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View Full Version : Learning to Play Position??? well.



bigalerickson
04-19-2004, 01:25 PM
Ok, so I have officially ventured into the depths of 9 ball. I have been playing 8 ball pretty successfully for a long time, and straight pool is still my favorite game. I do very well, at these games, mainly because I 'think' (meaning I might be wrong about this) I am good at playing short position plays. Meaning I can put whitey where I want if its two diamonds or less away from my ob.

Thus it seems I am struggling more with nineball because I need to move the ball what feels like all over the dam place. I have little to any control over whitey when i need to get any further than two diamonds, and it seems like one table length can easily turn into 1 and 1/2 or two.

Bottomline, where do I start to really work on position play? Drills? Lessons?

Oh, and I have yet to figure out how to pot a ball with any amount of english on whitey, and when I do whitey goes off to hell and gone.

Thanks for any helpful hints.

-Alex

pooltchr
04-19-2004, 01:43 PM
There are a lot of ways to go with this, but if I had to pick one thing that will give you the most bang for the buck, I would say work on speed control. You can move the ball around a 9' table pretty well if you can just control your speed. Start with a lag shot, then add one diamond in distance until you can feel the difference is what is required to move the cue ball to different spots up and down and back up again. Once you have a good handle on that, start working with shots on an object ball and use speed only, no english and do the same thing. You will find you can get very close position working just with speed. Once you get that down, then you can throw in the side spin to the equation.
Steve

Predator314
04-19-2004, 01:53 PM
Blackjack David Sapolis had some pretty good 9 position drills. I can't remember the site they were on though. I'm sure one of the others on this board has it bookmarked. He really stresses keeping the cue ball in the middle of the table most of the time. I agree with him.

bigalerickson
04-19-2004, 01:53 PM
Hey Teach,

I can lag without 1 2 3 and 4 rails without too much trouble (consistently within a half diamond)... well, I can do it 3 out of 5 gaurenteed probably 4/5. My problem is adapting this to actual play.

Thots?

bigalerickson
04-19-2004, 01:55 PM
Whitey likes the rail.... I don't know why, but he just seems to have an attraction to it.

-Alex~could do amazing things with pool if he could play in the middle of the table and stay off the rail.

Alfie
04-19-2004, 02:26 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote bigalerickson:</font><hr> Thus it seems I am struggling more with nineball because I need to move the ball what feels like all over the dam place. <hr /></blockquote> Kinister's 60 Minute Workout. It's all about experimenting with tip offset and speed control.

Alfie
04-19-2004, 02:29 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote bigalerickson:</font><hr> Whitey likes the rail.... <hr /></blockquote>yeah, I get that too. Oh well, practice, practice, practice.

Chris Cass
04-19-2004, 02:47 PM
Tap, Tap, Tap Good advice Pred. The point David was trying to make was, if the cb is in the ctr table area, this cuts your shots in half. Makes perfect sence. Take a 9 ft table and your shots are down to 4 1/2 ft at the most. He further explains to look at what shots that can be made from ctr table. The ones that aren't need to be addressed first. So, basically you need to check out the run and take out those trouble balls.

I didn't really pay attention to it till one night when I was playing. I seemed to go back to ctr table many times. I guess I never really paid much attention to it before I listened to what he had to contribute to our board. I like David and wish him well.

When I first read his posts I felt he was the type of guy that inferred, do as I do or it's my way and no contest. Something like someone talking down to another. This isn't my cup of tea. However, now that I know him a bit better. I see a man and a champion player that found a way to get there and wants to tell you how he did it. Many people don't like to take advice but an open mind means everything in this game.

Regards,

C.C.~~wtg Pred...

SpiderMan
04-19-2004, 03:03 PM
Here's a few ......

1. Play target pool - not just playing the shots but actually keep score and a running record of your long-term improvement.

2. Bert Kinister's 60-minute workout is a fine tape, and was a real groundbreaker in terms of organized practice.

3. Stop playing simple "zone" position and start incorporating "line" position into as many of your strategies as possible. Often this will mean going an extra rail or two, but often it's a higher percentage favorable result.

4. ALWAYS pick an exact first-rail target and be certain the cueball is going to hit it! I often fix this spot in my mind by walking over and putting my finger on it.

