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Mapping 8-Ball Routes (Pool Patterns)

Pool Patterns, Mapping Pool Routes, Shot Selection all cover the same topic. There is no such thing as a correct Pool way to go, multiple ways can deliver a player over the finish line. Pool Patterns and routes are subjective. Players all see things differently. This doesn’t mean you can overlook this part of your game. In fact, quite the opposite.

Effective Mapping of your Pool Patterns will set you apart from the crowd. Pool Patterns show that a player has a high level of understanding of the game. They are one of the biggest factors that separate the best from the rest. When used correctly they will certainly help to increase your win percentage.

Fine Tuning your Pool SatNav

If you were driving from one end of the Country to the other. You won’t start your journey without thinking about how you’ll arrive at your target destination.  25 years ago you would have used a map. 15 years ago you’d have printed out directions online. Now you simply type the destination into your SatNav.  The success of the journey always starts with the planning.  A lack of planning will inevitably lead to a loss of direction, time and result in driver frustration.  Always better to avoid road rage where possible. 😉

How the Pro’s Plan their Pool Patterns

The Elite players in the 8-Ball community are no different, they will never approach the table without a plan.  When the player plays his first shot he will often have fully mapped the route of the table. His complete pattern thought out, providing there’s an opportunity to finish the frame.  Dependant on how many balls are remaining, this level of thought potentially requires an 8-shot plan.

  • If this seems overwhelming, start off by planning 3 shots ahead. Increase your plans gradually by adding an extra shot as it becomes easier. Consider at least 3 shots ahead before you play your first shot of each visit to the table. Get into the habit of doing this on every visit when looking to make a clearance.

Many beginners tend to just go for the easiest pots first and worry about the others later.  This stems from an outdated belief that it’s better to pot 4 balls and lose a frame than it is to lose with all 7 balls remaining. This is one of the worst mistakes a beginner can make.  Each ball potted of your set is one less obstacle for your opponent to navigate during their visit(s).  Each Frame is different and there will always be variables. However, as a rule of thumb my advice would be “don’t pot your balls unless you’re going for the finish”.

3 Top Tips for Finding Your Pool Patterns.

The 3 Top Tips for planning your route before you start your visit are:

  1. Identify balls that are tied up (that is not in pottable positions) as they will need to be disrupted. This is also the best way to choose your preferred colour set directly after the break.  For example, if yellows have 1 ball tied up and reds have 3 balls tied up – Yellow balls would be the preferred choice.
  2. Select your first shot (starting point). You will make this selection based upon where the cue ball finishes up after your opponent’s last visit.  If there is more than one option it is not always the best choice to go for the easiest starter(pot) if another shot will benefit you later in the plan.  These choices are made much easier with practice and experience.
  3. Your last shot (end destination) will be the blackball.  If early in the frame it’s unlikely that the black will be available in to many pockets so your choices will be limited.  Once you know that the black needs to go in a certain pocket then that shot selection is mapped out in your plan.  This is very much the same way that you will plan your other shot selections, as one or more of your colour may be limited as to which pockets they are available to be potted.

Final Thoughts on 8 Ball Shot Selection:

Shot selection is such an important feature of the game and I’ve seen many a frame lost on just one wrong shot choice.  Every top player has both won and lost games because of either good or bad shot selections.  Your shot selections will be crucial to your progress so don’t ignore the importance of mapping your routes in every game of 8-Ball you play.  This article is an important example of why the mental aspects of the game should never be overlooked if you’re looking to raise your game. 🎱

TOP TIP: Think Pool Sat Nav and Never go to the table without a PLAN! ✅

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