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Blackjack
04-04-2003, 09:40 AM
To properly read this diagram, you will need to go to the following link:
http://endeavor.med.nyu.edu/~wei/pool/pooltable2.html

To use the table, simply highlight the stream and copy; and paste at the green button at the Wei table site.

(Originally appeared in my book "The Growling Point" and has been edited for use with the WEI table)

Wrong Side of the ball?

The following situation came up during a match against Dennis Hatch in 1993. He had broken and not made a ball. I pocketed the one ball, and was left with the following:

START(
%BY7E3%Cr2O2%DY5O7%EZ3X6%FN4P2%GH7H5%HJ8Y4%IQ8G2%P _1O3%QZ7A6
%RB0B1
)END

From the look of things, I had really screwed myself, and good. My intention was to be on the other side of the 4 ball, so that I would have natural position to the three after pocketing the 2 ball into pocket A. I came up short, as is evident with what I was left with, and it was now time to find out just what I had available to me in order to escape imminent doom.

Positionally, I was dead in the center of the table, and the angle on the 2 ball was mildly severe, but I could have pocketed into the side pocket, but the route to get to the 3 ball was blocked by the lay of the 7 and 9 balls. Even if I was lucky enough to get around the 7 and 9 off that top left rail, I had the 8 to contend with, as well as the 5 ball. Running into any of these balls would spell disaster, as the 3 was locked solid on the short rail opposite of the direction my cue ball would travel. My main concern was the 7 ball. If I got caught behind the 7 ball, I'd end up in more trouble than I was in before pocketing the 2 ball.

This is where the green light went off in my decision to map out a safety. Having the cue ball run into the 7 was bad enough, but locking the cue ball behind the 7 was something I wanted to completely avoid, so why not leave the cue ball there for my opponent? The obvious target to send the 2 ball towards was the 5 ball. Accomplishing this task was much simpler than trying to come around for the 3 ball. So this is what I planned to do.

START(
%BY7E3%Cr2O2%DY5O7%EZ3X6%FN4P2%GH7H5%HJ8Y4%IQ8G2%P _1O3%QZ7A6
%RB0B1%WW9D6%X^5N8%Yc2^5%[]7Y8%\Y8E9%]F7G2%^V8D1%eC2a3
)END

When playing safe, I recommend that you try to control the cue ball or the object ball, always try to avoid controlling both at the same time. In this exampe, we merely need to control the 2 ball. As long as it makes its way behind the 5 ball, we should be okay. The cue ball merely needs to travel in the direction as illustrated. Ideally, we want the cue ball behind the 7 ball, but coming up long or short just sets the level of difficulty for our opponent's next shot. If we come up long, the 6 also presents a problem for our opponent. Merely concentrate on getting the 2 behind the 5. As long as that is accomplished, the incoming shooter will be kicking. Another thing to point out is that not only will he be kicking, he will be kicking and sending the cue ball Away from position on the 3 ball. In all safeties, I recommend looking for ways to not only trap your opponent, but to also find ways to have him shooting away from the next ball.

This is what I left Dennis:
START(
%B]4Z1%Cr2O2%DY5O7%EZ3X6%FN4P2%GH7H5%HJ8Y4%IQ8G2%PE2F 7%Q\9^9
%R]8_0%S_0_1
)END

I cannot stress how easy this was to accomplish. He was not able to jump, and though there are some pretty crazy multi-rail kick options there, none of them are high percentage shots. Even if somehow he makes contact with the 2 ball legally, chances are that I will be able to hit it quite easily after that. If he fails to make contact with the 2 ball, I have ball in hand, and I have a wide open table. Dennis was unable to make contact with the 2 ball, and I earned myself a game. What started out as a critical error, was ultimately used to my advantage. Getting angry and mulling over the fact that I came up short on the 2 ball would have solved nothing.

Many players try to create clusters, or tie up balls, not realizing that once clusters are made, they need to be broken up again. If I had chosen to do that in this situation, I might have not had the wide open opportunity when I got ball in hand. Find what is easiest to accomplish, and don't just trap him, trap him real good! The emotions that come with helplessness breed more negative emotions for my opponent, and I want him to experience all of them. In this particular situation, that one decison bought me about three games, and bought my opponent about 10 minutes of sitting in the chair mumbling expletives.

Bluewolf
04-05-2003, 12:41 PM
I am trying to control the cb with the finess needed to put the cb where I want in relation to the ob.

I had a drill I learned early on to learn cb finess. I practice it two times a week. now I am learning what happens to the ob when I hit the cb with a certain cb speed. I have gotten on the wrong side of the ob before. When I make a certain error like this I talk to my sl7 hubbie to see what I did wrong.

