How about a new pool game that builds your "safety muscles"? This month's instruction from The Drill Instructor drills you in exquisite safe play and safety opportunities.
A New Game That Develops Your Safety Skills - Safe Scoring
By Dominic Esposito, The Drill Instructor, with Matt Sherman, your About.com Guide to Pool and Billiards.
One secret to playing a successful safety shot is the requirement that the player focus on the speed and finish (final shape) of only one ball. Choosing the cue ball or the object ball you are hitting beforehand for the sum of your concentration will help you stroke cleanly and without any hitching or twitching of the stick.
Heads Up For Danger
The most common dangers to avoid when executing a safety are:
1) Not visualizing the finished safety play. See where you want the balls to land before getting into the stance for the practice and final strokes.
2) Lingering over frustration that you can't pocket an object ball. Champions look at safeties as winning the game. Suckers look at safeties as another lost chance to run the table. Most games of 8-Ball and 9-Ball are lost and not won outright with lengthy runs. Think carefully, do you want to win your local league or tournament pocketing all the winning 8- and 9-balls or lose knowing that you ran 1 or 2 of 20 difficult tables?
3) Failure to bring sharp mental focus to playing safe. A real safety means your opponent can't quickly return an even better safety to you. What does your opponent hate to shoot? Banks? Kicks? How about a buried cue ball at one end of the table and a buried object ball at the other end?
Any or all of the three slipups above can leave your opponent an escape route from your poor try at defense.
**Next page: A quick tip for enhanced safety play and a new pool game to try.**