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jondrums
03-22-2007, 12:34 PM
I've been reading a lot of posts here in the straight pool forum and really enjoying the comentary - especially strategy and pattern play. However, I've noticed that although there is a lot of talk about running 100 balls, there is almost no talk about safety play. I appreciate advice from the high-run guys about how to run a rack, but it turns out I don't think it would be the right way for a guy like me to work it (if I want to WIN the game at hand). You have to understand, I'm a favorite to do a 5 and miss on a wide open table.

I find myself really having to think much more about taking open balls down first, then playing a nice safe based on available clusters. I have found from experience that shooting the obvious break balls if I don't think I have a good chance to get to them helps a lot, since my opponant will have a lot more trouble linking the next rack together if I do miss.

I play on and off in a handicapped league where against an excellent player, I might have to get only 5 balls/rack. My best games, and the ones in which I end up winning take a LONG time! In these games I rarely set up and play for a break ball, rather I like to set up for a last ball that allows me to get position for an excellent safety on the rack.

Its just too often that I either miss position on my break ball, or just plain miss the breakball shot and sell out. The way I play, my oponent never gets anywhere near their high runs and the game is always close. I bet people hate playing me, but I want to win, so this is what I do.

I still want to get really good and run a lot of balls, so I alternate my practicing between "equal offense" type play, where I try to play the technically correct pattern, and plenty of practice skimming balls and the rack for safeties.

So anyway - please discuss - anyone else in my boat right now?
Jon

selftaut
03-22-2007, 12:47 PM
Although safety play is an important part of the game , running balls is equally important if not more important , if the player you are up against has the same or more patiance as you playing safety back, and this player can run balls , you are in deep doo. Spend more time doing drills and get your confidence up to get through a rack with a break ball setup , don't try to fire it in 100 miles and hour and just concentrate on making the break ball , hit it easy, now you might only have a couple pop out but you are into your 2nd rack , confidence builder .

Gerry
03-22-2007, 01:04 PM
I'll say this, I know guys who learned playing a tight safe type of game. I also know guys who were more wide open>>>>Me, and more or less went for the shot. I believe the safety game is relatively easy to learn, but running balls is the only way to win.

When I have matched up against tight players they have said it's tough to play safe knowing I will shoot at almost anyhing sticking out. Sure I lost games against better players early on with this theory, but if I had to learn all over I would practice 95% of the time running balls.....the safe game can win at 1pocket, but I think it loses more often at 14.1 against a ball runner.

I also like to remember while playing that if I miss shooting the correct shots......no problem. If I get out of my game and get too tight....I get frustrated with myself.

Gerry

jondrums
03-22-2007, 01:13 PM
I've probably learned to play that safety game because I keep matching up with much better players than myself. Everyone else who is anywhere near my level is sorta stuck on playing 8-ball and 9-ball. I have a really hard time finding other players who want to play straight who don't punish me big-time for little mistakes on an open table.
Jon

selftaut
03-22-2007, 01:24 PM
I've probably learned to play that safety game because I keep matching up with much better players than myself. Everyone else who is anywhere near my level is sorta stuck on playing 8-ball and 9-ball. I have a really hard time finding other players who want to play straight who don't punish me big-time for little mistakes on an open table.
Jon

Matching up with better players is not a bad thing, turn it into a positive , pay close attention and learn , play the table , forget about your opponent and the score, you can't do anything about what they do at the table , learning your safety play was not a bad thing, but its time for you to step up and gain confidence on running some balls , sounds like your running out of position a lot, work on that part of your game exclusively for a while , cut down those mistakes , you will see a impovement within no time.

I am no world beater either , and I was in the same position as you with nobody to play straight with ,and always having to play better players to play the game I love, "Chicken Man" Dunsmore used to use me for a punching bag before the worlds, now that I think about it I think I funded his expenses! lol ,but after paying close attention and practicing my weakneses I can run 50 or so here and there , you can do it , just practice properly and get your confidence up.

tiptoety
03-22-2007, 02:36 PM
Hey Jon, everyone here is right about being able to run lots of balls. It makes winning easier. But I think they're underrating safety play in straight pool a little. Your probably asking what to do if your opponent leaves you on the back rail with a full rack in front of you, or what safes you can play off the rack to help you get a shot at running out. Guys can you go over the basic safes for poor jon. He wants to play but can't run past 5 balls. It's odd for a beginner to start liking straight pool now adays, so lets get him on par for beating other guys that can only run 5 balls.

