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Nine-Ball Run Out | When Things Go Wrong Fast.

What Is A Nine-Ball Run-Out?

A 9-ball runout occurs when a player breaks the balls and continues to shoot until all of the balls have been pocketed.  Each of the 9 numbered balls need to be made in numerical order. The lowest numbered ball must be contacted 1st.  Any ball can be made in any pocket providing that contact is made with the lowest numbered ball first.

In other words, if you hit the 3 ball and the 7 ball goes into the pocket, that constitutes a good shot. If you hit the lowest numbered ball and the 9-ball is potted, you win the game.

This could be in a match or in practice. 9 ball run-outs are needed in order for you to beat the ghost.  Ball in hand after the break is often used when playing the ghost.

A short video of a 9-ball run out where many of the shots did not go as planned. You can see the snowball effect of each difficult shot making the next shot even harder.

Develop practice routines that make you take on difficult shots so you know what to do in a match situation.  “Playing the ghost” is a good way to practice nine-ball run-outs.

I still made all of the balls and got out but not as planned, nearly all of the positional plays were offline which makes the connection to the next shot more difficult. In isolation, some pool shots are more difficult than others and require added skills. So when you add all of these challenging shots together it interrupts the normal flow.

Plan Your Route to The Next Shot to Reduce Risk.

In addition to the physical aspects, complicated runs like this take up too way much mental energy which needs to be conserved throughout the long competition. It is exciting playing hard shots and overcoming the obstacles one by one but the big swings in mental excitement can be a drain on resources.

Good shot makers can still win like this but its not the best long term plan for consistent winning pool.

In order to play pool like a professional try to move the white ball as little as possible. Plan out the routes to the next shot to allow for mistakes and inaccuracies. Your nine-ball run-outs will improve if you give yourself enough time at the practice table to make a difference.

Easy Inside English Three Rails Pool Practice Drill – Cue Shaft Deflection

In this video you will learn how to play inside English, left and side, off 3 rails to get position in the middle of the table.

Just as a quick note, being from the UK I find it strange that Americans refer to side spin as “English.” Snooker player usually refer to it as side or side spin. English can be right side or left side,  can be running side or check side depending on what you are trying to do.

I am going to use the terms Inside English and outside English for clarity.

The middle table area is just a target area that I use for judging my progress and consistency.

Feel free to choose another spot or vary the target position during practice. So long as you can finish near the target area it is not that important.

Inside English practice drill video.

The shot needs to be played with topspin and left (inside) English which will cause the white ball to deflect to the right and hit the object ball thinner than you are aiming. On its way to the object ball the white ball will return towards the line of the shot but usually not all of the way.

Make the necessary allowances when aiming.

Well that sounds a lot easier than it actually is doesn’t it?

If you apply side spin to the cue ball it will cause the ball to move off line consequently making a different contact with the object ball.

So you need to aim fuller or thinner to allow for this movement.

The distance between the balls also affects the shot because after the white ball squirts off line it will tend to return to the intended path.

The amount of power or force used in the shot will also affect the amount of squirt, usually the more power the more shaft deflection and the more squirt.

Tip Position For Topspin Inside English

inside english tip positionSo with all of these variables this may seem like a difficult task but practice will help you to get a feel for these shots.

Your practice needs to be easy and repeatable in order to get the best results.

Next, I have included a video below of a simple inside English drill.

Inside English off 3 Rails Pool Practice Drill Video


The best way to learn how to do this is to just do it,”  get the shot wrong 20-30 times without being judgmental and eventually you will get one right.  You are learning all of the possible ways that it does not work.

Now it is time to reproduce the good result over and over again until you cannot get it wrong and the shot becomes a natural part of your game.

Inside English Playing with a Low Deflection Cue.

If you play with a low deflection cue or shaft you will probably have to make a small adjustment nonetheless. Just a quick note, because this isn’t really the place, every cue and every shaft is unique even if they look the same. Always play with the same cue so that it becomes a part of you and not a separate tool.

