View Full Version : How do you practice?

01-31-2004, 06:17 PM
How do you spend your practice time?
Do you do drills? Use books and videos?
What is your routine?

01-31-2004, 08:27 PM
I enjoy running balls into one pocket. It's good for shot making, position play and creative thinking plus it is fun. Has nothing to do with practicing for one pocket because I may run balls into the side pocket as well. Some times I like to bank balls, whatever keeps it interesting, and fun. Just time on the table by it's self won't do it, you have to be doing interesting things or it is not productive. Mindlessly hitting balls or drills you grow to hate may even have a negative effect. Again, it suppose to be fun and interesting. To be honest, I am not really a fan of drills, at least the way I see a lot of players doing them.

01-31-2004, 09:20 PM
Well if this gets a little long dont bite my head off, you asked the question /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif

Drills are VERY important, but I believe you must get enough different ones so that as you become bored with some you can start doing others, if you loose focus your not doing yourself any good. That being said, I dont mean just go on to another one just because your struggling, if all the drills were easy there would be no sence in doing them. But dont waste all your practice time on a drill you cant do either, give it its do time and move on.

I normally start by throwing out 15 balls and just shooting them in, warming up my stroke. Then I always run through 3 drills before anything else. I line up all 15 balls across the table in line with the 3rd diamond (by the side pocket) and take cue ball in hand at the diamond on the other side of the side pocket. First I shoot the balls in trying to make the cueball stop perfectly still, then I set them up again and shoot them all trying to draw the ball as far as I can, then do the same but follow as far as I can. As you advance you can start to move the object balls and cueball farther apart.

Then I go into more cueball controll drills. I like the "L" drill I think it is called, setting 15 balls with one on the foot spot and the others inline with the second diamond to the end and side rails, shooting them all into the corner pocket they box in.

I really like the 13 ball drill that was mentioned by Scott Lee, I do this one often. I tend to maintain my focus better on drills like these that make you run the table so to speak.

I purchased the Blackbelt Billiards book that has given me alot of direction. This I would recommend to anyone as it gives you goals to work towards.

The next one I think I also got from the homepage for Blackbelt billiards. I play the ghost in a race to 9, playing 9 ball. Start with putting one ball on the table, with ball in hand run the table (if you dont get out with ball in hand on one ball you may be in trouble /ccboard/images/graemlins/cool.gif ) You get one point, then put two balls on the table. Everytime you get out thats a point for you, if you dont its a point for the ghost. By doing this you will quickly find your "threshold" for the number of balls you typically run. Then you can practice running that number of balls. I find this to be quite productive for me.

I finish every practice with a 10 rack 9-ball drill. I rack the balls, break, take ball in hand and see how many balls I can run. When I miss I get one point for every ball made on a legal shot, and 2 points for pocketing the 9-ball. If I scratch on the break its 0 for that rack, which really makes me concentrate on the break! If I make the nine out of turn on a legal shot then I get 10 for that rack, its all about being able to get out and win the game. When I first started doing this I was usually around 35 points for 10 racks. I have gone through periods where I was scoring 60 and 70 points, but usually right now my goal is at least 50. Try it, its harder than it sounds. This is probably one of my favorite drills as I work on the break, running patterns, finding problem balls, and everything else important in 9-ball. For safties you can make it to where if you play a safe, and make it where if you cant see the object ball after the safty then you get ball in hand again. I havent done it this way, but it could be a good way to learn when to play safe and when to try to pocket a ball.

I try to switch practice sessions up alot, but I always start and finish the same way.

Sorry this was so long, I tried to shorten it up a bit but as you can tell I really believe in practice time and I dont mind to talk about it /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif

02-01-2004, 02:51 AM
I have a couple of different drills and games that I use to warm up and practice with. One of them was mentioned earlier, and that is playing a race to 10, in 9 ball. The only difference is, if you don't make anything on the break, it's negative one point; and I do use the safety rule...shoot a safe and if you can't see the ball and have to kick/jump/masse (not swerve), then you get ball in hand and continue the run.