Unless your just a run out player, there will be numerous times in a straight pool game where better safety play will get you more 5 ball runs than your opponent. Losing control of the game, or not knowing what to do, tends to be frustrating and beginners tend to try to make something outta nothing (which breaks up the rack for the other guy to run out). I've played amatuers 7 and safe and won easily because of my knowledge of the safety game. Plus you want to avoid shooting a shot in straight pool that in your mind is risky, or low percentage. That normally gives your opponent a christmas gift. You'd rather play safe than miss.

selftaut
03-22-2007, 06:05 PM
Hey Jon, everyone here is right about being able to run lots of balls. It makes winning easier. But I think they're underrating safety play in straight pool a little. Your probably asking what to do if your opponent leaves you on the back rail with a full rack in front of you, or what safes you can play off the rack to help you get a shot at running out. Guys can you go over the basic safes for poor jon. He wants to play but can't run past 5 balls. It's odd for a beginner to start liking straight pool now adays, so lets get him on par for beating other guys that can only run 5 balls.

Unless your just a run out player, there will be numerous times in a straight pool game where better safety play will get you more 5 ball runs than your opponent. Losing control of the game, or not knowing what to do, tends to be frustrating and beginners tend to try to make something outta nothing (which breaks up the rack for the other guy to run out). I've played amatuers 7 and safe and won easily because of my knowledge of the safety game. Plus you want to avoid shooting a shot in straight pool that in your mind is risky, or low percentage. That normally gives your opponent a christmas gift. You'd rather play safe than miss.

I agree 100% that a risky shot should be an automatic look for a safety , and he should continue to work on the safety play , but unless I read his post wrong , he is thinking safety all the time even when his on a run, which in my opinion will not advance his game as far as he would like it too , when on a run all thoughts should be on the run.

jondrums
03-22-2007, 08:34 PM
Plus you want to avoid shooting a shot in straight pool that in your mind is risky, or low percentage. That normally gives your opponent a christmas gift. You'd rather play safe than miss.

You've hit on it here. I just haven't heard anyone discussing alternatives to taking risky shots. I probably didn't explain myself quite well enough - I really do try and make the right pattern plays, but I also know my limits and if I know my chances to make the shot AND get position are pretty low, then I start thinking hard about other options - sometimes it means playing two way shots, sometimes complete safeties.

I guess I'm starting to understand why most of the talk is about running balls - its important!

I've just been amazed that some of the really good players I've matched up with don't seem to know (or at least don't play) some of the simplest and most devastating safeties.

Here's one that I'd like to hear you guys weigh in on the one I diagramed below. I seem to have pretty good luck getting the cue to stick to the rack and good dispersion on the other side of it. The key has been to use a little top inside and be sure to hit the correct ball first. This one comes up all the time for me when I don't get right on my break ball. If I have the reverse cut angle I can usually play position for this safety, and one shot later I'm usually shooting at a broken up rack.

Jon

Bob Jewett
03-22-2007, 10:21 PM
... Here's one that I'd like to hear you guys weigh in on the one I diagramed below. I seem to have pretty good luck getting the cue to stick to the rack and good dispersion on the other side of it. The key has been to use a little top inside and be sure to hit the correct ball first. ...
That might work, but I don't like the feel of that angle. I would rather shoot onto the 11 ball from the direction of the side pocket. I'll have to try it your way. Many of these full-rack safeties depend on exactly which balls are touching. Some angles/balls seem to be much more tolerant of gaps.

Bob Jewett
03-22-2007, 10:28 PM
... So anyway - please discuss - anyone else in my boat right now?
Jon
I also play in a handicapped league, but I'm usually giving up a spot. So, from my perspective...

