The Deliberate Attack

This is the my first article associated with the PoolSynergy collection.  John Biddle of PoolStudent.Com came up with this fantastic idea to have various bloggers from the pool community unite forces & create a central location where pool enthusiast could gather information on different subjects about the sport we all love.  Everyone he chose has a very different writing style and it’s great to get such unique perspectives from the various pool players involved.  So I hope you enjoy the carnival and look for it every 15th of the month.  Click on the link above to read all the articles for this month’s topic “Strategy.” 

The Deliberate Attack!  ~ Gail Glazebrook


Often players make the Hump Day statement, "I’m gonna play in "X" tournament this weekend."  They show up, pay their dues, & perform the same routines they always do wondering by days end why they come out with the same result ~ losing.

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.   ~John Dryden

But why aren’t they winning?  Every tournament you play in makes you stronger right?  All experiences are building blocks in development … clues to the big puzzle of this game, no?

Guess what they are really practicing … how to consistently LOSE! And they’ve gotten VERY VERY good at it.

However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results. ~Winston Churchill

I know this because this was me.  My strategy used to be: "show up, hit balls, hope something happens"

Hope: A beautifully indulgent concept poised by dreams, insightful thoughts & sugary goo, but menacingly unreliable when you’re down on the 9-ball hill/hill.

Pool is not a game of hope, it’s a string of deliberate actions.

The bare bones of a game’s make up, obviously, is a battle. Two opponents, each wanting to win.  But how many of you actually step up to shake your opponent’s hand and think to yourself…

"how will I beat you?"

Seriously.  I know it’s everyone’s implied goal but do you genuinely ask this question in your mind or do you just blindly attack?

This is not a given, you MUST ANSWER this question before you can beat your opponent.  (Of course, most of the time it may seem like you’re asking "How can I beat myself?!?!"  But that’s an entirely different topic about self-loathing.)

Pacquiao-vs-Cotto-HBO1I’m totally into the 24/7 show on HBO these days — it goes behind the scenes into the lives of boxers as they prepare for their big fight that’ll air on PPV for a gajillion $$$.  What inspires me about this show is the amount of time they spend not just working out and physically preparing for the battle, but studying their opponent, narrowing in on their weaknesses by watching previous fights, developing attacks that feed those weaknesses, all of which leads their opponent into to the death march to a knockout POW!  They prepare with mind & body.  The enter the arena educated, skilled & READY!  No blindfolds here.

_mg_3458 See, old g2 never focused much on "the plan!"  I focused on getting balls in the hole.  While this simple strategy may be brilliant to the minimalist, pool is by no means a simple game so we can scratch that or get ready for the TKO!

Well, how do you even formulate a game plan in pool?

An old coach of mine grouped players into various categories.  The rookies, the intermediates, the advanced, and pray.  This is strictly MY game plan strategies — some players believe that you should play the same game no matter who your opponent may be and what the situation is~to each their own.

My Game Plans:

Rookies: These players do not run racks.  They are shot makers, have poor patterns and seldom know where the cue ball is going, especially if it’s traveling more than 3 ft.  If the cue ball hits a rail, that’s lowered to 1 ft.

Strategy: Don’t do all the heavy lifting.  So many times I’ve let my, "I’m so much better than you" ego get in the way — I run out the 1 thru 7 ball, getting increasingly more & more out of line, dog the end game, roll over & woof as the weaker player pockets the 9-ball saying, "Thanks, couldn’t have done it without you!" Um, Rookies rarely make more than 3-4 balls in a row, thus 1-6 don’t matter!!  Wait till the end game to let your "I’m too sexy for this game" mojo out!

Intermediates: These players B&R every now and then. Be on alert.  Some days they play like Rockstars, other days they’re convinced the cue ball is being remote controlled by their opponents.

Strategy: OUTSMART you opponent – don’t go for the crazy shots b/c the enemy can run out.  Defense becomes a bigger ally in this scenario.  Run out when the percentages are high and duck when they’re not. Being all offense is a low percentage game.  It may make you feel good when it works, but there’s a reason Babe Ruth had the highest number of homeruns & strikeouts!

Advanced: Better players than me, more knowledge, more experience, higher skill set, NOT impossible to beat, just tough!