Another drill I was shown was taking all 15 balls, and starting from the headstring down to the footstring, making a grid. A ball at each intersection of points. It ends up being a 3x5 grid of balls. You start off taking ball in hand, and pocket balls in any order. The point of this drill is not to hit any of the object balls or to let your cue ball or any other ball hit a rail. no banking or kicking balls in. you have to play fairly precise cue ball position for this. This drill is very good for fine tuning your feel for the speed of the table.

The last thing I'll mention that i use to practice with, is usually the first thing that I do. I take the rack of balls, throw them on the table, take ball in hand, and try and run them out in rotation. I do this for 4-5 racks. Then, I take and start with simple runs. Throw three out, take ball in hand, and run them. Get bad position, start over. Do it until you run 5 sets in a row. Move to 4 balls and do the same thing. It's quite a change, moving from full 15 ball rotation to only 3 on the table. I'll end it here...I have a few other drills that i do, (the aforementioned L drill, banking drills, ect...), but I don't use those as oft as I probably should.


02-01-2004, 06:11 AM
Hours and hours and hours . You got some good advise from the posts but I suggest time .Proper training is at least 4 hours a day up to 10 hours if you can stand it.7 days a week .I know that sounds rediculas but when you are in a game and every shot is second nature it does make a difference .So I suggest to get some comfortable shoes and go at all that has been posted abouve .I think it depends on what level you want your game . As anythig in life the more time you spend the better you get .If you are serious about drills and whatnot you should maybe consider a little training routine that you must follow like clockwork.No exceptions

Mike D2
02-01-2004, 07:47 AM
In my opinion you should set up shot that are difficult for you to make. Just set them up one after another trying to master that shot. I might get boring but there was a pro at my pool hall and when she missed, she set that shot up about 20 time trying to make it the majority of the time. Another good drill is to play the ghost.

02-01-2004, 08:23 AM
I usually start with Bert kinister's shot number one to try to make sure that my stroke is straight.

Then I do some of Scott Lee's drills.

9 balls across the foot spot, ball in hand one foot away, center ball hit pocket speed up to top left pocket, hopefully 3 times without missing up to 27 balls. If you miss, start again.

draw practice from one foot away , dead stop, one foot draw, two foot draw, three foot draw. Then sometimes I add the 5 or 6 ball in side semicircle draw drill.

Next, Scott's 13 ball drill. Next, his 15 ball drill on the spots. Next his 15 ball circle in the middle, draw stop shot, don't leave the circle drill.

Then I start playing either the 9 ball game that Woody suggests. I've just done that a few times. Break, eight ball game , either playing the ghost, or take all one suit off the table and run out. Or Equal offense, ball in hand behind the string after the break, 10 racks. I scored 89, 93 the first few times. 117 Friday. Or maybe I'll just start practicing straight pool, safeties included.

Lots of stuff to chosse from.

02-01-2004, 09:34 AM
The question was,
"How do you spend your practice time?
Do you do drills? Use books and videos?
What is your routine?"

I said what I do, just trying to be honest. I could make up some bogus routine that sounds good but it is not what I do. I am sure when I first started playing I set up shots over and over trying to master every shot, but I haven't done that in many years. What I do, and there is more then I mentioned in my original post, is in a way a drill, but is more of a warm up type of thing to keep me in stroke. I am not trying to learn the game, I have been playing for 40 + years. Except in a possible problem area, I am not sure drills would be of a lot of value to me. I am more like a good studio musician, I make music but I don't practice scales any more, I know how the instrument works.

Setting up a shot when you miss it, is not to see what you are doing wrong as much as it is to be sure you have a positive attitude the next time it comes up. You know how to make the shot, you just want to see that ball go in like it was suppose to and erase that image of a miss. If the shot felt bad when you shot it and missed it, you may want see what was wrong. That is really the value of drills, I believe they ingrain the image and feel of what the shot is like in a progressive way. At a point though the player may not need such a structured practice and just playing the game may be enough combined with some troubleshooting. Being around good players or having an instructor are a big help in keeping your game at it's peak. Beyond the physical skills you develop from practice and drills, the subtle things you learn from competitive play and playing top players can't be learned from drills. Drills will give you the tools, but playing is how you become a player. This is all just my opinion of course and I can only speak for me.