5. Play Fargo. Your position play and concentration will improve tremendously, as will your understanding of the primary reasons for runs ended.

SpiderMan

Jimmy B
04-19-2004, 03:04 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote bigalerickson:</font><hr> I have been playing 8 ball pretty successfully for a long time, and straight pool is still my favorite game. I do very well, at these games, mainly because I 'think' (meaning I might be wrong about this) I am good at playing short position plays. Meaning I can put whitey where I want if its two diamonds or less away from my ob.


-Alex <hr /></blockquote>

2 Diamonds away?? this seems to be bad for any game. I don't care what game you play if you want to play it well there are some shots that you need to get within 5 or 6 inches (or less) for the proper position. Also in 8-ball or straight pool there are times you need to go from one end of the table to the other, I think you may be fooling yourself as to what the problem may be. IMO 9-ball is an easier game then both 8 or Straight the reason is you don't have to think out patterns. In 9-ball the table dictates your out, when you shoot the 1 there are 8 other balls on the table yet the option to which you need to shoot next is made for you (2-ball). I think what may happen is you get out of line in the other games and can change plans and when the final outcome is done you don't recall how bad you F-ed up as long as you accomplished what you were trying to do (run out). The question you need to ask yourself is how often do you change your plan in the other games and my guess is it's quite often if your position play is only down to 2 diamonds (2feet). I think the key is position play, get the game out of your head, to many people worry if it's 8-ball,9-ball or 1 pocket, the game doesn't matter it's all about making the ball and getting position on the next. Take it 2 shots at a time and work up, IMO progressive drills work best and are easy to chart.

JB

bigalerickson
04-19-2004, 03:48 PM
Spidey,

What do you mean by incorporating line position play?
I've never heard of this before.

Do you mean the movie Fargo?
not sure at all what you are referring to.

bigalerickson
04-19-2004, 03:50 PM
Nah Jim, I meant if my target stop point is two diamonds or less away from my ob I can do it. If I'm dealing with shots that require whitey to travel longer than two diamonds away from the ob I have almost no contorl over it, hope that helps. thanks.

bigalerickson
04-19-2004, 03:51 PM
I'd like to read what this guy David has to say, does he have a web site or a series of discussion strings? I'd like to read what he is sayings.

Thanks,

Alex

Candyman
04-19-2004, 03:59 PM
http://www.8ball.org/blackjack.htm

This may be the site you are talking about. David shares some really good information. /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif

Predator314
04-19-2004, 04:09 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Candyman:</font><hr> http://www.8ball.org/blackjack.htm

This may be the site you are talking about. David shares some really good information. /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif <hr /></blockquote>

That's it. He also has a yahoo group that has some great info:

BlackJack David Sapolis group (http://games.groups.yahoo.com/group/BlackjackDavidSapolis)

Check out the files section. It has some nice stuff. Check out the lessons in 9 ball section under the files. There are some nice drills in there.

Frank_Glenn
04-19-2004, 05:28 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote bigalerickson:</font><hr> Spidey,

What do you mean by incorporating line position play?
I've never heard of this before.

Do you mean the movie Fargo?
not sure at all what you are referring to. <hr /></blockquote>

Come off of a rail directly toward the line you want to shoot the object ball (toward the ball, usually) rather than in a line diagonally toward the ball. In the first case (A, shooting the 4 next), your shape is good, better, best. You are constantly rolling on the correct line with shape getting better (as long as you don't overshoot). In the second case (B, shooting the 10 next) your shape is fair, good, fair as you cross the diagonal. There is only one place where you are actually in line and you are rolling into and out of it.

At least, that's what it means to me. YMMV

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http://endeavor.med.nyu.edu/%7Ewei/pool/pooltable2.html

tateuts
04-19-2004, 11:09 PM
Alex,

My advice would be to toss balls out and start running open tables. Try to plan your angles, focus on each shot, and get out on every table every single time. For every hour you spend practicing offense, spend 15 minutes practicing safeties and kicks.

As far as learning goes, watch live pro matches and accustat tapes, and see and think about what the players are really doing to get out. Watch how they deal with a situation and practice it.

There is an art to making very difficult shots while still completely controlling the cue ball - which is what nine ball requires.

