Prepping For League

Our league doesn’t start for another 2 and a half months but it’s never to early to get ready, right? This year I have started my own team. I wanted to get away from the purely competitive vibe that was prevalent with last seasons team. This year it will be more about enjoying what we are there to do. To often in years past did I see some of our players sit out so that we would stand a better chance of winning. No more.

My goal is to have fewer players, and to have  players that are not so intense about winning. I love to win, but not at the cost of other teammates sitting out 12 out of 13 weeks. Never again. I found that it affected my game negatively because I felt guilty for playing every week while others watched. (It wasn’t my decision) Thankfully I am able to keep most of our team together. We got rid of the few that were all about the win and kept the ones that still manage to have fun no matter if they win or loose.

Our team will be weaker in a sense.  We wont have 2 of our big guns anymore but this will allow the others to develop more and those players might just step up and get the wins. And if we don’t finish in the top 3 so what, as long as people are getting regular playing time and enjoying what they are doing.

So I got my team together now but what about my game? I have decided to begin a rigorous workout on the pool table daily for the next two months. I will be  working on drills that improve my safety play, strategy, and  position play. I will be playing nothing but straight pool for the first month and for the next month I will switch between that and 8 ball. (It’s an 8 ball league) Straight pool hones so many parts of your game which makes a great tool for getting your game back in shape. Not to mention it’s just a fun game to play.

Here is my routine for the 1st week or two. It is mainly focused on fundamentals and pocketing skills. You might think at first that some of these drills are overly simple but if you don’t start at the beginning and get the basic skills razor sharp you will be less effective at the advanced techniques.


5 min straight stroke drill.

( put CB on the head spot, hit it to the other end of the table making it come back and hit the tip of your cue without moving your tip. Start of with a soft – medium stroke and gradually increase power. This will also show you how much power can negatively effect accuracy. This will also show you your range of power while maintaining accuracy. If you can hit the CB at full break speed and have it come back to your tip 9 out of 10 times than you are better than me! Honestly though, this should give you a good idea of how hard you can accurately hit the ball. Remember this exercise next time you unload on a shot.)



15 min corner to corner shot.

( draw an imaginary line from one corner pocket to the other, diagonally across the table. Set and object ball (ob) along the line where it dissects the center of the table and put the cue ball (cb) half way between that ob one of the corner pockets. Now shot the ob in using a stop shot, follow and then draw. I usually shoot 10 stops, then 10 follows allowing the cue ball to follow the object ball in, then 10 draw shots and draw the cb back into the corner pocket closest to me. This drill will work your pocketing skills, your positioning skills and test the straightness of your stroke all while working your stop, follow and draw shots.)



10 min banks

( I will set up various banks using the short and long rails. I will also practice using english and center ball hits on my banks)


10 min Frozen to ball and frozen to rail shots


(I line up 10 balls along the rail with a small space between each one. Then place the cb directly in front of it frozen to the other ball. Set up a OB down table and shot it in. After you do that from each of the 10 different positions you will be left with 10 balls frozen to the rail. Once again set up a ball somewhere down table and shoot it in using the balls frozen to the rail as your CB. *note you could just shoot the balls into a corner pocket but i think actual forcing yourself to make a shot is better practice.  This will really help you when you’re jacked up over a ball or stuck on the rail)



5 min Break Shot

( Just like it sounds, rack em up and break em! Over and over and over……. I only do this for 5 min but I will keep it in every one of my practice routines. Most people don’t practice the break out of laziness. It’s arguably the most important shot of the game, why wouldn’t you practice it.



15 min to 1 hour playing straight pool (depends on how I feel)

I like to finish my practice doing something I enjoy that also improves my game at the same time. The reason I put 15min to 1 hour is that some days my back gives me trouble and I see no benefit from playing in pain, so, I play as long as I am comfortable. You may want to play 9 ball or something else, just make sure it’s something fun for you. It gives you something to work towards during your practice session.


That’s it! Yours doesn’t have to be the same as mine, but if you do decide to do one make sure it focuses on the right things. The time amounts should be designed to suit you as well. Some say you should only practice for 15 min a day. I feel I do better with a hour or two. GO AT YOUR PACE.  I am also interested in other people routine, so if you make up your own post it here so others can see what you’re doing.


2 responses to “Prepping For League

  1. My practice is much less structured (though I really want to improve that):

    Warmup: Roll out 15 balls and pocket them. Try to play position, but mostly focusing on my stroke and PSR (such as it is). I usually do a rack or two of this depending on how things are going.

    Work on Trouble Areas: I keep a notebook of shots I miss a lot, positions that I screw up (or that I don’t know how to play to begin with), results of matches (things I did well, things I did not-so-well), etc. I usually select one or two shots from that list and play 2-3 racks of each shot. These can be literally just making the ball, or making the ball with certain english.

    Position Practice: I basically play nine-ball here. I don’t specifically practice break shots but if I don’t get a decent break (keep the CB on the table) I re-rack until I do. Then I play the rack. I don’t play the ghost (taking BIH after the break) because in league matches, I have to play the table as it lies. So practicing safes, push-outs, etc. is important/benficial to me.

    14.1: If I’m still going strong, I’ll start to play 14.1. It’s my favorite game but one of my league nights is APA 9-ball and the other is NAPA laggers-choice so I tend to play much more rotation-based games. 14.1 does help with the other games but I feel more benefit from practicing them separately.

    I don’t have a specific time-line for any of this. I practice until I notice I’m just slopping the balls around and not concentrating anymore.

  2. I have played on teams that have those “have to win” players, and also played on teams that were “just for fun”. Both have their strengths and weaknesses but the one thing that I have found is that for any team to succeed both in fun and wins, everybody has to be comfortable with each other and playing pool with each other. Honestly I have had more success playing on the “just for fun” teams because everybody gets along and there is never that feeling of, “someone looking over your shoulder” while you are shooting.

    Also, nice practice structure. Let us know how it pays off (which I am certain it will 🙂 )!

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