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Traffic Light System of Shot Selection

I like my pupils to have a shot selection system that they easily understand and can be used in matches. It’s called the traffic light system. You have probably guessed how it works already. Each moment has three potential states: Attack (green), Choose (amber/yellow) and Defend (red).

Traffic Light System of Shot Selection

Over various coaching and training sessions, the student begins to clearly identify the Attack and Defend situations.

The Choose situations are by far the most difficult to get right because they often depend on more elements and minor elements than the other two.

For example, if your opponent plays a weak shot and you are in good position, then that is a potential Attack shot.

Whether you decide to attack or not is another matter but identifying the Attack position is easy.

Same goes for the Defend shot. If you are under pressure and need time then it is clearly a Defend shot.

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Now imagine that the ball is a couple of ball widths away from the wall, it’s not moving too quickly and you are on the T. What is this? Different levels of players call it different things.

In fact, the less-able players often call it Attack more than the better players, which is incredibly interesting.

The use of the exact words of Attack, Choose and Defend is also open to a lot of interpretation.

There is also the point that the majority of drives down the wall are actually Attack shots disguised as Defend. You have little chance of losing the point directly from these shots but you might also be fortunate and get a weak return.

In essence, the higher the level the more polarized the shots come: they are either Attack or Defend.