After you run a few thousand racks (no kidding), you will be pretty good at this game. Nine ball requires an extraordinary amount of knowledge of angles, rails, and all the diverse forces that can make the cue ball do what you need it to. The more you know about each shot, the more you can put it all together to make your play extraordinary.

The better you get at it, the more you can appreciate exactly how good the top players really are.


Chris

cheesemouse
04-20-2004, 05:43 AM
Big Al,

Nineball is more of a rhthym/tempo type game. Being that your just getting into it take sometime to be more carefree or not so analyitical about your position results. Make quick decisions and let your perfect body go....... /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif

#### leonard
04-20-2004, 06:31 AM
Greenleaf would say I was told, never play to a rail always play to hit the rail.####

weelie
04-20-2004, 07:07 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote bigalerickson:</font><hr>
Do you mean the movie Fargo?
not sure at all what you are referring to. <hr /></blockquote>

Oh yeah, it's fun movie... but what he meant was this:
http://groups.google.fi/groups?q=fargo+rules&amp;hl=fi&amp;lr=&amp;ie=UTF-8&amp;oe=UTF-8&amp;selm=page-2403001341570001%40page.chem.ndsu.nodak.edu&amp;rnum=1

It's a practice game where you run 10 racks of 15 balls, in rotation you get 2 points per ball, not in rotation you get 1 point. Run 10 racks, add up the scores... and there you have a composite of your current form. Of sorts.

Here's a score sheet ready for you (excel file):
http://www.ele.tut.fi/~whippet/FKPS/fargoscore.xls

You could also play 9 ball against the ghost. Or maybe start with fewer balls, like six or so, trying to run from BIH after break. Check these for example:
http://members.aol.com/blkbeltbilliards/prog9.html
http://members.aol.com/blkbeltbilliards/qskill9.html

SpiderMan
04-20-2004, 08:48 AM
Looks like a couple of folks beat me to the answers. Anyway, they are correct.

Fargo is a game similar to "equal offsense", you play it solo and keep score to mark your improvement. Break a standard rack, take ball in hand to start, and shoot "call pocket" 'til you miss or foul. Balls on the break are spotted. At some point in the run you can choose to begin shooting in rotation, after which balls count two points instead of one. You can't switch back. Advanced players figure out what must be done in order to switch early in the inning.

A game is ten racks, so the maximum possible score is 300. If you can average over 150 you're pretty good. Rod Elliot is a Fargo expert, I think he averages 190 or 200 on nine-foot tables. I've never had a single 200 game - always there's a few low innings like zeros, twos, or threes, where I tried to get an early breakout and rattled the called ball.

I have a Microsoft Word document with the rules if you want it. Where'd the name come from? Legend has it that the game was started in Fargo, North Dakotaa, but I don't know if that's true.

Fargo is also a good game to play with a practice partner, as you just take turns one rack at a time until you both have 10, and keep a running score total to compare during the "race".

SpiderMan

Frank_Glenn
04-20-2004, 09:07 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote SpiderMan:</font><hr>
Where'd the name come from? Legend has it that the game was started in Fargo, North Dakotaa, but I don't know if that's true.
SpiderMan <hr /></blockquote>

I think Mike Page came up with it in rec.sport.billiard while trying to improve equal offense during a debate several years ago. Several people had input. Mike lives in Fargo, ND.

Her's a google search:

http://www.google.com/groups?q=fargo+group:rec.sport.billiard+author:mik e+author:page&amp;hl=en&amp;lr=&amp;ie=UTF-8&amp;oe=UTF-8&amp;start=0&amp;sa=N

04-20-2004, 09:48 AM

dooziexx
04-20-2004, 09:51 AM
Black belt billiards or Phil Capelles Play Your best 9 ball might help you. Black belt Billiards has a lot of good drills that will help you with position play.

Scott Lee
04-20-2004, 01:25 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote bigalerickson:</font><hr> Hey Teach,

I can lag without 1 2 3 and 4 rails without too much trouble (consistently within a half diamond)... well, I can do it 3 out of 5 gaurenteed probably 4/5. My problem is adapting this to actual play.

