(FAQ) How to use a playing "edge"?

(About the Author)

An edge is something you have that gives you an advantage over the other player. It can be any kind of secret skill or special refinement you developed - just to use when your opponent least expects it.

An edge shot must be properly timed. It's not something that you put on display at every opportunity. The table layout must look seemingly tough. The cue ball and object ball angles also have to be right.

But when those conditions exist, you can blow away your opponent's assumptions about your skills. When you shake his evaluation of your abilities, you also introduce a certain amount of uncertainty in his thinking. THAT re-evaluation time frame can last several innings, which gives you opportunities to advance.

Skill edge examples

These are going to require time to practice until you own them. At each practice session, set aside some time to develop "edge" shots. Here are some examples:

  • Run an object ball down the rail from any distance.
  • Consistently bank cross corner side from almost anywhere.
  • Perform a masse shot to curve the cue ball around obstructions (and pocket the game winning ball).
  • Overly sharp cuts on an object ball.
  • Constantly kick from anywhere on the table for a legal hit.
  • Shoot an object ball so slowly it takes a long time to get across the table before it drops (also known as "pocket speed").

If you have a collection of instructional books or competition DVDs, look for interesting shots that you can learn to master and pull out at will to surprise your opponent. And, of course the more "edge" shots you master, the more skills you will own.

Mental edge

The winner of many games is often determined simply by the attitude of the player. You can use a person's mental attitude against him.

  • An impatient player can be easily frustrated (and contribute to his own losses) with multiple shots off the cushion (or other shots that he hates to play).
  • A player used to running out a game in 2-3-4 innings can be frustrated by a safety battle. As soon as he looses his cool, you win the match.
  • A player who complains that he doesn't have any shot is complimenting you on your defensive skills. You took away the "fun" of pocketing balls.
  • Actually anytime a player complains about a shot tells you what kind of shots you should be letting him shoot.

Opponent edge

Watch what your opponent does. He will demonstrate what types of situations and shots he finds difficult. Instead of trying to win, how about helping your opponent lose? Often it is will be a complete surprise to your opponent who, knowing he is the better shooter, can't figure out just how he lost.

  • Apply regular effective safeties. Continuously prevent him from having an easy shot.
  • Constant two-way shooting that leaves you on the next shot if successful, and makes it difficult for your opponent if you miss.
  • The maturity to recognize impossible shots and play defensively.
  • Shot selection based on the hard realities of success/failure.
  • The experience to see opportunities and consequences.

This is why old geezers rarely lose against the young guns, even when skills are somewhat unequal. They have seen just about everything and the options in their shot library are far more extensive.

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