I finally got in a serious practice session tonight. For my warmup, I hit about 15 diagonal table shots. Then I spent the next 45 minutes practicing safeties using the rolling safe drill. For the final 3 hours, I played a game that doesn’t really have a name, so I’ll just refer to it as “call-ball-call-pocket-call-the-routes-6-ball.” (That’s a mouthful!) This is the hardest version of 6 ball that I can imagine. You start with 6 balls on the table and ball in hand. Before your first shot you must preselect the pockets that each of the balls will go in to and the routes you will take to transition from ball to ball. After you take your first shot, you can’t change any of your selections. If you get out of line at any point, it’s very difficult to recover and get back in line for a subsequent shot. You must be very selective up front in your route planning and identify the routes that provide the least amount of overall risk; hence, you might choose your first or second shots to be more difficult in order to ensure easier shots later in the run. The most important thing to remember is DO NOT EVER GET ON THE WRONG SIDE OF THE LINE! For me, this is a real cranial workout as I don’t see all 6 routes immediately. When I eventually stopped the drill, my score was 17 out of 40 and I was mentally exhausted. This is MUCH more difficult than it sounds. Give it a try. In a previous practice session I was able to complete the drill for 5 balls, so now I’m working on 6. Someday, if I can ever consistently achieve 50% success, I’ll move up to 7 balls. Someday…
P.S. – Oh, and I forgot to mention that you must shoot the balls in rotation.
Sounds great, I will give it a try.
Be careful…it’s addictive!
I like this. Sounds like a fun and productive way to practice solo.
I’ve often thought of something semi-similar for playing 8ball against an opponent. I figured it would be fun to require you to “call ahead” one (or more) shot in advance. I probably wouldn’t require you to call the path, just which ball is going to go into which pocket on both this shot as well as the next. It would also allow for weight transfer by requiring the better player to call ahead more balls than the weaker player. I’ve always figured that something like this probably already exists, but I’ve never seen it in action. I may just have to play around with it to see how much fun it is in practice.
I’ll definitely be trying your “Game With No Name” the next time I practice alone. Thanks for the idea!
Thanks for the comment! I’ve played 8 ball for many years, but never thought about using “call ahead” as a handicapping tool. I think it would be really fun to enforce a rule like this on myself and see what happens. I’ll try it over the weekend. Thanks for the idea!
Michael, what is the starting layout for this? Do you break a 6 ball rack and start from ball in hand in the kitchen and then call the routes?
Hi Ashwin! I can’t believe I omitted this information. Thanks for asking. I usually start with a six ball break shot. If any balls are pocketed on the break, you can rerack and break again, or just throw the balls out on the table. The break is not really what’s important. What’s important is just to get the balls spread out so you can focus on route planning. Ideally the initial table condition will be no balls on a rail and no ball within six inches of another ball. After the break, take cue ball in hand anywhere on the table. Even with ball in hand on the first shot, this is a very difficult drill. Enjoy!