Thots? <hr /></blockquote>

Alex...That speed control drill IS how you should play. The idea is to ingrain those stroke speeds into your body and mind, so that you are already accustomed to understanding and using the correct stroke speed, for the correct shot application. Basically, we all need to have a "soft", "medium", and "hard" speed for our stroke. Generally, you don't shoot softer than 'lag' speed, and generally, you SHOULDN'T shoot harder than 'break' speed! LOL

A 2-rail speed stroke, or lag (aka pocket speed), is how you should play much of the time. This is shooting the OB so that is just falls off the end of the slate, into the pocket. 3-rail, or medium) shows up as the OB striking the back to the pocket, and is used when you need to do more than just pocket the OB (i.e.: gain some position that is not natural)...4-rail (aka break speed) is as hard as most anyone needs to shoot, and is reserved mostly for the break, although situations do come up where that high speed stroke is necessary. 1-rail speed is designed to teach you how to stroke the CB VERY SOFTLY, and replaces the "dink" or "bunt" style of play that many poolplayers use, when they need to shoot exceptionally soft.

Scott Lee

Wally_in_Cincy
04-20-2004, 01:47 PM
I have to second the nomination for Black Belt Billiards. That book helped my speed control a lot. It was $20 well spent.

black belt billiards website (http://members.aol.com/blkbeltbilliards/)

bluewolf
04-20-2004, 02:45 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote whitewolf:</font><hr> I had to beg Blue Wolf to try this (Zen pool). She was finally tried it and it took her to a higher level quicker than anything she had previously done. Granted now that she had been practicing on fundamentals and had them down pretty good, and one could say that her success was just the culmination of doing lots of drills, but like I said, IMO this what added a spark to her game. It broke her out of that structured mold where one is just spending too much time on fundamentals without getting really loose.

Good luck, WW <hr /></blockquote>

Why do you call this 'zen pool'? Because that is the name I gave this drill, you crazy loon. I am the one who used to practice zazen, I bet you do not even know what that word means. haha /ccboard/images/graemlins/tongue.gif /ccboard/images/graemlins/tongue.gif

But I do start out my practice this way and then before I get down on the shot, I think about where I want the cb to end up. I had learned about tangent lines from randy, some ball speed stuff too from randy and scott which is now helping me to start being brave enough to try going 2-3 rails or doing delicate finess for position.For a long time, I could go 2-3 rails for a safety with decent finess but I had this mind thing that I could not play position. It was in my head, a beat up Laura thing and thinking an sl whatever is not supposed to be able to do this or that. really dumb now that I look back on it.

Zen pool? What did it do for me the best? I was in knots. I was hating pool, beating myself up and strongly considering quitting. This put relaxation, not being attached to whether the balls went in or not, just enjoying stroking,'the pleasures of small motions' if you will and as for why it helped me? Naturally nothing goes in when you are a big choke and saying all of those negative messages to yourself. While ww thinks the brain remembers, I think a lot of it is that when you take the self judgement out and get into that relaxed, meditative state, I was playing by feel and so the shots started going in more and more as I got better and I was not sabotaging myself anymore by 'stinkin thinkin'. It was the first step towards that meditative way of playing pool where a person just plays, a beginning of fun.

Laura

Popcorn
04-20-2004, 07:13 PM
In pool, close is not always the best thing. The closer you get to the object ball, the more chance you have of radical angles, even to the point of having to cut a ball backwards at times. shots 18 to 30 inches are very easy and workable shots with smoother angles. makes running out much easier in the long run playing 9-ball. One of the reasons I think a lot of the older straight pool players had trouble with 9-ball was their attempt to try to control everything. Never move open balls, going around balls, trying to get too perfect on everything and not taking advantage of the easy flow of the game if you let it happen. Even though you have to run the balls in order, every rack can be run numerous ways with a positive result without any real right or wrong. You can't lock yourself into a plan that may have a dead-end in it, if everything does not go perfectly and that is what a lot of players do, although they don't realize it till disaster happens. You have to see ahead options that can bail you out.

