I describe your snooker competency as the total skill of your complete snooker game. I include everything from your safety and defensive skills to your offensive snooker scoring skills. I include your ability to read and understand angles and side spin and your sixth sense for the game. Building a high level of snooker competency takes many years of time and dedication to snooker that few are willing to make. Some players reach within themselves to improve and get better because they understand the fundamentals. See below some posts in this blog topic.

Flow State, Meditation, and the Chaotic Billiard Room

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I discovered something useful tonight about happiness..flow state..and the fragile and sensitive nature of our beautiful game

I often go to play at the local pool hall. I get immense joy playing and competing, when I’m playing well. For me, snooker is as as close to meditation and flow state as I know. Well next to graphic/web design, my other happy place.

I’m fully aware how to get into flow state, and I know under what conditions I probably won’t as well (lots of distraction.. noise.. people). I played someone tonight who “turned me off” by his style.. mannerisms.. edicate…table manners. At first, I blamed him for my poor result. But then I realized he is trying to find his flow state as well.

I tried extra hard to lead by example… hoping it would have an effect on him. It didn’t.

DISCLAIMER: I’m about to take you into some woo-woo, magic crystals, meditation discussion from this point forward. If you can just postpone any doubt for a few minutes, you will may just learning something interesting about the mental side of this game.

The last month or so I have revisited a concept I first heard about 10 or so years ago: Abraham Hicks. Abraham Hicks is closely related to The Secret. The basic premise is that you manifest in your life that which you focus on. Tony Robbins, a world-class performance coach says “Where focus goes, energy flows”. Put another way, happy people see good things, and sad/depressed people see bad things.

So how does this relate to snooker?

Well in snooker, one of things we are all trying to find again – from the amateur right up to the top professionals is “flow state”. Flow state is that beautiful place when you hear nothing and see nothing but the table in front of you. It’s almost like you can feel the object ball floating into the pocket. You can see lines, and angles, and cannons. It’s a beautiful feeling, but it’s often temporary. I believe its one of the reasons we never let snooker out of our blood. That feeling of focus, concentration and flow state is so pure and so rare in people’s lives. It’s almost like we are outside of ourselves for those moments, experiencing something magical, beyond ourselves.

Abraham Hicks, the author I mentioned earlier, talks about flow state in a different sort of way. She calls it “vortex” and suggests that we are always near it, but venture too far out. We think life is supposed to be painful or difficult, but it isn’t. Life is supposed to be joy, happiness, laughter, fun. That same feeling you get when you are in flow state in snooker.

Anyways, enough about Hicks for now. Go hear the audios off Youtube if you like. I know it works for me and I don’t go too deep into the weirder side. It helps me to feel good and get my work done, and that’s all I care about.

Now back to the distractions I experience earlier tonight at the club…

During a smoke break.. I remember that Abraham Hicks said something crucially important in regards to finding vortex (flow state):

“OTHERS don’t need to do anything to help you.. you get to choose.. “.

I went back inside my mind looking for joy.. I tried to remember what was it about the game that made me truly happy. Of course, it was potting balls, seeing lines, making breaks. I stayed there in my mind.. and the result was wonderful.. I played well enough to win, not my best, but I enjoyed it because I found some access to flow state again.. I stopped worrying about winning or losing. Even though there was lots of distraction, I tried to focus back on the game and my own joy. The outcome was what you might expect: I won.

I left the night feeling successful because I found access to vortex even when the world around me was chaotic and full of interruption..I didn’t play to the standard I’m capable of.. but I left the place with a smile in my heart..

LESSON: The tiniest things can throw you off.. when you take your eyes off happiness for even a few minutes… Especially in activities where you think flow state doesn’t matter.. it always does.. always.. The experience tonight reminds me of the poem, “IF” by Rudyard Kipling (http://mayur.ca/if-by-rudyard-kipling/)

I think I need to pursue meditation…I heard it helps you stay inside throughout the day

BONUS Takeaway: How to get your flow state in snooker

Simple. Just ask yourself this one question: Why do you love this game so much? In the answer lies the clue. In the answer lies the reason you go back to the table, and in that answer lies the road signs back to playing well when all around you are distractions and chaos.

