I’ve been practicing to improve my One Pocket game over the last several weeks, but haven’t posted in almost a month. I’ve been struggling to figure out the best way to break the game down into its primary components. What do I work on first, second, third, etc.? In my last post, I listed several core shots and skills that I needed to improve. I’ve been working on those intermittently and working on some other skills as well:
1. Crossover bank shots – Bank shots where the cue ball passes through the future path of the object ball before the object ball gets there (and avoids the kiss).
2. Standard spot shots – A single ball is spotted on the foot spot and you have ball in hand in the kitchen.
3. Double ball spot shots – Two balls are spotted (with the first ball on the foot spot) and you have ball in hand in the kitchen.
4. Kick-aways – Kicking the cue ball off the bottom rail, then knocking an object ball away from your opponent’s pocket and sending it up-table.
5. Dig outs – Successfully removing a ball that is basically within the jaws of your opponent’s pocket without scratching.
6. Intentional Scratches – Your opponent has a ball deep within the jaws of his pocket, and there’s no way to remove it, so you pocket your opponent’s ball and make the cue ball follow into the same pocket for an intentional scratch. Since you scratched on the shot, your opponent’s ball gets spotted, and you have to spot one of your balls as well.
7. Spin Safes – Yeah, I invented some of these terms. What I mean by ‘Spin Safes’ is being able to spin the cue ball off of any object ball anywhere on the table and have the cue ball go back one or more rails and come to rest on or within a couple inches of the bottom rail.
8. Ending your inning on your own terms (a.k.a “Leaving your opponent stuck against an object ball with virtually no viable shot other than to try to return a safety”) – The need for this skill has been drilled into my head (and wallet) repeatedly over the last month. If you are going to leave the table, you’d better make sure when your opponent gets to the table, he/she has virtually no offensive options.
This covers most of the key skills I’ve been working on, but I haven’t even talked about learning some of ‘the moves’ yet. I guess I’ll cover that difficult subject in a future post.