9-Ball Practice: Pattern Play Demystified

You’ve heard the term many times before: Pattern Play. Of course, when someone mentions it, you nod your head knowingly, secretly wondering what the heck this person is talking about. Chances are, he doesn’t know either. It’s one of those things the good players say to make them sound like they know what they are talking about… right?

Ok, maybe not. Turns out, it is a thing. And when you learn to recognize patterns, it will actually help you to run tables (assuming you actually make your shots!).

How many times have you watched the pros run a rack of 9-ball and thought “wow, that looked pretty easy.  I bet I could have run that rack.” And how many times have you seen them shoot the same shot over and over? The reason for this is pattern play.

Consider the following table, as referenced in Billiard University’s Skill Exam II (Doctorate Level):

9-ball Pattern Drill

The drill is straightforward: pocket the balls in order, starting with the 3-ball:

  • 3-ball in the upper side pocket (draw back for the 4-ball in the side)
  • 4-ball in the lower side pocket (follow for a straight 5-ball shot)
  • 5-ball in the side
  • Now, make the 6-ball in the corner pocket, and bring the cue ball 3 rails to the 7-ball, like so:

Photo Jun 14, 4 16 34 PM

  • Now, make the 7-ball, leaving the cue ball close to the center of the table
  • Shoot the 8-ball, and come around 3 rails to the 9-ball, like so:

Photo Jun 14, 4 18 40 PM 

  • Make the 9-ball

These are very common shots used to position the cue ball around the table. When you shoot for position to enable you to shoot these common shots, you are establishing a pattern. Hence the term, pattern play.

As always, I like to share a video to help you clarify things, and give you something to watch. Here is a good video from Dr. Dave, with help from my friend Bob Jewett shooting the demonstration shots:

If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, as always please feel free to respond to this article.

Special thanks to DrawShot for iOS for the screenshots.

Posted in Patterns, Practice, Tip of the Day Tagged with: ,