Module 5

Canberra Croquet Club

Advanced Coaching Notes

Lifts & Leaves


In this module you will learn the basic principles of

Leaves – Basic Principles

Where to leave balls at the end of your turn does depend on whether you are playing a handicap game and your opponent has bisques or you have bisques, or whether you are playing advanced play. This module concentrates on advanced play.

It is important to think ahead to your next turn. As John Riches says in his book "Croquet: Lessons In Tactics": "whenever you are forced to allow your opponent a chance to roquet you should try to ensure that if he misses you will have an easy break on the next turn".

Where you leave the balls depends on your skill level and that of your opponent. It is no use leaving balls so that you have to play two 20 yard rushes to set up a break if you cannot play those shots at least 70% of the time.

Leaving your opponent’s balls in opposite corners and your as far away as possible is very negative! It is a general aim to leave your opponent’s ball away from the yard-line in the lawn, and your balls near the yard-line well away from your opponent. Try not to leave your balls right on the yard-line but a yard in. That way, if your opponents shoots at you and misses, you can turn around roquet them and stop-shot them into the lawn, hence, making them easier to use later on in the turn.

As a general rule: it is useful to leave your opponent’s balls at each of your next two hoops and your balls with a rush to either your hoop or the next hoop. For example, if you are for hoop 1, leave your opponent’s balls at the first and second hoops, and you with a rush to either hoop 1 or hoop 2. That way it your opponent shoots at either of their balls and misses you either have two balls at your hoop, or two balls at your next hoop. If your opponent shoots at your balls and misses you have an extra ball you can use to construct a useful rush.

Remember: do not leave your opponent a double target with your balls, and do not leave either of your opponent’s balls wired from all the other balls – they then get a wired lift if you are responsible for the position of their ball.

When you have clips on hoops in opposite corners it is useful to leave your opponent’s balls at each of those hoops, with your balls together in one of the other corners.

Do not leave your balls near one of your opponent’s hoops. And if you have a choice about leaving one of your opponent’s balls near a hoop that your opponent is for, try to make it the ball that is for that hoop (but not right in front!).

If your balls are on the centre hoops it is more difficult to set a good leave. You can put each of you opponent’s balls at the centre hoops, but then setting up in a corner leaves a relatively short shot for your opponent. You can try wiring your opponent around the centre hoop you are for but failing to get the wiring correct spells doom for you.

The Standard Leaves

These leaves are set using when you have a ball on 4-back and your partner is still for the first hoop. They are used by the top players, but their general setup is applicable in many situations.

Old Standard Leave (OSL)

Leave one opposition ball a couple of yards south-west of hoop 2, their other ball about 3 yards east of the peg, and your two balls on the eastern boundary level with hoop 4 (see Diagram 1). This leave was very popular in the 1950s. One of its main advantages is that it can be set up reasonably easily after making 3-back. However, the main disadvantage is that it usually gives your opponent a good chance of making a break if they hit the lift.


The New Standard Leave (NSL)

Leave one of the opponent’s balls a couple yards south-west of hoop 2, and their other ball just to the north-east of hoop 4, with your two balls set on the eastern boundary with a rush to hoop 2 (see Diagram 2). This is the most popular leave today for a triple peel setup. A disadvantage is that you must be making 1-back and 2-back off the correct balls to be able to set the leave up easily. Unless you are seriously attempting a triple peel go for an easier leave!



When you have a lift shot – Stop and Think! You have eight possible shots. You can lift either ball (or play it from where it lies) and shoot at any of the other three balls, or you can shoot to a corner (or just out of one). Think about where your opponent has a rush to with either of their balls.

Important principles to remember are:

How to reply to the OSL:

Lift either ball and take the short shot at your opponent (13-14 yards) from the end of A-baulk; or shoot at your partner from the end of A-baulk (17 yards). The 17 yard shot, if missed, will leave your ball in the middle of the north boundary which is dangerous. You may take the lift shot from the first corner instead. It is longer (23 yards) but if you miss your ball will end up in corner 3 which is less useful to your opponent.

How to reply to the NSL:

You will usually lift the ball your opponent has left near hoop 2. You can choose to shoot at your opponent from either A-baulk or B-baulk. If you are playing a top player shoot from A-baulk, as this makes it more difficult for them to start the triple peel if you miss. However, if you shoot from B-baulk and miss your ball will end up in corner 4.