I know I spend a lot of my time playing the ghost or 14.1 lately. I have never been very disciplined at doing drills. I find it boring to spend a lot of time on drills, although I know they can be beneficial. I seem to lose focus to easily, and perhaps that exactly why I should do more of them.
Just wondering how everyone else spends their practice time at the table. Also, if you do a lot of drills, which ones do you like?
I've gotten away from practicing lately. I never really did anything particular but I used to take two or three shots that gave me trouble and just take 20 shots each of them then switch it up after a month. I've had less and less available time to practice lately.
What very little time I do get to go out and practice I spend with my dear friend Eddie. Typically its anywhere from 4-8 hours straight of trading racks. We sometimes run drills. Sometimes just work on the little things that are out of whack that bother us. When we shoot though we change the game every so many racks. Just to keep things interesting for not only him but for me as well.
I don't spend a lot of time practicing but when the time does permit you better bet I'm out doing it.
I'm in a point in my game where I was expanding my stroke and finding new possibilities on how to get shape on my next shot. Lots of spin on the ball was what I was going for. Now that I know more or less where my boundaries exist, I can focus again on pure ball making, using my brain, and most importantly not muscling the ball as much.
I'm also working on strictly playing shape to the center of the table if I can. Unless I need to be on a rail to get a good angle on a ball I'm playing shape as close to center table as possible. Life is much easier from there.
I usually throw all or most of the balls out on the table and proceed to look for the type of shots that seem to give me the most problems in a real game. If I can't find that type of shot, I'll shoot an easier one while putting a certain amount of "english" on the ball to see if I can still pocket it. I seem to still have a problem potting shots in the intermediate range while using english. I just haven't yet figured out how far from the centerline the ball will drift on these type of shots.
Sometimes I just rack 'em, break 'em and play the ghost. He wins often!
I try to start of just shooting straight in shots. I then work on my banks I love to bank. Then I work on any thing that I have been having trouble with. I spend about an hour doing each of these and more time on any thing that seems be keep giving me trouble. I had back surgery about 8 months ago so I am working hard on my stance and stroke.
I do love those banks. I am trying to get my self to take the cut over the bank now just to see if it will help with my run-outs. I have to say my favorite game has to be one pocket even though I am not that good.
I know the feeling. I have had 3 back surgeries and every time I had to learn how to stand all over again.
When I practice by myself I usually shoot 9 ball so that I can get used to putting the cue ball where it needs to be. Plus it's like you are coming to the table for your shot after you miss. And it's really something when you pull off a good safe on yourself on purpose. It makes you want to get out of it even more I think. So it teaches you to play safe and to see angles to make a good hit. Also it teaches you to bank if you need to to get shape on the next ball. I noticed that my banking and ability to kick improved the more that I got into 9 Ball so that's why I pick that game to practice with.
In the past I rarely practiced. I loved the game too much to "waste time". Now that I play as much in a month as I used to play in a day, I need to practice a bit before playing serious. I have three practice drills:
Drill#1: I practice the corner-to-corner, straight-in shot. I try to fire it in and repeat until a full rack of balls is gone.
Here's an example:
I just happened to fire this one in VERY hard. Normally I play 5 balls slow, 5 balls medium, and 5 balls hard.
Drill#2: I developed my one drill based on the Mississippi 9B drill discussed here-->THREAD
Until you try the Mississippi 9B drill, you have no idea how tough it is. I've had people look the table over and pick up their cue with supreme confidence only to shrink away after missing the 5 trying for position on the 6 or miss the 7 trying to get down table to the 8.
My Kim Steel has slightly soft pockets, so I decided to kick it up a notch and modified the drill. Here's a video of me running the drill so you can see how hard I struggled with it. I had not played all week so I was a little shaky. I didn't feel a good groove to my stroke, but I got out.
Here's an example:
Drill#3: You can shoot any ball at any time, but I purposely avoid "bailing myself out" with a bank or kick (due to poor position) or bumping into balls (to get them off the rails). This pressures me to play tight shape and if I don't get it..I force myself to take a long cut shot instead of an easy bank.
To make it more difficult, I will bring each ball (along the long rails) 1/2 diamond closer to the side pockets. NOW THAT'S TOUGH!
I just throw the balls onto the table with no set order, take ball-in-hand and run them in order 1-?. When/if I miss, I start over. I don't have the patience for practicing though, I'd rather just gamble...Thats my practice!
That's what Jesse Bowman said to me one day. He said he doesn't get paid to practice. LOL
Here's a practice drill that Jon Kucharo taught me that might fits guys that don't like drills where you have to setup the balls, yet can put pressure on you. That's the problem with just throwing balls out on the table and shooting them in...no pressure therefor no progression.
Step#1: Rack a certain number of balls in any geometric form you like. How many you start with depends on your skill. FWIW, I start with 5 or 6 so I can get rolling.
Step#2: Open break the balls and take BIH after spotting any that drop. Obviously, if you drop multiple balls it will make a cluster at the spot. Also, don't baby the break to keep a tight pack so its easy to run out. Really disperse them so you have to move the CB.
Step#3: Run the balls in order. If you miss, subtract a ball and go back to Step#1. If you run out, add a ball and go back to Step#1.
You will quickly gauge your game by how many balls you can comfortably run. Jon would regularly hover in the 13-15 range. He started with 9 or 10.
Jon went so far as to start using two sets of balls so he could go over 15!
He was also known to rack a 21 ball rack (like a 8-ball rack with additional 6 on the back row) and try to run them out in order.
My practice sessions at home go like this. I shoot one game using only low right. The next game low left. Then low center, high right, high left, high center, then center, left, then right. I feel it teaches me to think out of the box as far as the english is concerned. I know the goal is to limit english as much as possible but when you need it this drill will allow you to experience a wider variety of options. It gets pretty interesting what you can accomplish with english when you must in what I call "One English". Try it it's fun and it will make you focus.
I do a little of just about everything that has been mentioned. But I do do drills on the shots that give me the most trouble. I'm also working on my stroke and grip. (changing it to a more relaxed feel). And it seems to be helping. I practice about 12 hrs a week. If you had back surgery you may want to try putting some of your body weight on the knees bu slightly bending them in the stance.