(This is today’s bit of advice from the book Safety Toolbox.)
When you decide that the best shot for the circumstances is a safety, there are a wide variety of factors to be evaluated. These considerations are necessary to help fine tune your options and select the most effective shot within your skills.
KNOW your Opponent’s comfort zone
You must know your opponent’s abilities and skills. What types of shots are easy or difficult for him? You don’t want to discover that what you thought to be a good safety effort just gave him an easy opportunity to run out to the win.
How good (and how bad) is your opponent? Rate him on these types of shots:
- Pocketing skills
- Long shots – what distances and angles?
- Bank shots – cross-side, cross-corner, long-table, reverse cuts?
- Angles – how sharp and what distances?
- Positioning skills
- Speed – how precise and over what distances?
- Draw – how precise and over what distances?
- Follow – how precise and over what distances?
- Side spin – how precise and how effective?
What’s easy? And where does it stop being easy? The better the opponent, the more care and attention you must apply to your defensive shot. An extra ball roll can put a winning opportunity into his hands. If facing a lower skilled player, you can confound him by leaving shot angles that are giveaways for a better player. Knowing your opponent’s abilities allows you to make more effective choices.