SCC Members Ros and Ron have between them played at State and International level. Always willing to coach and pass on their knowledge they have prepared the following with regard to some ‘tactics’ employed in playing golf croquet
“In an introduction to golf croquet you will have been taught the following in relation to tactics ………..”
Aim of the game is to run the hoop
- Knock an opponent ball away from a position where it can run the hoop
- Knock an opponent’s ball away from a position where it can attack your partner ball
- Take a position to run the hoop in your next turn.
- Put your ball into the jaws of the hoop, if you are close to the hoop on the playing side, but not in a position to run the hoop
- Run through the hoop from the wrong direction if you are on the non-playing side, to finish just in front of the hoop on the playing side.
- Knock your partner ball through if it is in the jaws of the hoop.
- Interpose your ball between the opponent ball and either your partner ball or the hoop, thus ensuring that your opponent cannot run the hoop or hit your partner ball away.
- Promote your partner ball to a position where it can run the hoop
- Hit to the half way point
- Put your ball legally in an “offside” position by ricocheting from your opponents ball
Once a player is familiar and confident with
- Layout of the lawn
- Sequence of the balls
- Drives, and roquets
- Running hoops
- Understands the above tactics
- Has played a number of games with the club members
It is then time for a more in-depth insight into tactics:
Strategic objective of the game
- To score as many hoops as possible
- To score more hoops than your opponent and thus win the game
- In order to do this it may be necessary to thwart your opponent from scoring
- You must maintain pressure on your opponent.
- Stay focused throughout the game
- Your thought process at each hoop – ask yourself
- Is there a degree of probability that my ball can run the hoop if yes
then ask yourself
- Is my opponents ball going to run the hoop if I fail……if yes
then you must decide which is the best shot for you to play, run the hoop or knock your opponent away. Your decision will depend on you assessing your ability and your opponent’s ability.
- When playing for a hoop
- Always assess the danger ball
- Be aware of
- what possible shots your opponent has next
- what you can do with your next ball
- what possible shots your opponent has next,
this enables you to think 5 shots ahead.
- Exploit your strengths and your opponent’s weaknesses
- Use other balls to create opportunities
Your ability to do the following will give you an advantage in any game.
- Jump Shots, this is an excellent weapon for an awkward situation as well as for stealing a hoop
- Stun Shots, allows you to knock an opponent’s ball a long distance whilst keeping your ball around the hoop. Stun shots are most effective the closer they are to the opponent’s ball.
- Cannons, [removing/hitting two balls with the one shot] Look for these opportunities to remove two balls with the one stroke: this may entail defining the correct angle for your ball to hit the first of the other two balls
- In offs, there may be a situation whereby you could not run the hoop, however if you hit another ball which is near the hoop at a certain angle your ball could go through the hoop
- Be accurate, always aim for a specific spot on the lawn, no matter how far away you need to put your ball.
Develop a tactical way of thinking, – this is an ongoing development to your game
- Analyse all balls in play
- Watch and learn from the tactics used against you
- If your opponent does something which you had not thought of, remember the tactic used.
- Look for tactical opportunities
“Achieving tactical advantages will only come with – Practice Practice Practice”
- Create opportunities by using other balls to your advantage
- Drive an opponent’s ball away whilst putting your ball in front of the hoop
- Wire an opponent’s ball from your ball which you put in front of the hoop
- Promote your ball so you have two balls in front of the hoop
- And many more
- Maintain control of a hoop, manoeuvre balls to get both your balls either in a hoop running position or near the hoop in order that they can either block or remove an opponent’s ball.
- Promote partner ball into a hoop running position whilst getting your striker ball also into a hoop running position. This technique can have a significant effect on the outcome of a hoop.
- Clearing opponent’s balls. In removing opponent’s balls
- Concentrate on where you want your ball to finish ie in the vicinity of the hoop whilst trying to wire opponents ball from your ball or the hoop or
- Where it is necessary just be aggressive and hit the ball as far away as possible
- Wiring your ball from opponent’s ball If your opponent’s ball goes to the non-playing side of the hoop, position your next ball in a wiring position from your opponent’s ball
- Blocking opponent’s ball generally you block with the first ball and hit away with the second, however this will depend on certain circumstances
- This would be the option on uneven numbered hoops unless the first ball finishes within 12 inches directly in front of the hoop, then you would use both balls to try to knock away
- This would also be the option on even numbered hoops if opponent was within 3 or so feet of the hoop and in an easy running position.
- However if, on even numbered hoop and opponent is short of the hoop and you believe the chances of running the hoop are not good, play to block with both balls. This puts you in a good position to take control of the hoop
- General comment. If you wish to protect your ball by blocking your opponent’s ball it is always best for your second ball to finish nearly in contact with the opponents ball. This prevents the opponent jumping.
- Look for opportunities to achieve two aims with the one shot.
- Jump shot …… make hoop and leave opponents ball in jaws of hoop very effective on hoops 2,4,6,8,10 & 12}
- Running hoop with striker ball and in the same shot sending it up to a hoop running position at next hoop
- Running hoop and blocking opponent’s ball from a clear shot to next hoop
- Knocking opponent’s ball away and wiring it.
- Promoting partner ball so you have two balls in front of the hoop.
- Using opponents [or partner ball] to achieve an in off etc etc
When attempting to achieve two aims with the one shot be aware the primary purpose of the stroke must be achieved.