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Dr Ian Plummer

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Technical
Intermediate Coaching Notes

Section 10. Tactics Against Better Players

The following paragraphs discuss considerations on playing against better players in a handicapped game. The main thing to be aware of is your opponent's ability. There is no point in consuming bisques to prevent your opponent going round if there is little probability that they can make any advantage from your present position.

10.1. 'A' class players have handicaps of 2 or less. They will be able to hit in confidently over 1/4 the length of the lawn and hit painfully often over half the length or more of the lawn. Consequently you must expect them to hit if you leave a short shot. You must plan to use distance and wiring to prevent them from getting the innings.

10.2. 'A' class players may be assumed to be able to go through as many hoops as they wish with either a three- or four-ball break. In addition they can be expected to try triple and lower order peels. Players with handicaps of 0 or less will generally be successful with their triple peels.

10.3. 'A' class players can often finish the game in two or three breaks. That means that if they have one ball on the peg, they are probably only one break away from finishing. Consequently you cannot afford to let them have an easy innings with all the balls in the centre of the lawn. Normally you would start attacking with your bisques in these circumstances.

10.4. In addition even if the 'A' class player has only got to 4-back with their forward ball there is a strong possibility that they can again finish in one more break by peeling. Depending on how well they were playing and exactly where they had stopped you would start attacking with your bisques.

10.5. When an 'A' class player finishes their break under control you would expect that you will only be left with expensive shots should you miss. It will normally be advisable for you to keep using your bisques when you get the innings.

10.6. 'B' class players cover the range from 2 to 6 or 7 handicap. We will consider perhaps a player of handicap 5. You will tone up or down the following paragraphs depending on your opponent's handicap.

10.7. 'B' class players can be expected to play four-ball break confidently through 9 or more hoops. They will have more difficulty with three-ball breaks making six or so hoops depending on where they are in the break. The centre hoops are easy. You can generally rely on them not going all the way around in one turn - you will get another chance.

10.8. 'B' class players are less consistent in their hitting in, again they will hit balls 10 or so yards away but would perhaps hit only 50% of balls more than half a lawn away.

10.9. 'B' class players will be able to retrieve easy boundary balls.

10.10. Their leaves can be expected to be less lethal than those from 'A' class players. You will be left certain shots ('free' shots) which you can take without penalty, whereby they gain no advantage.

10.11. A 'B' class player is only one turn away from finishing when they have their forward ball at or through rover and their backward ball at least through the first two or three hoops.

10.12. 'C' class players have handicaps ranging from say 6 to 10 or there about. Taking an 8 handicap player. They will be able to play a four-ball break through five or six hoops, but will have difficulty obtaining more than three or four hoops in a three ball break.

10.13. They will be expected to hit a ball a quarter of a lawn away say 70% of the time. They will not be able to retrieve balls easily from boundaries and corners.

10.14. They will seldom design a leave, but finish where they break down. This will give you breaks and the innings in many circumstances and nearly always a 'free' shot.

10.15. A 'C' class player is one turn away from winning when they are on the peg with one ball and have four or so hoops to make with their back ball - assuming that you do not give them a break on a plate.

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Updated 28.i.16
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