What is defensive pool play?

When someone first starts playing pool (or billiards) the goal is to learn how to pocket balls. From easy straight-in shots just inches from the pocket to banking the length of the table, putting balls in pockets is the name of the game.

As you grow in your pool game, another important aspect to learn is defensive play. Why would you play defensively? Sometimes you aren’t able to run the entire table because a ball or two is locked up. Possibly your opponent is one who can definitely run the table if you allow them the opportunity to, so you don’t give them that chance to while you wait to more easily make other balls.

What is defense? A defensive shot is defined by the American Poolplayers Association (APA) as “a shot where there is no INTENT to pocket a ball”. This could be rolling the cue ball behind two of your balls so that your opponent can’t see theirs, or simply putting the cue ball on one end of the table while your opponent’s available balls are at the other end.

In APA league, players are required to mark their defensive shots on scoresheets. This will, in turn, affect their overall skill level, over time.  While generally the higher skill-level players are expected to play more defense, lower skill level players are encouraged to try defensive shots too! Be sure to notify your team and the opposing team’s scorekeeper after a defensive shot so that it can be accurately marked on the scoresheet.

What’s the best defensive shot you’ve ever played? Let us know on our Facebook page!

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