The cross drill was designed to develop your positional and pattern play, especially in tight positions, and forces you to think at least 2/3 balls ahead.

This situation often comes up in 8-ball, when all your balls have available pockets and you need to control the cue ball in close quarters and not disrupt your pattern.

Tips

  1. The hardest shots are towards the center of the cross, pot one of these balls first.
  2. The second group of balls to play is either the left or right side parallel to the foot rail. This will open up a route from the middle to the bottom of the table.
  3. Use the balls towards the center of the table to get position for the balls on the opposite side.
  4. Avoid the cushions and leaving the cue ball too close to an object ball so you’re not bridging over them.
  5. Focus on your cue ball position and make sure to get on the right side of your next ball. If you contact another object ball (other than the one your shooting) you have to reset.

The Cross Drill Variations

Level 1 – Beginner

Rules

  • Start with ball in hand
  • No contact with other balls
  • Pot the balls in any pocket
  • Pot the balls in any order

For beginners, start with just 5 balls in the cross formation as shown above.

Once you can comfortably run the 5 ball setup 3 times in a row, move on to 9 balls.

Once you can run all 9 balls 3 times in a row, it’s time to move on to level 2.

To make the beginner level more difficult, try using only pockets B, C, D, E. And to turn it into an intermediate level drill, use only pockets C and D!

Level 2 – Intermediate

Rules

  • Start with ball in hand
  • No contact with other balls
  • Pot the balls in any pocket
  • Pot the balls in any order or use 8-ball rules

For the intermediate level, there are 2 different variations. For the first, the rules are the same as the beginner level but you use all 15 balls.

For the 2nd variation, place the balls in random order or as shown above, and run the table using 8-ball rules. Pot all solids followed by the stripes and then finish with the 8-ball.

Once you can complete this drill 3 times in a row, move on to level 3.

To make the intermediate level a little bit harder try using only pockets B, C, D, and E.

Level 3 – Advanced

Rules

  • Start with ball in hand
  • No contact with other balls
  • No contact with the cushions
  • No bank shots
  • Pot the balls in any pocket

Now the drill takes a slight twist and becomes a lot more difficult.

With a tighter pack and the elimination of contacting cushions and no banking the drill now adds emphasis to your short positioning, in particular, your draw and stun shots.

To make the advanced level more difficult use only pockets B, C, D, and E.

Conclusion

The cross is a classic practice drill that will give you much more control of the cue ball and sharpen your mind to choosing which patterns to play in games of 8-ball.

Are there any variation of the cross drill we havent covered that you prefer?

Let us know in the comments.

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