The Woolston Lawn Billiards
& Bat-and-Trap Society

Not so much an ancient game, more a state of mind

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Thoughts about skills and Techniques

Posted by woolstonlawnbilliards on April 30, 2013 at 5:05 PM

It’s been a long time since I’ve written, partly because endless match reports are really only of interest to those involved, and let’s be frank: Karl and I are both there, so what do we need with match reports? However lately certain things have been coming up regularly that warrants some comment.

I’ve mentioned skill levels before, but it’s interesting to see the effect of rising skill on the games. The main effect has been on the type of shots we aim for and the techniques we’ve developed for achieving them. Take for example the frequent situation of the trochus being side on to the lie of the ball. I don’t know who discovered it and I don’t know whether it was a conscious thing until we began to analyse what was happening. I had been trying to apply spin to the ball so that it turned sideways to pass through the trochus. That this wasn’t happening didn’t discourage me. I simply thought I needed to improve the technique. Then one day I managed a shot from that position and all I had done was to twist my wrist slightly in the direction the ball needed to travel. Bingo! It’s now a regular feature of gameplay.

Another technique is to favour one side or the other of the trochus when passing the ball through to turn the trochus in the desired direction. This changes the direction of travel and is great for scoring cannons when the lie is at an angle. The force and direction of the delivery are important here, not to mention the accuracy. The follow through, in the intended direction of travel is essential. Any deviation is like shifting a lever: the longer the distance between the ball and the target, the greater the effect.

So now Karl and I are putting the ball pretty consistently where we want to, strategies have begun to emerge. I try and keep my balls on opposite sides of the trochus to maximise my opportunities for cannons. I also try and avoid staying too close to the trochus so I have at least a cue length between the active ball and any other target balls. This challenges the opponent’s accuracy, forcing him to concentrate on scoring a ringer to keep up, while I position myself for cannons. Being caught on the same side of the trochus as all the other balls because a) I’m a dud shot or b) I’ve been put there slows the game a bit and interrupts the rhythm.

All in all, there almost a booklet of strategies and techniques coming out. When you consider that a typical game includes at least one ringer from the shoe and cannons a-plenty, plus the odd three pointer, it may not be too far off and that’s got to be for good of all.

 

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