Here’s an exercise you can do with someone you want to teach or learn from to increase run out percentages. It will help you be specific and get endless specific examples.
Most players know that they need to play three balls ahead. They may also already be able to get the cue ball where they want. However, when it comes to the details of where to put the ball and why, they don’t choose the best target spot.
By understanding which path to take to get to a particular area and why to choose that area over another one in the first place is critical to increasing run out percentages. Players may also be totally unaware of a certain stroke or how to get the ball to do that.
First, throw three balls out on the table.
I like to use the Seven, Eight, and Nine ball because they are usually the last three and I think there is a psychological effect of making everything as close as possible to being in an actual game.
Now use hole reinforce stickers to mark where each ball stopped. This way you can set up the exact same run-out multiple times. This is very important because you need to minimize the variables in order to isolate certain shots and be able to learn from them. Also, if any of the balls are set up differently, it could totally change the decision making.
Take ball-in-hand and run them out with your partner there watching. Talk through the hows and whys of everything.
The other great thing you can do too is talk about pre-shot routine and see if they are “doing their work” by walking to look at the next shot and choosing an exact spot on the table.
First, analyze the table and work backwards from the last ball, because getting position on your third ball is affected by how you hit your first ball.
You know you want the cue ball to go towards the Nine ball on the end rail, so you need to have a shot on the Eight ball where you are on the left “side of the ball” — or, in other words, the left side of the line to the pocket.
Now decide how you are going to hit the first ball so it will get you to your target spot.
You should choose an exact spot within your triangle-shaped area that you want. Remember the quote from the movie The Patriot, “aim small, miss small,” that was said to the child learning how to shoot a gun.
The smaller target spot you choose, the higher the chance you have of hitting it. Visualize a big area and there is a bigger chance you will be farther away from you ideal spot.
What path is best to get to your target spot? Is it option one with low English or option two with low left English? And where are you going to place your cue ball in order to get there?
Give yourself your best chance of pocketing this first ball by putting it within six to eight inches of the Seven ball. And give yourself about a 30 degree angle so that the cue ball easily floats to your target spot.
Notice that the margin of error in option two (double dotted lines) is over twice as forgiving than option one. In other words, your speed could be faster or slower than you anticipated, but you will still have a shot on the Eight ball which largely increases your chances of running out.