You could say, "How could trying to play perfect be bad"? That depends on what you consider perfect. Perfect to me is something that has margin for error with a large gray area, not do it right and you have a hanger, do it wrong and you are dead. Players that get pleasure in going around the table and falling on a shot to the cheers of the crowd, are the same players that get hooked by a half a ball and stomp their foot in disgust for their bad luck. It may have been better to have just stopped the cue ball and shot the little harder cut. you may not get cheers but you will at least get out. Just some observations

Keith Talent
04-20-2004, 08:25 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote bigalerickson:</font><hr> Oh, and I have yet to figure out how to pot a ball with any amount of english on whitey, and when I do whitey goes off to hell and gone.

-Alex <hr /></blockquote>

You might try going a little easier on the juice, cueing a half-tip or so closer to center. It's probably natural to get carried away at first, and get a little anxious about how far you've got to send the cb and really loading it up, but a little goes a long way, too, and is much easier to control, along with raising your pocketing odds. Like Popcorn says, all you need a lot of the time is something workable, not the perfect position play.

1Time
04-21-2004, 04:07 AM
From the way you described your 9-ball game, I'd highly recommend you get a few one hour sessions of hands-on instruction and follow-up each with a few days of one hour drills the instructor would have you do. Until then you could work on your cue ball control by improving your cue ball speed, using a little high English (follow) and the cue off the rails when helpful.

Terry
04-23-2004, 05:55 AM
Hi Alex, if you are having trouble sinking balls while putting english\spin on the cue ball I would suggest using hole reinforcements on the table. Start by setting up an easy cut shot using the hole reinforcements so you can shoot the exact shot over and over until you get the feel of the shot, try spinning this shot two rails out to the middle of the table both ways left and right and then you can make the same shot making the cue ball go three then four rails etc. Add a ball to the table that you have to get position on as well as pocket without having to make a difficult shot to sink it. The value of setting up shots is that you can shoot them repeatidly in a short time span as opposed to trying to run tables where every shot is different altough some are similar. Good Luck, Terry

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<blockquote><font class="small">Quote bigalerickson:</font><hr> Oh, and I have yet to figure out how to pot a ball with any amount of english on whitey, and when I do whitey goes off to hell and gone.

Thanks for any helpful hints.

-Alex <hr /></blockquote>

Gayle in MD
04-23-2004, 07:11 AM
Hi there,
I am not one of the more experienced folks here, but I too am working on Cue ball control. I have not seen Bert's tape, but I have been working with Byrn's Power Pool Workout tape, and Joe Tuckers Drill book. Both are great products. Joe's book is only ten bucks, (Unless he has gone up on it) and I think it is really great. Someone here probably has the link, or you could do a google on it. I sure am sorry I didn't get to meet him in VF.

I'm going to get Bert's tape also.

Gayle in Md. /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif

recoveryjones
04-23-2004, 12:18 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote bigalerickson:</font><hr> Ok, so I have officially ventured into the depths of 9 ball. I have been playing 8 ball pretty successfully for a long time, and straight pool is still my favorite game. I do very well, at these games, mainly because I 'think' (meaning I might be wrong about this) I am good at playing short position plays. Meaning I can put whitey where I want if its two diamonds or less away from my ob.

Thus it seems I am struggling more with nineball because I need to move the ball what feels like all over the dam place. I have little to any control over whitey when i need to get any further than two diamonds, and it seems like one table length can easily turn into 1 and 1/2 or two.

Bottomline, where do I start to really work on position play? Drills? Lessons?

Oh, and I have yet to figure out how to pot a ball with any amount of english on whitey, and when I do whitey goes off to hell and gone.

Thanks for any helpful hints.

-Alex <hr /></blockquote>

Nothing has helped me improve more in pool than dedicated solo practice doing various drills. All the playing in the world won't teach you what well set up drills will teach. Playing lots might get you there eventually, however, much, much slower.Drills are an awesome teacher.

Your nine ball will get better the more you familiarize yourself with the game.Your straight pool knowledge will help your nine ball game, however you will need to learn the power shots that the nine ball game requires.

As far as putting sidings on whitey, this requires lots of solo practice as well.Put the cue ball and the object ball in the exact same spot and practice the same shot over and over using various, tops, bottoms, draw and and sidings at various speeds.After awhile you will see whether you have to aim thick or thin on the object ball to make the shot when using sidings.You will become familiar with your cue and how it deflects.

To improve your game, there is nothing more important that practice.