Anthony Beeler Instructional Lesson #11: Practicing Pattern Play with the Brainwash Drill

by | Sep 4, 2020 | Billiard News, McDermott Cue | 0 comments

We are back with new videos for our pool instruction series with Master Instructor Anthony Beeler! In this video, Anthony shows you how to dramatically improve your pattern recognition.

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Hello, I’m Master Instructor Anthony Beeler, and today I want to talk to you about position play.
One of the most common questions I get asked by students is how to play the patterns correctly. Today, I’m going to show you five strategies that professional players use. I’m also going to show you a drill that will enhance your ability to recognize patterns on the pool table. So, lets go to the table and see what that looks like.

The drill that I’m going to talk to you about today is called the brainwash drill. Like I said before, the brainwash drill has been around for years. There’s been some changes to the drill the past few years. Originally, in the 60’s and 70’s, players just spread 15 balls randomly anywhere around the table.

And the rules to the drill are you have to pocket all the balls, you can’t touch the cue ball with another ball other than the one you’re trying to pocket, and you can’t hit a cushion. If you hit a cushion or you hit another ball with the cue ball, then you have to start the drill over. And so, this drill focuses on full-ball hits and three-quarter ball hits. And that’s a lot different than LESSON # 9 where we talked about the half-ball hit, The Most Important Shot in Pool. This drill teaches you how to float the cue ball around the table without striking a cushion, and that’s very very important.

So, our first strategy that we’re gonna be looking at today is always focus on full and three-quarter ball hits. You’re going to want to keep things as simple as possible. If you have position, there’s no need to play position. So, for example, lets start off with ball-in-hand here.
What I mean by “keep it simple” is I can shoot the ball and stop, and then I’ve got a stop-shot on the 13, and after I make the 13, then I can get position on the 7, and that’s another stop-shot. So, you’re really wanting to keep things simple, just like connect the dots. If you play the patterns correctly, you really don’t have to move the cue ball much at all.

Another thing that I want you to start thinking about is when you’re playing position, you have to always stay on the correct side of the object ball. So, for example, if I wanted to play position on the 13 ball in the side pocket, I’ve got to be sure that my cue ball here, if I’m shooting the 12, has a cut to the right. Because, if I’m cutting the ball to the right, then the cue ball is gonna go to the left.

If I was on the wrong side of the ball, and I had to cut to the left and my cue ball was gonna go to the right, there’s no way I can play for position on the 13 ball there. So, that’s another important element as far as patterns go.

Another thing that comes to mind is the importance of the alternative shot. Now, what do I mean by “the alternative shot?” Well, the alternative shot is where that you play position into a group of balls. You’re not just playing for one specific ball. I mean, you might be playing for that one ball, but if you don’t get perfect on it, you’ve got another option. So, if you’re playing 8 ball, if you’re playing straight pool, you don’t have to shoot one specific ball. And so, if you give yourself alternatives, then that’s going to make you more successful.

I see a lot of 8 ball players out there that are dead-set on just one ball. And that’s okay, sometimes. But, there are times when you need to play into a group of balls, and at that point you’re really just gonna choose the best one that you can, or the one ball that you fall on the best and continue the run from there.

The last thing I wanna talk about is the importance of the key ball. So, if I’m playing in a game of 8 ball, key balls are very important. Say all these balls are gone, except for the 10 and the 8. Well, my 10 would be my key ball. So, in other words, I might play for a straight-in shot in the corner on the 10, knowing that if I stop I’ve got a straight-in shot on the 8. The reason that this is a key ball is because by the time you get down to your very last ball, there’s no alternatives to play to. And so, this ball is very important in finishing up the drill. And that will make sense as you try and execute this more and more.

Most people have a very difficult time with this at first. But what I want you to be aware of is, the more that you do it the better you’re gonna get at it, and the reason this is called the brain wash is because when you’re practicing this, I don’t want you to practice any other drill for three weeks. You’re gonna practice this drill an hour a day, 3 days a week for 3 weeks, and your pattern play will improve immensely if you buy into this.

So, what I’m gonna do now is, I’m going to take cue ball in hand and I’m gonna see if I can correctly demonstrate the brain-wash drill.
And the drill that I’m doing today is the modern day version. It has 3 rows of 5 balls each. If this drill gets a little easy for you down the line, you can add another row of 3 balls down here and another row up here for a total of 21 balls altogether. But, if you work on this drill it’s really gonna improve your pattern play.

