Practice Games

Game:  “Six and Out”
Here are the rules:
1.  Rack 6 balls on the foot spot and make a break shot.
2.  Spot any balls made on the break and start with ball in hand in the kitchen.
3.  BEFORE your first shot, you must assign a pocket for each ball to go in to.  After you make your decisions, you cannot change your strategy…you must stick with your original selections.
4.  Now run the balls in any order, but you must make the balls in the pockets originally chosen.  If you run successfully, you win the game.  If not, you lose.
5.  Play against the ghost in a race to 10 games.
Note 1:  If you want to make this game super hard, use all the same rules as described above, but run the balls in rotation.
Note 2: This is a pretty tough game.  You must carefully plan ahead and execute nearly perfectly, making sure you stay on the ‘correct’ side of the ball.

Game:  “Equal Offense”

Rack all 15 balls and break from anywhere in the kitchen.  After the break, spot any balls that are pocketed.  Take ball in hand in the kitchen and pocket balls in any order you choose.  This is a call shot game, slop doesn’t count, and each ball pocketed earns you 1 point.  Assuming you don’t scratch or miss a shot, keep shooting until you get to the last ball, then stop and rack the 14 balls already pocketed.  Now try to continue your run by pocketing the 15th ball and simultaneously using the cue ball to break open the rack, just like in 14.1 straight pool.  If you manage to pocket the 20th ball, the inning is over.  If you miss a shot or scratch at any time, the inning is over. 

After 10 innings, add up your scores and compare your performance with the following chart provided by Tarl Roger Kudrick at the Internet Equal Offense site.  You can use this chart to get a general idea of how you stack up against the rest of the pool world.  Good luck, and have fun!

If your typical score is You’re probably better than THIS percentage of pool players      If your typical score is You’re probably better than THIS percentage of pool players   
25 5%   76 55%
35 10%   80 60%
41 15%   85 65%
47 20%   91 70%
51 25%   98 75%
55 30%   106 80%
59 35%   114 85%
64 40%   125 90%
68 45%   136 95%
71 50%   160 99%


Game: “Fargo”

Rack all 15 balls and break from anywhere in the kitchen.  All balls pocketed on the break are spotted and you start with ball in hand anywhere on the table.   There’s no penalty for scratching on the break.  This is a call shot game; i.e. call the ball and the pocket.  All balls pocketed count as one point.  The objective is to play 10 racks (innings) and add up the total number of points made.

But here’s the fun part…

Each inning consists of two parts:  (1) a random phase, and (2) a rotation phase.  At the beginning of each inning, you place a coin (or other marker) on the table with the heads up, indicating that you are in the “random phase” of shooting.  In the “random phase”, each ball pocketed counts as one point, and you can shoot the balls in any order you choose.  At any time, you can flip the coin over, indicating that you are entering the “rotation phase”.  In the rotation phase, each ball pocketed counts as two points, but you must contact the lowest numbered ball on the table first.  Add up the total number of points scored in ten innings and then compare your performance with the ranking chart below.

Rating Scores
> 220           Pro
160-220     AA
130-160     A
100-130     B
60-100       C
< 60             D

Game: “10 Ball Rating Game”

Rack up 10 balls and break from anywhere in the kitchen.  Any balls made on the break count as one point.  If you scratch on the break, pocketed balls are spotted.  After the break, start with ball in hand anywhere on the table, and run the balls in rotation.  All balls made are one point.  If you miss a shot, the rack is over.  Shoot 10 racks and count the total number of balls made. After 10 racks, take your total and compare it to the chart below.  This is a good game because it takes several skills into account (shotmaking, position play, cluster breaking, break shot skills, etc.)  The only downside is that it doesn’t cover safety play, which is a critical in the upper echelons of play. 

Rating Scores
30-35       D+
36-40       C
41-45       C+
46-50       B
51-55       B+
56-60       A
61-65       A+
66-70      A++
71-up       Pro


6 responses to “Practice Games

  1. I like the training you offer it’s great! I wish I would have found your web page sooner.

  2. I am new to the game and these are excellent training routines. Many thanks. Couple of questions though if I may.
    ‘Anywhere in the kitchen’ does this mean anywhere on the table ?
    Re-spot any potted balls – does this mean I can put them anywhere or do I have to group them together as close to the black spot as pos ?
    Keep up the great site.

    • Hi Russell, Thanks for your comments and questions. I hope I can answer your questions here:
      1. Placing the cue ball ‘in the kitchen’ means that you can place the cue ball anywhere behind the head spot. Other terms used to capture this concept are placing the cue ball ‘behind the line’ or ‘behind the breaking line’.
      2. Re-spotting balls: When balls are respotted, they are placed on the ‘foot spot’ (where you originally racked the balls) or on the line connecting the foot spot to the middle of the bottom rail of the table. The ball you neeed to spot is placed directly on the foot spot. If you can’t place the ball directly on the foot spot because another ball is interfering, you must place the ball on the line connecting the foot spot to the middle of the bottom rail, but as closely to the foot spot as possible.
      Here’s a link to a good reference article which probably explains this better than I can:

      Click to access BCA8BallRules.pdf

      Thanks for reading my blog!

  3. Hi, Michael,
    I really like the practice drills presented. Here’s one of my favorites: I call it the “Progressive Ghost” Drill.
    1. Break a standard rack of 9-ball.
    2. Remove all the balls except the last 3 (e.g. 7,8,9).
    3. With ball in hand, Shoot the last 3 in rotation.
    4. If you are successful, re-rack and break the standard 9-Ball rack. Remove all balls except the last 4 on the table, then, with ball in hand, run out the last 4.
    5. If successful again, Break a full rack, then repeat leaving the last 5 on the table.
    6-9. And so on, until you miss. You get one point for each ball pocketed, however, you only get credit for them if you successfully run out the rack.
    This drill puts progressive pressure on your run out abilities, and you can keep score.
    Players who are not ready to play “The Ghost” with a full 9-ball rack can work their way up to it.
    The drill also allows you to practice your 9-ball break with more frequency, while keeping it in a “game’ type setting.
    If you can successfully run 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 balls, you will have pocketed 42 consecutive balls in rotation.
    The closest I ever came to that was 39 (actually 33 points, because I didn’t get out in the final 9-ball rack).

    • Roger, this is a great drill! I play a different variation of it, which coincidentally, I just posted about it today (11/11/2013). Thanks for the comment, and good luck with your game!

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