If I'm giving up 140:35, I can afford to take a lot of intentional fouls. My opponent effectively loses four points of foul if he responds with a foul. Also, he is more likely to run into a 15-point penalty. If I run into a 15-point penalty, it's not quite the same disaster. On the other hand, I can't afford to take a 60% break shot. If he runs 10 balls from a wide spread, I need a 3-rack run to make up for it.

If you are playing an even match, and you have a choice between a 50% shot and a mediocre safety, take the shot. You are only 50% to win the safety battle, and you may as well try to keep the table. Cranfield discusses similar situations in his "Straight Pool Bible" which is one of the books everyone on this sub-forum should have.

Bob Jewett
03-22-2007, 10:41 PM
I've been reading a lot of posts here in the straight pool forum and really enjoying the comentary - especially strategy and pattern play. However, I've noticed that although there is a lot of talk about running 100 balls, there is almost no talk about safety play. ....
Two other thoughts on this.

In my league, the beginners played really, really bad safeties when the league was first formed. They had only eight ball and nine ball experience and had to figure out what to do on their own, never having seen 14.1 safety battles. After five years or so of play, they do the right thing far more often. Safety play is largely a see-then-do skill. In a few cases, a particular play seems to still be common although it is the wrong thing to do, but presumably those will eventually become extinct.

Not all 14.1 champions were 100-ball runners. I never saw him play, but I've been told that Frank Taberski won his championships three balls at a time. Loose ball, loose ball, loose ball, off the rack to the middle of the end rail. Tough to play against. That's the story. It would be nice to see that strategy in action since it seems like he has to win 90% of the safety battles against a 30-ball runner. He was also said to play slowly. This was on 10-foot tables.

selftaut
03-23-2007, 01:34 AM
In your diagram you say you are usually shooting at a broken up rack afterward most of the time, seems to me that your opponent would be taking a high risk shot most of the time if thats the case , so maybe you do have them frustrated and impatient, which is understandable in league play , players will often go for to much , sometimes thats the fun of it all. But if you were playing in tournament play or for a little money your opponent will stick you right back in a heartbeat , and you will most likely never see that broken rack. The safety you describe is a common safety and sometimes effective , sometimes not , to me the key to this safety is where the balls are going to wind up after the cb hits the rack , you want to get a ball open to a pocket because if nothing is to open to that corner on the opposite side then you are going to be in jaws of that upper corner or frozen to the upper rail next. If there is a ball open over there then your opponent might be forced to try and freeze you to the bottom rail which leaves you probably another safety back or posibly a shot to an upper corner or a bank, they may also elect to skim the 2 ball and go 3 rails and put the cb right back where it is , which of course is higher risk safety , and thats the whole idea , not to play a safety and leave your opponent an easy safety right back.

jondrums
03-23-2007, 06:36 AM
Bob-
You're going to laugh about this one - we play in the same league! Yeah, I know its confusing, I live in NC and travel to the bay area pretty regularly and stop by every few weeks to play. I'm going to pick up Cranfield's book, and see where that leads - thanks for the tipoff.

Everyone-
Thanks all for the help, I've got work to do on my ball running skillz. I realize that some of what I think are good safeties, only work well because some of the people I play against will shoot at anything...

Jon

ps. I just saw sjm's series of tactics posts, and those are exactly what I was looking for.

Eddie Robin
05-23-2009, 02:03 AM
I've been reading a lot of posts here in the straight pool forum and really enjoying the comentary - especially strategy and pattern play. However, I've noticed that although there is a lot of talk about running 100 balls, there is almost no talk about safety play. I appreciate advice from the high-run guys about how to run a rack, but it turns out I don't think it would be the right way for a guy like me to work it (if I want to WIN the game at hand). You have to understand, I'm a favorite to do a 5 and miss on a wide open table.

I find myself really having to think much more about taking open balls down first, then playing a nice safe based on available clusters. I have found from experience that shooting the obvious break balls if I don't think I have a good chance to get to them helps a lot, since my opponant will have a lot more trouble linking the next rack together if I do miss.

I play on and off in a handicapped league where against an excellent player, I might have to get only 5 balls/rack. My best games, and the ones in which I end up winning take a LONG time! In these games I rarely set up and play for a break ball, rather I like to set up for a last ball that allows me to get position for an excellent safety on the rack.