So, the first concept we’re gonna look at is “keep it simple.” I’m just gonna play for stop-shots. Gonna connect the dots. Gonna be shoot the 3, stop the cue ball, shoot the 5, stop the cue ball, play for the 1, stop the cue ball. So, always thinking ahead and I’m always playing for straight-in shots or nearly straight-in shots. This will be like a 3/4 ball hit.

Notice this is a finesse game, not a power type of drill. Always wanting to maintain control of the cue ball. Another thing you’re going to notice here is I’ve got a straight-in on the 1 and I’m just gonna float over here a little bit, just maybe an inch. And really it will depend on what angle that I get as to which ball that I shoot next. So, I’m gonna float in the middle and then look at all the balls and determine from there what I decide to shoot next.

So, now it looks like I’ve landed pretty good on two balls. I’ve landed good on the 12, and I’ve landed good on the 14. I’ve landed a little bit better on the 12 than the 14, so what I’m probably gonna do is shoot the 12, stop, shoot the 9, and then I’m gonna stop and then play for the 4 and then the 7. I’m seeing the “connect the dots” here. And you’ll see them too. It’s stop… stop.

Now on this one I can’t just stop dead. So, remember, another principle of this is you always have to stay on the correct side of the ball. So, I don’t want to stop dead and then have the angle to where the cue ball is going to my right. I’d rather follow forward a little bit and then have the up angle so I can go up the table here and be able to have more choices. So, I’ll see if I can execute that.

So, this is almost a stop shot, just a couple of inches slower. You can see that there. So now, I’ve landed really nice here. I can shoot and stop on the 7, and then I should have the 10 next. And then I’ve got a shoot and stop on the 10, and I’ll have the 15 next. And then I can shoot and stop and play for the 2, then probably the 6 will be next. But, I’m always thinking ahead. I’m being meticulous in whatever that I do and you’ll notice that I’m pinching and squeezing a lot. I’m just moving the cue ball an inch here or an inch there, but I’m really keeping tight control over the cue ball. In fact in this one what I may do is just shoot and stop and play the 11 next. I think that’s near perfect, so I have another straight-in shot here.

And it’s starting to get a little bit trickier now. I’ve really gotta play all this right. On this shot, I’ve gotta make sure that I stay on the correct side of the 6. I’ve got to be down here on this side of it, not on this side of it. I’m wanting to still maintain a ¾ ball to full hit on the 6, but I want to be sure that I’m down here. That way that I can float forward and fall to an alternative shot situation. Okay.

Now, I landed pretty good here on the 6, and from here I’m gonna roll forward just a little bit here. And I’ve got a shot on my 13. If I can pinch it over a couple of inches, then I’ve got my 14. And my 14 will be my key ball. I’ve gotta really land on my 14 so I can get out and make the 8 ball last here because if I don’t, then I’m gonna wind up hitting the cushion. So, I’ve gotta maintain really good control and be sure that I get on the 14 cause once I get on the 14 there’s no alternatives to fall on to. The 8 ball will definitely be the last shot here.

So, did I fall good on my key ball? Fell pretty good on it. What I’m gonna do now is just draw back a couple of inches and now I’m down to the 8 ball here, and on this shot I just wanna make sure I take some extra time here. I’ve got close to a half-ball hit here, which is something you really don’t wanna do. But, the good news is that the 8 ball is out in the middle of the table and I can put some draw on it and slow the cue ball down and hopefully, successfully execute this drill.

And that was successful completion of the brainwash drill. As you can see, the brainwash drill is a powerful position play strategy that professionals have used for years. Practice this drill. Practice it for an hour a day, three days per week for around three weeks and the patterns will start to jump out at you. You won’t have to guess which ball to shoot next, it will already be embedded into your game. Practice the 5 position play strategies that we discussed throughout the lesson. And if you can embrace those strategies during your matches, your runs will be much higher than ever before and you’ll win matches that you never thought were possible to win.

The post Anthony Beeler Instructional Lesson #11: Practicing Pattern Play with the Brainwash Drill appeared first on McDermott Cue Blog.


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