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

(About the author)

Safety Toolbox (Advanced)

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

How to include your BPI (Balls Per Inning ) Average to help make ball-in-hand decisions

For a situation where your BPI average is 2.5, the following choices are feasible (assuming no clusters or problem balls):

  • Two or three balls left – go for the win.
  • Four balls left – go for the win, but if the shooting position goes bad, apply a safety.
  • Five or more balls left – look for possible lock-tight hidden ball opportunities ahead and only make the balls that get you into position for that shot.

Don’t overestimate your competence. Just because you are starting out in a favorable, hand-picked starting position is no assurance that you will use the correct speed and spin to get the cue ball into position for the next shot. Play very cautiously and deliberately. Keep your expectations low.

Guidelines

These are some aspects to keep in mind to use when possible:

  • Plan patterns within your BPI.
  • Select a pattern where only medium and slow roll speeds are needed.
  • Use as much natural roll as possible.
  • Avoid draws, spins, and long distance cue ball travel.
  • Open clusters only when you can plan how every ball moves.
  • Apply careful control to every shot.
  • Do not give the game away through careless shooting.

Pattern checklist

Table layout determines pattern selection. Use these questions in your calculations:

  • What ball to which pocket do you start with?
  • Which ball would be next?
  • Does the pattern use the least possible amount of cue ball roll?
  • Is the path for the first shot a natural roll or does it require steering the cue ball?
  • Any other potential problems to consider?

Think through the layout before you put down the cue ball on the table. A bad choice here gives your opponent a chance to beat you. If it helps, put the cue ball in place on the table and mentally play out the run.

 

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