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The Game
Questions and Answers
on Playing the Game

by Reuben Edwards
Editor, The Game Department
Posted November 2, 1997

Croquet World Online Magazine begins a new feature in which top players of the game answer a series of questions - sharing their favorite drills, best advice, and general philosophies about the game of croquet. Jerry Stark's favorite drill will help you handle a situation that comes up often in real games - having to play a three-ball break with a pivot ball in center court with no pioneer.
Q: "What Would You Do If You Had Only Fifteen Minutes to Practice?"

Jerry Stark

Jerry has represented the U.S. at the 1996 MacRobertson Shield in Britain, the 1997 Solomon Trophy in Thousand Oaks, California, and the 1997 WCF World Championships in Bunbury, Australia.

"I'd do a rushing drill. You put a ball out somewhere near the peg, nowhere exact, somewhere near the peg. Start with your ball with a nice rush from the first corner. You rush up, split it across (the hoop). Make number one, trying to get a rush to the ball that's near the center of the court.

You rush to that ball, hopefully. You have to do a take off, do not load number three. No pioneer ball! So you do a take off, getting a rush to number two. At number two, when you do your split shot, you set it up so, hopefully, when you go through number two you get a rush back to the ball in the center of the court. You do not get to load number four. You have to do a take off and try to get a rush from that ball in the center of the court to number three.

It sounds kind of different. The first time I did it, I made two hoops and I broke down and thought "What is this?" So I tried it again and tried it again. I've made 27 hoops in one turn and never had a pioneer at number one."

1. From a perfect rush in corner #1, approach hoop #1. On the croquet shot, place the forward ball with the intention of rushing it to the peg after scoring the hoop.
2. Rush near the peg. TAKE OFF to gain a rush on hoop #2. Do not load #3. Repeat the rush and croquet shot, placing the forward ball for a rush back to the peg.
3. Continue each hoop in order WITHOUT LOADING THE PIONEER, using only the rush to the peg and the take off.

[Next up: John Taves on getting the most from coaching]

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