Snooker Breakbuilding Tips and How To – 62 Break Explained

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Breakbuilding is crucial to your success in snooker and other cue sports. The best way to win in cue sports is to clear up all the balls. I have been working on my break building for many years and have finally started knocking in several 50+ breaks. I was at my friends last night – he has a 5’x10′ table – and I knocked in a 62 break. I have recorded my commentary and tips in the break and placed them on Youtube so can learn and get better at your snooker breakbuilding and cue ball control skill. Shot selection is crucial in snooker and I have tried to provide some ideas and tips in this break.

Got comments? Leave them below!

WITH Commentary:

WITHOUT Commentary:

How to Fix your Cue Action and Stance – Analysis of Duane

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A commenter, Duane, asked me a number of questions recently as you can see at the following comments on a few of my articles. Duane sent me some videos of himself playing on a pool table and I provided a bunch of feedback through analysis and assessment of his cue action. If you are looking for FREE assessment or analysis of your cue action, stance, stroke, or game play, send some videos of you playing snooker, billiards, pool, or any cue sport. I love watching these videos and learning from my students and providing feedback to help them.

SCROLL to the END of the article to see the video

Hello Mayur
I am working on approach and coming down slowly it does seem to be a key ingredient in great play when you say look at the cueball while feathering do you mean on your practice strokes and then are you looking at the object ball aim point only once at the flow through

Thanks this is great insight into the game

View original comment to reply

 

Hello Mayur
Thanks for responding to my question .It has been very helpful. I am currently implementing some of your suggestions and am having some good results.Yes I am interested in hearing more of your thoughts n this subject. I believe steering is a major reason why I and others miss balls.I in particular fall victim to this because I have difficult looking at the object ball last

View original comment to reply

 

Great instructional video on fundamentals. I learned a lot about what I should be doing and shouldn’t.
Here are some question I have problems with.
One ,what is the best way to make sure your stroking arm is on line ,and straight ,mine tends to chicken wing out off line or in ,but not fall straight on line.
Two what is the best way to release the cue straight( follow stroke) some times I feel I jerk the cue especially on firm strokes I feel aim holding the cue loose but I still am steering. Thanks looking forward to hearing your response

View original comment to reply

 

Hello everyone. Great article on pressure and how to use it. I never thought about it that way And it really shed some light on why I Need to play more safe, instead of just going for it.

View original comment to reply

 

Hello I live in the US. I am a serious student .I have played pool ,snooker and billiards for 25 years. I currently play 8 ball, 9 ball, and 10 ball, and one pocket.I have been recently getting lower on the ball for improved aim My high run back 15 years ago was 69 on 5 dx10 but have not played snooker in several years .I play with a 60 inch cue 19 oz with Predator z 2 shaft 11 3/4 mm. I am trying to make it to the next level and believe that fundamentals is one of the main ways to do this. I would appreciate any help you have to offer. Thanks Duane

View original comment to reply

In the video below, I provided various feedback to Duane, talking about:

