Big Reds Instructional #4: My Favourite Drill

Erik InstructionalHello everybody. Today we are going to continue our bi-weekly instructional articles, switching gears a little and taking a look at a practice drill aimed at improving your skills. Drills are an integral part of learning on the pool table, particularly when trying to make the leap from beginner to amateur and amateur to semi pro levels.
The following drill is a 9 ball rotation drill. The goal is to run the balls in rotation from the 1 ball to 9 ball, starting with ball in hand. At first glance at the positioning of the balls, you will notice that the majority of the balls are placed very near to the side rails. This aspect of the drill is very important because this particular run out pattern, or something very similar, often comes up in 9 ball.

photo by Erik Hjorleifson
photo by Erik Hjorleifson

As you attempt to run the balls, the first five shots will make you move the cue ball in different directions, potting the balls in similar placements but in different locations on the table. You will notice that you usually have three to four choices of position to play. Choosing the right one is very important in consistently completing this drill.
The 6 ball and 7 ball are placed in the middle of the table, on the head spot and the foot spot. When I was originally shown this drill this is where I was told to put them. As I attempted a few times I found it more practical to move the 6 ball and 7 ball on the same line, 1 diamond closer to the top and bottom rails. The 8 ball and 9 ball give you a chance to practice moving the cue ball from end to end .
Some drills are meant for fine tuning your stroke, which is great but I enjoy the drills that can be applied to real life games. The way the balls are placed in this drill takes into account so many shots that appear in actual games, so I would highly recommend giving a try. It should be noted that running all the balls out in this drill is very difficult. If you are an amateur level player you should be happy if you can run it out approximately 4 times out of 10. If you would have any questions or comments feel free to email me at
Note: all the balls except for the 6 and the 7 are placed in line with the middle diamond of the corresponding rail, a ball width away from the rail.

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