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  NEVER! Well, hardly ever
attributed to Jess Law,
Woodville Croquet Club, South Australia
Posted September 24, 1999

Although editor Wendy Davidson is not absolutely certain of the authorship of the following advice, she thought it good enough to reprint in the September 1999 issue of CROQUET AUSTRALIA after an initial publication in Australia's official newsletter in 1988. We agree with that assessment. Says Davidson, "With a softening of the 'never' by phrases such as 'On most occasions, don't', I believe it is still good advice. Most could be used as the basis of a short five minute coaching session before play."

NEVER go right into a corner.
REASON: If at any time you have to return to your ball near a corner you will have a rush instead of having to perform a croquet stroke, usually leaving one ball behind. At any time you may have a lift if you have a wired ball, and if your ball is in a corner near a baulk the resultant rush is invaluable.

NEVER end your break by making the last hoop of your break off your partner ball.
REASON: It is very material to be able to finally rush your other ball to a suitable spot on the court to set up.

NEVER lay up by leaving a double.
REASON: So doing makes an excellent target for your opponent.

NEVER, when taking a shot, take your eye off the ball until it has left your mallet.
REASON: So doing always results in a faulty shot.

NEVER take off from a boundary ball before first thinking 'Do I want the object ball to remain on the boundary line or a little way out from it?'
REASON: If you have to return to the boundary it is most advantageous to have a rush along the boundary or into the court.

NEVER make a short roquet without approximately fixing the spot to which you propose to drive the object ball.
REASON: This obviates the possibility of a stymie by hoop, peg or ball and also regulates the distance required for a stop shot in your succeeding shot.

NEVER make a shot without deciding what your next shot is to be if you are entitled to one.
REASON: The shot succeeding your current one is just as important as your current one.

NEVER neglect to use your brains in every shot you make.
REASON: Your greatest asset in playing croquet is 'brains'.

NEVER position the object ball so as to cause hoop and roquet in the same stroke.
REASON: Doing so prevents regulation on the object ball after running the hoop, e.g. prevents getting a rush.

NEVER complete your turn by laying a rush to nowhere.
REASON: You should always choose a definite direction to which the rush is to be made.

NEVER underestimate your opponent's ability to defeat you.
REASON: This has often ended in disaster for the lower handicapped player.

NEVER neglect to make up your mind before you make your second last hoop how you are going to lay up for your other ball.
REASON: This facilitates the wiring of the opponent's balls in your leave.

NEVER neglect to concentrate on every shot you make, and especially on the short roquets.
REASON: The player who makes the least mistakes will usually win the game.

[This piece was originally published in the GAZETTE in 1988, Vol. 38, No. 1, and was reprinted in the September 1999 issue of CROQUET AUSTRALIA. It is reprinted here by permission. CROQUET WORLD ONLINE MAGAZINE has commissioned a similar article on the "nevers" of the American Rules game by a top American pro, to follow shortly.]

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