When playing 9 ball against upper level players every opportunity we get at the table is golden. So we must try and make the most of the chances we get. More often than not we are left safe with no real good offensive moves, or maybe you just missed position. In this article I thought we would explore some of the basics of learning how to kick defensively.
In Diagram A, we have pocketed the 1 ball but failed to get down the table for position on the 2 ball. In this scenario we can play a good kick safe on the 2 ball. This is the first type of kick safety, the ‘stop shot’ or ‘stick shot’. This shot is really very simple to execute with a little practice. The first thing we must do in order to stop the cue ball behind the 8 ball, is make sure that we make a full hit on the 2 ball. This will allow 100% of the energy that is in the cue ball to transfer to the 2 ball and send it up table. The second thing we must do is hit this shot about one tip above center ball (as illustrated). This will help the cue ball stop dead in its tracks. Give this shot a few tries in practice and you will see that it is very simple to execute. Keep your eyes peeled during a game because this comes up quite often during play.
The second form of the kick safety is the ‘kick-run shot’. Diagram B, shows us stuck in a spot where our opponent has missed the 1 ball and left us snookered behind the 5 ball. The first thing I notice here is the lovely wall of balls down by the end rail. I think if I could get my cue ball behind those balls and the 1 ball over to the opposite side rail, I could maybe earn a ball in hand from my opponent. This shot also comes up quite often in many forms, and is just as easy to master as the previous shot. To execute the kick-run shot, we must hit the rail as shown so that we are hitting the 1 ball full again. This time we hit the shot with about two tips of low English. Why low English? Because when the cue ball hits the rail spinning backwards it reverses as it comes off the rail and has forward spin. This will make the cue ball spin down behind the wall of balls leaving our opponent scratching his head trying to figure out how to escape this safety.
Things to remember when kicking safe:
1. Hit the object ball full. (this will allow as much energy as possible to be transferred to the object ball)
2. Top spin will help stop the cue ball in its tracks after contact with the object ball. (this is good if we want to keep the cue ball in place and send the object ball far, far away)
3. Draw or low English, will reverse off the rail and make the cue ball run forward after contacting the object ball. (hopefully to snuggle itself in behind another ball)
If you practice these shots you will master them very quickly, and you will improve your ability to escape a trap and turn the tables on your opponent.