Watch Your Opponent
“I think a lot about my opponent. I try to determine his weaknesses...”
Every athlete looks for a competitive edge. So it should not surprise anyone that pool players are constantly eyeing up their opponents for weaknesses to exploit.
The first rule is to observe their style. Are they naturally more aggressive or defensive? Knowing this, you might alter your shot selection or safety play accordingly.
For example, if you jump well and your opponent does not, after the break in nine ball, consider pushing out to an easy jump shot. Watch for signs. Can he bank well? Can he kick with accuracy?
Could you steal a game by getting him on three fouls? Is he steady on long straight–ins? What about thin cut shots?
If you know that he likes to make a habit of sharking or intimidating, at least you can plan how you want to deal with it and be prepared.
If you pay attention, over time, with experience and discussion with other players, you will create a library of quirks and characteristics for everyone. You can then take advantage of their weaknesses and stay away from their strengths. It’s not shotmaking, but this knowledge wins games!