PUSH OUT THE PUSH OUT RULE
The push out after the break rule in 9-ball is a dinosaur of a rule that needs to be eliminated as the intention is no longer justified. Originally it was a means to help eliminate luck from the unfortunate player that does not have a good shot after the break. When two skilled players are playing and one of them must play a push out shot where can you push out that the opponent does not know the best response, either offense or defense.
The bulk of the time a proper push out strategy requires you to push out to a kick shot that possesses some chance in an effort to not give your opponent the upper hand by allowing them to have the first good shot. This rule is problematic for two good reasons. First to grow our sport and bring new players along simple straight forward rules make sense, onefoul ball in hand. This is readily explained and understood but under today’s rule we must then go on to explain except on the first shot after the break a player can declare a push out (foul shot) and not suffer a penalty.
At this point you have now lost all levels of eash comprehension of the rules and any idea regarding the strategy of using this option. You could achieve the same level of general comprehension if you were to describe this rule mutation in Latin. Secondly the big area of luck in 9-ball is not in the first shot after the break shot. Also it is not the amount of balls that find a pocket unexpectedly. The biggest element of luck among good players occurs when someone misses the intended shot and inadvertently leaves a tough shot for the opponent by accident. The reason people today play 9-ball is the fast pace and the turns of fortunes that occur when the 9-ball is the only ball that scores.
The very nature of this game is predicated on a combination of luck and skill that has created widespread appeal. Get rid of the silly old rule that only serves to unnecessarily complicate today’s game of choice. This rule has only been left in because “that’s the way we have always played and why would we change?” Generally people are resistant to change but I feel that an update and streamlining of the rules would be a benefit to everyone long-term.
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