Generally speaking the harder that you strike the cue ball the greater will be the deflection.

Play the shot smoothly and follow through all the way.

The cue ball should finish in the center of the table for this exercise although from this position it is possible to extend the track line further to the balk end of the table.

Personal Note on Cue Stick Choice

Although I do not use a low deflection cue shaft myself I would strongly advise all new players to buy one early on and put in the time needed in practice and drills to get accustomed to the way that your shaft  reacts during the shot.

These cues definitely will reduce the learning curve for shots off the center line.

Having said that, I do not advise players with years of experience to switch, I  tried this myself and personally found it very time consuming and ultimately unsuccessful.

I guess I am just too used to the shaft deflection after many years of practice.

Check out the other videos more tips and advice for all levels of pool players.

Three Quarter Ball Position Practice Drill.

This Video is a Practice Drill This is a pool practice drill that my snooker coach demonstrated to me during an hour session in Nottingham. The idea is to play all of the shots from the same cue ball and object ball location and achieve different track lines by changing your stroke.

Changing the Stroke Changes the Track Line

The position of the hit on the cue ball combined with changes in your stroke will result in the white ball traveling down a different line. By learning how and when to adjust your grip and stroke you will develop a “feel” for the shot and the ability to direct the cue ball in many different directions.

The pace of the shot will also affect the track line, generally speaking, the white will follow the tangent less on softer shots.

Control the white so that the white ball just touches the target ball softly if it doesn’t then make adjustments.

The Tangent line and Cue ball Speed.

This is important enough that it needs to be the subject of its own article but I will sum up the issue for this practice drill.

The cue ball will follow the tangent on all cut shots prior to leaving the line and moving in the intended direction due to the applied spin.

The harder the white ball is struck, the longer distance it will stay on the tangent line.

The softer the shot the quicker the spin will take effect.

Observing the Results of Your Actions.

When you are practicing set specific goals, observe the results, make necessary adjustments to achieve the goal. Then observe/adjust, observe/adjust.

Draw to Center Table – Pool Practice Drill.

Draw to the center of the table drill. This drill involves drawing the cueball back from a fixed position to a location in the center of the table.

This shot is a draw shot below center.

By changing the height of the cue tip and the power of the stroke the final position of the cue ball can be changed. Keep varying the hit untill the cueball draws to the center of the table without drifting towards either rail.

Note the cue ball will always travel down the tangent line to start.  Then the backspin will take effect and start moving the ball towards your target. The harder you strike the ball, the longer it will stay on the tangent line.

Find the hit on the cue ball that will draw the ball back to the center of the table. Set up the shot around three quarter ball as shown in the video below.

Mark the ball positions on the table for consistency. Use ring binder reinforcers or something that will not mark the cloth permanently. Get the cheap ones from the dollar store they will come off easier and not leave a mark.

There is no one technique that will work for all players because everyone’s stroke is a little different.

You have to spend some time at the table in order to find your own way:

Video Drill-Draw to Center of the Table

Always  start out a practice session with a definite goal in mind. Check your progress towards that goal, look at your results and make adjustments. This isn’t that easy to do on a consistant basis so you will probably need to stick at it for a while.

Try not be judgemental, in this practice there are no bad shots. If you miss the pocket or the intended position then you have just learned what doesn’t work. Take that information and use to discover another way to strike the ball.

Learning by trial and error will teach you way more than doing by rote.

Center Table Three Quarter Ball Practice Drill Video.

Here is another three quarter ball practice drill for your warm-up routine.


After playing each shot look at the finish position of the white ball and note the route or the track line taken. Try to remember the shape in picture form and combine the picture with the feeling of speed and tip position.

There are probably hundreds of different ways to play each shot in the sequence. Numerous changes to the cue balls track can be made by adjusting the power, the grip and the follow through length.

Try to get comfortable with a number of different stroke combinations and outcomes.