(S&D) Safety & Defense - Playing Styles, 1 of 3

(About the author)

Safety Toolbox (Advanced)

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

There are many types of opponents who have various habits of playing the Green Game. These are based on ingrained routines that often go back to the very beginnings when the player picked up his first stick. They have been playing the same way for so long that it is almost impossible to fix it unless they call upon the help of a PBIA or ACS instructor.

These are not personality-related, but habitual behavior established over the years. When you can identify a playing style, you can also apply appropriate tactical tools. You don't have to develop a sophisticated safety plan tailored to the individual. Simply follow a set of prepared routines such as those below. With this knowledge, you can go into any pool hall in the world, profile a player's style and begin the process of winning.

Ball slammer

This player loves to slam balls into the pockets. For some reason, only the sound of the target ball loudly hitting the back of the pocket provides an acceptable measure of success. He has no slow roll control. This is not the occasional situation where a high speed stroke is required to get shape on a difficult object ball. This player does it almost all the time.

The problem with playing like this is that the object ball must be played perfectly. Without precise entry into the pocket, the ball rattles and bounces out, ending up somewhere on the table.

You want to keep this type of opponent shooting harder than necessary. Admire his skills with multiple compliments. Eventually, the edge comes off his accuracy and he starts missing many of the shots. (Interestingly, the reaction is usually to start hitting the balls even harder.)

Cue ball spinster

This is a player who has determined early in his playing career that cue ball side spin (English) is a necessary and required element of every shot. The cue ball does interesting things when played this way, often unpredictable. For most of his shots, he has unconsciously adjusted aiming to allow for the squirt and swerve of the cue ball. Essentially, for many common shots, he can make it work.

When you give him uncommon shots, he does not know how to adjust. He is unable to do precise center line shooting. This is because he always adjusts his aim to "fix" his side spin. This opens a lot of opportunities for you. Even if he knew you were setting up shots for him to fail, he couldn't do anything to stop you. His habit of hitting off-sides is ingrained.

Simply leave him many shots with a lot of table cloth between the cue ball and object ball. Tough cuts, especially a half-table distance or more are also problem shots for him. When you create several misses for him, his confidence level will also decrease.

 

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