View Full Version : Position Deficiency (a.k.a. stupid 6 ball)

03-11-2004, 11:09 PM
I've found that while playing nine ball, I get out of position just enough (especially on shots close to the corner pockets where the kick off the rail is how position is achieved) to where by the time I get to the 5 or 6, I'm always trying to make an overly difficult shot. I know that rule #1 is not to take the 1 if you can't take the 9, but I have a plan, it just never gets executed because of my poor position play. Anybody have any drills to really sharpen these skills? Thanks.


03-12-2004, 12:02 AM
I don't have any drills just a possible observation. Most players don't run out without altering the original plan at some point. It is a little like the old Pee Wee Herman thing with "I meant to do that". You have to be very creative to play pool and see the changing possibilities, even when things are going as planed, better choices may present themselves.. You may be painting yourself into corners with the way you are running the balls and not playing with alternatives. You can't really teach someone that, it just comes with experience and watching good players. No one plays mistake proof pool, they just have escape routes so they don't get trapped in case the plan has to change. Being creative, it is one of the things that separates players.

03-12-2004, 12:56 AM
Here's an excellent drill for 9-ball. Throw out the 7, 8 and 9. Run them off in order. Vary where you position them on the table, starting with easier run out positions. Then as you get better with this, move them to harder run out positions. The idea is to consistently run the table. You can really learn a lot with just this 3 ball drill.

Later on you can throw out the 6 ball and practice 4 ball run outs. The idea is to get good and comfortable at running the table before adding more balls to the table.

03-12-2004, 07:55 AM
It's hard to see what you're doing without watching you shoot. Just some random thoughts:

Are you trying to play position too good. What I mean is that in 9 ball, rarely to you have to play exact position. It's ok to have a longer shot as long as you have a nice angle to move your rock around.

Are you playing into the line of the shot/OB or are you crossing it? The margin for error is much bigger if you are running at the OB instead of across your position zone.


03-12-2004, 09:01 AM
"Are you playing into the line of the shot/OB or are you crossing it? The margin for error is much bigger if you are running at the OB instead of across your position zone."

This has been my experience, told to me by my mentor while he watched me screw up about a million runouts. It may seem totally logical to go around with follow for shape, and yet the low-outside draw for rolling the CB in-line with the nine instead of taking the shorter route, even for a longer shot, fixes lots of self made difficult angles on the nine. Worked for me once I found that out. As Popcorn stated, a change of plan is needed sometimes, even if it means busting the run and ducking...sid

03-12-2004, 10:04 AM
I know that rule #1 is not to take the 1 if you can't take the 9, <hr /></blockquote>

Well no, that's not a good rule. Better said is to put the same effort on the one as the winning nine ball. For that matter any other ball on the table. Give every ball the same concentration and your game will improve. Many times the smart move is just play to a safety. There is no rule you have to run all the balls. Give the same effort playing position to, or playing a good safety. Make mental notes and practice those shots that give you trouble.

People have the tendency just to shoot balls and settle for ok, or what I call, second best position. In the long run they just get farther out of line. Think about what your doing and get position on the correct side of the ball. The correct side, in general, makes position to the next ball natural and easier. Players do get out of line all the time including pro's. It's the ones with good c/b control that either get back in line or find a smart way to play a good safety. You learn from your mistakes, rather than get upset or frustrated and not learn anything. If you don't know what's broke, you can't fix it. LOL That could include your stroke mechanics also.


03-12-2004, 10:58 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Rod:</font><hr>
Think about what your doing and get position on the correct side of the ball. The correct side, in general, makes position to the next ball natural and easier. Rod

<hr /></blockquote>

This has cost me quite a few runs. I particularly watch what I'm doing when figuring position on a side pocket shot. Sometimes an error of an inch or less difference can land you on the wrong side of the ob, and the natural angle of the cb will send you to the wrong end of the table. If in doubt, play the cb across table for a shot on a corner pocket instead of the side pocket. It's much easier to play position on a shot to the opposite end of the table when shooting to a corner pocket.

Think about your margin for error when considering position, and don't get too caught up with trying to play perfect position. Perfect position is seldom needed. Better a little harder shot than no shot.

I don't know if this is what you're refering to, but a couple things that have given me problems. I hope this is of some help.


