IS STEALING THE BLOCK WORTH THE RISK?
Some players try to steal a block every time they get a chance, even if it means the opponent gets two blocks. Now I believe in stealing blocks, but if it will only get you into the 50’s and two blocks will get your opponent to 45 then I think that’s too much risk because if your partner at the foot makes a mistake and gives up two you’re in trouble. I try to pay attention to the score, but differently than Wilbur does. One point does make a difference! I want to hold an opponent to 44 instead of 45; I’ll go into the seven to keep him off of 45. I don’t want the opponent at 61 from the head, or 68 if I can make him chase a seven and only get to 67. If you think about it there are a lot of places where one point does make a difference and that one point may be gained at 29 instead of 30.
Think of how often one missed hammer makes a big difference. Pay attention to the order your opponent is shooting the blocks, also your partner. A couple of years ago I was playing a non-walking tournament at Winter Haven and I was playing Jerry Pointer, clearly the class of the field on his home courts. I discovered the #4 block was slow, so after he beat me up the first game and we changed colors I tested Jerry out by going on the open board with my last shot when he had the hammer and sure enough he would leave me on the board as he shot me for the kitchen; he never did catch on and I won and won the lag and he never caught on in the third game either. The blocks are marked for a reason; don’t let the other guy be the only one that knows what is going on! I don’t know if Jerry has a computer, but if he does we should hear from him now!
The last story reminds me of another point. Home court players should always have a decided advantage. Winter Haven used to have blocks they only used for tournaments; some other clubs do that too. However; if there’s a bad block they don’t know it until it’s too late and they lose their advantage. It’s the same for rough court clubs; some of them wash the courts just before a tournament and that changes the speed of the courts negating the home-court advantage. For the life of me, I don’t understand why a club would take the home-court advantage away from their own players! Earl Ball 2006 07 24