(S&D) Safety & Defense – Safety Planning : Playing Notes

(About the author)

Safety Toolbox (Advanced)

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

Every opponent you face has strengths and weaknesses. A safety plan identifies your opponent, what he can do and can’t plus details that can come in useful during a competition.

Playing notes

These are notes that you make while observing your opponent in any competitive environment. These tidbits help you choose appropriate tactical responses base on playing circumstances.

  • Pre-shot routine – closely observe his routine. Identify the length of time used for setup, number of practice strokes, and other habits.
  • BPI – calculate his balls per inning average. An initial number can be used to start, based on one or two racks.
  • Comfort/chaos zones – a range of parameters on how precise you must place the balls for his shot. It also simplifies the selection of table areas where you can set him up for his next shot.
  • Effective safety tactics – identify those that are most effective against him. This must be validated. Provide distance and bad angle combinations. Offer shots that are off the cushion. Throw him a few opportunities to test his banking abilities.
  • Special skills – observe any specific abilities he has, i.e., sharp cuts, cross-banks, long straight-in shots, etc.
  • Defensive skills – observe how many clever problems he can intentionally throw at you. Check out his abilities in a safety battle. You might need to be more tricky than usual, especially if he has read this book.
  • Tactical responses – watch how quickly he makes shooting decisions based on layouts of various difficulties.
  • Stamina – how long he can play before running out of energy. A tired player doesn’t consistently make good decisions.

Summary

Other factors can be added at your discretion. As you develop more and more experience using the concepts in this book, assembling effective safety plans become an automatic process at every match.

Over time, you will develop a generic safety plan that is applied against someone new. Within a couple of games, he should be dissected and taken apart. You easily learn what he hates and what he considers difficult. He may still win a game here and there, but that privilege will be hard-earned.

 

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