If you’ve been following my twitter feed, you’ll know that I’ve been spending a lot of time at the table lately – and most of it has been alone and working on drills, really trying to hammer out this new adjustment to my stance and grip. ¬†If you haven’t been following, then just hit that button over there in the side bar. ūüėČ

I’ve been working several drills lately, some of them have been successful, some of them haven’t. ¬†For example, I usually start off with this drill for a while:

And while I’ve completed it once, I didn’t get it on video. Although I had to take the “easy” way out and allow myself to shoot any ball at any time. I think the strict rules say balls must be made sequentially across the table in their corresponding corner pocket. ¬†I continually get close, but clearly need to work on my pattern and position for the last 3 balls. ¬†I always seem to end up leaving myself with a really thin cut on the 3rd or 2nd ball.
It’s an interesting experience shooting this a lot. ¬†It seems that if you make it past the 4th ball (in any direction or combination of directions) you’re likely to make it to the end of the drill (as in, get to the last 3). ¬†I don’t think there was ever an attempt where I missed halfway through. ¬†It seemed it was either all or nothing.
I enjoy this drill because it really works you on getting back to the center of the table and/or the correct angle to get to the next ball. ¬†Sometimes, straight in is okay, sometimes it’s just plain death. ¬†Additionally, it’s really focusing my eyes on those slices down the rail.
The other drill I’ve been working a lot is the notorious “L-Drill”:

It’s such a pain in the ass, I can’t even begin to describe it. ¬†This is a great drill, because of it’s variety of difficulty. ¬†You can use as few as 5 balls around the 1st diamond square to as many as 15 balls around the 2nd diamond square. ¬†I’m trying it with 10-balls these days. ¬†However, I think I’m gonna have to drop the number to 8 just to get some confidence going for this drill. ¬†It is a ridiculously tight area you must get to each and every shot, if you’re planning on running out. ¬†I’ve trying a myriad of ways to start off, 1 rail, no rail, 2 rails, punch stroke, finesse stroke, medium stroke… and for each of them, I get decent on the 2, some places let me get on the 3 better than others, but then the 4 is tough as by then I’ve usually worked myself up against the rail and can’t really do much after that. ¬†Sadly, I’ve been working at this drill, without having completed it, since 2009.
Which is what leads to things like this after shooting the 1, 2, 3 over and over and over and over for hours:
Not one of my best moments, but I had worked/drilled myself into exhaustion and frustration, as evident by this little anigif.
However, there have been some really good things happening lately.  For example, just last night I went to go drill again and I was able to complete 5 different IPAT drills:

This one gave me the most trouble and took me about an hour to figure it out.  The 1 and 2 are no problem, but you have to get as close to straight on the 3, without actually being straight (unless you wanna cheat the pocket some) and without crossing the straight-in line, so you can get good on the 4 and then 5. Rules of this drill is that the CB can NOT touch any rail, and no bank shots, and for all of these IPAT drills, the CB can not any other ball during a shot.

This one has a much larger margin of error, so it only took me a few attempts to get through; though always room for improvement. I can play better shape and not have to rely on my thin-cut ability as much. ¬†Run the balls in numerical order, odd’s up the one half of the table, evens on the other half. ¬†No banks, no contacts, all pockets available.

This one is fun – and it’s an “infinite” drill. ¬†You start with the 1, 2 and 3 in the marked positions and run the balls in order. Starting with BIH, make the 1 ball, place the 4 where the 1 was. Make the 2, place the 5 there, make the 3, play shape for the now-in place 4 ball. Place the 6 where the 3 was. ¬†Repeat this processing replacing balls for however many rounds you like. ¬†The IPAT documentation only has 3 rounds. ¬†It’s interesting to see how much you have to think about how to get around the balls when you get out of line.

This one was pretty easy, I did it on the 1st attempt.  Technically, you can shoot the balls in any order, but no banking.  But, I just ran them out in order, since it was the most natural (for me).

Lastly, I tried an 9-ball situation drill. ¬†Once I got the setup correct, I was pleased with how quickly I saw the only (and best) path from the 1 to the 2. ¬†The 2 to the 3 offers some variety, if you want it, but I found that simplicity is your friend with these layout drills. ¬†I used primarily 2 shots from the 2 to the 3, depending on how straight I got on the 2. ¬†The next “tricky” part is 3 – 4 – 5. ¬†You need to get on the 3 suck that you can get just hair off-straight on the 4, so you can stun into the gap between the 5 and 6. ¬†If you’re close to straight on the 5, then the 6 – 7 is a no brainer. ¬†And going from the 7 – 8 – 9 should be pretty automatic for most players by now.

You guys are lucky winners, as I was filming all of this!

Once I completed that layout, I decided to call it quits for drills and just relax by playing racks of 9-ball.  I did a couple of a good outs and a pretty solid break and run.

Now, upon watching all of the footage, I did notice some times where my stroke seemed incomplete, and most of the times, those were the shots I missed or fell short on position.  But, in general, I feel pretty good about having ingrained most of my new adjustments into the nearly-automatic category.  

I’ll write about the scotch doubles tournament later.