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Dr Ian Plummer

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Technical
Why Try Harder?

Wixy asked: Why bother doing anything fancy?

Stephen Mulliner responds:

I can think of three good reasons.

1. Extending your own abilities

Practising sextuples will force you to improve rushing and big croquet strokes. It will lead to the idea of doing a delayed triple peel from 3-back as routine. It makes you a much stronger player.

2. Intimidating future competitors

It is not enough to be concerned with single game tactics. You need whole season tactics and, indeed, whole career tactics. Rob and Reg win a lot of games before they have hit a ball because the opponent is psyched-out before the game. If people know that you are the sort of player who will go for the sextuple and get it much more often than not, they will believe that their chances against you are significantly worse and will play with correspondingly lower confidence. That is how you want them.

3. Increased enjoyment

At the start of your career, winning any old how is fine. 3 turns, 4 turns, who cares? I was the same. Sooner or later, you begin to regard peeling reliability as important and you want every game to end with a triple peel if only because it looks good, satisfies the artist in you and cuts out a lift shot. As you move on, doing triple peels has all the excitement of peeling potatoes and you want more. I get a huge buzz out of bringing home a sextuple. I will be gloating gently over my win against Reg with the double cannon ending until my dying day. I remember barely any of the hundred of triple peels I have done in my 30 odd years.

Stephen

SRP adds

4. To improve in the long term.

Just because a player is currently not good enough to play sextuples/triple peels/4-ball-breaks as a winning tactic, doesn't mean that they shouldn't be attempting them. One way to improve is to try such things as a matter of course and eventually you will become good enough that they will have become winning tactics (or at least that's the plan).

We encourage this sort of thing for higher-bisquers (and indeed give them bisques to help them along the way); why not for the top players?

Samir

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Updated 28.i.16
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