Intermediate Coaching Notes
Section 7. Getting Balls into Play
It is always the aim during a break to pick up balls which are on the boundary and gradually to build up a four-ball break. Be prepared to be patient. You may find that your first attempt moves the ball 12" in from the yard line, then you have to return to it later to get it into play fully. This is normal and prudent. See also additional document "Getting Boundary Balls into Play"
7.1. Balls on boundaries. The general recipe is to get a rush to near a ball on the boundary, then play an accurate little stop shot (do not be ambitious at all) to get a perfect rush on that boundary ball to the appropriate point in your break. You have replaced the boundary ball with one which is now a few feet off the yard line. This can be subsequently collected by the same routine except you now have more space to play a useful stop shot and get the rush on the other ball to a strategic position.
7.2. If you have control of three balls then it is likely that you would consider collecting a boundary ball when you pass near it in your break. With fewer balls you must be prepared to play more aggressively - trying to get behind balls remote from your next hoop and setting up a successful rush to it.
7.3. Obviously you must determine to rush your ball to the side of the boundary ball which will offer you the most advantage. Remember you must have enough room to play a little stop shot but not be too far away so that you cannot obtain that perfect rush.
7.4. By way of an example, suppose that you have a three-ball break at hoop 3 with a pioneer at hoop 4. The boundary ball is on the North boundary directly behind hoop 3. If after hoop 3 you arrange to rush your reception ball between the boundary ball and corner III, you can then play a stop shot to get a rush on the boundary ball to near the pioneer on hoop 4. The croqueted ball ends up between hoops 3 and 6.
7.5. Balls in corners. It is generally thought that knocking a ball into a corner is a very defensive shot. It is better however to aim to lie 9" or so outside the corner spot. The reason will become clear.
7.6. Obviously the same tactics can be used for a ball in a corner as can be used for a general boundary ball, whereby you swap a ball on the yard line for one some distance off it.
7.7. A ball in a corner offers an easy opportunity to obtain a cannon, since a ball rushed anywhere into the large corner area comes back on to the lawn in contact with the corner ball. The major advantage of a cannon is that both balls can be moved large distances and with accuracy from the boundary.
7.8. The procedure for replacing balls when they would come back on to the lawn on the same or overlapping spot as another ball is as follows. The ball to be replaced is put on the yard line in contact with the 'original ball' already there on either side of it at the striker's choice. If in a corner it can be placed on either yard line. If a ball goes off the lawn where there are two balls separated by less than a ball's width, you may replace the ball on the yard line on the outside of, but in contact with, either ball. If, once the balls are replaced, you are eligible to take croquet from one of the balls which is in contact with another, you place your ball in contact with the ball from which it is to take croquet and can then move the striker's ball and original ball anywhere around it. The only restriction is that the striker's ball may not be in contact with the original ball. See Law 12.
7.9. You may also do the above if you rush a ball into contact with another ball, where neither of which is a yard line ball. (Law 16.d)
7.10. Details of cannons will be given in Section 8: Special Shots.
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