By: Paul Potier
In 1998 I was co-teaching Pool School in Paradise with Allison Fisher, Mike Massey, and Gerda Hofstatter. It was our second year of a wonderful 11 years of PSIP, but the first year that we held it in Vancouver. On the last day of PSIP 1998 I asked Mike Massey to show us a drill to help our students understand the tangent line. He showed us The Wagon Wheel Drill. I loved the drill so much that I have been showing it to all my students ever since. I saw that it was a great way for students to work on their new fundamentals and develop great habits towards focusing on method rather than results. So there are two goals when shooting each shot.
The first goal is to make object ball X in the side pocket and try to contact each of the balls already placed on the rail or near a pocket, one at a time, as shown in the diagram.
The second and most important goal is to focus on awareness skills before, during, and after the cue ball is struck. You must stay down and watch where object ball X goes into the pocket, then focus all your attention on your cue stick, your elbow, your head, and your balance, before getting up and out of your stance. All the while not watching where the cue ball is going.
If you physically moved your eyes to follow the cue ball after it struck object ball X you couldn’t score the hit of the object ball you were trying to hit with the cue ball. You would need to shoot the shot over and over again until you accomplished both goals with each shot.
To succeed in excelling in this drill you would need to develop good stroking abilities and understand the nuances of manipulating the cue ball off an object ball to travel forward or backward off the tangent line. I have included directions on how to set up the wagon wheel and how to do the drill, as well as a diagram.