Shooting Target Safeties In Pool And Billiards

of 03

Shoot, Mr. Bond - Don't Miss

Pro Skill Drills
The Drill Instructor--he's ready to drill you until you die (or save the free world)!. Illustration courtesy of

Dominic "The Drill Instructor" Esposito with Matt "Quick Draw" Sherman, in association with Eon Productions, proudly present:

Practice Drills Developing Safety Skills

In which we hereby presenting some billiards weapons you can ignite during this year's 50th Anniversary of the James Bond Film Series. It's high time to add a safety skill shot, Mister or Ms. Bond, to round out your "arsenal" of safety plays.

**Next page: Situation Anaylsis From MI-6**

of 03

Execute a Safety Shot - Better than Bollinger on Ice

Execute A Safety Shot
Execute a safety shot... I'm... timing you... Illustration courtesy of The Drill Instructor

Situation analysis: hopeless.
You have no backup, no escape route.
And I have the only bargaining chip.

--Sean Bean as "Alec Trevelyan: Agent OO6" to Pierce Brosnan as "James Bond" in GoldenEye

Your Mission: Execute a safety shot that hides the cue ball behind an object ball, and/or hides the object ball behind another object ball. In either case, you are forcing your opponent to bank the cue ball to hit the target object ball.

Dangers To Agents: Not visualizing the completed safety play (in particular, seeing where you want the balls to land). Lingering over your frustration that you can't pocket the ball instead of getting mentally focused that you're playing a safety shot. Anyone of these slip-ups can leave your opponent with a makeable safety shot of their own.

Shots To Take On The Target Range:

"Drill To A Kill No. 1": The Roll And Kiss Shot, aka Mr. Kiss-Kiss Roll-Roll

After striking the target object ball (that's the 9-ball if you're paying attention OO7) follow (topspin) causes your cue ball to roll directly behind and preferably touching the 8-ball that will eclipse the cue ball from "seeing" the target ball. During practice, vary the distance, in half-diamond increments (diamonds are forever)the cue ball must roll along to kiss up to the eclipsing object ball.

Kiss The Eclipse

The closer the cue ball lands to kissing the eclipsing object ball, the more difficult it will be for your opponent to hit the target ball.

**Next page: A Top "Stunt" To Get You Clear Of Danger**

of 03

Open Shot Pool - Make It so

Open Shot Pool
Taking the open shot could be disaster, Mister Bond. Illustration courtesy of The Drill Instructor

Your Mission: Continue with a safety shot to bury the cue ball so deep your opponent will surrender (or be thrown to sharks or pirhanas, or jettisoned into space, or electrocuted in his chair while he watches you play, etc.).

Dangers To Agents: Taking a flyer and attempting to save the world with incredible shots instead of a good safety. As George Fels wrote in Mastering Pool in 1977, "Denying your opponent a shot is as important as making one."

"And, remember, OO7, if it hadn't been for Q Branch, you'd have been dead long ago.

--Desmond Llewelyn as "Q" in License To Kill

Shots To Take On The Target Range:

"Drill To A Kill No. 2": The Push and Hide Shot, aka The Man With The Golden Cue

Strike the target object ball and cause it to land behind another ball or a cluster of balls. Again, the closer the target ball lands behind the "friends" hiding our target the more difficult it will be for your opponent to achieve his megalomaniac dream of world (championship of pool) domination.

In practice--yes, my dear James, I said, "practice"--vary the distance, this time by full diamond increments that the blocking ball or balls you want will stand apart from the target ball.

Diamonds are for everyone…

--Toby Stephens as "Colonel Tan-Sun Moon/Gustav Graves" in Die Another Day

Visualize shooting the target ball like making a regular bank shot only this time you are banking the target ball into its safety position, not a pocket.

Remember, It is not required that you make a ball every time you are shooting to win a game. It is more important that you maintain control of the game and in many cases of your opponent by not taking wild chances at making a ball when you can play a safe and in many cases come back to the table with ball in hand.

Defense should be an equal and balanced part of your whole game and not a default for when you don't see an open shot. Sometimes playing a safe while you have an open shot is the better choice. The open shot may be a hole you want to keep blocked which prevents you opponent from making a ball in that corner.

Good safety control to you. I strongly suggest you get a copy of Pro Skill Drills volume 5, The 55 Safety Shots. It comes in both book and DVD format. This will make you a master at seeing and executing great safety shots.

Continue to direct your questions or requests for private instruction to me at The Drill Instructor's Instructional Site. Dominic Esposito is the author of the book and DVD series, "Pro Skill Drills" and was named by Pool And Billiards as one of the Top 20 Pool Instructors in the World.

Pro Skill Drills 1: Rail Finishing Points/Understanding Tips Of English
Pro Skill Drills 2: Finishing Points On The Long Rail
Pro Skill Drills 4: The Double Kick System
Pro Skill Drills 5: Clutch Safeties For 8- And 9-Balls
Pro Skill Drills 8: Four Ways To Bank Balls
Pro Skill Drills 10: Walk The Line
Pro Skill Drills 12: The Short Jump Shot
Pro Skill Drills 14: "Chalking Time" - Mastering A Shot Routine
Pro Skill Drills 15: Sample 8-Ball Pattern

Notes From A D.I. Workout - Stroke Speeds And Masse Shots
Lessons And Specials
Visit The Drill Instructor's Website