Win the Lag.
Most Courts have a Best Color. Although it is always possible to Win on the Bad Color, playing the Bad Color places an undue burden on you. The advantage should be with the team that Wins the Lag.
Often it is not. Although many players choose the Wrong Color, you cannot expect Your Opponent to be wrong. Therefore it is best to Win the Lag and have the Choice.
If the current Lagging procedure, “Lag Two Discs Only” becomes a rule, the following Strategies for Winning the Lag, are practically worthless. Just another reason why I believe many of the proposed changes “Take a Little Skill Out of the Game.” W.L.E.
A serious effort to Win the Lag includes the use of various Psychological Ploys. Few Players make a special effort to place the Percentages on their side.
Some players try to Win with Absolute Precision (which does not exist), and lag to the slow, dead area at the extreme opposite edge of the Court. Others use the more consistent fast area in the center of the Court.
Some Players make no effort with their first two discs to get the feel for a good Lag. They shoot for 8s. They say they get greater benefit from two additional Practice Shots into the Scoring Area. Some believe they lag better, when they do not use all three Shots for practice. They believe One Shot for practice is enough.
Some players, when lagging Black, lag as close as they can with their first two Shots. Then they shoot very deep (or very short) with their Third disc, to build their opponent’s confidence. They believe their opponent will be less concerned about their ability to lag well, and will not concentrate as well when lagging his last disc.
It is difficult to Win by Absolute Precision, therefore, trickery and misdirection are the backbone of Strategy. Trickery is a major part of the Shuffleboard.
Although it is possible to Win the Lag (or Win the Game) by sheer precision, misdirection and trickery will give you an advantage.
If you have played Yellow in the Second Game, you have a good chance to Win the Lag. By this time you should know which of your discs runs best and you should know the Speed of your discs.
You will be first “Out.” Shoot close, try to give Your Opponent something to beat.
Shoot your first Shot from the Inside Front Corner of the Starting Area next to the Separation Triangle. Start with your disc about six inches back from the front line and shoot to a Spot on the Lag Line that is about eighteen inches (18 inches) from the opposite edge of the Court. Adjust your position in the Starting Area, forward or back as required, for each of your next two Shots.
If you are lagging well, Your Opponent will be concerned He will be concentrating upon correct Speed. Your Strategy will work because of his concentration.
Watch where (on the Lag Line) he is shooting to, and where in the Starting Area he is shooting from. He will usually shoot every Shot from the same Spot and to the same Spot. He may believe that by shooting to this Spot he staked his claim. Of course, he did not.
Usually he will be shooting from the Inside Front Corner, adjacent to the Separation Triangle. Restricting lateral is adjustment to moving his Cue Disc only one direction. He is locked in to that Spot. If he is not locked in you will have to try a different deception (which will be explained shortly).
If he is locked into this Spot, and if he has been practicing across the Court (but not to the edge of the Court), move your Last disc in the Starting Area to a Spot the same distance from the edge of the Court as his Target Spot on the Lag Line. Move your disc back toward the Baseline about the width of one disc (6 inches), from where you made your best practice Lag.
Shoot directly for the Spot he has practiced to. If you have selected your best running disc, and have practiced carefully, your Lag will be very close and will take (or Block) his Spot.
If he has been practicing to the edge of the Court do not change your starting Spot. Simply shoot from your Spot and aim for his Target Spot. The distance and the Speed will be about the same. Do not try to compensate for an anticipated slowness at the edge of the Court, it is better if you are a little short, as it will obstruct his Spot and force him to adjust.
Most players refuse to make any adjustment. They want to shoot from a familiar place, along a familiar path, to a familiar Spot. They think they can make a minor adjustment in direction, and shoot accurately enough to come close to your disc — and Win.
The surprise, and momentary distraction, destroys his concentration. You have stolen his Spot. He may feel cheated — and perhaps, angry. In the few additional seconds he contemplates this surprising development, he loses a bit more of his Feel for the Shot.
He may think that trying to shoot to another Spot is an entirely Different Shot. Of course, it is not, but his belief may cause him to make a mistake.
