(S&D) Safety & Defense - Intentions

(About the author)

Safety Toolbox (Advanced)

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

All defensive shot selections must include a consideration of its effect on your opponent. Observe his reactions immediately after executing a defensive shot. Individually, taken shot by shot, these have little effect, but over time you should see him emotionally respond to your efforts.

Inflict a constant series of problems throughout the match. Do what you can to change his psychological resolve. About mid-match, there will be some effects of the cumulative toxicity. As you string out a series of opportunity denials, observe when his enthusiasm level begins to wane. His shot selection becomes less carefully considered. He develops careless and impatient shooting solutions.

To ensure you don't fall apart along with your opponent, follow these tips:

  • Sit down as much as possible during a match.
  • Do most of your table evaluation while seated.
  • Do all things with due deliberation (take your time to do it right).
  • Take pleasure in solving and creating table problems.

This does not work very well with a player who is at or near professional competence. For the most part, he has already experienced every emotion possible dozens and hundreds of times. Like anything that you are exposed to on a regular basis, you become immune to the effects. These efforts are also wasted on a player who is lesser skilled than you are. The relatively simple tactics of offense when available, defense when necessary works.

Apply this type of psychological warfare against those who are at or a little better level than you are. If you are a B player, take an occasional shot at an "A" or "AA" player, just to see what you can do. It takes about a year of practice and experience before this way of thinking becomes a routine part of your game. Don’t be afraid to test various assumptions. The results are learning opportunities.

There is one interesting thing about applying this strategy to your game. Rarely is your opponent aware of your efforts to inflict wear and tear on his abilities. Most of the time, his poor situations get blamed on accidents or bad luck. Allow him to have these assumptions.

How to Win by Helping Your Opponent Lose

The FAQs of Pool & Pocket Billiards


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