“Hey, why do people poach right in front of me?”
I’ve not only heard this a number of times, but it happened to me when I was starting out. It was the first time I was being rated, and the guy I was playing with while the judges were watching poached in front of me. I still got a good rating, but didn’t understand it at the time, and kind of felt like I hated the guy for taking my shot.
So, here’s the scoop. More experienced players will try to keep track of their partner out of the corner of their eye. If the partner is hanging back while the other players are at the kitchen, it makes good strategic sense to poach in front of the player in back. Otherwise, the opponents may send something diagonally or fast that the guy in back won’t be able to handle.
So, If your hotshot partner is taking shots that were coming right to you, notice where you are standing. If you’re back by the baseline or even in the center of the court, then consider coming up to the kitchen next time. If you’re there, your partner probably won’t poach.
The other case is a bit more tricky. If you’ve missed the last six obvious and easy shots, your partner may have so much competitive spirit that s/he won’t let you miss that seventh shot, no matter what 🙂