(This is today’s bit of advice from the book Safety Toolbox.)
Here are more descriptions about the habitual behavior of players you will face in your lifetime of playing pool. Your opponent’s default playing style make it easier to design a strategy and an efficient set of tactical tricks.
How does he handle a situation when the cue ball is snuggled up against a cushion? Does he jack up his stick to look like he wants to stab the ball with extreme prejudice? Does he complain with heart-felt agony because he must shoot this type of shot? Or does he shoot correctly with a level cue?
If he is awkward in handling these shots, be generous in giving him chances to practice. Even if he knows how to properly play the shot, he still has to put extra effort and concentration into the shot.
Sometimes you face a player who seems to move just a bit faster than the rest of the world. He quickly decides the shot, bends down and shoots. This is not carelessness or impatience on his part – it is simply his way of playing pool. You often see this type of player competing in Speed Pool, where a rack of balls must be pocketed in the shortest amount of time. His skills will generally be at the intermediate levels.
Don’t get caught up in his hurried playing style. He has years of experience at playing quickly. Instead, slow down even more. Be specific and deliberate with each step of your pre-shot routine. You are winning when you notice he jumps towards the table before the balls stop rolling.
No money in the bank
Sometime a player will go out of his way to avoid a sharp cut and instead trust his fortunes to the bank shot. Sometimes he will be good with cross-side banks, but be pitiful in cross-corner or long table banks.
Whatever he isn’t good at – that’s what you want to give him. Create bank set-ups for this shooter that plays into his weaknesses. For example, long-table cross-corner banks provide many opportunities to give the table back to you. In banking situations where he is good, allow them only when the path is blocked with interference balls.
Always test your opponent’s abilities. When you notice a weakness, provide additional opportunities to fail. Continuously monitor him and keep observing his setups and results. Never assume you have won before the match is actually over.