December 4, 2012

Posted: December 5, 2012 in Uncategorized

I’ve been having trouble controlling the white ball in “220” lately.  I figured that to fix that problem, get used to my new stick, and prep for a tournament coming up, I should work on some basic drills to sort things out.  Over the last week or so I’ve been working on one my mentor showed me a long time ago.  The drill and the time I invested paid off last night.


I started the evening off by playing “198” (9-Ball vs The Ghost on 7-foot tables).  The first half of the match was going OK.  Since this was only my second time playing this game, I don’t have an average or a sense of a score I should be expecting.  “L” on the next table came over after the sixth game, snuck a peek at my score sheet, and said, “Hey! We’ve got the same score!”  Since no one has a handicap yet, we are all playing straight up in the “Scratch Division.”  I knew I had to buckle down if I was going to get into the money.  So I stopped thinking about stuff, focused on ball control from my drills, and ripped off four snap games in a row to close out the match.  Result: 105!  YES!


The drill that made the difference on those tight, fast tables is to set up all fifteen balls in a straight line across the table at the second diamond off a short rail.  Equally spaced, the balls end up being about an inch apart.  Start with the cue ball another two diamonds back, near the middle of the table.  The object is to put all the balls consecutively into the two closest corner pockets.  Order doesn’t matter; just pot the balls.  Sounds easy, and mostly it is – at first.  You find out pretty quick that a draw stroke is handy to keep the cue ball on the right side of the line of balls to get them into those two corner pockets.  Alternatively, you can use the natural glancing angle off a ball to put the cue ball where you need it.  A little English off a side rail can help too in a pinch.


The first six or so usually go down pretty easy, but then you start to notice that leaving the cue ball in the right place is becoming more important with fewer balls left on the table.  If you pocket all fifteen balls in a row, you move the line of balls back one diamond and do it again.  This line placement makes the shots a little longer plus it brings the side pockets into play adding another dimension.  If you get that second line down, move it back another diamond making the shots even longer.  I’ve never gotten past this line.  Nevertheless, this drill is a good way to tighten up your ball control, play with the different ways of positioning “whitey”, and a great way to get your stick and you working together.  I credit this drill and the time I put into it with my success last night.


My “220” match (10-Ball vs Ghost on 9-foot tables) started really good.  By the end of the seventh game, I had hit my average of 44.  I figured I was in the money.  Aaaaaannnd that’s when I lost focus.  Between being bubbly about the 105 score in “198”, sitting on my average in the seventh game, being a little hungry (I hadn’t eaten), maybe a little mentally soft from the beer, and imagining what I was going to do with all the money I was going to win in this week’s tournaments, I forgot that I still had to put balls in holes to be successful.  Over the next four games, I put just nine balls down to end with a 53.  Pathetic.  I had a great chance to post a really good score and let it slip away because I didn’t keep my head in the match at hand.  I probably won’t get into the money with that score, but it was a good lesson in managing my mind.  With the Tri-Annual 220 Tournament coming up this weekend, I hope it was a lesson learned.  I’m looking forward to finding out.


Old “220” Average:  44.10                 Old “198” Average:  None

New “220” Average:  45.45               New “198” Average:  None

Goal “220” Average:  70                    Goal “198” Average: ??


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