Intermediate Coaching Notes
Section 4. The Start of the Game
There are a number of things to be noted at the start of a game.
4.1. The condition of the lawn. Lawn speed: the speed of the lawn is effected by the length of grass, its moisture content and its sparsity. Early in the morning there will be dew and late in the evening the dew will form again. This has been called the Anne Frank effect - or the Hidden Dew. Obviously wet grass slows the balls down quickly.
4.2. You should note the colour of the grass, both generally and in specific regions. A deep green lawn is indicative of a slow easy lawn, whilst a straw colour threatens a glassy-like surface. This will dictate amongst other things the width of a wide join, and the amount of pull in split rolls (see later). Note particularly the grass in front of hoops, great caution is needed on hoop approaches if it is both short and dry.
4.3. You should also cast your glance around the lawn for any features which will effect play; sloping boundaries, hills, especially rough patches, etc. These can be used to tactical effect.
4.4. If you are single banking on a lawn it is to everyone's benefit if you ensure that none of the hoops is loose in the ground. These should be corrected before the start of play.
4.5. Before the game starts any regions of special damage must be pointed out and any special rules appropriate to a specific lawn disclosed.
4.6. In a handicap game it is useful to confirm the number of bisques involved with your opponent. Once the game has finished and you walk off the lawn it is too late to do anything about it.
4.7. The game starts with the toss, conventionally done by the stronger player. If you have choice of balls get down and look at them. Just selecting red and yellow because you always play with them is not good enough. Identify any bogus balls - ovoid, chipped and split ones, and choose the best ones for yourself. If a ball is unreasonably deformed it should be replaced before play starts.
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