Aiming in Croquet Strokes - Not Half the Angle!
A problem which puzzles beginners is at what angle should they hit a croquet stroke to get the balls to go where they want them to? There are two components to getting a croquet stroke right.
Normally beginners are given a good piece of advice:
Next they are given duff advice:
There is only one case where this is correct. This is illustrated in the following diagram:
The balls are travelling identical distances. 'A-a' is the aiming line along which the mallet is swung. Since the balls travel the same distance this stroke would be played as a roll stroke, i.e. the mallet would be gripped low down, angled over the back ball and the stroke played with plenty of follow-through. This is the only time when you can 'halve the angle"!
Consider the following diagram, blue travels a much shorter distance than yellow but along the same line as red in the previous diagram:
Here 'B-b' is the line to aim along and the stroke is played as a stop shot since the back ball travels a short distance, i.e. you hold the mallet at the top, stand back from the balls and play a stab shot with no follow-through.
What is the Trick?
Simple, follow step a) above to line up the croquetted ball, then visualise the mid point on a line linking the desired final positions of each ball and swing the mallet towards that. That is: point 'a' for the roll and point 'b' for the stop shot. Play the stroke in the appropriate way to get the right ratio of distances travelled and voilá.
You can practise by placing markers at your expected ball final positions and an aiming mark mid way between them.
[For the purists, if the ratio between the distances travelled by the balls is large, then you need to aim slightly towards the track of the ball travelling the shorter distance. See Take-Offs: Where to Aim? and Mid-Point Aiming in the technical Section.]
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