02-01-2004, 10:36 AM

Beyond the physical skills you develop from practice and drills, the subtle things you learn from competitive play and playing top players can't be learned from drills. Drills will give you the tools, but playing is how you become a player. This is all just my opinion of course and I can only speak for me.

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Sometimes I think you read my mind. Your posts about learning to play always seem to be on the same page as my own thoughts...keeps me from having to put my two cents worth in...LOL

My problem for the day is I am leaving the house to give a private lesson to a guy who has just leveled out and I'm getting stale or burned out on the hopes that this guy will 'get it'......Oh well, he has a nice table to play on... /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif ....I do feel quilty taking his money when he is so slow with improvement, maybe I expect to much from him...Later...

02-01-2004, 11:57 AM
TABLE TIME is the main element when it comes to how consistant your game really is. I don't have hours per day to spend on my table, I have about 30 minutes to an hour every evening before bedtime. So I came up with a good session that has improved my game over the past few months. It use to be a rare occassion for me to break and run a rack of 9ball, now I find myself doing it more frequently, sometimes breaking off 2 and 3 racks in a row several times in one night! Here's how I started practicing:

I shoot my favorite cut shot into a corner pocket - the cut shot that feels most comfortable to me, I guess it's about 30 to 40 degrees. I mark the spot on the table where I place the object ball and I shoot the shot 30 times with the cue ball anywhere from 3 to 4 feet away. I don't place the cueball in the exact position everytime but I simply make sure it's within my comfort zone for shooting the shot. To me, regardless of where I place the cueball (as long as I feel comfortable with the shot), this is considered my first practice shot. My second practice shot is exactly the same only I shoot it from 4 to 7 feet away. That's it. The shots I feel confident and comfortable with are the majority of the shots I miss. That's why I started this method of not classifying the shots into thin cuts, moderate cuts, etc....who cares. I play position to leave myself where I feel comfortable shooting the next shot.

In addition the practice above, I got real. I quit trying to make ALL the shots that I was faced with. I play smarter now. I try to play position for the shots that I practice - my comfort zone. If I get out of line I may choose to play safe or go for it, it all depends on how I feel at the time, and whether or not money's on the line.

I also throw all the balls on the table and shoot each one off a cushion and into a pocket one at a time, not using the cueball! This is good practice for kick shots, and it's fun to see how many in a row you can make before missing. Play alone or with a friend - 1st to bank 8 balls wins.

02-01-2004, 12:37 PM
When I practice, I start by throwing all the balls on the table and play straight pool to get my timing together. I don't do drills, but I play a game against myself. If I can't run out, I try to play safe. And I also try to get out of a safe as well. I have trouble with banks, so I try to practice a few of them as well.

DG - For what it's worth

02-02-2004, 12:06 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote bigshooter:</font><hr> How do you spend your practice time?
Do you do drills? Use books and videos?
What is your routine? <hr /></blockquote>

Well, I start off with some drills from Black Belt billiards book. Then if time permits, I would work on shots that I have a hard time with. And maybe play a round of 99.

02-02-2004, 02:27 PM
I do drills. I try to practice for 1 hour a day.

I pay attention to the shots I miss when I'm playing at the PH and practice them at home. It's been said many times that you should turn your weaknesses into your strengths. If, for instance, If I play 1 pocket and always seem to miss the spot shots when they come up then I'll practice those spot shots everyday until I don't miss them anymore. As I get better at a shot or a position route I will drop it from my routine and add another shot.

One thing I always practice, no matter what, is the long shot, the long cut shot and the long draw shot. This keeps me in stroke.

A good speed drill I practice is to shoot an OB away and try to follow/draw the CB so that it snuggles up to another OB. That drill helps with my finesse.

Whatever I'm practicing I concentrate on keeping my head down and my stroke smooth.