Walking the snake

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cbalife
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Walking the snake

Post by cbalife » Mon Oct 31, 2011 4:13 pm

Alright ladies and gents,

In essence I'd like to know more about the mentality of walking the snake. I understand the concept of walking a pinshot but am I right in thinking the thought process differs? For example if I'm set up all the way out on the push-side (with a pinshot) it is easy enough for me to hit long quickly thus making all the options available to my pinshot no matter where I am walking the ball too; however with a snake this doesn't seem to be the case due to not being able to go as long with a snake as you can with a pin. With this assumption that you can't go as long with a snake as you can with a pin (I'm sure there are examples of this not being the case) then it seems that I am actually limiting my options when walking the snake at times.

The only thoughts I seem to get from watching some people is that they walk the snake very quickly to confuse the defence and make it awkward for the defender? I'm not sure but if someone could explain why they choose to walk the snake or as a defender what makes it more tricky to defend then I'd be grateful.

Cheers,
Steve

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Re: Walking the snake

Post by potts » Mon Oct 31, 2011 4:42 pm

first you need to learn to go somewhere other than short pull ;)

(sorry about the unhelpful answer...I will talk to you abut it friday)

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Re: Walking the snake

Post by patritsch » Sun Nov 06, 2011 10:34 am

You're correct - walking only makes sense if you can hit any hole from any position you walk to. That means, if you walk one inch to the push side, you have to be able to hit the ultra short push and pull as well as the three-quarter pull (which goes to the pull-side corner from there) if you want to hit the three basic holes.

The thinking behind walking should be this: Walk the ball and watch the defense. For example, if you tap to the pull side, which holes does the goalie leave? Store that in your mind and use it two points later: tap ---> WHAM! This works against opponents who always react in the same way to your walking moves. You can then simply perform those moves without looking at the defense, because you know what's gonna happen based on your previous observations.

If the goalie adjusts, do another move.

.

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Re: Walking the snake

Post by Happyham » Fri Dec 16, 2011 6:16 am

patritsch wrote:Walking only makes sense if you can hit any hole from any position you walk to.
Hi Patrisch, I think that walking the snake makes sense even if you can't hit any hole from any position. Well at least it makes sense within my game. I do think having all the options certainly helps, but its not essential in my opinion. I'll explain.

cbalife wrote:
I'm not sure but if someone could explain why they choose to walk the snake then I'd be grateful.
Steve, there is one main reason to walk the snake. That is to move the defender out of position. First lets go back a few steps in level of understanding.. this will help you to fully understand the answer to your original question.

For every shot or pass there are 2 different timings. We will call them on timing and off timing. (I stole this terminology from Canadian pro master Eric dunn*).

Example:

You are a chip passer that shoots a pull shot. Your on timing skill set will look something like a standard chip up, followed by setting up a pull shot and blasting a hole. Your OFF timing skill set will look something like a stick lane pass, followed by a long rolling pull shot without any set up. The off timing options are what keep your opponent from knowing exactly WHEN you are going to excecute your pass/shot. If your opponent knew WHEN you were going to pass, then it simply becomes a 50/50 as to whether or not he will block the right hole (on the 5 bar at least). We want to lower his chances. The defender will be waiting for you to position the ball in the chip position, so the quick stick lane pass will surprise him. He will then be waiting for you to set the ball up for a pull shot, so hitting the shot on the roll without it stopping will again surprise him.

If you want to be successful at the highest level it is essential to develop both on timing and off timing options for whatever pass/shot you decide to commit to. The more the better obviously, but I know people who master a simple few, and still have great success.

OK, so now back to the original question. I'm going to answer it with a question. What kind of off timing options does a snake shot have? A standard snake shot would involve setting up the ball, rocking for X amount of seconds and shooting in X hole. Lets call this the on timing set of options. Any sort of fake, hitch, walk, tap is going to look a little different therefor throw the defender off a little bit. These options on a snake are your off timing options.

Why would you choose to do it?

Coz its like, totally cool n stuff. :P The main reason is to open up a hole that perhaps would be defended otherwise.

Example:

You are playing an opponent who just happens to be in your head, and knows that you time the pull side really well so he keeps switching his men but mainly staying in that hole. You find yourself trying to wait and wait untill he comes off, but he's just not reacting. By the time you think about going to the push side he can sense you have changed your attention now, and blocks the push side! These kind of players are infuriating to play against. Olga Lasecka comes to mind when I think about players in the UK :P

So now its time to use the walking snake. This time you rock for a while, and can see he is on the pull side early on again. You walk it to the push side, then back to the middle, then immediately go pull side. It should be 3 taps. Fake push, back to middle, then the sound of tin as you hit the goal.

Why did this work?