  • Importance of having a stable, predictable, and well planned stance and how it’s important to stand in the right place, facing your shot head on, with both feet, and learning to walk into the line of aim correctly.
  • General recommendations on height vs cue size
  • Thinking about how to play safe in 8-ball and 9-ball vs snooker and why playing safe is an inevitability at some point in any cue sport. I also mentioned about the art of safety play on the smaller table. I also mentioned about the push shot in 9-ball off the break.
  • Mentioned some strategies to prevent steering – namely that steering actually starts from the stance and pre-routine.
  • How to think about the ghost ball in you pre-shot routine and mentioned that it helps in identification of the 1/4, 1/2 ball, and 3/4 ball
  • How to prevent aiming when you are down and why aiming in cue sports is so difficult.
  • How to create an approach system for getting into your shots
  • Accuracy in cue sports (snooker, pool, 8-ball, 9-ball, billiards, etc)
  • Talked about traditional cue action mechanics and getting your head down low and why it’s important to actually have your head down vs being a stand up player.
  • What happens when your head is above the cue
  • Slight variance about missing shots
  • Twisting of the wrist and why it’s happening and when Duane’s wrist came out of line on the backswing
  • Conscious vs Subconscious potting and wrist issues
  • How to create a stance that actually works
  • I also mentioned Mark Allen, Mark Selby, and Ronnie O’Sullivan
  • Thinking about the body being a starting point that can either inhibit or enhance your aiming system

There are MANY more comments in the video. PLEASE comment and enjoy!

CLICK HERE to watch on YOUTUBE. COMMENT on YOUTUBE or in the comments below or on Facebook! Thanks!!

CLICK the video below to PLAY

Knowing when you might miss a shot

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We all miss shots. Missing a shot is something you need to learn to accept, evaluate, and eliminate. Missing shouldn’t be seen as a bad thing, but instead as a learning experience that provides you the necessary feedback to improve.

Getting Upset

I see players that miss shots and then are upset with themselves. It’s natural, in a match or in practice to get upset initially, but you should move on quickly from that mistake. It’s history. It can’t be changed. The consequences of that action are already playing themselves out. Once the cue ball is struck, what happens after is not within your control. If you find yourself getting upset often, then your expectations exceed your ability. Or perhaps you lack the emotional control required to deal with failure. Whatever the reason, something you are doing needs to change.

Why you miss

If we could look back at videotapes or ourselves playing, it would be easier to identify why we miss shots. Recently I have been recording my own match play at a friends house. I have had the advantage of seeing a lot of video of myself and it has helped me become more self aware. Some people struggle in identifying their weakness or are unwilling to accept that they lack the skill. They stubbornly stick with the same way of thinking, unwilling to work on their weakness, and then wonder why they continue missing and get upset.

There are many reasons why we might miss shots:

  • difficult cueing – over a ball or near the cushion for example
  • pressure – either in a match, or when trying to reach a new personal best in practice
  • imperfect mechanics – either from your stance, your eyes, your hand, your grip etc.
  • difficult pot – the pot itself is inherently difficult like a long shot, or thin slice or having to pot into only a portion of the pocket
  • unwilling to sacrifice position – sometimes, potting the ball successfully means that you just won’t get the position you desire and need to reassess your outcome
  • equipment issues – kicks, bad cushions, miscues, etc.
  • inadequate understanding – of english, ball striking, ball control, cushions, etc.
  • unreasonable expectations given our level of skill

Everyone is individual and will have shots they are more or less likely to miss compare to someone else. For example, depending on your eye dominance, you may miss “right angles” more than “left angles” or visa versa. Pros on TV are no exception – some are just better at some shots than others.

Some shots, as a general rule, are also missed more than others by everyone. For example:

  • down the cushion
  • very thin cuts
  • shots with the rest
  • long shots

Playing your best vs playing perfectly

What if I told you that you won’t play the kind of snooker you WANT to play, and that you WILL miss shots you didn’t expect to? Most snooker players are always looking to improve their game and so always see a gap between their aspirations and their current ability. Would that make it easier to accept misses? I doubt it. Missing still hurts because its unexpected.

Now, what if I told you that for any shot you attempt (safety or pot) that there is ALWAYS an estimated chance you will be successful? That knowing your past history with that shot, we can guesstimate your success rate for the next one? This success rate is something we all know as snooker players. We know when it’s a tough shot vs an easy shot. For most players, that’s as far as their thought process goes: it’s hard vs it’s easy. It’s nearly impossible, however, to determine success rate on a shot by shot basis and then make a decision based on past performance.