Its just too often that I either miss position on my break ball, or just plain miss the breakball shot and sell out. The way I play, my oponent never gets anywhere near their high runs and the game is always close. I bet people hate playing me, but I want to win, so this is what I do.

I still want to get really good and run a lot of balls, so I alternate my practicing between "equal offense" type play, where I try to play the technically correct pattern, and plenty of practice skimming balls and the rack for safeties.

So anyway - please discuss - anyone else in my boat right now?
Jon

To win or or not to win, that is the question [Shakespeare?]. Guess I'd better expand upon that a bit. How about, to win now but improve less or lose now and improve more?

Which will be your priority, winning the game at hand or doing that which will enable you to more easily reach higher levels of play in the future?

In one instance you may want to play the style that would provide you with the best chance to win such as when the rent money, ego, or whatever else might possibly be of importance is on the line. In another instance, one in which you have placed less importance on winning, you may more easily strive to play with a style better suited for a player above your current level. Playing with the style of the better player will tend to help you to eventually reach the level of that better player. Playing the style of the lesser player will tend to stunt your progress to higher levels of play. Doesn't that seem right to you? Your choice of course.

for whatever it was worth,

Eddie Robin

dmgwalsh
05-23-2009, 04:55 AM
To win or or not to win, that is the question [Shakespeare?]. Guess I'd better expand upon that a bit. How about, to win now but improve less or lose now and improve more?

Which will be your priority, winning the game at hand or doing that which will enable you to more easily reach higher levels of play in the future?


Eddie Robin

Usually, I try to play what I think is the proper way, even if my tools are not developed enough to execute exactly what I need to do. In our handicapped 14.1 leagues, some of the players are pretty good and you can't help but pick up patterns of play that they use to break up clusters, and get into the next rack. Some times my cue ball control lets me down and where they would get a break shot, I get straight in or on the wrong side. But I usually keep trying.

Once in a while, though, if I am in contention for the money, I may modulate my game a bit and go for the win.

3andstop
05-23-2009, 06:06 AM
I'd like to comment on what comes to mind for me when I read this question if I may.

I'm no world beater either, :) so take it for what it's worth.

I am in agreement with those who suggest focusing on running balls over ducking. You can pickup just about any good book on 14.1 and find at least the half dozen or so standard safeties that come up time after time and learn them.

Running balls is what will win you the game since that's the only way to put points on the string. My thought is based on how to improve on running the balls since getting up there and just trying to pocket balls till you miss is the long road.

Eliminating variables is IMHO the most important key to running balls. That means back to the basics. Stance, sighting, knowing the point of contact and aim, being able to address the cue ball at the spot on it that you want to, and follow through on your stroke are elements that you need to develop good enough to eliminate variables for each.

Doing that will increase your confidence. Knowing what to address and executing it are two different things. I've always said most pool players know where to hit the balls, the trouble they have in DELIVERY or execution.

I know that's my trouble, but I think the reason execution suffers on any given shot for individual players varies in it's own right.

As I get older (and older :) ) I don't think as sharply and quickly as I used to. Sometimes my conscious thoughts wander even as I stroke. That's disaster.

For you or for someone else the reason may be different. You need to identify the specific areas you feel uncomfortable with and work on them to gain overall ball pocketing confidence.

You also have to realize this game requires constant play to maintain your focus, and you should be content with understanding the speed of your progress is relative to the time you put in.

I play about 5 or 6 hrs a week these days and half that time is watching my buddy run balls :) so what the heck, I'm happy I'm not chalking the bumper end of the cue when it's my turn.

Each one of us has to work on our games in terms of realistic expectations relative to the time we can put into it. Don't get frustrated, and remember its fun that alone will help you enjoy and play better.

CreeDo
05-23-2009, 11:36 AM
This is a good point. I am kind of weak in my safe game, but I'll try to contribute something. I know there are plenty of good safeties I'm missing. Maybe some experienced players can fill in the gaps.

1. The old granddaddy. You left yourself a useless break ball so you pocket it, get near the middle of the table, then park the cue ball on the head spot. The trick here is to leave the cue ball off to the side a bit. Then aim to hit one of the head balls fairly full, with a little top. Some instinct (probably wrong) makes me want to put a little inside on the ball also.

