(S&D) Safety & Defense – Ball-in-Hand: 8 Ball & 9 Ball Advice

(About the author)

Safety Toolbox (Advanced)

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

Here are some notes on how to play a ball-in-hand for 8 Ball and 9 Ball formats.

Ball in hand notes for 8 Ball

Some suggestions:

  • Start with your toughest ball on the table and calculate a natural roll to get shape on the next.
  • If you have two balls in different dead zones, shoot one to get shape on the other.
  • You may want to simply tickle a ball out of a cluster while playing a tough safety.
  • Select patterns that do not require complex positioning skills.
  • If confident about handling a cluster breakout while pocketing another ball (and still get shape), do the breakout.

Here are some general guidelines for the three stages of a typical game.

  • Early- Determine the best three ball sequence. After every shot, do a full re-evaluation. At the appropriate time, shoot a safety while you nudge a ball near a pocket. Leave any insurance ball in place.
  • Mid- Start with any problem balls. Look for an opportunity to carom an opponent’s ball into a dead zone or into a cluster. Also consider nipping out any ball that is tied up.
  • End- If possible, run out to the win. If not, get your last ball into a corner pocket while shooting a safety. If you’re on the 8 and he has a couple of tough balls, nurse the 8 near a pocket to win when it’s your turn.

Ball in hand notes for 9 Ball

In 9 Ball, plan carefully. Be ready to set up a defensive shot as needed. Play the selected pattern, but execute each shot as a two-way.

Here are some general guidelines for the three stages of a typical game.

  • Early-game. Keep BPI averages in mind. Determine the best three ball pattern. After every shot, do a full re-evaluation. At the first sign of difficulty, shoot a safety.
  • Mid- Pick off the first couple of balls and then set up a bad angle in combination with a distance safety when 2 or 3 balls remain on the table. Give your opponent an opportunity to give you an easy out.
  • End- If possible, run out. If unavailable, play defensively on the 8 or 9 ball in preparation for a safety battle.

Always make rationale choices. Consider different patterns. Think each pattern ALL the way through.

 

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