Unlocking the Safe

Written by David Sapolis

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Article Index
Unlocking the Safe (page 1)
Your Ability To Remain Calm (page 2)
Do we bank the 2 ball? (page 3)
Offensive Safeties (page 4)
Two way Shot (page 5)
Taking the jump out of the Equation (page 6)

Offensive Safeties

Offensive Safeties are shots that hide the cue ball or object ball from your opponent while at the same time giving you an advantage on the resulting ball in hand. In this situation, we have no shot on the 2 ball. When we look at the table, we see that the 3-9 combination is sitting pretty up in the corner. If we allow our opponent to see the 2 ball, it is a safe bet that we will lose this game.

Unlocking the Safe - Diagram 3
Diagram 3

The shot illustrated shows an offensive safety. We are hiding the cue ball behind the 8 and 4. With the proper stroke, we send the 2 ball in front of the 7 ball. Where the 2 ball ends up is not as important as hiding the cue ball - therefore we control the cue ball - not the 2 ball. The resulting ball in hand leaves you in very good position to win this game.

Defensive Safeties

Unlocking the Safe - Diagram 4
Diagram 4

For whatever reason, you have gotten this shape on the 4 ball. The 7 ball is blocking the cross side option, and from where your cue ball is, you have no pocket availability options for the 4 ball. The key here is to hide the cue ball only. This is a defensive move that opens up an offensive option.

Unlocking the Safe - Diagram 5
Diagram 5

We have hidden the cue ball behind the 8 ball. Even if our opponent makes contact with the 4 ball he will be sending it towards a pocket (off of Rail A). If he chooses to go to Rail B, he will have the 8 ball as an obstacle and he will be shooting at it awkwardly. In this situation you have limited his offensive options. When looking for a place to send either the object ball or the cue ball, always look to send either to a location that offers your opponent the fewest offensive options. Limit his options and increase yours. This shot also opens up the table - for YOU!

Duck or Hide?

Unlocking the Safe - Diagram 6
Diagram 6

What do you do here? Look at this situation carefully. It is possible to make the 1 ball into pocket “A”. Do we have anything to gain from that? Not really. We’ll just break up the 5 and 8. We can also try to bank the 1 ball cross-side, but once again, the position on the 2 ball leaves a lot to be desired. If we stick the cue ball behind the 8 and 5, chances are we will have nothing to gain by getting ball in hand - seeing we have two sets of clusters. So what do you do?

Unlocking the Safe - Diagram 7
Diagram 7

This is a hide shot. Simply hide the cue ball behind the 5 and 8. Even though you do not have much to gain by getting ball in hand, you remain in control. You can try to lock him up again on your next shot. That way you keep him kicking at the 1 ball.

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About The Author: Blackjack David Sapolis played professional pool for 20 years in The United States, Canada, Europe, and Asia.

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