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Safety and Defense in Pool

Safety and Defense in Pool

I have my game up to a respectable level due to much reading and practice. In order to raise the bar, I feel that I have to learn more about defensive playing. I have noticed lately that I lose a lot of racks because of my own lack of knowledge. Of course, missing a few key shots also helped. Any suggestions will be welcomed.

Safety and Defense in Pool

Replies & Comments

  1. quickshotFenwick on 4/7/2008 5:26:28 PM

    Straight pool or 8 or 9 ball? My examples pertain to straight pool as it's my game of choice. I too have up until lately struggled with safety play also. In fact I blew a few yesterday and will most likely make a few bad ones today. I did! The one shot that was the hardest for me to master is the double hit on a almost or frozen ball over the length of the table using draw or follow. You need a dead straight stroke and the frozen or near frozen ball then kicks the cue ball hard enough to cause it to hit a rail or soft enough to stay within inches of the object ball. At the risk of stating the obvious most safety's are speed sensitive and require as much practice as any other shots. Another shot I find handy is the masse' draw shot. I say masse' draw because you jack up your cue almost like a masse' but achieve draw. I guess you could call it Jack Draw. You should be able to drive a ball to the rail and draw the cue ball back into the rack without disturbing the other balls. I'm careful when making this shot not to slam into the table surface. Last is adding side English to your safe shots. The better players I'm up against add so much side spin to their safes they can at times snooker me the full length of the table. The trick there is compensating for squirt and throw so as not to hit your object ball too hard or using it to make the contact slighter. Is this at all helpful or what you had in mind?

  2. quickshotquickshot on 4/7/2008 10:54:37 PM

    Fenwick: Thanks for the reply to my message. I play 8 and 9 ball at present, but your take on safety, I'm sure, can be applied very effectively. I use to play straight pool umteen years ago. After a 50 year hiatus I'm trying to get back to the game of pool. Right now the people I play with are into 8 and 9. To begin playing straight pool again would take a new learning experience. I also use to play billiards, but most of the parlors in my neck of the woods do not even have billiard tables anymore. It seems the younger generation is taking over the parlors and they are interested in the money games only along with blasting jukeboxes. Anyway, thanks again.

  3. quickshotdogassokie on 4/8/2008 8:09:15 AM

    How much time do you spend practicing safes when you are knocking the balls around? practice by yourself, play nine ball. and shoot safes whenever it comes up. the fact that you say that you dog too many shots shows you are going for a lot of shots that you shouldn't be. remember, Babe Ruth had a glove for defense.

  4. quickshotquickshot on 4/8/2008 9:32:11 AM

    You make a good point Bill. I will redefine my approach to practice when I'm playing full racks. Thanks for the input.

  5. quickshotFenwick on 4/8/2008 10:03:56 AM

    quickshot, I read your previous posts and I knew you had been out of the game for a long time. I also took time off, 20+ years. Welcome back. When I wrote my reply I guessed 8 or 9 ball was your game and hoped my suggestions could be applied. dogassokie makes a good point about practicing. One thing I would advise is when you practice stop shooting, take a break when you lose focus. I found for me it's better to practice good form only as long and my attention span allows. That and as I stated in another post put as much concentration and effort into those easy little shots as you do the hard shots. Example, sometimes I have a easy little shot and I'll plan my next shape. 9 out of 10 times it's center table but one side or the other to get on the next shot. Go back to the shot, get down and I forget to focus on the shot I'm making. It's often the easy shots that end a run. Another good tip is doing that walk about. I read somewhere it's a good idea to look at balls and the table layout from both sides. We new that but it's worth repeating. It's helped my game a lot and it gives me time to think. "It seems the younger generation is taking over the parlors and they are interested in the money games only along with blasting jukeboxes." You got that right but what about during the morning hours? Good time to practice and the youngsters are in school or at work. I'm lucky as when they crank up the music I just turn off my hearing aids. One last tip that's helped me a lot. Stay down untill the cue ball stops moving. I know none of this is new or innovative but meant more as a refresher. 9 ball is a sprint, 8 ball is a jog while straight pool is like a marathon IMHO. Keep us posted on your progress and have fun.

  6. quickshotquickshot on 4/8/2008 12:20:23 PM

    Fenwick: Thanks for the insightful thoughts and advice. It is like a refresher course. I can't play in the morning. There is not a billiard parlor in this whole county (Suffolk NY) that is open in the a.m. I have two tables (bar size) where I work part time, and I use them, but I would like to get back on a reg table once in a while. Thanks again.

  7. quickshotBev Stayart on 7/31/2009 7:48:16 AM

    The best defence is a good offence, especially if you are playing a stronger opponent. You have to sometimes wait patiently for an opening for a good shot.

  8. quickshotFenwick on 7/31/2009 9:51:19 AM

    "The best defense is a good offense, especially if you are playing a stronger opponent." I agree. I, if given the chance go for the run out if the table looks right. Playing 9 ball if I miss the intended ball 7 out of 10 times I have shapes on the next ball and hopefully leave my opponent hard on the ball I missed. I try to play to leave a bad shot if there's a chance I'll miss. I weigh the percentages. Time flys when you're haveing fun.

  9. quickshotMitch Alsup on 7/31/2009 10:11:08 AM

    A key sublty on safety play is the speed of the shot is SOO much more important than the line of the cue ball. You have to land both the cue ball and the object ball within a balls width of where you need them--and the penalty for failure is correspondingly large--a sell out.

    Good safeties rely on moving the object ball (legally) and leaving the cue ball behind an unshootable ball (for the incomming opponent). Safties are made stronger by also placing the shootable object balls behind other interfering balls.

    Notice that 8-ball and 9-ball are entirely different in safety play.

    In 8-ball you need to position your cue ball behind your balls (after legally hitting one of your balls), OR you can leave one of your balls hanging in the pocket preventing use of that pocket, OR roll one of your balls so that the few shots remaining are also blocked (but farther down the table). Safeies are harder, here, because the opponent may have 7 balls on the table as potential shots.

    In 9-ball you need to position the lowest ball on the table and the cue ball such that there is another ball in between--blocking the shot. Try to minimize the ability to perform kicks and banks (unless you know your opponent dislikes or is not proficient at).

  10. quickshotJustanotherevolutionary on 7/31/2009 12:44:39 PM

    I would just like to add the use of rails for safeties can be a good strategy. Say there is 3 balls left and an extremely difficult shot is all you have with little chance of getting good position, some times parking the cue ball and ob on opposite ends of the table and/or frozen to rails can be good enough if you can't get anything snookered behind another ball, depends on the opponent's skill level too of course. I don't know anyone who likes shooting 8 ft. banks and cuts off the rail. Except maybe my team cap who is a banking machine, chances are you will never play him though. Also never forget the intentional foul shot, rarely used, risky, frowned upon, but sometimes extremely effective. Can you do push-outs in your league quickshot? If so, utilize it.

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Safety and Defense in Pool

  • Title: Safety and Defense in Pool
  • Author: (Jim Walsh)
  • Published: 4/7/2008 12:02:35 AM