(S&D) Safety & Defense – Be the Safety Battle Warrior

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Safety Toolbox (Advanced)

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

A safety battle is an exchange of safeties, each shooter taking his turn at placing the balls in difficult or awkward locations. Such battles usually occur during the end-game when fewer balls are on the table and there is more room to move things around.

With good control of your speed and the skills learned from this book, you can really enjoy a safety battle. An exhilarating round of tactical thrusts and parries ensues. Loss of game goes to the person who fails to leave a sufficiently difficult shot.

Use your whole toolbox of safeties, each which you should already have practiced and mastered. Apply each effort with precise intentions. Use your superior knowledge to keep your opponent off-balance. Let him present you with an easy win.

When entering into the battle’s back and forth, trust that your opponent will make a mistake in your favor. The following guidelines give you some ideas of what to expect:

  • For beginners, work on positioning balls into the intended quarter table. Safeties are usually limited to variations of distance and bad angle types. A battle could last two, maybe three, innings before you are given the winning shot.
  • For intermediate players, a battle can last three innings, rarely four or five. In the heat of battle, your opponent won’t recognize that you are merely waiting for his mistake.
  • For those with more skill, both players have some idea what they are doing. Both understand denial of opportunities is paramount. A good battle can last from four-plus (Although, it is surprising how incautious many good players are.)

Regardless of the safety types played, one factor improves your odds of winning the battle and the game. Work on constantly keeping the cue ball at least a half table or further away from your opponent’s target ball. It adds a little edge of uncertainty into precision calculations.

Usually a safety battle ends due to a miscalculation. It could be a lack of experience with the shot or carelessness or a speed and spin miscalculation. Here are a few ways to go bad:

  • The cue ball comes up short or long from the intended location.
  • The target ball drifts into a position that can be pocketed.
  • An attempt at a bank goes bad, and the target ball drifts out of control.

Bad luck plays a larger than usual factor in many failures. If you are careful, the bad luck will plague your opponent, not you.

8 Ball tips

Use these situations to your advantage:

  • You are on the 8 ball and your opponent has one or more balls left. Concentrate on placing the 8 ball near a pocket and leave a bad angle or distance safety.
  • You have several balls left and your opponent is on the 8 ball. Play shots that push your balls near pockets while at the same time keeping the cue ball far away from the 8 ball.
  • If both of you are on the 8 ball, work on distance and bad angle safeties to keep the odds in your favor.
  • Be patient until you are offered an opening.

9 Ball tips

Apply these considerations when playing a shot.

  • Bank attempts should concentrate on using the Banking into a safety technique (see page 103).
  • A 50-60% or better shot should be played as a carefulTwo-way (see page 129).
  • Use constant and careful analysis in the end-game.
  • Be patient until you are offered an opening.

Partnership safety battles

When playing Scotch doubles or partners, safety battles must be coordinated. Defense tactics have to be discussed and agreed upon. Both of you must be aware of and agree to the effort.

If the situation allows communications during the game, the person with the greatest safety experience assists and directs the safety choices of his partner. Always recommend the simplest safety types based on the table layout and knowledge of the partner’s skills.

If the next opponent player in the turn is very good, whoever shoots before him should ensure that no easy run out opportunities are given away. This strategy prevent a run-out and slows the opposing team down.

 

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