(Please note these are only guidelines for conducting effective training and you are welcome to create your own methods. The main thing is to keep everyone active and busy executing shots with elements of challenge and fun.)
1.) Lagging- important on many levels. Speed control is primarily about a tight repeating delivery with the cue prior to becoming effective at judging speed. If the stroke has randomness to it, speed control is never going to be consistent due to the stroke variations.
2.) Breaking – teaches aiming care, power strokes produce larger deviations in quality which allows for progress once identified and worked on.
The Lindenwood practices often begin with a couple of lagging matches (3 out of 5 lags) and then after that the winners Break and losers rack 9-Ball for Break practice. Switching roles after 3 Breaks until each player has 9-12 turns. This keeps things focused.
3.) 15-Ball- Break open a rack of 15 balls take Ball in Hand and attempt to clear the table of all of the balls. You must designate a ball and pocket. Anything pocketed on a foul does not count.
If you scratch on the Break you still get to shoot but must spot anything pocketed. If you make a legal Break, anything pocketed counts and stays down. We journal the scores daily to measure progress over weeks of training.
Include a variety of practice drills that are fresh, fun, challenging, and produce performance progress. Choose different exercises weekly or daily from some of these listed below. These exercises are to keep practices effective and focused. Create scripted and constant activity or you lose the opportunity to increase team focus and attention for productivity.
4.) Compete in training sets using Ball in Hand every inning of 9-Ball games. There are no Safety shots because you always begin each inning with Ball in Hand. Each time a player comes to the table that start off with an ideal shot. This quickly reinforces quality stroke techniques on routine shots and the players pocket many more balls in a short span of time while learning position play. Ball in Hand every inning during practice eliminates any safety play and the subsequent consecutive innings of near impossible shots as often happens when just playing 9-Ball.
5.) Eyes Closed 9-Ball Games with Ball in Hand to begin each inning. This places emphasis on care with the set up and how the stroke feels during delivery. This teaches stroke quality, and a “feeling” for speed control too. Please note that players will feel very uncomfortable and have little confidence. However in a short time they will learn to perform at a high level due to the grooved stroke delivery brought about by not visually witnessing every shot result.
6.) Pair up the similar 15-Ball scores to compete against each other in 9-Ball sets of a race to three games. Again journal the results and post them periodically for everyone’s review. Scotch Doubles practice also to assist playing performance improvement due to constantly playing from an awkward rhythm of only shooting every other shot.
This will provide some guidelines and structure for effective team practices. Please understand not all of these elements are used everyday and other exercises and materials are used often. The primary considerations are to keep busy skill building with effective training rather than unfocused and random concepts. Fresh, fun, and challenging is what produces the quickest route to progress.