3 Drills for Improving Your Billiards Technique

By Fawn Farley , last updated December 9, 2011

Practicing the following three drills will significantly improve your billiards technique. These three drills focus on developing your stroke, aiming, and shaping your shots. By isolating elements of the billiards shots and concentrating on the fundamentals of each drill, your overall billiards technique and game will improve. Save the more advanced and technical shots for once you have the basics down. Remember to practice often!

Developing Your Stroke
To begin, line up all 15 pool balls along the center line. Your goal is to hit in each ball, 1-15, in a straight shot from the first diamond line. Each shot begins ball in hand with the cue ball aligned perfectly with the far corner pocket and the center ball you intend to hit. The object is to hit only the center ball you are aiming for, sinking it in. Do this for all 15 balls without missing. By concentrating on the straight shot, you will learn how to shoot straight. The ball will travel straight if you hit the cue ball straight. This is a good way to determine your dominant eye and utilize that eye to map your shot.
Pool Shot Aiming Drill
This drill introduces the element of the angle. Arrange nine balls in a semi-circle near one of the corner holes. Place the cue ball at the same starting point for each shot. Proceed to shoot in each ball around the semi-circle. Remember that the ball will travel in a straight line from where it is hit by the cue ball. So if you imagine a straight line from the center of the pocket through the center of the ball, that point is where the cue ball should make contact. Once you have this drill down, you should be comfortable with shooting a wide array of angles, and you can make the drill more difficult by increasing the distance of the cue ball.
Short Shape Drill
The short shape drill is a bit different from the others in that it is less important if the ball goes into the hole. The main objective is to concentrate on where the cue ball travels after you hit it, which is essential in the game of pool. It is about thinking of and adopting strategies in game play. You will use balls 1-6. Place balls 1 and 2 each one diamond out from two corner pockets so that they are at a 45 degree angle from each of two corner pockets on the same side of the table. Place balls 5 and 6 each one diamond in towards the center on the short side of the table, half an inch in from the rail. Balls 3 and 4 will go half way between balls 1 and 5 and balls 2 and 6.
Beginning with the cue ball on the foot mark, shoot ball 1 into the corner pocket first. Shoot drawing straight back without following through. This will keep the cue ball from following the 1 ball. The object is to keep the cue ball in the center area, so you can shoot in balls 1-6 consecutively. This drill will also give you a chance to work on your rail shots for balls 5 and 6.
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