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3-Ball Perfect Position Drill

3-Ball Perfect Position Drill

Practice is very important. You can have all the knowledge about the game, but if you can't implement it, it does you no good. Practicing develops muscle memory which increases your consistency.

The main reason people don't practice is because it is work. Here are a couple of practice games that are fun to play - either by yourself or with a friend or two:

The idea behind this game is to perfectly run three balls in rotation. First take any three balls and throw them on the table. With cue-ball in hand line up on the lowest numbered ball to pocket it and get position on the next lowest number ball. This first shot is critical, because not only should you pocket the first ball and get position on the second ball, but the position you get on the second ball should be "perfect." In other words, the angle on the second ball should be such that on your second shot you easily make the ball and get position on the third ball. You should have no hard shots. In otherwords, you should have a gimme, an easy shot with the correct angle and finally another gimme.

If you miss any of the three balls, or don't get the perfect angle on the second ball, you have to start over. When you are able to make all three balls with a proper angle on the second ball and no difficult shots 15 out of 20 times, you are good enough to advance to four balls and continue the same.

With four balls the first shot is a gimme, the second shot you should have an easy shot with a good angle to the third ball. Now on the third ball you must again get an easy shot with a proper angle to the fourth ball. The fourth ball should be a gimme. Once you are about to make all four balls "perfectly" 15 out of 20 times consistently then you can graduate to five balls.

If you are tough on yourself holding strictly to no tough shots, and no wrong angles, you will find this practice game very challenging, but your game will reap the benefits.

3-Ball Perfect Position Drill

  • Title: 3-Ball Perfect Position Drill
  • Author: (Billiards Forum)
  • Published: 12/15/2008 2:11:00 AM
  • Source: Paul Gerni, Internet Archive, 1996. Written in 1970s.

3-Ball Perfect Position Drill

The 3-Ball Perfect Position Drill article belongs to the Position Play and Cue Ball Control category. Learn all about controlling the balls to your advantage during your shots.

3-Ball Perfect Position Drill Comments

  1. Lance BastrupLance Bastrup from Lake Arrowhead, WI on 2/8/2009 7:00:09 AM

    Started with the 3 ball position drill. Now I am practicing with the 4 ball position drill which is helping my game. I wouldn't call it a "4 ball perfect position drill" yet, but the thing is my game is getting better. This is a lot better than just throwing the balls on the pool table and putting them in. Once I've got the 4 ball routine down to a science it will be on to 5 balls.

    To make it more interesting I pretend that I'm playing a 16 game football season and I get a win if I get all 4 balls in, in order, and a loss if I don't. To me it makes the practice more interesting & gives me more reason to strive to be better.

    Before this drill I was throwing 15 balls on the pool table and giving myself a football win if I pocketed them all before going over 2 misses.

    The mind games help me concentrate better.

  2. MrPhilHarmonicMrPhilHarmonic from Freehold, NJ on 3/2/2009 10:34:57 AM

    It's always the "simple" things that are the most effective. This WORKS and works WELL!

    I have added 3 balls to every run as a result of this practice. My only qualm is why didn't I think of this before?

    It's so simple yet very effective (but still hard to do though!). How many times during a game of 9 ball have you gotten to the "7" ball, only to find you either miss it while trying to get on the black 8 ball, or pot it and end up in bad position? Well, NO MORE! Not with this routine. You DO have to imagine that it's a "life or death" shot so as to intensify the exercise though!

  3. JOHN H. CERULLOJOHN H. CERULLO from Wichita, KS on 5/28/2009 6:03:47 AM

    A few years ago I developed a little three ball game for my enjoyment and improvement.

    I take the 1, 2, and 3 ball and set hem up for a break like I was playing 3 ball. You do the break shot and then you have to make the three balls in rotation. But prior to doing this you have to call all three balls and the corresponding pocket PRIOR to shooting the first one.

    Then if you are playing someone else you keep score by counting how many strokes it takes to make them. A scratch counts for one shot.

  4. MrPhilHarmonicMrPhilHarmonic from Freehold, NJ on 5/30/2009 2:00:32 PM

    Another very useful routine that I use to great benefit is a game called "Bowlliards" (based on ten-pin bowling).