If you get dead center of the table you must 'cut' one of the head balls a little bit to get the CB to nestle into the crack between the 5 and 6. Cutting the ball pops it out more and you may sell out a weird thin cut into the corner (or just fail to tuck the CB in tightly). You want to pick a ball to hit and roll into it (with soft natural roll), hitting about 80% full so that the CB barely clips sideways into the other ball. In this case I hit the 5 and let the CB lightly fall into the 6. Only one of the corner balls ought to hit a rail.

http://CueTable.com/P/?@3AcYs4BCxA3CCYA4DAMd3EBJl4FBil4GBjO3HBKO4IAMA3JD vO4KEMP3LFCd3MCYd4NFKf4OCpd1PGMR3eDvO3eHWR3gFCd3gM Oj3gQuT3hCYd3hDPF4iFKf4iIFG1kGMR4kATW@

2. You fall in a place where hitting the head of the rack is no good. There's a big difference between angle A and angle B. Angle B is nice, you roll to hit the 11 right in the face, and if you do it properly you will be frozen to the 11, leaving nothing on the corner ball(s) that pop out.

From angle A, life sucks because you can't cut the 11 as full. The chances of selling out are high. If you aim to cut the 11 or hit the 2 full, you must hit a little harder to get something to reach a rail. This almost always ends badly, you'll cause e.g. the 6 to pop out for a side or corner shot.

http://CueTable.com/P/?@3AcYs4BCxA3CCYA4DAMd3EBJl4FBil4GBjO3HBKO4IAMA3JD vO4KEMP3LFCd3MCYd4NFKf4OCpd4QNqm4RKwJ3eDvO3eJbN3gF Cd3gHgC4iFKf4iLYl4iNML4jCpd4jCrK4lNqm4lIku4mKwJ4mF ay@

3. Depending on how you fall, you hit either the 15 or 13 fairly full. Tucking the CB in here can be brutal for your opponent. Depending on how deeply the CB nestled in there, he may be unable to roll the CB to the side rail, or he'll be in line to scratch. If he rolls to the foot rail he sells out one of those corner balls. You can also try hitting the middle of the stack (the 4) very full and that sends the 3 or the 2 to the rail. But I seem to get best results if I hit the ball next to it.

http://CueTable.com/P/?@3AcYs4BCxA3CCYA4DAMd3EBJl4FBil4GBjO3HBKO4IAMA3JD vO4KEMP3LFCd3MCYd4NFKf4OCpd3PAWC4VCxA4VEsj3WCYA3WE ck4fEMP4fbfM4fXDt3gFCd3gJje4iFKf4iPvd3kAWC4kBrq@

4. Sometimes I you'll be under the rack and one of the corner balls has been nudged out... not enough for a shot, but enough for a safe.

Option A: Hit the loose ball and stop, freezing the CB to another ball. A weak player might sell out the side pocket shot when they return safe, but a stronger player will probably graze the 13 softly with a touch of draw, parking you on the foot rail near the center diamond.

Option B: You may be at an angle where stopping on the loose ball sends it into the pack. Or you're on the foot rail and hitting center ball is tough. In this case you can do my favorite amateur sellout safety where you thin the loose ball and try to leave the CB on the head rail. Lots of options here.. you can leave a dead ball or scratch in the corner. If you get away with it, they are a mile away and in some trouble.

http://CueTable.com/P/?@3AcYs4BCxA3CCYA4DAMd3EBJl4FBil4GBjO3HBKO4IAMA3JD vO4KEMP3LFjf3MCYd4NGAj4OCpd3QCRO4RHIj3gFjf3gagI3gU pQ3lCRO3lDvp4mHIj4mIlk1mbhY1mWbk@

Option C: You draw and try to freeze to the foot rail. If you succeed they are likely to sell out with their return safe.

http://CueTable.com/P/?@3AcYs4BCxA3CCYA4DAMd3EBJl4FBil4GBjO3HBKO4IAMA3JD vO4KEMP3LFjf3MCYd4NGAj4OCpd4PCjL4iGAj1ibem1iKrj4kC jL4kFbx4kBUl@

Cameron Smith
05-23-2009, 11:12 PM
I tend to believe that you should play to win every match. In doing so you should adopt a playing style that is best suited to winning. Running balls is what wins matches, but I find that people seem to rather lose the match than give up a run.

