Lary Faris began shuffling when he was three years old at Lakeside, Ohio, where his family had a summer home. He is now in his 75th year of shuffling. Needless to say he became one of the games top players and was inducted into the National Shuffleboard Hall of Fame in 1980, over 30 years ago. Since that time he has also been inducted into the International, Florida and Ohio Halls of Fame. No other male player has won more National Championship, 15, than Lary. He got involved with International Shuffleboard and had a perfect 11-0 record in Yokohama, Japan in 1988. From that point on, besides playing and writing, he became intricately involved with the scheduling of games in International Tournaments.
Lary starting writing weekly articles about “game situations” and other shuffleboard topics in 1989. These articles were printed in many Florida newspapers and Lary was known as the Shuffleboard Coach. He continued writing for 14 years, until 2003, creating about 700 articles. Many of us as shuffleboard players never had a chance to read the articles, but now we will get that opportunity. I know we will enjoy each and every one of them.
I consider Lary the ultimate Professional at everything he does and for all he has contributed to the game.........Earl Ball.
By Lary Faris
Editors note: You are encouraged to comment or post an inquiry on “Ask the Pro’s” regarding any of Lary’s articles.

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Many amateur shufflers think the reason they lose is that they lack shooting skill. They say ,”I know what to do, I just can’t do it.”  My observation is that most amateurs are reasonably good shooters. They blame their shuffleboard troubles on poor shooting.

Yet when I watch amateurs, I usually see pretty good shooting. I see them shooting hammers, kitchen opponents, clearing discs and making great reverses.

On the other hand, when I watch amateurs and witness their shot selection, I get a stomach ache. Again and again I see them take the wrong shots. Thet try a difficult shot when an easy one is available, they clear when they should be on the board, they cover when they should score. Further, they execute wrong. They shoot hard when they should shoot soft, they shoot from the wrong position in the ten-off, and they shoot at the wrong disc. These are all mental mistakes, not physical errors.

I have to conclude, that with most amateurs, the problem is not in their skill, rather it’s in their shot choice. In today’s column, I’ll point out five common errors that amateurs seem to make again and again.

First is the mistake of giving the opponent a chance to hide. This usually happens when an amateur has a good score but in covering it, he provides his opponent the chance to hide behind his cover disc. I’ve shown this in today’s diagram. What good does it do to cover the good yellow eight when this gives black a chance to hide and even the scoring?  There’s usually an alternative sot, one that’s better. In the diagram, it’s to score a seven.

A second mistake that many amateurs make is filling in. that is, when black leads with a St. Pete, an amateur shooting yellow places his disc beside the black St. Pete, between the point and the St. Pete. This “fills-in” black’s hiding route. It also fills-in a loss for yellow on the scoreboard. The problem is that black can now either bump in his St. Pete for a score or he may put up a Tampa and then yellow is in trouble and also on his way to having the court blocked up for his hammer.

Another amateur mistake is trying to remove a good score that has the uphill side covered. Here black has a seven that is about one quarter covered. Yellow can see most of the score. But the drift is away from the score. Again and again, I’ll see yellow shoot at the score only to see the drift, a drift that was there all the time, pull the shooter away from the target for a miss.

Finally, I often see amateurs clearing the court on the opponents hammer. What a gift, providing an open board for the opponent’s last shot of the frame. It’s better to counter black or to fill-in than to do the opponents work for her. Sure, when a shuffler is way ahead, she may want to clear on both hammers, but then and only then.

Here I’ve listed five mistakes amateurs make in shot selection. Some will continue making them and keep blaming their shooting.

Thank goodness many will learn the right tactics, They’ll learn to make better shot choices and go on to become experts, and they’ll do it without shooting any better.

Sadly, Lary Faris passed away April 25th, 2017

I will continue to publish Lary's articles until I complete the second round of posting