5 Strategic Tips to Ace Your Crokinole Tournament from the Masters
Crokinole is a classic Canadian game that all ages can play. Casual or competitive, it is a simple but not simplistic game of skill. In gameplay, it is similar to curling and the Asian carrom game. It is more of a stationary game than either of these. For some, it is the number one go-to game when family and friends come over. Others who are more serious about the game enjoy Crokinole tournament play, where they can challenge their strategic skills against other serious players.
Players take turns flicking discs along a smooth wooden board lined with pegs or bumpers around the center to play. The discs make delightful sounds as they drift across the board, collide, and sometimes skate onto the elusive and coveted Twenty-Hole in the center. Reaching this target is the only way to score, but distance and obstacles make this challenging. According to the rules, players cannot move their chairs or get out of their seats. This official stillness creates the high drama and sentimental appeal of competitive Crokinole. Here are some top strategy tips and tricks developed by the pros to ensure you come out on top.
Perfecting Your Shooting Technique
To become proficient in a Crokinole tournament, you must have the fundamentals down. To begin, grab the disc between your thumb and middle finger. There is no need for a firm grip, just enough to hold the disc. With a straight thumb, gently place the disc with its edge along a chosen shooting line. Keeping your wrist straight, gently support the disc with those two fingers while extending your index finger behind the disc. It would be best to have about a quarter inch between your index finger and the disc. This is the point where you are ready to shoot. Learning this step early will help you improve your game quickly over time.
Keeping Your Eye on the Target
You can have a perfect winning shot but must still be ready to execute well on your next move. You cannot hide mistakes or make excuses that your opponent will accept. You either make each shot, or you don't. Many beginners and top-level players try to flick the disc quickly to aim for the target as they are in a hurry to score. Patience is key. Be sure to keep your eye in line with the disc, its trajectory and its relation with the target. Often beginners will sit up very straight. This creates a line of vision looking down on the disc rather than looking straight through the disc to the goal. Be sure to position yourself behind the disc looking directly towards your target.
Shooting Open 20's in a Crokinole Tournament
Once you have perfected your Crokinole shooting technique, you are ready to move on to take control in a Crokinole tournament. It would be best if you had as slight a variation in your game as possible. One thing to note is that the discs have a slippery side. A technique used to help with the disc's motion on the board is applying a fine powder similar to that used in a shuffleboard game. Be sure not to place it directly on the board. Maintain a small powder reserve in the narrow ditch on the board's edge. Lightly touch the powder with your disc to coat a thin layer, moving in one direction to ensure that your disc travels precisely in the direction you intend.
It is essential to create a routine. Practice shooting straight for the 20 over and over when preparing for a Crokinole tournament. Like a basketball player repeating free throws, the more you practice, the more natural and second nature the technique will become.
Flicking Your Disc
There are two common mistakes you will see most beginner players make when they are ready to shoot. The first is floating the hand. Floating occurs when a player places their hand in the air over the disc moving it from side to side. The problem with this is the arm and bicep get involved, which creates inaccuracy and makes it a challenge to be consistent. The other common mistake is placing their shooting finger on the disc. Putting the index finger on the disc and sliding it back and forth before actually taking a shot can involve unnecessary muscles needed in preparation and cause inconsistency and inaccuracy.
The reliable way to prepare for each shot is by anchoring your hand to create stability. You can then focus on a solid strike with your index finger by using a firm, smooth flicking motion, resulting in a stronger, more stabilized shot. Your accuracy improves immensely with your eyes in line with the shot and following through with this consistent motion. Using this strategy is very advantageous once you are skilled in the technique.
Mastering the Bump and Run Shot
Implementing the Bump and Run Shot is an excellent method when great shooting alone isn't enough to win the match. An example of this shot in a Crokinole tournament is when no opponent's disc is on the board and one or more of your discs are in play. This advanced strategy uses your shooter disc to bump one of your adjoining discs up the center and into the 20. This is the same technique you will see in similar games such as curling or billiards. The key is understanding where to use it and whether you should go for the bump and run or take the open shot. Though it is hazardous for beginners and risky for professionals, it is sometimes the difference between winning and losing a match.
Crokinole is a game that connects with everyone. It requires practice, ongoing dedication, skill, and luck. To play it is to love it. Buying your board, playing in a tournament, and inviting others to join you in this timeless activity can be an investment in your future. Learn and perfect these strategies and you will be the one teaching others all the mastery and wonders of a Crokinole tournament.