View Full Version : Do you always shoot 'the right shot'?

phil in sofla
09-05-2002, 06:05 PM
Sometimes, with the lay of the balls, there really is one shot that is a best choice, maybe a key ball that will set up the runout or shape on the killer safety afterwards. However, sometimes because of the way you're shooting, or the way the pocket you'd have to use on that shot plays on the stroke you'd have to use, or maybe just the game/match situation, you just don't like the shot.

How often would you choose something else in that case? Do you just shoot what you think is the right shot, regardless, and let the chips fall where they may? Or, does the definition of 'the right shot' also include who is shooting and what they think of the shots, not just the table layout, so in a sense, ducking 'the right shot' IS the right shot?

(Note, I am not considering very low percentage shots, overly difficult shots, that WOULD be great if you made them, as the right shot, because generally they would NOT be the right shot, given their difficulty).

09-05-2002, 07:04 PM
Like many things in pool, I think it is one of the variables. It can depend on the score, the opponent, how I am stroking the ball, or what feels right at the moment.

On the other hand, why I occassionally shoot balls out of order in a game of 9-ball is another matter entirely. Apparently I have an aversion to higher math.

09-05-2002, 07:59 PM
From your post, I would guess you are referring to a game of eight-ball, but the question would also apply to one-pocket. You must make your own decision as to whether or not you should take the offensive and shoot the shot, but if you decide to play safe, it's not enough to just leave your opponent without a shot at his pocket. You must also try to put yourself in his shoes and consider what will be available to him when all the balls have stopped rolling. Sometimes you will suddenly realize that the safety you had in mind would make him happy, affording him the opportunity to do something in return that would really put you in the soup. Not every smart play puts balls in your pocket, or even near it. Leaving the other guy between a rock and a hard place can be even better.

09-05-2002, 09:19 PM
since my skill is not high yet, i only shoot the easy shots and play safe the rest of the time.especially if i am playing someone better.

if i am shooting good, i try to get in all the balls at the opposite end of the table from the 8 (in ideal situation) so that the 8 and one other ball are left and i dont have to go back and forth shooting long.

if there was a right shot i probably would not take it unless i could get in position on the next ball that is makeable and not give good position to the opponent.


09-06-2002, 06:27 AM
I've always considered table management the worst part of my game which is probably why I'd rather play 9 ball than 8 ball. In 9 ball there are less choices and since I blank out when I play it must be easier for my subconscience to make decisions. In 8 ball there are many more choices, 95% of the time to start a run I'd say I make the wrong choice. Sometimes I can shoot my way out of it but I'm sure it doesn't need to be that difficult.


09-06-2002, 08:50 AM
No. Sometimes I consciously choose a shot that some would consider "wrong". At times it's about testing and expanding your limitations. Say for example, I am a weak banker. Perhaps I've been working on those banks for some months and have started to see improvement. Now I'm in a match and am faced with a challenging bank shot. Do I choose the "right" shot, which may be to play a fairly high percentage safety or do I choose to try to begin incorporating my new banking skills in this game rather than limiting it to my practice sessions? One of the things that has allowed me to improve over the years is the willingness to take risks and try new stuff in competition when there is something at stake, thus expanding my limits. It's not always the "right" choice to stick with what is safe or comfortable. It depends upon the context and your goals at the moment. Mine include continual improvement every time I come to the table by developing and incorprating new skills, even if it might mean risking a loss or some embarassment and criticism from others.

09-06-2002, 12:24 PM
I think a better questions is why would you ever intentionally shot the 'wrong' shot? Not shooting the right shot is like shooting yourself in the foot.

09-06-2002, 01:10 PM
I've seen quite a few players who are obsessed with "the shot", as in, "That's 'the shot' right there!" What is important is that you believe that the shot you're shooting is "the right shot." In many cases, the right shot for one player isn't the right shot for another player. Sure, there are instances where, regardless of skill level, there is a definate "right shot", but there are many other cases where the "right shot" depends on percentages, and that depends entirely on skill level. For instance, if you have a shot where you have about a 90% chance of getting dead safe, or a 60% chance of making the ball and getting out, well then the "right shot", for you, would be to play the safe. However, another player may have a 90% chance of making the ball and getting out, so then the "right shot", for them, is to play to make the ball and get out. Which leads me to one more point. If you are faced with a situation where the percentage is about equal, for example, you have a 75% shot of getting dead safe, or a 75% shot of making the ball and getting out, ALWAYS (I can't emphasise that word enough) play the offensive shot so as to give yourself a chance to win. If you play the shot and miss, at least you had a shot to win. If you play the safe and miss, your opponent probably wins, and you never even had a shot at winning.

09-06-2002, 01:14 PM
P.S. Yes, I am illiterate (for those of you "spelling police"). Definate is spelled "Definite" ;-)

Jay M
09-06-2002, 01:38 PM
spelling police should be put in their own jail if they have a problem with your post. You explained a concept, that a lot of people miss, very well.

There is no "right shot", there is only the right shot for YOU!

For me, I use the rails for my leaves, sometimes taking the long route around the table even though there is a touch leave available. 99% of the pros would take the touch leave and make it 99% of the time. I would be the 1% that would miss it 50% of the time because I have problems adjusting to new table speeds. But by going around the rails, I can leverage the english to cause the speed to be "self adjusting" or to get on the right line, even though I may leave a longer shot than I would have if I was successful on the touch shot.

Jay M

09-06-2002, 01:57 PM
Tap Tap Tap, Well said Jimmy. A player needs to know their ability and make a smart decision. Like you said the right shot depends on who is holding the handle. The 90% rule is in affect. If it's a toss up on the shot vs safety, I'm going in with my guns smoking. I'm not going to lay and let the terrorist shoot me or shoot myself in the foot. Wrong choice of words possibly but the message is clear.

09-07-2002, 04:15 AM
Very interesting observations, Jay. I've never had any success with touch shots--and my touch is getting even worse as I get older!

Another point to consider is the effect of your shot on your opponent's morale. For example, you can sometimes derail a freestroking opponent by forcing him into long, slow, frustrating exchanges of safeties. And there are times when you don't give up much by attempting the kind of low-percentage trickshot that can make your opponent feel that he is outclassed.


09-07-2002, 06:04 AM
in reading this again, if i dont like the shot or if i am not 90% on that particular shot, i play safe.if there isnt a good safe i try to leave them long or such they have to bank.

but i am not as skilled as others, so i play safe a lot.


09-08-2002, 01:27 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr>

And there are times when you don't give up much by attempting the kind of low-percentage trickshot that can make your opponent feel that he is outclassed.


If you're playing a good player, shooting those types of shots will make them feel like they are SUPPOSED to win. If I have someone trying those Houdini shots on me, I don't care if they make them because I know that, if they keep trying that crap, eventually it'll catch up to them and I'll probably come out winner.

09-08-2002, 06:22 AM
You're absolutely right. The move I described is a dumb play against a solid opponent who's in a position to make you pay for a miss. It's childish to attempt a low-percentage shot just for the hell of it. I agree that every shot should be selected carefully, and have a rational purpose. Thanks for calling me on this.


09-08-2002, 08:22 AM
I admit that there-in lies a problem of mine in more elabotate games beyond 9-ball. I'll confuse myself with options in a broken rack of eight ball and many times dog an early run badly or roll out of line and cough up my inning. I guess I'm a one thing at a time thinker, so 9-ball is more natural for me. Can and will I play a smart ball in eight? Yes, but more times than not I'll hose myself by over thinking options. Safeties done for trouble ball breakouts are easy to notice though, automatic it seems.

Good subject title, I'm guilty of being wrong, I admit it...sid