My Theory on Position Play

mr3cushion

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From my book, my thoughts on position play.


My Theory on Position Play

I‘d like to say firstly, that, “scoring the point is paramount”, how you score that point is what this book is all about. No two players approach the same position with exactly the same solution, but, the end result will be similar in concept. One player may decide to create a 3 cushion position and another player a 5 cushion position shot.

When I decided to go from being a shot maker and I was a pretty good at that to a position oriented thinker, it was because I got tired of always trying to make something from nothing. This can ruin your confidence. It’s like a nine ball player who always has to make tough shots because they got out of line on every shot.

When playing position in billiards you must first know the conditions of the table, is it long, short? The player needs to play to the natural conditions of the table; don’t fight the table’s characteristics. If the table plays short, look for position shots that will be helped by those conditions. If a table plays long, play shots that compliment that tendency. Then 4 and 5 cushion position shots can offer many opportunities for series of billiards. Personally, I prefer a short table because an opponent’s safety play is less effective.

The types of position shots a player decides to choose will reflect their ability and knowledge of the game. Knowing how to control all three balls makes billiards a far easier game. When I approach a shot attempting to play position, I look at the shot backwards. Can I position the 1st object ball in a High Percentage Zone or Lane, what kind of hit, English and stroke technique is required to score and achieve position for the next shot? This is my thought process for the start of playing position.

It’s just common sense. You can’t play position on every shot, believe me, I’ve tried. But, what you can do is take advantage of certain positions when they arise. Playing position is an individual theory and practice for most advanced players. They all have to share the same fundamental aspects that they apply to achieve the end result, making a difficult game much more manageable.
 

Dennis "Whitey" Young

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very nicely written. Your theory is well taken. A single billiard without thought as to the upcoming billiard would be a kin to pool when a player can only see the shot before them and just focuses on making that one ball. Tunnel vision if you will.
I played a lot of 9-ball back in the day, and I see the whole rack, know every position before I ever shoot the first shot. I never worked the rack backwards, never really seen a need for that. Whitey
 

NH Steve

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From my book, my thoughts on position play.


My Theory on Position Play

I‘d like to say firstly, that, “scoring the point is paramount”, how you score that point is what this book is all about. No two players approach the same position with exactly the same solution, but, the end result will be similar in concept. One player may decide to create a 3 cushion position and another player a 5 cushion position shot.

When I decided to go from being a shot maker and I was a pretty good at that to a position oriented thinker, it was because I got tired of always trying to make something from nothing. This can ruin your confidence. It’s like a nine ball player who always has to make tough shots because they got out of line on every shot.

When playing position in billiards you must first know the conditions of the table, is it long, short? The player needs to play to the natural conditions of the table; don’t fight the table’s characteristics. If the table plays short, look for position shots that will be helped by those conditions. If a table plays long, play shots that compliment that tendency. Then 4 and 5 cushion position shots can offer many opportunities for series of billiards. Personally, I prefer a short table because an opponent’s safety play is less effective.

The types of position shots a player decides to choose will reflect their ability and knowledge of the game. Knowing how to control all three balls makes billiards a far easier game. When I approach a shot attempting to play position, I look at the shot backwards. Can I position the 1st object ball in a High Percentage Zone or Lane, what kind of hit, English and stroke technique is required to score and achieve position for the next shot? This is my thought process for the start of playing position.

It’s just common sense. You can’t play position on every shot, believe me, I’ve tried. But, what you can do is take advantage of certain positions when they arise. Playing position is an individual theory and practice for most advanced players. They all have to share the same fundamental aspects that they apply to achieve the end result, making a difficult game much more manageable.
Bill, this is very generous of you to share your inside advice in your area of expertise. Thank you!

It is interesting to me -- in contrast to pool games like 9-ball and straight pool in particular, but even 8-ball and One Pocket at times -- the inherent risks of playing position (when you might miss your shot and give up that position) might be different in 3 cushion because each player has their own cue ball in 3 cushion, unlike in pool when we share the same cue ball (except Golf). So how does that play into your 3 cushion position, or does it?
 

mr3cushion

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Steve, thanks. This very first sentence, I‘d like to say firstly, that, “scoring the point is paramount”, is what a player must try to achieve! But, the longer you stay at the table, (making runs from playing position), the more time your opponent sits in his chair, helpless!

As in straight pool, every Champion that gets to the table to start their run, goes with the intention of not have their opponent return! Ideally, they'd like to run out. As we all know, “The best laid plans of mice and men.” When that occurs, depending on the score, opponent, positions of the balls, (caroms, combinations, kiss shots, or a safety may be what’s needed at that point in the game.

In 3 cushion, in tournament play, going to 40-50 points, even with today’s players, the chance of a very top player running out the game is, extremely low! The same principles apply in 3C as in other cue games.

We look for the easiest shot to score at first, then we look for the easiest shot with position, (there are standard categories). Lastly, the concern of the score/player/my play at the time a, ‘defensive’ shot may be the choice. But, a top player most of the time, will look for a, ‘3 way shot.’

An easy shot to score that affords another good position, with automatic built-in defense. Playing a shot off your opponent’s ball, with the speed to send it to the other short rail area off the corner. This type of shot is usually, a, ‘short angle' shot off the inside of your opponent’s ball. Played, long, short, long, with the speed to just bump the 3rd ball no more than 6-9”.

Here’s an example:

3wayshotin3C.jpg
 

NH Steve

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I've always been fascinated with the interplay between offense and defense in pool -- which is of course a big reason I was attracted to One Pocket. Is it true that players are "not supposed to play defense" in 3 cushion? I knew Boston Shorty because Boston is only about 1-1/2 hour from me and he used to say something like "laying down the oil" if I recall -- meaning basically playing not to leave his opponent a shot in 3 cushion -- so obviously he was quite conscious of defense lol.
 

mr3cushion

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Shorty was a, 'Defensive' player like Allen Gilbert, Al just knew 3C way better than Shorty. In the, late 60's or early 70's, They had an International 3C event in Las Vegas, Ceulemans and players from other countries were there. Ceulemans had beaten a few players very badly in low innings. Shorty went around bragging, "He won't average that against me, I'll lay down the oil." Well, Cuelemans heard about it, and taught Shorty a very instructive lesson. He beat Shorty, 60-11 in 18-20 innings! Shorty wasn't heard from again!

Back in the day, the equipment was more difficult to score against defensive positions, It took a Big stroke, luckily, I had one. Now days, it less of a, 'standard,' style, but is employed a little differently, as a last resort in most situations.

I think my previous post explains how the top players of now, decide how they approach positions left by their opponents.
 

12squared

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Shorty was a, 'Defensive' player like Allen Gilbert, Al just knew 3C way better than Shorty. In the, late 60's or early 70's, They had an International 3C event in Las Vegas, Ceulemans and players from other countries were there. Ceulemans had beaten a few players very badly in low innings. Shorty went around bragging, "He won't average that against me, I'll lay down the oil." Well, Cuelemans heard about it, and taught Shorty a very instructive lesson. He beat Shorty, 60-11 in 18-20 innings! Shorty wasn't heard from again!
Bill, I think this was like 78 since I moved to CA in 76 and was there. It was hilarious. I was with Gilbert when Shorty said it to him (about the good ol' American oooiiiil).

Nice post on position play.
 
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