Strategy: Believing in my game.  Focus – with no tolerance for frustration or self-doubt is my only chance to win. Capitalizing on the opportunities they leave me and reflecting later on the holes in my game that hurt me.  I’ve been guilty in the past of stepping into this match already believing I’d lost.  I condemned myself to be a whipping boy, failing when my opponent threw me a bone.  The saddest part is had those same bones come up against ROOKIE or INTERMEDIATE — their ass is mine!  But I see Mr. Advanced leaves me an opening, and I think, "how badly can I mess this up?" This is a LOSER mentality…think, "I’m gonna punish you for taking me for granted!"  It’ll make you feel strong, and it sounds waaaaay more badass — and deep down, we all wanna be badasses.

There is always a better strategy than the one you have; you just haven’t thought of it yet…  ~ Sir Brian Pitman

Pray: You drew the pro.

Strategy: Enjoy it!  Revel in the racks you win, respect the grace and poise your opponent has and be the biggest little fighting piss ant you can be!

I know it seems counterintuitive to winning if you say, "I’m playing a pro, I’m gonna lose!"  That’s a fair statement!

But percentage wise, I’m suppose to lose 99.9% of the time when I play SVB. Being the realist that I am, I accept that Mr. SVB — yeah — he gonna beat me, BAD!  Now I can be a rebel and always HOPE for that 0.1% – & I will try to win if the opportunity presents itself, but more predictably, I’mma be eating prolly a dozen of them donuts I’m so fond of.

I found playing on the Predator Tour that when I drew these players, my time was better served learning something in particular about their game rather than hating myself for losing to someone that out classes me in nearly EVERY area of the game — except shoes. 🙂

Vegas09-Sunday---71Playing the open/pros, I find I more enjoy watching their mannerisms, their demeanor, their thought processes.  Questioning what they’re doing, why they’re doing it & learning from them,  This for me is more important than the win & easily worth the price of admission.

Sometimes you win a lot more by losing.

These are just MY general strategies for play – the definition of rookie and advanced aren’t meant to be stagnant terms, more classifications that are relative to what level of play you yourself are at.  Any player can play above their normal speed on any given day so never let your guard down… always be ready to battle…don’t be caught by surprise by boxing your opponent to a "player" class without an open mind to a player’s "inconsistency" in greatness & weakness. 

The best strategy is an adaptable one.

The goal is to establish yourself as the general of the war before your opponent does.  Do so by educating yourself on the enemy & the battle field, then devising a way to win.  Too many players forget the fundamental step to winning; the art of the attack.

So it is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you can win a hundred battles without a single loss.
If you only know yourself, but not your opponent, you may win or may lose.
If you know neither yourself nor your enemy, you will always endanger yourself.  ~ The Art of War

Hands down the number one complaint I hear from players, including myself, is, "I just wish I was more consistent!"

We all know pool is a game of percentages — but those percentages don’t just related to shot selections — apply those same percentage theories to your opponent and the chess match elevates above the simple "pocketing balls" level, to an arena that enables a smarter player the chance to beat a higher classed player.

Therefore one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the most skillful. Seizing the enemy without fighting is the most skillful. ~ AofW

Don’t hope to win big on the lottery, play the percentages & you’ll find more consistency in your game as well as your winning percentage.

When you’re prepared, you’re more confident. & when you have a strategy, you’re more comfortable.  ~Fred Couples


~ by g2 on November 15, 2009.

5 Responses to “The Deliberate Attack”

  1. […] those of you who aren’t winning often, will particularly enjoy Gail Glazebrook’s post, The Deliberate Attack. She gets you to think “How will I beat you” and then […]

  2. GREAT advice! I love it! It is very true that usually the plan is to attend a tournament, but what about the plan during the tournament to produce a different outcome? Great article, great advice!!

  3. Really great article Miss Poopyhead,
    not kidding!!!
    you and tony puttin your heart and soul in it and i thank you for it.
    Was a great read. xo

  4. Great article Gail, I will study my opponent from a different view at my next tournament!

  5. Loved the read. Very true and not unlike working out in the gym. First thing the trainer tells you is to always keep the body guessing for constant results. Try different drills and different approaches to pre-match warmup will do wonders.

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