Friday, 26 June 2015

Pushing Out Strategy From "Big Red"

By: Erik Hjorleifson

Hello everyone as the season is winding down I hope you have all done well in your season ending tournaments. For those of you that will be competing at the B.C.A and A.P.A championships in Vegas in the next few weeks I am sure you are not quite ready to put your cues away just yet. Last weekend I played in a finale tournament in Newmarket, Ontario. I had a good finish and was happy with my result on the day.

In the winners side final of this handicap tournament I found myself at hill hill and it was the opponents break in this alternate break format tournament. He broke made nothing and left me in a situation where I had to push, it took me about two minutes before I finally decided where to push. The fact is that a pushing situation is probably the most variable shot in 9 ball that can come up because there are really no restrictions to what you can do, here are some of the thought processes that I go through when pushing.

Firstly try to be positive about the fact that you did not get a shot off the break, if you break and have to push be happy that at least you didn't come up dry and leave your opponent a shot. If it was your opponents break and they did not make a ball be positive about the fact that they did not make a ball and have a shot at the 1.  Positive mental attitude is such a big part of consistent performance as I am sure we all know.

When you are pushing you have to accept the fact that for the moment, especially against a good player, you are an underdog to win the game. This is inevitable because after the first shot your opponent has the choice of whether he wants to take the option of shooting or not. The classic push makes us push to a shot to where you will be a 40-45% underdog to have the advantage after the next shot. In other words you will have to execute a nice to shot to have the edge when your opponent returns. You need to around 40 45 percent because if you go closer to 50 then you risking your opponent accepting it and that's not the goal of a push

It goes without saying that you cannot push to a spot where your opponent has the advantage. Because he will then just take the shot and probably put you in worse trouble when you return. On the flip side it is very important to stay within that 40-45% range because if you go lower than that your chances of leaving your opponent in trouble when he gives the push back are not great enough.

When you see two pros playing I would make a rough estimate that 75% or more of pushes will be given back. It's not that they don't see the shot that will be coming next its that they don't think chances of executing that shot are ore than 50%. Some examples of common pushes against pros are pushing to a jump or pushing to a kick safe. Although when pushing against an amateur I would tend to stay away from these types of pushes because the execution factor and knowledge of safeties with amateurs will be much lower. Therefore generally you do not have to put yourself in such a tough spot.

It is all a very complex calculation. Even if you know you should be pushing to a spot that is 40-45%, how do you really know if the shot you've left meets that criteria and especially for amateurs this can be very hard. What you have to try to do, is to the best of your ability push to a place that you think meets the criteria while taking your opponents skill into consideration at the same time.

It is a great feeling to push to a spot where you know you'll have to execute a tough shot if you get it back and to come back to the table and do just that. Again this does not mean executing a very low percentage shot, that will never give you consistent results it means executing a shot in that 40-45% range. Hope this helps, we are very happy with the progress of the site and we thank everybody who has become a fan. I would like to thank my partner Markus for all the hard work he has been putting in, we are looking towards big things in the near future.


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