After deciding to play a safe, a lot of players have no idea of what to do next. Listed below are some of the criteria I use for executing a safety and hints for good safety play.
- Snooker or hide opponent so he cannot shoot directly at the object ball.
- Do not put the object ball near a pocket.
- If the situation dictates that you cannot hide or snooker the opponent. Leave him a bank shot; preferably long one or a short bank with a bad angle.
- On certain safeties leaving a long straight in shot will work.
- Leave the cue ball on the rail or cushion, this will cut down the area on the cue ball he can hit.
- Another good safety is to leave your opponent over a ball (jacked up), where he is forced to elevate the butt of the cue.
- Travel of the cue ball or the object ball should be kept to a minimum. If both balls are travelling long distances they are harder to control. I usually pick one or the other, if I choose a cue ball safety I will hit object ball thin (little movement) then try to place the cue ball in a safe position. If I choose an object ball safe I will stop or stun the cue ball (little movement)? shooting the object ball to a safe position.
- When shooting a soft safety where both balls are close together and will not travel far, use a very short stroke. Using a long stroke will make it difficult to stop the cue stick. Try this, using a long stroke, hit the cue ball and make it travel around?1 or 2 inches, very hard if not impossible to do. Now try the same shot with a very short stroke.
I cannot count the number of times I witnessed games being won with good safety. Defence is just as much a part of playing high-level pool as is running out. Armed with these criteria and hints I hope your safety play will improve.