Pool Drills for Straight Pool

On a recent trip to El Paso, TX, I met with David Sapolis and we discussed Straight Pool (14.1) for an hour or so.  One if the most difficult parts of straight pool, at least for me and I suspect for many others, is the rack to rack transition phase.  Without a properly planned and executed break shot, your runs will be severely limited.  David suggested a couple interesting and fun games to help me practice this specific skill, and I present both of them below.

Practice Game:  5.1

Start with a short rack of only five balls.  Using a standard 8 ball type break, break the balls and immediately start your route planning.  Identify your primary and secondary break shots, your primary and secondary key balls, and any problem balls the need to be attacked early.  Once you’ve mapped out your entire shot sequence, start pocketing balls.  If you successfully run the rack, you can rerack all balls and start again with an 8 ball type break.  The primary objective here is to work on your route planning skills, not to work on running lots of balls or to work on break shots.  Here’s a helpful hint: use a soft break so that you leave one or two balls in good position to serve as a break ball.

Practice Game:  9.1

This is basically the same game as 5.1, except you start with a slightly larger rack of nine balls instead of five.  After the break, identify your primary and secondary break shots, your primary and secondary key balls, and any problem balls the need to be attacked early.  You don’t necessarily need to know the exact sequence for the entire rack, but you do need to deal with problem balls early.  If you successfully run the rack, you can rerack all balls and start again with an 8 ball type break.  Again, the primary objective here is to work on your route planning skills, not to work on running lots of balls or break shots.

The real game:  14.1

Now that you’ve gotten lots of practice planning for the transitional break shot, you can go back to 14.1 and see how much you’ve improved your game.  Good luck, and may the high runs be with you!

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4 responses to “Pool Drills for Straight Pool

  1. Wow! Why did I not think of this before? Will definitely try this out.

  2. This is mighty interesting. I feel like kicking myself but I’ll do that after I give this a try. Thank you so much for sharing this with us!

  3. Great posts keep up the good work. Have a great Memorial Day

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