Usually, he will refuse to shoot to a different Spot. Often he cannot make the correct adjustment for the Shot he thinks he must try. He will compensate too much, or not enough, he will shoot too hard, or too easy, and lose the Lag.
Unnoticed Drift, (because he had been shooting to an unobstructed Target) may affect his Shot. He may hit your disc. If so, you Win.
If you have stolen the Spot at the slow area at the edge of the Court, you force him to shoot to a faster area. He is not prepared, and has to make a difficult compensation.
Most players will be shocked and angered by your trickery. When they sincerely believe that they own a specific Spot on the Lag Line (even though they are the only person to recognize their ownership) they refuse to relinquish it.
Of course, no player has an exclusive territory into which another player is forbidden to trespass. The entire Board is available for Play by either player. If Your Opponent recognized this fact he would be prepared. He would simply move his Starting Point to the center of the Starting Area, and shoot on the same angle, at the same Speed.
Stealing Your Opponent’s Spot is an effective (though often condemned) means of Winning the Lag.
If Your Opponent has not locked himself into a Spot in the Starting Area he has the capability to make an effective adjustment. If this is the situation forget about trying to surprise him. Shoot for your Practice Spot. Lag the best you can.
If Your Opponent is shooting to the same Spot every Shot, but is not shooting from the same Place every Shot, a slight inaccuracy is built into his Shot.
Normally you will shoot your first and second Shots to a Spot on the Lag Line, about eighteen 18) inches from the opposite edge of the Court.
If Your Opponent is not shooting every Shot from the same Spot, move your disc away from the Separation Triangle to the middle of the Starting Area and shoot your third Shot about halfway between the edge of the Court and his target.
He will be concentrating, trying to get the feel, and probably will not notice that your third Shot was much nearer to his target Spot. If he does notice, he is unlikely to suspect trickery, he will think you have detected a problem with your Spot. or simply do not know what you are doing.
You will have one disc remaining. When you are shooting Yellow you can do the surprising, when you are shooting Black you cannot.
If Your Opponent shoots his Third Disc to the same Spot he has been shooting to, move your last disc to the Outside Front Corner of the Starting Area, and shoot for this Spot. Shoot slightly slow (to take or obstruct) his Spot, and force him to make a larger adjustment.
After you have Shot your last disc it is too late for him to counter your Strategy.
Taking him by surprise may cause him to make a mistake. By forcing him to make an unexpected adjustment you improve your chances of Winning the Lag.
When you are shooting Yellow you can do the surprising, when you are shooting Black you cannot.
When you are shooting Black, expect Your Opponent to try to surprise you. Expect Your Opponent to be as tricky as you (he may not be, but expect that he will). Expect a surprise, — and you cannot be surprised. Shoot from the middle of the Starting Area where you can adjust laterally right, or left. Do not lock yourself into a Starting Spot.
If he takes your Spot simply move your Starting Spot about twelve inches right, or left, and shoot to a new Spot on the Lag Line, about twelve inches from your practice Spot. Shoot on a path parallel to the path you have practiced, and at the same Speed.
This will not assure you will Win the Lag, but it helps.
Deception is a recognized, and accepted, part of Winning Play, however, Stealing the Lag is often irrationally condemned as Poor Sportsmanship.
Prepare to be condemned. Although players who Win Games, Matches, and Tournaments, through the use of deception and trickery, themselves, will often declare that you are guilty of poor sportsmanship.
They condemn Stealing the Lag, not because of a violation of a code of ethics, but simply because the loser is angry. He may be angry because he Lost the Lag, or he may be angry because he didn’t anticipate the possibility of theft, and by making no effort to prevent it, he became an accessory to the crime.
Winning the Lag, whether by Precision of Execution, or by brazenly stealing it, gives you the privilege (and distinct advantage) of choosing the Color. However, this is an advantage only if you use what you have learned about the Color and make the correct choice.
Use your Practice to get the information that will allow you to make an intelligent Color Choice.
Use Trickery to Win the privilege to make that Choice.