at. This is a good game for identifying areas for improvement with cue ball control and route planning. Enjoy!
Nice practice game, Michael. I’m curious how many balls it takes before you’re only able to run the table about 50% of the time?
When I played this week, I averaged between 6 and 7 balls running them in rotation. I plan to play a lot more of this in the future, because it forces you try new stuff and go for routes that you normally don’t practice. There are usually multiple ways to run patterns, and this makes you really think, figure out the probabilities, and select what will work best for you. I’ve never been that diligent about playing the game, but now I see the value in it. You’ve got to focus to do well.
I’m never dedicated enough to stick with this regimen. The add-a-ball and -remove-a-ball method is really a good set up though. As you said – it will very accurately determine your strengths and weaknesses… But, the question is – do you run in order, or do you get to pick the pattern? It becomes a different game when you have to run them numerically. I’m a pretty solid 6 or 7 ball table runner when I get to pick the pattern (ie: 8-ball practice), but only a 4 or 5 when I have to do them in order. On average, I mean – it really depends on the layout, of course.
Very good question! My “normal” routine was to throw all 15 balls on the table and run the table “8 Ball style,” meaning I run the stripes (or solids), pocket the 8, then finish off the other set. That’s fun, but I guess because of my personality (or maybe in spite of it), I tend to get bored, lose focus, and start taking shots I know I shouldn’t take, take risks that I normally wouldn’t take in a serious match, and generally just get sloppy. I started this new game to bring a sense of order to my practice. I needed more structure, so for this game, I only play the balls in rotation. This way, I’m forced to play specific position routes – I can’t lose position on a shot and then recover from my error by changing my pattern play and taking a shot at another ball that’s easier to pocket.
If you can run 6-7 consistently in 8 ball style and 4-5 consistently in rotation style, that’s pretty good! If you throw in some good solid safety play, you will be able to beat most league players. My strategy used to be: “Run 3 balls, play safe, get BIH, then run out.” Usually works!
Should these balls be run in order (like a 9-ball)?
Hi Praveen! Yes, my original intention was for them to be run in order. However, like with any practice routine, it’s up to you. Make the exercise work for you and your current skill level. If running the balls in rotation (like 9 ball) is too difficult, you can run them 8 ball style. If you want to make it super difficult, you can call all the shots ahead of time: i.e. call each ball and its designated pocket before you shoot the first ball. That’s VERY hard though.