Nine-Wicket Croquet Tactics and Strategy
Winning strategy depends largely on how many bonus strokes a side earns, how effectively they are used to score points, and how successfully the winning side prevents the losing side(s) earning bonus strokes and scoring wickets.
Attacking - hitting the opponent balls - is often the best path to winning the game. By attacking, you gain additional bonus strokes for scoring wickets and putting the opponent balls out of scoring or attack position.
Attack possibilities are best at Wicket #1 and following the Turning Stake, when it is possible to clear two wickets in one stroke and earn two consecutive bonus strokes.
Attacking through a single wicket is frequently effective by "punching" close enough to an opponent ball for an easy roquet using the Wicket Bonus Stroke.
A good tactic to impede the other side's progress around the course is to set a "guard" ball at a strategic point (positioned to clear the center wicket, for example) that will either prevent the approach of the opponent or force him/her to waste strokes trying for a long-distance hit-in.
Avoid scoring a wicket when there is no effective play to be made with the Wicket Bonus Stroke and your side is not under threat of attack. Often, a better turn can be played with another partner ball.
Rover balls are often useful to help a slower partner complete the course by threatening or attacking opponent balls, knocking them out of position and allowing partner(s) to proceed more quickly and safely around the course.
Here are some web pages (in alphabetic order) about tactics and strategy for you to read. You may need to get the Adobe Acrobat Reader.
If you want to read articles about croquet tactics and strategy in general, use the library for All Croquet. If you want to read articles about another types of croquet, use the libraries for American Croquet, Association Croquet, or Golf Croquet.