What useful drills for practicing cue ball control and position play?

Many can be found on Vol. II of the Video Encyclopedia of Pool Practice (VEPP). Here are a few examples:

Here are some additional useful position control drills from the Billiard University (BU) Instructional Series:

Target practice drills are also very helpful for developing CB speed and position control.

A fun card-based game for practicing strategy and run-out skills with a group of people or solo is the Hill Hill Game.

For more, see drills for practicing cue ball control.

from Tin Man (in AZB post):

Everyone knows top flight pool is about consistency. The mistake the vast majority of amateurs make is they play terrible patterns that lead to inconsistent transitions and recovery shots. Some days they get where they intended or make the recovery shot, other days they don’t. Since they have intermittent success they conclude they know how to play but need to improve their consistency of execution, therefore they need to improve their fundamentals. This is why so many people are obsessed with fundamentals.

Fundamentals are very important, but they can’t make the wrong pattern into the right pattern. If you are playing low percentage transitions there is no amount of stroking into a coke bottle that will allow you to outrun those percentages.

In an effort to demonstrate this I’ve invented what I call the “Three Time” drill. Here’s how it works: Play the 5 ball ghost (5 balls is PLENTY to make this drill a monster!). Mark the balls. Take ball in hand. But here’s the rub. You have to shoot the first ball THREE TIMES. On each shot mark where the cue ball landed. Then you have to shoot the second ball from the WORST of the three positions. And you have to shoot that second ball in three times, making each landing, and then play the third ball from the worst of those positions. And so on.

Here’s what this drill teaches. If you shoot the wrong shot, this drill will absolutely expose it. You will get good shape once, get out of line once, and butcher and miss the shot once while trying to do too much and it’s game over. Or you will get out of line hopelessly, and unlike in a game where you can try to make a miracle shot and recover, you now have to make that miracle shot three times. Oh, and then play from the worst of the three lies should you manage that. Good luck with that.

This will hammer home the importance of good patterns and cue ball. When my students try this drill I use coins to mark their landing spots. When they shoot key transitions their coins are usually several feet apart or scattered over half the table. When I shoot my coins are stacked up on top of each other, or laying on a 8″ strip of felt all on the same path of the angle I want on my next ball.

Are my fundamentals better? Do I have better cue ball control? Not really. It’s just that my patterns are very, very strong, and I try to play patterns that eliminate the need for good execution.

This drill will really expose flaws in your reasoning. When you shoot a layout once you can get out of line and chalk it up to poor execution. When you do it again and again you learn really quick what works and what doesn’t work. It’s not about execution. It’s about taking pressure off of execution. And you will learn which paths are high percentage and which sounded good in your mind but really weren’t.

Bad players practice the shot they missed. Better players practice the shot where they got out of line. Great players practice the shot where they got a sub-optimal angle where they allowed even a chance of anything going wrong.

Now, many players are limited on patterns because they don’t understand the full functionality of the cue ball. And many others don’t understand why some patterns are better than others. That’s what I do when I teach. If you want to learn how to play this game at a high level let me know. But if you are just looking for a good way to test your patterns and learn from trial and error, I have yet to see a better drill to get down to brass tax. Pro pool is about finding ways to stack those coins. Go to work!

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