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Dr Ian Plummer

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Technical
The 3-Ball Break Revisited
Revised 33b positions

The diagrams used in Section 2 of the Intermediate Coaching Notes on three-ball breaks were idealised to demonstrate the concept of getting on the rush line to your next pioneer whilst minimising the angle of shot. The positions which were illustrated give little lattitude for error in a few instances.

Consider the position after running hoop six illustrated opposite. The position of the pioneer for 1-back, 'p1', is ideally suited to playing the croquet stroke from position 'a'; you have a narrow croquet stroke and approach 'p1' along its rush line. This however requires/demands that you get a rush to position 'a' after hoop 6. This does not always happen!

What is the situation if you fail to rush the reception ball to 'a' but can only get it to 'b'? There is now an impossible shot (greater than 90º) to get on the rush line of 'p1' whilst sending your pioneer to 2-back. It is safer to put the pioneer at position 'p2' since a stop shot can be play from just near 'b'. Although you are playing across the rush line to pioneer 'p2', it is with a stop shot giving good control on the back ball.

It is therefore prudent to put a pioneer at 'p2' as it removes the all-or-nothing requirement in getting a rush out of 6 to 'a'. The diagrams below indicate sensible positions for 3-ball break pioneers which are a compromise between the ideal and the prudent.

3-Ball Break pioneers: hoops 2 to 6
3-Ball Break pioneers: hoops 2 to 6
3-Ball Break pioneers: hoops 1-back to rover
3-Ball Break pioneers: hoops 1-back to rover
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Updated 28.i.16
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