The defender has seen you move to the push side so naturally he moves his men to cover the push / straight side of the goal. Otherwise u can simply flip the man over and score an easy point. If you shoot the pull side immediately after coming back to the middle, the pull side should be open as he hasn't had enough time to process whats going on other than he had to cover the gaping hole on the push side.

Summary:

There are many variations on walking the ball. Some walk the ball for 8-10 seconds then shoot, others rock for a long time then walk right at the end. Others are somewhere in between.

Those that rock for the majority then walk at the end, usually rely on faking their opponent completely off a hole (like I mentioned in the example). This typically can work on opponents who have quick handspeed, and race a lot. Or perhaps you have a physical tell when you shoot a particular side. You are moving them exactly where you want with the fake, then either going back down the middle or to the other side. This would be using the walking series as your off timing.

Those that walk the ball for the majority of the possession tend to get defenders out of position a lot. What I mean by that is, that they may think they are covering a certain hole, but in reality they are slightly off it. They don't realise this because they have been chasing the attackers fakes all over the place, so have lost their sense of position. If you walked the ball around the majority of the possession then notice how this would become your on timing options. Your opponent would be more surprised with you doing a regular snake shot after seeing you walk it around for 10 seconds on each of your last 5 possessions!



I don't hit all the holes with my walking (off timing) snake, but I use it in such a way that it compliments my on timing snake. It doesn't need to have all the holes. Its what I use to open up nice big easy holes with a standard snake.

If there is any part of this that you didn't quite understand then let me know, and I'll try to explain as best I can.

*Eric Dunn's 5 fundamentals of foosball video series definitely helped me a lot when it came to understanding WHY things worked. If you're interested, then this is the first video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O4n3wtqcEu4
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Re: Walking the snake

Post by willhawkes » Fri Dec 16, 2011 8:26 am

Great post Joe. The same analysis works if you think about shooting pin shots e.g. on the Bonzini, where walking the ball around is quite a bit easier to do. Opens up loads of holes.

This forum tends to lean more towards tournament talk plus general banter with the odd petty feud thrown in, would be interested in knowing if there's there appetite out for for more regular / structured correspondence on the techniques and strategies of the game, or is it just me?

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Re: Walking the snake

Post by cbalife » Sat Dec 17, 2011 3:12 pm

Thanks all,

I've watched Eric's videos before and although I've applied it to my 5 bar for some reason it never occurred to me to apply it to my snake. The only 'off timing' options I previously use on my snake is perhaps realising they will start defending on pull so then quickly taking push while they are baiting. I've been experimenting with walking the snake on Garlando due to the new ball choice (I believe?).

An interesting tactic I've seen used is throwing the ball out to push and coming back to middle and repeating this however many times before picking your shot. It seems to be a lot more awkward to defend as the option of hitting middle from push, straight shot from the push fake and defending the pull side once the attacker returns to the middle adds a lot more uncertainty to the person defending. The only issue I have is that I'm not sure if it will particularly work on Garlando due to it being harder to walk the ball in a snake? Maybe I just suck at walking it at the moment.

The only reason I mention this is that I don't want to have a completely random series of shots from a walking position, I kinda want to know what options I have and when to execute as opposed to making them up on the spot. I'm not sure whether the 'correct' way of walking the snake is to do whatever you feel best in the moment or to effectively have a 'walking series' to execute. I'm not sure if this makes sense, effectively I mean predetermined shooting (predicting what gaps will be free due to your movements and past shots) vs gap watching while walking.

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Re: Walking the snake

Post by patritsch » Sat Dec 17, 2011 4:12 pm

Awesome post, Joe! It seems I've learned a lot just by reading it several times.

By the way, having three or four options from any point you walk to is not as difficult as it sounds because you don't have to walk to an unlimited number of positions. Sometimes a tap to the far-side-3/4-position is all you need. From there you can hit the far-side corner and the middle with short shots, the 3/4-near-side with your standard pull-length, and the near-side corner with a 3/4-pull, which would then be the only new shot you have to learn.

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Re: Walking the snake

Post by Happyham » Sun Dec 18, 2011 5:03 am

cbalife wrote: I've watched Eric's videos before and although I've applied it to my 5 bar for some reason it never occurred to me to apply it to my snake.
I actually want to backtrack on what I said earlier. The terms on and off timing definitely apply more to the 5 bar. I suppose what I mean when I use it in conjunction with the 3 bar, is that you have options that are irregular, and quite different to whatever your standard shot looks like. These options are what compliment your shot to keep the opponent guessing.

The easiest analogy I can give to make this completely understandable is poker.

If you are a tight player who RARELY bluffs, then people are going to respect your big bets (when you ARE bluffing) and fold.
Likewise, if you are super aggressive who FREQUENTLY bets with any two cards.. Then people will call your big bets (when you actually have a good hand!) because of the frequency you bet. The more you do it, the less likely you are to have a good hand everytime, obviously.

