Timeouts: Some highlights of the rules

by | Jan 20, 2014 | APA Rules, Billiard Greg's, Pool, Rules, TAP Rules | 6 comments

Timeouts across the leagues, be it APA or TAP are roughly the same with only some minor differences. Given these rules are written in the rule books and attempt to spell out how every team should act not only in timeouts but also in general play. Sometimes it takes people a little time to understand them but usually people are willing to inform them to let them learn and let them go with a warning. When it is people who are representatives of the league that bend or break them I tend to loose respect for that representative and a little for that league.

When it comes to who can give you a timeout in a match there is a slight difference between the leagues.  In the APA League you can call a timeout and specify who you want to give you that time out.  In the TAP League you are suppose to designate who your coach is before you start your match although what usually happens is when you call your first timeout that is who you have to take timeouts from for the rest of your match.

The number of timeouts that can be given are also slightly different between the leagues.  In the APA League if you are a skill level of 3 or below you are allowed 2 timeouts per game and if you are skill level of 4 or above then you are allowed to have one timeout.  In the TAP League everyone is allowed 2 timeouts.  In the TAP League skill levels of 2 (or below not sure if there are any skill level 1's) are allowed to be coached unlimited amounts of time from the sidelines from their coach although the coach may not approach the table unless it is one of the 2 official timeouts that everyone is allowed.  People shouting tips from the sidelines who are not the coach or a timeout has not been called is considered a foul.  If it is just to remind the person as to the type of balls or a reminder to shoot for the lowest ball is fine but when it comes to how to shoot the shot it is not allowed.

For timing of a timeout it appears that both leagues allow for the same amount of time.  In the TAP League you are allowed one minute for a timeout.  If you want to take a second time out you can have another minute at the expense of your second allowed timeout if it is still available.  In the APA League the time allowed is also set at a minute.  I remember playing in a tournament team APA match where someone was going on 4 minutes for a timeout.  I started making comments about how long the timeout was taking to which I was told that “we did the same thing” and a few other choice words but we never took that long of a timeout.

Both leagues do allow for the coaches to converse with other members of the team.  This is not to happen around the table as the shooter and the coach are the only two people allowed to step up to the table.  The conversation is also suppose to happen between the coach and the other non-shooters away from the shooter so that only the shooter and coach are conversing with each other.  Too many times have I seen people talking within the vicinity of the player.

These are just some of the rules and the main issues I have seen while playing in my league matches.  My latest one happened with a team that had a league rep on the team as well as some high skill level players that are well aware of the rules.  I heard coaching from the sidelines to a skill level 3 on what english to use from someone who was not this persons coach (a 2 is allowed to receive sideline coaching from their coach though).  I also saw the shooter, the coach, and 2 other players talking about what the shooter should do while it was his turn.  A time out was called which meant the coach is allowed to talk to the other 2 but when all four are blatantly talking about the shot at hand is a foul and coming from a league rep I am a little disappointed.  I understand this is an amateur league but everyone is given or has access to a rule book.  So if you are new to a league I would recommend reading through the rule book to familiarize yourself with them.  But if you are a league rep you should know better.  You should not just shrug off the rules and only apply the rules when it benefits yourself.  I would like to thank the people that respect the rules and play by them, you truly make league play enjoyable.  I will continue to play by them as well as continue to advise my teams of them to make sure we can make it enjoyable for our opponents as well.


  1. Scott

    Hey, Greg!

    Playing 9-ball. Player 1 breaks and pockets ball. Cannot hit 1-ball so pushes out. Player 2, a novice, says, “You shoot” to Player 1 and coach of Player 2 (me) IMMEDIATELY says “Time Out!”

    Is this a legitimate time out to discuss Player 2’s decision or has table control been immediately given to Player 1?

    I’ve been looking around pool sites and can find no such discussion. Guessing it is one in a million, but with the whole notion of player coaching focused on improving a player’s skills or perceptions or judgements, isn’t this a legitimate use of this process?

    (Player 2 won the match. The opportunity was around a carom shot to sink the 9-ball.)

    • Billiard Greg

      Sorry that it has taken me over a year to reply to this. I would say technically it is player 2’s shot as he hasn’t taken his shot nor picked up the cue ball to give player 1 ball in hand. So it is still his shot. Even as a 7, there are times that I like to take a time out from a lower handicapped player to talk about what I am thinking with regards to the shot I am thinking. It is a learning experience to them and maybe they will think of it differently from how I am thinking about it directing me to take a different shot.

  2. C

    Are you allowed to leave an item (ex. Chalk or a mark) on the spot someone is supposed to aim and walk away during a time out?

    • Billiard Greg

      Depending on the league, Yes you are. In the APA you can place a piece of chalk on the wood part of the table. However in any league, you can’t physically mark the table like with spit on your finger or by marking a piece of chalk on the felt.

  3. Clay C

    Is telling a shooter that the only need one ball left to win considered a timeout. I was u fee the impression that doing that is essentially indirectly telling the player how to play their last shot

    • Billiard Greg

      I do not consider reminding a person how many points they need in 9 ball a time out and I believe it is allowed in most league play, it is like reminding the player that they are a certain category of balls in 8 ball.


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