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Learning how to obtain position

Learning how to obtain position

I was lying in bed last night and it struck me--there has been no particular discussion about how to 'see' position. But there has been a lot of discussion about how to put the CB here or there. The difference is why you want to put the CB here rather than there. After thinking about it for a while, I could not actually describe why I wanted the CB to end up here rather than there, but there was an excersize (practice technique) that I used that allowed my game to traverse this boundary. Perhaps this thread will help some others traverse this boundary. Thus, this thread is dedicated to the mechanism even though I can't quite describe quite how it works.

Take the first 9 balls and place them within a ball radius of the intersections of diamonds near the center of the table. You want the balls to be some what haphazardly arranged, but neatly arranged at the same time.

Now, take two other balls and place then within a ball radius of head spot and foot spot. Finally take the other 4 balls and place them at 1/2 diamond crossing position (that is midway between the head/foot spotted ball and the corner ball of the first 9. The 3 balls on each end make a triangle anchored at foot/head spot with respect to the corners of the cube.

From here, the rules are simple. You get Ball-In-Hand, attempt to run the table; If you miss, scratch, foul, you loose and start over (but no-one is keeping score). As you begin, just try to run deeper and deeper. Picque your curiosity on what is it about the starting position that leads to deep runs, and what is it about the starting position that leads to shallow runs.

Over a couple of hours you will find that there are certain patterns that you can run deep and other patterns that are devlishly close to those and you cannot run deep. This is exactly what this excersize is attempting to teach you. How to look at the table position and find those you can run out versus those you cannot. It is going to take plenty of "racks" for your eye/brain combination to 'see' what the table positioin is trying to tell you.

As you try various starting positions, you will find there are about 6 (symetrical) starting points that lead to fairly easy deep runs, but few others--even though they look very similar. I find that being delicate with the CB, moving it as little as possible is generally a good strategy for the first 1/2 of the runs.

Try starting within the cube and run from the inside out. Try starting by knocking off the head/foot spot. Try starting by knocking off a corner from outside the cube

With the balls nice and loose, there are lots of run opportunities. You will not 'see' them all in the early stages, and will come to realize the myriad of options. From this myriad of options you need to heavily prune the less effective orders, and slowly your ability to run the rack will improve. Later on, you will see the pattern and not be able to execute. Still later on, you will wonder what all the fuss was about as you nail run after run.

If you get to the point where you can run the rack, try tightening up the pattern by moving each ball closer to each other ball by about a balls width. If you get frustrated, try loostening up the patern in the opposite direction.

The excersize is not designed to make long runs easier, smoother, better. The excersize is designed to help your eye and mind 'see' those patterns you can run and separate them from those you cannot. This is important in safety play--knowing when to duck, and when to run.

Learning how to obtain position

Replies & Comments

  1. Mitch AlsupFenwick on 12/14/2010 2:42:40 PM

    Well thought out and well written.

  2. Mitch Alsupgibson on 2/20/2011 11:49:46 AM

    I agree. I like the idea of using a concept like this and translating it into an exercise that will build skill.. I was listening to a chess master on a talk show yesterday who was talking about the importance of "pattern recognition" for developing skill at chess. There are similarities to pool. in that in order to run out you need to read the table. I am looking into developing this skill and would like to hear theories on how to accomplish this. Excellent post.

  3. Mitch AlsupQStix on 3/13/2012 1:06:35 AM

    Obtaining a position play a very critical role in pool game. You have shared some nice content, helpful for pool players of all skill level.

  4. Mitch AlsupFenwick on 3/13/2012 11:42:30 AM

    Worth a second look.

  5. Mitch AlsupMitch Alsup on 3/13/2012 1:15:18 PM

    Back in my HS days, I used to be rather good at chess. The ability to rather instantly see a pattern is a highly valued skill. But until you pointed this out, I had forgotten that lookging at 15 balls on a table is pretty much like looking at chess board in mid-game. Thanks for pointing this out.

  6. Mitch AlsupFenwick on 3/14/2012 5:51:33 AM

    Something else we have in common, chess! Bobby Fisher had a real good book on chess. I also studied the best 1,000 chess games. I apply it to 8 ball. The object balls are your pawns. Don't kill all your pawns if you can't capture their king, the 8 ball.

  7. Mitch Alsupallanpsand on 4/11/2013 12:08:07 PM

    For most players, playing position is difficult. Most players take a long time to realize how necessary it is to pocket and place the CB afterward. Generally, if the ball locations are favorable, it's not difficult to run balls. The problem is when the next OB is in an awkward location.

    If you are going to play position, you need to learn CB control. Start with exercises that contact the OB and then put the CB in a precise location. Set up an easy with a second OB somewhere else on the table. Play the shot several times as you figure out the necessary speed and spin to get shape.

    The "Cue Ball Control Cheat Sheets" is very popular because it provides the exact CB action to get shape. Any number of drills will also work - even the infamous circle of balls in the middle of the table.

  8. Mitch AlsupJnewstro on 3/5/2015 2:32:58 AM


    Do you think you could post a drawing of the ball layout? I'm new and don't quite know all the terminology; and I'd like to try something other than rack after rack of 8 ball by myself to learn how, where, and why about cb position.

    Thank you!

  9. Mitch Alsupmetguy on 8/20/2015 12:13:18 PM

    Cue Ball Control Cheat Sheets? I'm gonna have to look into that.

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Learning how to obtain position

  • Title: Learning how to obtain position
  • Author:
  • Published: 12/13/2010 6:38:31 PM