I always find it funny when people ask me if I'm a pool shark. People that aren't part of the pool community frequently use that term, but those of us in the inner sanctum of pool know that a shark is something far different than a great player, and it's not something you ever want to be called. For those of you who don't know what a shark, or sharking is, in a few words it is someone who uses tactics to get in his opponents head. In even less words, a cheater.
As long as sports have been around, I'm sure sharking has as well. It doesn't work well for fast paced sports like tennis or soccer, but for quiet games like golf and pool, it can be a very effective way of using bad sportsmanship to gain the upper hand. I have been a victim of everything from someone (a pro) screaming while I was setting up to shoot, people making me rack over and over and over, people fidgeting in my line of sight, someone stealing my Kamui chalk in the middle of a match, someone claiming that I didn't call the winning ball when I clearly did...I could go on and on.
Unfortunately, pulling moves seems to have become as much a part of the game as lagging for the break, so you might as well be prepared. The following is a list of common tactics and some ideas on how to deal with them.
1. The Busy Bee.This person sits in the chair and immediately starts catching up on his to do list. Clean the cue...check. Shape the tip...check. Organize the cue case...check. All in your line of sight. My recommendation: Stop what you are doing immediately and tell them you will resume shooting when they are finished. Do not start shooting again until you are refocused and they are not moving.
2. The Rack Torture.Everyone is entitled to a good rack, but when your opponent grabs the rack out of your hand, or scatters the balls, or starts verbally battering you for having a tough time getting the balls to freeze, it's time to take action. I've had all of the above happen to me, and I've learned to exercise my right to have the tournament director rack the balls. If they turn down 2 racks, I call the TD over to rack for me. If they have a history of it I call the TD from the first rack.
Frank Says: "Make sure no one ever hassles you about a loose rack with the Magic Rack! The original template rack helps you achieve a tight rack, every time."