View Full Version : The POWER of defensive play!

12-09-2005, 12:07 PM
As I have mentioned elsewhere, I spent the summer working on defensive play and did not play much pool.

Well I went to a local money tournament the other night and played a guy who usually wins tournaments or winds up in the money. One of the best players around. This guy does not miss. I've won a money game match against him maybe once in two years. And that was because he scratched on the 8.

And this guy *always* has control of the table. He has *no* weakness. He is ruthless!

Playing 8-ball... I played a few defensive shots on him and this bought me time to get most of my balls in.

Hummm... A new thing here! If I play defensive against this guy instead of trying to make my balls, I get more opportunities to shoot my balls in. Yeaaaa! Wonderful!

Then the killer... He has 1 ball left, I have 3 left. Another good thing.. my having 3 balls left so I have a shot.

Then I shoot a defensive shot and snooker him. I did not care where the object ball went, only where the cue ball would go. Then he had to shoot a difficult kick shot and he LOST CONTROL OF THE TABLE leaving me with an easy runout! He looked sick.

Repeat, Mr. "control the table at all times" lost control of the table! I could not believe it. I finally found a weakness in his game.

I was so excited about my new found "power" with defensive shots, and discovering a way to beat this guy, that I ran in my 3 rails, then mucked up on and easy 8-ball shot.

He won, but he did not look very pleased.

Anyway I have found the "key" to winning a game against such a top player. That is if you do not have a good shot, play defense and you will "buy time" and have additional opportunities for shots. Primary focus is on where the cue ball goes, not where object ball goes. Then leave a few balls on the table until you can runout. And if you can snooker them real good (concentrating only on where the cue ball will go after your shot), they might just lose control of the table!

12-09-2005, 12:29 PM
Take this from a guy who believed that defense was the key as well. The problem, "D" will win you 2 out of the 5 games in a race to five. A great 8-ball player will tie YOU up with "D" twice and run out the other three racks. In short races, 2 or 3 you can get away with counting on defense. But the longer the race goes, a power offensive player will run over you. I've had to change my own game drastically because of this exact situation. Learn to beak out clusters and run out. Real champions play this way.

12-09-2005, 12:43 PM
Well I need to get a shot first before I can begin any offensive play. And with this particular player, any shot he leaves you with will only give him an advantage and will give you little or no opportunity to leave position for another shot. He is quite good at doing this! (He has exceptional control of the table.)

12-09-2005, 01:11 PM
Yup, the defensive play is a good way to go. I am actually a very defensive player. I always look at shots in terms of percentage. If I have a better than 75% chance of making a shot and getting position, then I take it. If not, I may consider defensive options.

The trouble is that eventually, you find an opponent who can make the difficult shots you leave or, as happened to me in the last big tourney I played in, your opponent pulls one of those miracles out of his arse and wins that way. I left this guy so he had a 3-rail kick shot with his object ball pretty much on the spot you rack the balls on. He made the shot, ran out and just killed any momentum and/or optimism I had going. (That shot earned him a 4-2 lead in a race to 5...right when I figured I was about to tie it at 3)

But that's pool, and in the end, I think you have to make at least one "shot" during any match if you hope to win. Discovering the difference between when to go for the "shot" and when to try to hook someone is really the key to winning.