So now in foosball:

The more you shoot your STANDARD shot, the more successful your off timing options (yin to the yang, or whatever else you want to call it! :P) will be. Having said that, if you start using your off timing options so much so that they become your main style of the shot, then throwing in the occasional STANDARD style of shot will become more successful than it would have before.

The off timing options don't always need to be used though. They are an adjustment to how the game has gone thus far.

My initial gameplan against an unknown is to shoot a standard snake shot and read the defence as best I can untill he/she starts blocking me good enough. Then thats when you take your shot to the next level and start throwing in walks and/or hitches etc.. it is a completely new look that will initially have great success readless, but will lower in % the more you use it and the less you read a defence. Make sense?

The bottom line is, foosball is a game of frequencies and tendencies. The more someone uses a certain pass / shot, the less effective it becomes. That is true when you are not reading a defence at all. If you become good at reading defences, then a standard snake that you do ALL the time can be very effective. Tom Burdett is a great example.
cbalife wrote:
I'm not sure whether the 'correct' way of walking the snake is to do whatever you feel best in the moment or to effectively have a 'walking series' to execute. I'm not sure if this makes sense, effectively I mean predetermined shooting (predicting what gaps will be free due to your movements and past shots) vs gap watching while walking.
I personally pre-determine as it helps me to excecute. This is because I use snake walking as the minor portion of my shot, not the major. That is to say that the majority of my possession is spent rocking on the ball like a standard snake, with a second or two of walking at the end. In this case it makes sense to pre-determine based on what you have seen whilst you are rocking the ball. Also you can get away with reading less with this method IMO because the shot has 'surprise' factor. Defences are worse in general against something they are not expecting.

However if you walk the ball around for 8-10 seconds (using snake walking as the MAJOR portion of your shot), you will have much less success if you dont 'gap watch' as you are walking. I say this because the 'surprise' element of walking has gone, therefor the defender has time to compose himself and put up a good defence. The success in using snake walking this way is in the reading of the defence. Not from the fact that you are walking the snake. Make sense?

So to answer your question, I think both ways are effective in their own right.

Ryan Moore walks the snake around a lot before he shoots.
Tony Spredeman uses the standard rock for longer then walks it around at the end (most of the time).

Which superstar do you want to be? :P
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Re: Walking the snake

Post by Happyham » Sun Dec 18, 2011 5:07 am

patritsch wrote:
. Sometimes a tap to the far-side-3/4-position is all you need. From there you can hit the far-side corner and the middle with short shots, the 3/4-near-side with your standard pull-length, and the near-side corner with a 3/4-pull, which would then be the only new shot you have to learn.
I can't hit the long pull side from the 3/4 far side position!! :D Thats pretty much the reason why I made my initial post, hehe. I'm sure if I practiced it enough, I could get it down though..
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Re: Walking the snake

Post by cbalife » Sun Dec 18, 2011 9:14 pm

Yep, it all makes sense, cheers Joe :D. I guess the same 'irregular' or 'off-timing' logic can be said about setting the ball up into a pin and using a pinshot quickly once a defender has gotten used to you snaking a lot. I feel probably more comfortable with predetermined walking after rocking on the ball and analysing for a bit. In saying this I don't read defences as much as I should as I generally blind-shoot based on assumptions which is probably more the major reason as to why my snake isn't as good as it should be. You can see why I might want to throw in walking snakes with my regular snake though, I feel a particular weakness in reading defences and feel the need to control their defence as opposed to them doing the opposite, I'll keep experimenting though anyway!

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Re: Walking the snake

Post by Happyham » Mon Dec 19, 2011 12:06 am

cbalife wrote:Yep, it all makes sense, cheers Joe :D. I guess the same 'irregular' or 'off-timing' logic can be said about setting the ball up into a pin and using a pinshot quickly once a defender has gotten used to you snaking a lot.
Yes. This is definitely a good 'irregular' option!
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Re: Walking the snake

Post by patritsch » Mon Dec 19, 2011 12:29 am

Happyham wrote:
patritsch wrote:
. Sometimes a tap to the far-side-3/4-position is all you need. From there you can hit the far-side corner and the middle with short shots, the 3/4-near-side with your standard pull-length, and the near-side corner with a 3/4-pull, which would then be the only new shot you have to learn.
I can't hit the long pull side from the 3/4 far side position!! :D Thats pretty much the reason why I made my initial post, hehe. I'm sure if I practiced it enough, I could get it down though..
Ah, come on... I'm just a rookie, and I can hit it occasionally, even though I've just started practicing it. I'm confident that I will be able to use it consistently in a few weeks. Shouldn't be any problem at all for an experienced player like you. I suppose the reason why you haven't bothered learning it yet is that you simply don't need it...

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