8-Ball Pattern - With The Drill Instructor

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8-Ball Pattern - With The Drill Instructor

8-Ball Runout Pattern
Those who fail to plan, plan to miss the next runout. Illustration courtesy of Dominic Esposito, The Drill Instructor

Another great lesson from The Drill Instructor
By Dominic Esposito

Practice Drills That Develop Consistency - Part 3

Due to your diligent efforts since the last two lessons here at About.com, your shot address and pace of play should be a thing of beauty for all to see. Sure, you're still going to miss sometimes, even lose a match or two, but suffering from "Nopaceosis" and "Addressitis" should be a thing of the past. It wouldn't surprise me if you were playing at least one ball better and feeling pretty good about your game, joining a league or entering tournaments.

This month we want to ask the question, "Why do players with three open stripes or solids and the eight ball fail to run out?" More often than not, it's because they suffer from what I like to call, Wrongballemia. They shoot the wrong ball!

Drill No. 1 this month is the ounce of prevention that is also worth one pound of cure for the dreaded (and often misdiagnosed) Wrongballemia. The purpose of this drill is to learn how to predetermine then create a good pattern for running out.

The accompanying diagram illustrates an Eight Ball game in progress (click on the graphic to enlarge it). You have stripes and it's your shot with ball-in-hand. But how do you know which object ball you should shoot first? The answer comes by knowing the best pattern to follow.

The good news is that determining the best pattern and creating a pattern are a learned skill. The time to learn this is during your practice sessions. The more you practice this drill, the faster you will be able to figure out the best patterns during your regular play time. The more experienced you become at creating patterns, over time, the more you'll be able to look over the layout of the table and seeing the pattern will "just come to you", and quite fast.

Here is how a pattern is created. Start by identifying the last ball to be pocketed will be. I call that ball is called your "finishing ball". Of course in 8-Ball or 9-Ball, the finishing ball is obvious. But in other popular games like 14.1 Continuous Straight Pool, One Pocket and Bank Pool, just to name a few, you have to decide which ball will be your finishing ball.

In Diagram A, the finish ball is, of course, the 8-ball. The location you'll shoot from to get to the finish ball is at Position 1.

To arrive at Position 1, you can pocket the 13-ball in the side pocket and roll off to its left as illustrated. Where the cue ball will land is Position 2.

To get to Position 2, you shoot the cue ball from just off the third diamond on the side rail. That is called Position 3.

You got there after pocketing the 15-ball in the top corner pocket. To do this you needed the cue ball to have an angle to play off of, which came from making the 10-ball using "stop" on the cue ball for Position 4.

This all can happen because you set up the cue ball to make a straight in shot on the 10-ball when you had ball in hand to start. That is called Position 5, which now becomes the starting position of the run out. Position 5…4…3…2…1…Finish for the game.

Barring any kissing of balls or mangled clusters, when the balls are open around the table, you create a pattern by working backward from the point of the Finishing Ball. According to our planned pattern, you would count backward: The position of the cue ball, to pocket the Finish Ball, is called 5, the 4, 3, 2, and finally 1. This is how a pattern is determined, by first counting it backward from the Finishing Ball. Then you turn it around and see your created pattern by recounting it from its starting position.

To begin shooting, the Start position is now counted as 1. After pocketing the 10-ball, the cue ball is now in position 2. Following the cue ball to the third diamond on the side rail after pocketing the fifteen ball in the corner, in position for the 13-ball is called position 3. After pocketing the 13, the cue ball will land to make the eleven in the side pocket, which is now called position 4. Shoot a straight-in stop shot on the 11-ball into the side pocket and the cue ball is now in its final position to pocket the 8-Ball, the Finishing Ball for the win, from position 5.

Remember, to create a pattern, start from the position you want the cue ball in to shoot your Finishing Ball. Then continue by counting backward until you reach the last ball. This is your starting point for the pattern. From the Start point, count forward to the Finish point. Pat yourself on the back in congratulations. You have learned the first concepts of how to determine or create a pattern for a run.

Be sure to mark the table lightly with chalk so you can replace the balls over and over in their precise positions from the diagram, until you have mastered this pattern. After mastering this pattern, continue by placing balls onto the table and create a new pattern. Master that one and do this again and again.

In time, you'll soon be able to quickly see patterns during your regular playing time. My special Pro Skill Drills, Volume 2, is packed with 8 and 9 ball patterns you can work with to insure you have a well-rounded pattern skill building experience.

Dominic Esposito, The Drill Instructor, is author of the Seven Volume Book and DVD series, Pro Skill Drills. Buy yours today.

Pro Skill Drills 1: Rail Finishing Points/Understanding Tips Of English
Pro Skill Drills 2: Finishing Points On The Long Rail
Pro Skill Drills 3: The Double Kick System
Pro Skill Drills 3: Clutch Safeties For 8- And 9-Balls
Pro Skill Drills 4: Four Ways To Bank Balls
Pro Skill Drills 5: Walk The Line
Pro Skill Drills 6: The Short Jump Shot
Pro Skill Drills OO7: Play Safe, Mr. Bond
Pro Skill Drills 8: "Chalking Time" - Mastering A Shot Routine

Notes From A D.I. Workout - Stroke Speeds And Masse Shots
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