To play a safety means that you are executing a "defensive" move, designed to hinder you opponent's offensive game, and to buy time for more careful planning of your own offense. Blocking an opponent's easier shots will wreak havoc with their mental game, demoralizes them, and may give you an edge you need to claim victory. Playing their emotions rigorously enough may cause them to make more mistakes. For you, this is a good thing.
Efren Reyes, one of billiards current masters is a master of the art of defensive play. To the average spectator, it would appear Reyes is simply running the table with no thought to safety play. But he really is the master. Most people don’t see it because Reyes works hard on his defensive play to blend it into his game.
What you can learn from a strong defensive players is when to use a safety and when not too. A good safety will hinder your opponent’s offensive game. It will buy you time to carefully plan your own offense. Providing a block to your opponent’s simple shots messes up their mental game and may give you the edge you need for victory.
There are two common breaks in 8-Ball, the one used most often is dead center on the head ball delivered from about center-point in the kitchen. The object of this head on break is a good ball spread, sinking a ball and leaving the cue ball somewhere about mid-table for a reasonable shot on a second ball.
The second most popular break strategy is to aim at the second ball with you cue ball positioned near the rail. Many do this with inside english and draw (without draw a scratch in the corner becomes huge). The reason for the inside english is that after coming to the side rail the ball will go down table two rails and back into the pack, resulting in even more movement. This choice leaves you with very little control over what happens to the cue ball.
In 8-Ball your best choice is is the head on option as a simple stun shot delivered at a high rate of speed. Its not how hard you hit the racked balls, accuracy is much more important as accuracy allows you to spread the energy of the impact to every ball in the rack.
Energy in equals energy out. Seems simple, right? Well it is… We all make it seem difficult because we all think that if we don't create this massive explosion on the table, that we can't pocket any balls.
Power is not the single answer, Aim is not the only answer, Speed is not the exact answer; CONTROL is the answer!! We need to dominate all of the above. Power through! Body positioning and movement through the stroke will increase your power.
First Thought Not Always Best
Think about every shot. The most obvious choice is not always the best choice.
For instance when your opponent leaves your ball hooked on the horn of a side pocket, it is not always the best shot to try and get around that horn.
There is only one small shot position where a hooked ball can be sunk from and it takes exactly the right speed, slower than slow to be successful.
A better strategy is to try a cross-bank shot even though it is a low percentage shot. At least a miss will bring the ball out into the open for a follow-up shot.