Friday, 24 August 2012

Snooker safeties

Safeties are a vital part of the snooker game. You don't normally want to end up in a situation where you have no option but to play a safety, but sometimes it just happens. In other occasions, your opponent may leave you with a safety, or even a snooker. The golden rule is to escape into the baulk, unless there are any red(s) in or around the baulk. If there are any, you can either try to land behind one of the baulk colors (if the red(s) are near the blue), or behind the blue or baulk colours (on the other side), if they are in the baulk.


There can be several cases:

This is the basic safety shot, played off the reds, and into
the baulk, maybe even snookering your opponent
The shot above involves hitting the OB a little less than half ball to come back 2 or 3 cushions behind the brown. You can hit it thicker to change the CB trajectory and end up nearer to the bottom right pocket if need be. Hit it thinner to come back to the right of the green and then behind the brown or yellow. You can even hit the loose red, cut it to the right and try to come back 3 cushions behind the brown.

A 2 cushion safety to get behind the brown or yellow
You can use the safety shot above to escape this situation and safely into the baulk. Hit it a little less than half ball, and give just a little bit of right hand english to miss the blue, then a cushion and finally behind the brown.   You can hit it thinner as well, but then use no english or a little bit of left hand english.

A quarter ball hit (roughly) to escape into the baulk
Another common way of escaping into the baulk is shown above. Hit the OB around a quarter ball and try to escape behind the yellow or brown. If you think you have good control, you can even come 3 cushions and land right behind the green.

Another way of getting back into the baulk
You might have noticed that the above two shots are similar, but you can play any of the safeties you are more comfortable in playing. I would choose the first one as that would cause the loose red to get back to an unplayable area. You can however play the other shot if you think you can get behind the green more easily, be careful of the red which you hit though, it might end up close to the left corner pocket.

Around a half ball hit with left english to come back
2  cushions and into the baulk
The shot above is around a half ball hit on the red with a little right hand english so as to get into the cushion and then back into the baulk, you can also give more right hand english to get back near the brown. If there is no clear path, you can hit this shot with a little bottom and left hand english to come back one or two cushions behind the brown or yellow.

A thin hit on the outside red to come back behind the green
This thin hit may feel a little risky at first, but once you get the feel of it, you can snooker your opponent behind the green. Nevertheless, only play this if no other option is available.

Same shot as above, just a little thicker hit to come close
to the cushion or even just behind the brown or yellow
Another way to play the same setup would be to hit it a little thicker, maybe even use a little bit of right hand english and try to come behind the brown or even the yellow. This shot is easier to play than the previous shot as it involves hitting the OB a lot thicker, and so it becomes easier to control the CB.

A little less than a half ball hit on one of the reds to come
back in the baulk behind the brown
This is a shot similar to the first shot, however it involves hitting a group of 2 reds, to come behind the brown or the yellow. Just keep a lookout for the red which travels 2 cushions near the green.

A hit on the single red to come back behind the yellow
or the brown
This is the same setup as the previous shot, however we are hitting the single red. This is a lot riskier than the previous shot, as the red starts going towards the pocket. However, you can avoid this situation if you can carom the first red into the red which lies on it's way.

A hit with a little stun to escape into the baulk, and at the
same time, make the loose red safe.
A stun or a stun run through on the red causes the CB to end up near the bottom cushion, maybe even behind the brown or the yellow.
Just touch that red and leave the white very close
Hit this shot with a little bottom english, to avoid the roll off factor on the table, and with just enough speed to touch the red. This causes the white to stay close to the reds, and almost always forces your opponent to play a safety.
Hit this shot fairly thick and with a little right hand english
to come back near the green.
This is the same setup, but a different shot. Hit the red, farthest on the left with a little follow and right hand english to come back 2 or  cushions behind the green. You can also use less or no right english and / or use less follow, to come back behind the brown or even the yellow. Just keep a lookout on the red which you hit.

These were some of the safeties which came to mind. You can let me know if I have missed any important ones in the comments section below.

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