We play safe/shape several times a week. He is playing one handed. LOL. He tells me the order to hit the balls in, what shape to use, ie centerball, high, ball speed etc and how to play the safety.

I have just started the shape but he started teaching me safe when I first picked up the cue.

Laura

Blackjack
04-05-2003, 02:43 PM
Thanks Laura

I have some more safety articles I will post here in the next day or two. Try to avoid labeling yourself or other players according to skill levels. Pool is an awesome game and you can learn something new every time you play it. Just try to leave the table a better player than when you arrived. When we start labeling ourselves, or confining ourselves to a certain level, we tend to stay there more than we should. Those labels have been popularized by leagues, and having been banished from leagues for 25 years or so, and at first I had no clue what the APA or BCA handicap systems were all about. I conduct seminars throughout the country for leagues and teams, and the first thing I stress at the beginning is to rip off those labels. There is an infinite anout of information out there and most of us have more potential than we give ourselves credit for. I played in a tournament in MIchigan not too long ago (just to break the monotony, and I wanted to hit some balls). Well nobody there knew who I was, and it was a handicapped 9 ball tournament. They placed me as a "C" handicap, which means against and "A" player, I was spotted the wild 7, which means I could win the game with the 7, 8, or 9, and I need not have to call it. This is crazy because I had played professionally. I explained to the tournament director that it was unfair, but he told me that I was rated as a "C" because I had never participated in that tournament before. He insisted on leaving it the way it was, and assured me that if it was a problem, he'd adjust my handicap during the tournament. I ignored the spot, and proceeded to run 3 or 4 racks before I was "removed from the flow chart". So much for handicap systems. They are nothing more than labels, and I believe they are inaccurate, and can stunt your growth, rather than chart your progress. You can be labeled an sl -whatever, but if you accumulate the valuable knowledge required and then learn how to apply that knowledge, and rip off the "label", you will see your game grow leaps and bounds.

Bluewolf
04-05-2003, 03:49 PM
Originally posted by Blackjack
Thanks Laura

I have some more safety articles I will post here in the next day or two. Try to avoid labeling yourself or other players according to skill levels. Pool is an awesome game and you can learn something new every time you play it. Just try to leave the table a better player than when you arrived. When we start labeling ourselves, or confining ourselves to a certain level, we tend to stay there more than we should. They are nothing more than labels, and I believe they are inaccurate, and can stunt your growth, rather than chart your progress. You can be labeled an sl -whatever, but if you accumulate the valuable knowledge required and then learn how to apply that knowledge, and rip off the "label", you will see your game grow leaps and bounds.

You are so right David. In apa, for instance, one league has 10 or so teams playing against you. So a person's designated sl is based on your performance against that small pool of players. To that respect, a person could be say sl4 in their league, but sl5 if they played in another league. I have had people say to me that I should not be working on this or that because I was an sl this or that. I think that is Hogwash!! Like you said, I try to get better each time I play. I do not put myself in a 'box' and the only reason I bother with apa at all is to get expereince in competition. As far as others I have observed, you are right, they do not try to break out of the box of their sl. Unfortunately, most of them are not that motivated to get better.

OTOH, some people just want that once a week out social event and they do not care if they get better. Just drink a few beers, chat with friends, shoot a little pool. I have learned to accept that not everyone is real motivated, some just want that fun night out and it is their right if that is all that they want.

At first that did not make sense to me but realized some want nothing more than mediocrity while some strive for excellence in all that they do.

Laura

Rickw
04-05-2003, 04:00 PM
David,

I totally agree with "ripping off the labels" notion. Players at every level could either have a great day in a tournament and play flawlessly or they could do just the opposite. The difference between some players' good days and bad days can be enormous! That's why it is so difficult to handicap pool! And, some players make it a habit of just shooting good enough to get in the money all the time. They never actually win a tournament fearing their handicap will be raised to what it should actually be. One of the other problems I've noticed with many of the handicap tournaments I've played in is the lack of attention by the tournament directors. Many of the tournaments are run by the owner of the room. They're so busy trying to run their business, they really are not able to pay much attention to the tournament.

The one thing I do like about handicap tournamnents is that they give you a chance to play serious pool without having to risk a lot of money. You get an opportunity to compete without losing your money or taking someone elses. I'd hate to lose money denying my family anything just because I wanted to gamble. I also don't want to put someone else in that dilemma. I know many in the world of pool will scuff at this notion (and they have, believe me)but that's the way I see it and I'm not about to change my opinion at this stage in my life.