(S&D) Safety & Defense - The Illegal Shot Safety

(About the author)

Safety Toolbox (Advanced)

This is today's bit of advice from the book Safety Toolbox.

This shot does not follow the rules of the game. When made, the penalty is loss of turn, and in official rules competitions, includes giving cue ball in hand to your opponent. These can be considered illegal:

  • 9 Ball – not contacting the lowest ball on the table.
  • 8 Ball – contacting a solid (if you are stripes).
  • Scratching or not contacting any ball on the table.
  • Not contacting a rail after contacting the correct ball.
  • Touching the cue ball with anything except the cue tip.

An illegal shot can be considered a tactical option when the normal offensive and safety tools don't quite fit the circumstances. The attempt of a legal hit could be impossible, improbable, or just plain foolish. Following are examples of some situations:

  • Impossible kick situations, way beyond your personal abilities. It might be better to give him ball in hand, especially if your attempt could open up a cluster that you don't want to touch.
  • Table layout with too many problems to handle in a single inning. Let him fix one or two of these.
  • Situations where you want to let him open a cluster. Especially good if there are two clusters on the table.
  • There are more balls to be pocketed than his BPI (balls per inning) average can handle. Give him a chance to simplify the layout.

If you are going to give a ball in hand to your opponent, do so with malice aforethought and adding numerous difficulties. Give full consideration and attention to your shot selection.

For example, can the table choices be made more difficult? If he has one cluster problem, can you create a second? Perhaps the same shot can shove two balls into separate dead zones? How about forcing him to shoot one ball at the head of the table, and the next ball is at the foot of the table?

Take the time to consider the several dozens of choices. This shot has a lot in common with the confusion safety type. Both add chaos and can irritate and frustrate your opponent.

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