The Way I See It!   by Geoff Bell

The Practice

Normally at tournaments we get 2 speed shots and 8 practice shots. Most people I observe waste their speed shots. What real use are they anyways. All the discs travel at different speeds. Some people shoot # 1 and 2 or # 3 and 4 or some combination of the four. They usually learn very little. I use my speed discs to tell me information. I shoot # 3 to the right of the center line and the # 4 to the left of the center line. Firstly, usually we use those 2 discs for our last 2 shots. Therefore the speed of # 3 and 4 is important. Secondly, it also tells me the drift on either side of the center line. That is very important because you want to score an eight on your last shot and not leave the shot sitting on the center line.

Each of the 8 practice shots should give you information. Watch your opponent’s shots and learn from them. I watch opponents looking at the next court or talking to a spectator and not learning any useful information from my practice shots. You can observe drift, slowness or peculiarities of the court that way. I find the 4 shots to the end of the court the most useful. They give you the drift in particular. Of the other 4 shots, a lot of people want a ten or one disc placed on the center line so they can practice a split. To me that is a waste. I use 2 eights as I think often that is what you will require more. The split should not be necessary because you used your 2 speed shots to learn the drift there. I could justify a ten shot but use the 4th shot on the drifty side of the court. I see opponent’s partners just willy-nilly place the eight without thinking of the drift side where you need information. All this to say practice shots are very important to your success or failure in a match.


Your First Shot

Most shufflers begin the game with one of two shots. They are named the St.Pete and Tampa.

The St.Pete – I recommend this shot for many reasons. You shoot it to your opponent’s side one half way between the tip of the scoring triangle and the outside of the court. The idea is to use it to hide your next shot behind the St. Pete. Let’s talk about this second shot. I recommend you shoot it a little wider than you really want perhaps leaving you vulnerable.  This serves 2 purposes. You learn the drift so your 3rd shot can be more perfectly placed. If you cut your second shot too thin, it ruins your St. Pete by hitting it and ruins your second shot by putting it in a poorly desired position. I also use the St. Pete late in a game when ahead in the score to avoid being kitchened. Last but not least, it is a simpler shot than a Tampa.

The Tampa – This shot again is your first shot and should be placed on your side of the court just to the right or left of THE TIP OF THE TRIANGULAR SCORING AREA depending whether you are playing yellow or black. The danger is that if you don’t place it perfectly you are asking for trouble. If shot wide your opponent can score behind it. If narrow your opponent can score on his side deep in the seven. This again depends whether you are on yellow or black.

Shooting Positions – Most shots should be made from the # 1 position. That includes take-outs, draws and position shots. There are some exceptions. When trying to hide behind a St. Pete use position 2, 3 or 4 to get your best angle. Again when trying to hide behind a Tampa, you would probably use position 2, 3 or 4. I would say at least 75% of shots should come from position #1.


As a general rule when ahead, clear the board. When behind, play the board. I start all games clearing the board. You are a little nervous and perhaps don’t have a good feel for the drift and speed of discs. When I get 2 or more scores behind, I play the board. In a 75 point game you can afford to take a few more risks because you have time to catch up. If you are playing a frame game, 10 or 12 ends, be very careful. If you fall behind, you have less time to catch up. I must say I really enjoy the game more when playing the board. I think it requires more skill than simply clearing all the time. I have even advocated not permitting clearing on the first shot. This was done very successfully in the game of curling. Television would not televise matches unless this rule was adopted. You can see a clearing game totally would make poor TV viewing. Playing the board also gets your opponent in trouble if he sticks his clearing shot. Now you can attempt to kitchen him. What a wonderful feeling when you succeed in this! If your opponent puts you in the kitchen, most shufflers attempt to remove the kitchen shot. This is not always desirable. What if you stick your shot, you then still have your shot in the kitchen. Why not go into damage control mode. Play an eight or seven and lose 2 or 3. This is better than losing 10 points.

Proper Etiquette    The Way I see it!

We all want to be good sports when we play our favorite game. I have noticed a number of things people do either on purpose or unknowingly. Do not talk to your opponent unless there is mutual consent. Most players want and need to concentrate on their game. Don’t blow your nose as your opponent is shooting. Always have your cue in a vertical position when not in the action of shooting. I see players after a shot leaving their cue lying on the court surface while waiting for their next turn. Don’t cheer on your shot or opponent’s shot. It is very annoying when your opponent yells “keep on going” when your shot is heading for the kitchen. Another shot I get upset about is when your opponent is ahead or you are ahead and the shot is deliberately shot through the scoring area or into the gutter. Rather than do that simply shoot the shot to the very outside of the court. The one thing I have learned is that you can only play one person’s game in doubles. You cannot play your partner’s end. Don’t cast disparaging looks at your partner’s shot. I hear partners swear, ask questions like “what is he doing?” and so on. Your look discourages your partner who one must assume is doing his best. Finally, cursing, saying negative things, etc. are unnerving to the person you are playing against. It ruins his fun and does nothing to make you happy. Shuffleboard is a game where one must be relaxed. When you are uptight, you tend to tighten your grip on the cue and your nerves get the better of you. It is a game, so enjoy it to the fullest.

Make a free website with Yola