Success Rate

Success rate is an important feedback mechanism in shot planning. I believe one day we might even start seeing success rate for any given shot for pros as they already have the ability to measure distances between cue ball, object ball and pocket on television with the technology available.

Since you have the ability to assess your own individual success rate for every single shot you play, are you able to use that in shot planning? I would venture to guess you probably already are. Subconsciously, you probably turn down shots that others wouldn’t pass up. Are you willing to pass up shots you haven’t yet perfected because you know based on past experience that your success rate is unacceptably low?

Knowing our own success rate from shot to shot often comes into the pre-shot decision making process – going for the pot or playing safe. Our success rate also gets used by our opponents in determining what shots they decide to leave us. I remember many years ago, friends would always leave me side pocket shots because I struggled to pot them until I practiced and overcame my own lack of skill.

We can also make general rules about success rates for different kinds of shots also and suggest that some shots are always harder to execute. For example, I have one friend that consistently plays his cue ball on or near the cushion. He claims that doing so is a defence mechanism against his opponent – as most people have trouble off the cushion, but I also know his success rate off the cushion isn’t that much better than anyone else.

Accept misses as part of the game, and work hard on perfecting your own skill level in the game and improving at your own pace. If you personal high break is 30, carefully monitor what shot you missed, and practice it until you fully understand it. Each time you do this, you increase your chance of beating your last performance.

Monitor your own progress

Watching videos of yourself playing will tell you a lot about your own game. I have also found that practice routines will give you this feedback. One practice drill in particular – the lineup – provides great feedback for most players.

I have been doing the lineup recently in practice (2 reds below black, 6 below pink, and 7 below blue). In every session I have discovered certain patterns emerging. At first, I was having trouble clearing more than 5 or 6 reds, but once I started assessing what shots I’m missing more than others, I worked on them and overcame the difficulties. The lineup – and any other practice routine – is great for this kind of individual feedback because the balls are always in the same position, and if you play close attention, you can pickup on patterns for yourself. You will, however, need to be disciplined in how you approach practice so that you can gain this additional benefit and feedback: if you miss, or cannon a red, start over. With the lineup start with the 2 reds below the black (nearest the cushion first), and then directly above the black and either side of the pink, followed by all the remaining reds in whichever order you prefer.

Practice is great for understanding what shots you are more or less likely to miss, but what about when you are in a match? I think as snooker players, we tend to have a black/white method in our decision making on shot selection – either we go for the shot, or play safe. This polarity in shot selection, however, doesn’t translate into our success rate on producing the outcome we desire. Overall past success is much more grey and uncertain. Depending on our personality or mood, we might be more courageous than past performance allows.

Should you ignore past performance?

I’m sure some of you are reading this article thinking that past performance shouldn’t be an indicator of future success. I fully understand that courage, determination, and perseverance shouldn’t be ignored and that you need those qualities in match play. I know that you should overcome your fears and doubt, and take the shot on that’s called for, but I also know that you will need to accept failure as a possible outcome, if you decide to take that path.

I have found that it’s very hard to play matches by taking any shot on. Offense has it’s place in snooker, but so does knowing when to play the safety as well. Being realistic about our own abilities, and following our own success formula in match play, and then working on our weakness in practice will reduce the pressure we place on ourselves, and provide a system for improving our offensive and defensive capabilities.

Think through your past results when faced with a difficult shot. Knowing how often you missed a shot in the past, can provide a good baseline to make decisions from. If you decide, in the end, to take the shot on anyways – regardless of past performance – you can at least do so knowing that the results might not go your way.

Reader Question: How to deal with new cloth on the snooker table

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A reader asked me the question:

What would I notice as different if I were to play on a good Simonis cloth? They are putting a Simonis cloth on the snooker table where I play this week. I live in Michigan. It is very difficult to even find a Billiard Parlor with a snooker table.

