What is a Safety in Pool and Billiards?

Lots of people ask me “What is a Safety?”. Well, I’m going to explain that now. As an added bonus, I’ll show you a simple safety that you can do yourself and really mess up your opponent’s game.

A Safety is basically one player blocking their opponent’s shot with another ball that’s opposite to their ball type. In the video above you’ll see that I’ve got a shot setup where I’m stripes and my opponent is solids. I don’t want to do a bank shot or any other type of shot so I’m going to play a safety. I want to try to get my stripe ball between the solid and the cue ball so that my opponent can’t make their shot.

A beginner is likely to screw this up is by hitting the ball way too thin. Even though they hit it soft, they hit it thin. As a result they leave their opponent a clear shot.

The best way to do it would be to hit the ball much more full; almost straight-on with just a little bit of an angle. As you can see when I hit the edge of the ball, the cue ball generates way too much speed even though I’m hitting it soft. This causes it to take off after it hits the rail. When I hit it full and soft, the safety has been perfectly executed and my opponent can’t possibly make their shot.

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    1. Be sure to report back on your progress, James. Mastering safetys in billiards and pool is an important concept for strategic play.

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