As you progress and play more skilled players, your defensive game will need to improve to keep up with the competition. When beginners are faced with a kick shot their main goal is to just hit the ball. At some point it won’t be enough to just hit the ball if you want to win against better players, you’ll need to get safe too. This means you’ll need to be more specific with how you’re kicking a ball and what your intentions are to give yourself the best chance of another shot in the game.
The speed of your kick comes just after hitting the ball in terms of importance. A kick shot hit at the right speed has a devastating effect on your opponent’s position when they come to the table. It’s important to keep in mind the main main elements of safeties so you know what you’re trying to accomplish with your kick. You should be trying to either:
If you do one or more of these things, then you’re likely to have at least one more visit to the table with a shot.
Here’s an example of how you can use speed to you advantage. The game is 9 ball, and the cue ball is blocked by the 2 ball so you can’t hit the 1 straight on. You could try kicking at this ball one rail hard and hope something good happens and you end up safe. Or you can kick at it soft, just hard enough so that if the cue ball hits either side of the one it will end up against the rail. This will leave the 1 blocked by the 3 which would make the ball safe.
This is a fairly easy safety to execute because as long as you don’t hit the 1 full, the 1 and the cue ball will go in different directions around the 3. So all you have to do is hit the 1 ball slowly and you should stay safe.
Another way to use speed to control the object ball after contact is to create distance. Any time distance is involved in a shot more accuracy is needed to execute it correctly which makes long distance between two balls your friend in a safety battle situation.
The situation below happens a lot in a game of 9 ball especially at the beginning of the game. Since you can’t see the ball you need to kick at it. Fortunately, it’s a fairly easy kick since the one is close to the rail. This means that all you have to do is control the speed and you should at least create distance and maybe you can hide the one behind another ball.
Not all kick shots are as simple as the one above, sometimes your best option is to try to create distance between the cue ball and object ball. This is where hitting a specific side of the object ball is imperative. Speed is still important, and when trying to create distance you have to hit the cue ball harder in order to create separation between the cue ball and the object ball. In the situation below there aren’t any balls to hide behind so we want to create distance. However, if we hit the low side of the one ball we’re likely to leave a shot because the one ball might end up in front of the side pocket or the cue ball will rebound up table making your opponent’s next shot a little easier.
A good strategy here is to hit the top side of the one ball which sends the cue ball down table. This will help create distance between the two balls, and at the same time, if the one ball is hit just right, it will hopefully end up on the bottom rail which makes for a good containing safety.