Thank you,
Bob Q

Bob, thanks for getting in touch!  Here is my response:

Generally, pool rooms will try to find a balance between durability and playability. Simonis isn’t the recommended cloth to use on a snooker table – pros play on the 6811 Strachan. The 6811, although the best cloth, doesn’t have the durability compared to other cloth and is also more expensive, so it’s rarely used in public billiard rooms. Some rooms swear by the Hainsworth Smart cloth as the one to use. Hopefully, the fitters re-cover the cushions as well (it’s standard practice). Initially, when a new cloth is placed on a table, there is a period of break in time whereby the balls don’t respond as they are meant to.

The type of balls you play and condition also bear a significant role in overall play condition as well. I highly recommend that you own and carry around a good set of snooker balls as well in the off chance that the pool room doesn’t provide a clean and properly weighted set. The cue ball also should be weighed at least once a year to ensure <1g tolerance between all balls. Pros use Snooker Aramith Tournament champion balls 2 1/16th. A light cue ball can be hard to control and you will find that the angles you know don’t seem to work out. You never reach good cueing when the cue ball is out of weight compared to the other balls. Even when the cue ball is correctly weighted, some cue balls still don’t respond because the resin density is off as well. My friend, at his house, swears by the heavier “feeling” Steve Davis balls.

As a courtesy, if your pool room doesn’t regularly do it, you should brush the table before you play. This provides a longer life to the table cloth – the chalk has chemicals that wear the cloth out. Brush the table from the balk down to the black spot. You should also find out if they block or iron the table and volunteer that service if they don’t. It will help your enjoyment of the game in the end.

I hope that helps Bob! As always, please comment and suggest the next article!
 

How to Win in Snooker

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Everyone has their own theories on how snooker should be played. I’m of the opinion that scoring heavily truly is the recipe for success. Break building is something every snooker player should aspire to work on. By scoring heavily you ensure success for several reasons:

  1. Your opponent has no chance of scoring
  2. Your opponent can’t snooker you or play safe
  3. You increase your confidence

There is one aspect of consistent break building that is often missed by aspiring players: the ability to clear the balls under pressure. If you are a consistent and heavy scorer, that skill helps you to win frames, but it also helps you save frames. Under pressure when you need all the colors to win, being a consistent heavy scorer has it’s benefits:

  1. You become skilled in moving the cue ball into various positions
  2. You know how to play cannons and kisses
  3. You know how to clear the colors at the end of the frame
  4. You aren’t scared of taking chances and scoring heavily
  5. You are willing to split the pack early and clear the balls

So how do you become a good break builder and heavy scorer?

Many snooker players try to approach break building from the perspective of a pro. They go into the pack off the blue and then try to score. The problem with this approach is that they often aren’t ready or skilled enough to clear the table. Often it’s a complex mix of many primary issues:

  1. Lack cue ball control
  2. Lack potting ability
  3. Have poor ball selection
  4. Have poor mechanics
  5. Have poor focus and concentration

Often it’s a complex combination of the above primary skills that let them down. I think it’s actually more important and more useful to break down the individual pieces of a big break and deal with them one by one as individual practice routines:

  1. Clear the colors from a ball in hand position
  2. Learn how to go from black to yellow from different cue ball positions
  3. Learn how to go from pink to yellow from different cue ball positions
  4. Learn how to go from blue to yellow from different cue ball positions
  5. Clear 3 reds, 3 black balls and all the colors
  6. Clear 5 reds, 5 black balls and all the colors
  7. Clear 7 reds, 7 black balls and all the colors
  8. Open a pack of 3 reds below the pink with the cue ball low on the black, clear all reds with blacks and pinks, and all the colors
  9. Open a pack of 6 reds below the pink with the cue ball low on the black, clear all reds with blacks and pinks, and all the colors
  10. Open a pack of 10 reds below the pink with the cue ball low on the black, clear all reds with blacks and pinks, and all the colors

Focus and concentration can’t be worked on directly through any of the individual practice systems. Your focus and concentration develop as a side effect of practice assuming you are trying your best and looking to practice perfectly rather than imperfectly.