My opinion is that, if you are not a strong player you should still try to leave a break ball, key ball etc. But I wouldn't kill yourself trying to keep it if you get too out of line. I've seen players take on extremely tough shots to avoid potting their break ball, which would have been a straight forward shot.

So I guess I'm somewhere in the middle of this discussion. I think that if you don't try to set yourself up for runs, you'll never improve as ball runner. That said, smart play wins matches.

A strategy a friend of mine employs against me is to shoot away orthodox break balls as quickly as he can (he's 3-5 ball runner, rarely more). It leads to some cagey matches and slows me down quite a bit.

On a similar note I have noticed when some people play against stronger opposition they can get too defensive. To the point where they are trying not to lose, rather than trying to win.

Eddie Robin
05-24-2009, 08:43 PM
Two other thoughts on this.

In my league, the beginners played really, really bad safeties when the league was first formed. They had only eight ball and nine ball experience and had to figure out what to do on their own, never having seen 14.1 safety battles. After five years or so of play, they do the right thing far more often. Safety play is largely a see-then-do skill. In a few cases, a particular play seems to still be common although it is the wrong thing to do, but presumably those will eventually become extinct.

Not all 14.1 champions were 100-ball runners. I never saw him play, but I've been told that Frank Taberski won his championships three balls at a time. Loose ball, loose ball, loose ball, off the rack to the middle of the end rail. Tough to play against. That's the story. It would be nice to see that strategy in action since it seems like he has to win 90% of the safety battles against a 30-ball runner. He was also said to play slowly. This was on 10-foot tables.

Hi Bob,

Been a long time since our last communication. Sort of getting my feet wet here on AZ Billiards for past 3 or 4 days and, upon accidentally selecting the FAQ tab, I'm finally learning how to get around. FAQ means "Frequently Asked Questions." Wow! Why didn't someone tell me this years ago?!?! Guess I should have asked.

Anyway, once again I'm impressed with your writings. Your league experience conclusions increased my reality as to how it is for most others and I've made a note of it for reference when explaining defensive play in 14.1. I've not had such experience to help me understand how others have learned and so I guess it sort of helped fill a gap.

Be talking 'atcha,

Eddie Robin

poolplayer2093
05-24-2009, 09:00 PM
I've been reading a lot of posts here in the straight pool forum and really enjoying the comentary - especially strategy and pattern play. However, I've noticed that although there is a lot of talk about running 100 balls, there is almost no talk about safety play. I appreciate advice from the high-run guys about how to run a rack, but it turns out I don't think it would be the right way for a guy like me to work it (if I want to WIN the game at hand). You have to understand, I'm a favorite to do a 5 and miss on a wide open table.

I find myself really having to think much more about taking open balls down first, then playing a nice safe based on available clusters. I have found from experience that shooting the obvious break balls if I don't think I have a good chance to get to them helps a lot, since my opponant will have a lot more trouble linking the next rack together if I do miss.

I play on and off in a handicapped league where against an excellent player, I might have to get only 5 balls/rack. My best games, and the ones in which I end up winning take a LONG time! In these games I rarely set up and play for a break ball, rather I like to set up for a last ball that allows me to get position for an excellent safety on the rack.

Its just too often that I either miss position on my break ball, or just plain miss the breakball shot and sell out. The way I play, my oponent never gets anywhere near their high runs and the game is always close. I bet people hate playing me, but I want to win, so this is what I do.

I still want to get really good and run a lot of balls, so I alternate my practicing between "equal offense" type play, where I try to play the technically correct pattern, and plenty of practice skimming balls and the rack for safeties.