    It's such a good game as it puts pressure on you for your solo practice, it can be used as a great "money" game with your pals, and, any number of people can play at the same time! Check out the rules on the web and you'll soon see how 'striking' (sorry - bad pun!) this game can be!

  5. JOHN H. CERULLOJOHN H. CERULLO from Wichita, KS on 5/31/2009 6:53:57 AM

    Bowlliards is a great billiard game that you can play by yourself for practice. Here in town at almost all the League Bars there is a Bowlliards League.

  6. Lance BastrupLance Bastrup from Lake Arrowhead, WI on 6/1/2009 2:40:25 PM

    This is quite interesting... Looking it up on google I found the following URL which explains the rules:


    Bowlliards is played with 10 balls and the scoring mimics the style of 10 pin bowling. The aim of the game is to outscore the opposing player in 3 rounds. Each ball is worth 1 point with a 1 point deduction for a scratch. At the start of each round the player is given a free break with no conditions attached. The player then takes their next turn with BIH behind the line. The player plays until there is a scratch or miss, and that score is recorded as the first bowl. At this point the player gets BIH again behind the line and plays until he scratches or misses; this score represents the second bowl. The balls are then counted for the total of that round. Then the balls are re-racked and the other player takes his turn. If a player clears all the balls on his first turn then it’s a strike or X (20 points). If he clears them all over the two turns it’s a spare or / (15 points). If a player gets a strike in each of the 3 rounds they get a trophy. Points awarded: 1st 500, 2nd 250, 3rd and 4th 100. Host earns 500 points.


    There is also a game called bowlliards. It combines bowling and pool. In this game, you rack 10 balls in a triangle, it doesn't matter which balls you use. A person will break the balls just like in normal pool. Any ball that is made on break is re-spotted. Once you do this, from where the cue ball stopped at on the break, you can then shoot at any ball you want. The rules here are like bowling. Every ball you make is 1 point. If you miss a shot, then however many balls you made total before the first miss is the score you get for the first half of the first frame. For example in bowling, let's say you knock down 6 on your first roll, it's the same in bowlliards. If you make 6 before your first miss you have 6 for the first half of the first frame. You then move on to the second part of the frame. However many more you make is the score you get for the second half of the frame. If you make every ball without missing any, you get a strike. If you only miss once, it's a spare. Keep doing this for 10 frames. It's pretty time consuming. Now, if you make a fowl, for example, scratch, ball off table, don't hit a ball a ball at all, etc, you lose 1 point. If you lose 1 point, it is not possible for a strike or spare, because 9 will be the maximum possible score for the frame.

    Of course there are also the rules posted here on the Billiards Forum (as linked above in Phil's comment).

  7. Jeff PhillipsJeff Phillips from Morton, MS on 10/5/2010 8:48:04 AM

    I do this billiard drill and I play the 7 ball ghost and win every set that I bet on.

  8. quixioteMxquixioteMx from Monterrey, Nuevo León on 11/14/2010 11:05:10 AM

    I was loosing many racks with my pals because of my inconsistency at the true time; when your opponent has no balls on the table and it is your turn and you have one or two balls.

    I have since started to practice a similar game to the three ball perfect position drill. I throw two stripped balls, the eight ball, and the cue ball on to the pool table and start pocketing my balls and win the rack. It improved my performance.

    I'll try the three ball perfect position billiard drill as well.

  9. tjvtjv from Boulder, CO on 1/27/2013 10:46:56 AM

    I use a variation of this three-ball perfect position drill. I play it the same as described but I force the rotation up and back down the table length.

  10. Kat MettilleKat Mettille from Klamath Falls, OR on 8/6/2013 11:21:40 PM

    Thank you so much for this 3-ball perfect position drill.

    I just started playing pool seriously about 9 months ago. I was told by a dear friend if I wanted to get better I needed to put my time in at the pool table, and I have been practicing 2 to 5 hours a day since then. My pool game has gotten a lot better. Before increasing the practice, I had a problem pocketing 2 balls. Now I can run 3 to 5 balls.

    At this point I have been looking for some type of practice that will help me with ball control and this sounds like a perfect exercise.

    I can't wait to try it out

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