03-12-2004, 12:57 PM
Here are a couple of things:

First, do a rotation excercise that both develops your running skills and makes you acutely aware of your running ablility. Throw 3 balls on the table, take ball in hand and run out the 3 balls. When you can do it consistently, increase the number of balls by one. When you reach a level where you can run 6 to 7 balls out every time you will be a threat to almost anyone.

Secondly, develop your defensive safety playing skills so they become automatic. To do this, force yourself to play safe anytime you get out of line, regardless of what kind of shot you have. If you develop the discipline to do this then you will have what it takes to play defense when it really matters.

Steve in CA

03-12-2004, 06:05 PM
Thanks for all your comments everybody. I'll let you know how they work out.


phil in sofla
03-12-2004, 07:57 PM
To add to the 'throw out 3 balls' drill already mentioned several times, make written notations, and use 10 3-ball scenarios (set up differently) as the set you run for the drill. A success is not only getting all 3 balls, but being honest with yourself, getting reasonable shape on them as you are attempting to (banking out, or running a razor thin cut down the rail at 85 degrees, is a failure, although congrats on the shot). Overrolling the shape for an easy shot the other direction is also a failure. When you can consistently make 8 of the 10 3-ball runs in line all the way, then add a ball. Do the 4 ball runs in the same way, etc., on your way to up to 8 or 9, ultimately.

If a particular problem is your speed/English coming off the rail from a shot near the corner, set that up with an intended next ball at various locations, and practice varying shape position off that shot.

Lastly, if you can see a 'stop shot out,' and execute it, that is almost bulletproof as to shape. Take a number of balls spread out at random, none on the rails or touching each other, and try to figure out a ball in hand starting position that will allow you to run the balls without touching a rail. (You could incorporate the same drill as above in the first paragraph with this additional goal in mind, increasing the number of balls with the 80% success factor as before). Not all these shots will be stop shots, although many will be the off angle equivalent, the stun shot.

Some people advocate shooting this way exclusively in practice for several weeks, and promise it will greatly improve your overall game.

Harold Acosta
03-12-2004, 10:57 PM
I was once recommended to do the following:

1. Throw all 9 balls on the table, or maybe rack them and break.

2. After the break, look at the layout of the table and decide to start the run from where the cueball landed or take BIH.

3. Start shooting the easiest shots first, not necessarily in numerical order.

4. When you have 3 balls left, then shoot those in numerical order.

The tricky part here is shooting the first 6 balls randomly since one tends to automatically look for ball in numerical order. Just switch you mind to 8 ball, and pretend you are shooting the solids. When you have 3 balls left, switch you mind back to 9 ball.

You will be practicing easy shots first, feeling comfortably in pocketing the balls, and then you go on with practicing true position on the last three.

Hope I have explained this clear enough for you to understand.

Harold ~ loves last pocket 8 ball better than 9 ball...

<font color="blue">Billiards: A passionate sport for the mind and soul!</font color>

Chris Cass
03-13-2004, 07:34 AM
Hi mred477,

I don't know your speed or caliber of play so, I won't tell you how to play the game. I will say this. I've seen many players from beginners to pros. The one thing you must think of is. The shot doesn't end till the cb stops. That means you have to play the shot beyond just making the ob. You might not be playing it all the way.

Another suggestion would be to learn where the tangent line is. This will help you tramendously in avoiding traps.

Oh, learn how to use the WEI table. It helps to understand what's going on with you. You can show us what your thoughts are on any shot a little more clear. /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif


C.C.~~welcome aboard. /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif

03-13-2004, 09:14 AM
First you need to decide what the problem is. Are you choosing the wrong patterns or are you off on your cueball speed? Usually its a combination of both but if you study your play you will notice a trend in one or the other.

Ball speed can be something that is hard to get a handle on, I took a lesson from Scott Lee and some of the things he gave me to work have started helping my ball speed greatly. One of the things he has had me work on is getting three speeds I can pull up on demand, a soft medium and hard speed so to speak. Most of my positions in nine ball can be made with one of those speeds, the others are slight variations that become easier to make the more comfortable you get with your "natural" speeds.

03-13-2004, 10:55 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote mred477:</font><hr> ... I know that rule #1 is not to take the 1 if you can't take the 9...<hr /></blockquote>

You may be confusing this with the old 8-ball adage "Don't make 7 if you can't make 8"

Personally I don't make 6 if I can't make 8.

Wally~~can't make 8 /ccboard/images/graemlins/frown.gif