So anyway - please discuss - anyone else in my boat right now?
Jon
Bro i don't mean to be the one to tell you but if you're only running 5 ish balls with the table wide open then your cue ball control probably isn't going to be strong enough to out move your opponent

alphadog
05-30-2009, 08:49 AM
I find myself really having to think much more about taking open balls down first, then playing a nice safe based on available clusters. I have found from experience that shooting the obvious break balls if I don't think I have a good chance to get to them helps a lot, since my opponant will have a lot more trouble linking the next rack together if I do missdicapped league where against an excellent player, I might have to get only 5 balls/rack. My best games, and the ones in which I end up winning take a LONG time! In these games I rarely set up and play for a break ball, rather I like to set up for a last ball that allows me to get position for an excellent safety on the rack.

Its just too often that I either miss position on my break ball, or just plain miss the breakball shot and sell out. The way I play, my oponent never gets anywhere near their high runs and the game is always close. I bet people hate playing me, but I want to win, so this is what I do.

Are you in effect "sandbagging"?:D

Str8PoolPlayer
06-22-2009, 08:54 PM
For a true beginner my best advice would be to pocket balls, watch and learn from your mentor/opponent, then apply what you have learned to your best ability ...

Oh, and I forgot to mention ....... Practice !!!

DogsPlayingPool
06-22-2009, 09:34 PM
Running balls or playing safety. I'm not sure why, but this seems like a good time to tell the story I heard of a young Mike Sigel asking the legend Irving Crane to play him some straight pool. Mike broke and the Deacon proceeded to run 200 balls and then played a safety. I think there's a moral to the story in there somewhere. ;)

Blackjack
06-23-2009, 05:59 AM
My advice to any beginner is to:

1) Master the art of the stop shot.

Minimizing cue ball movement is essential for playing good 14.1.

When I was learning how to play this game, I was only allowed to pocket balls in the two side pockets, and the two corner pockets behind the head spot. My cue ball was not allowed to go past the side pockets.

I was also not allowed to use more than 2 rails to get position on any shot. If i went more than 2 rails - or if my cue ball ended up in the wrong neighborhood, it was the end result of a tactical error I had made along the way. Tactical errors are either due to carelessness, improper planning, or piss poor execution. My penalty was loss of turn.

I was forced to learn, look for, and utilize "connect the dot" patterns. The minimized cue ball movement rewarded me with high percentage shots, and high percentage positioning of the cue ball.

That keeps everything simple, concise, and manageable.

This will reward you with higher runs.

2) Learn to recognize which balls serve a purpose and which balls do not serve a purpose.

Many beginners make the error of just shooting whatever ball looks easiest to knock into the hole. In 14.1, some balls are key balls or set up balls to a particular pattern, or series of patterns. If you carelessly eliminate key balls from those patterns, you will find it very difficult to get from rack to rack.

Just getting out there and knocking balls into the holes won't get you very far. 14.1 is a game that can also be called "Divide and Conquer". Every ball that you shoot will connect you to the next shot. Every successful shot creates an opportunity to take another shot. This means that every ball serves a purpose. Some balls will serve a dual purpose. Watch some tapes of the great players and see how they divide and conquer. Watch how each shot sets them up to clear out other balls, and ultimately set them up on the next break ball.

I hope this info helps you out.

jondrums
06-28-2009, 10:24 PM
Creedo-
Thanks for those great safety examples. Its two years later from the original post in the this thread, and I've sure learned a lot about ball pocketing, pattern play, and safeties. I'm still not a big ball runner, but I have had very good success winning games when I can stay focused. I won my straight pool league two seasons in a row, but then again I was getting better faster than my handicap could go up...

Nice to see you here Eddie - I have devoured your one-pocket books, and put a few of those things to work in straight pool too. You probably don't remember, but you were kind enough to spend some time on the phone with me a few years back, and really helped shaped my straight pool practice strategy. I hope you're posting some of this valuable information up here from time to time.

I won't edit my original post, but I'm definately laughing at some of the ideas I had a few years ago. I rarely shoot down break balls to spite my opponent, and can usually put down more than 5 balls on an open table now. But, I would like to add, that a really well developed safety game goes a long way. And on off nights, I can see safeties that are very tolerant of an erratic stroke. Its often been enough to put my opponent off, or get back to the table with a nice open pattern and get my stroke back together.

So, this thread has morphed towards a discussion of safety play, and that is great because that was the original intent even though the thread title is misleading. Thanks for all your contributions, and keep them coming if you want.

Jon