Perfect Pool Practice - 3-Ball Break-And-Runs

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3 Ball Breaks - Another Perfect Practice

3 Ball Breaks Setup. Photo (c) Matt Sherman

Here is another of my practice drills that are fun for beginners and easily altered to make them challenging for more advanced players.


Rack three balls with the apex ball resting on the foot spot. If you feel lazy, just place three balls there by hand instead, as diagrammed above.


Break from anywhere in the kitchen you wish, perhaps from one of the three suggested spots for the cue ball or even closer to the head rail if that is comfortable.


Break apart these balls three times then pocket them all (in the highly likely event they are not all pocketed on the break)! If you scratch now or on any subsequent stroke, place the ball where you like in the kitchen and shoot again at your target(s). Rack and repeat nine more times.


Next, your goals with this drill...


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3 Ball Breaks Continued

After A Soft Break. Photo (c) Matt Sherman

The beginner looks to sink all three balls in ten tries or less every time. If you go ten strokes with one or more balls still on the table, count it as “ten” and go again. After ten racks, you now have an average benchmark such as “eight strokes” to work against in future.

The intermediate shooter looks to pocket all three balls in five strokes or less over the average of ten turns or attempts.The skilled intermediate expects to break the balls apart and sink them in four shots or less most every try.The expert will break the balls apart, and no matter where the four balls come to rest, shoot them in numerical order without a miss, seven times out of ten. In other words, the expert expects to run the balls 70% of the time in rotation whether or not they sink one on the break.This drill will teach you plenty, no matter your skill level (and why else would I post it for you, dear reader?):The break shot: You can practice hard breaks, attempting to sink balls (bank shots of three or more rails into a side pocket are typical from the break). You can do softer breaks, sending the balls including the cue quite gently, near a corner pocket. You are now practicing ten break shots in the time you might normally hit only a few breaks with longer racks to play.Positioning skill: You pay a price for letting the balls out of your control on the first shot. Accuracy is as important as speed here, as it is for the pros in all pool games. You must also learn to gently nudge the occasional shot. Rather than bat an object ball about the table, why not very softly send it toward a pocket, setting up a second shot at the same pocket if you miss the first time? Rather than yield your turn at the table as in other games, you can take two or three tries at the same pocket in a row!This drill is playful and holds interest like few others. Enjoy!