Once you have worked on the above practice routines and have had some success with each of them, it becomes much more apparent that you can score sufficiently when in match play because situations will become familiar to you and you will be able to draw on practice experience, knowledge, and muscle memory.

Break building is part science and part art. If you work on the fundamentals of cue ball control, potting, mechanics, and so forth, the rewards of practice eventually pay off in match play because things become familiar. As something becomes familiar in practice, it becomes familiar in match play when you need to “turn it on” and score. As it’s often said in cue sports, “practice doesn’t make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect”.

Did you like this article? Let me know by leaving a comment and sharing your opinion!  Thanks!

Review of Saeed’s Cue Action and Review

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When asked I review the cue action of people that get in touch with me on Skype or email. Email and Skype are OK, but I prefer to see videos because I can see what is going on. See this video below of Saeed who got in touch with me and asked me for help.

Notice the position of his feet, the movement of his body and shoulders to the right as he measures and cues. Please watch the video and leave comments! Thank you!

Tutorial: How to stop missing certain angles in snooker

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There will always be some shots in snooker that you will consistently miss. I have put a lot of thought into why I miss shots over many years of playing. Often, when I leave the table after a missed shot, I try to recreate the shot in my head to see if there was something I missed. I often ask myself questions like:

  1. Was I rushed?
  2. Was I standing in the right place?
  3. Did I rush the shot?
  4. Did I cue poorly?
  5. Did I not concentrate?
  6. Was I on a big break and got nervous?
  7. Was I distracted by something or someone?
  8. Did I understand the angle correctly?

Whenever you miss a shot, this is good practice to do. It’s important that you do this because you can experiment and change the next time you face the shot (or any other shot) or remember to work on the practice table as well. If you pay close attention, you will find with some experience that there will always be some shots that you consistenly miss. You end up having to concentrate more on these shots which in turn makes you miss even more. Many of the common issues that will cause you to miss a shot can be corrected through a fundamental approach to every shot:

  1. Step 1: Determine where you want the cue ball to go
  2. Step 2: Determine where the cue ball will strike the object ball
  3. Step 3: Determine how to strike the cue ball – pace and position
  4. Step 4: Stand behind the intended line of the cue ball (NOTE: this is where a lot of amateur players get into trouble)
  5. Step 5: Walk into the shot in a specific consistent way
  6. Step 6: Feather and pause as needed
  7. Step 7: Strike the cue ball

However, even if you do everything suggested above, there will still be some shots that you miss often. A common example of a shot we all miss is shown below.

Shotmaker-Snooker-Scene1

I tried over the years to determine WHY I missed this shot and I discovered that the MOST common reason players miss this shot is that they miss-read and misunderstand the angle.

What I mean by this is that even if you do any of these steps you could still miss:

  1. Stand in the right place
  2. Approach the shot correctly
  3. Feather and Pause correctly
  4. Cue perfectly

Somehow, either during practice or prevoius (or recent!) bad habits, you have learned an incorrect point of contact. This can be especially true if you previously played with a lot of side spin to “throw” the object ball into the pocket and you have sinced picked off that angle consistently incorrectly. I try to illustrate this point below. Notice the first cue ball making contact with the object ball below in grey. It strikes the black ball which in turns heads in the direction shown to the left. The second cue ball is shown in slight pink.

ghost-ball

Other possible reasons you may be missing the angle or point of contact in a consistent basis are:

  1. You have changed your cue tip size
  2. You have changed from center-ball striking to striking with more side spin or visa versa (NOTE: always use center ball striking in snooker. Side really should not be learned until you become a regular 40-50-60 break player with center-ball striking.
  3. You simply haven’t practiced the shot enough
  4. You use some other imprecise method for aiming

Over many years of trial and error I have discovered a very useful method and practice routine you can use to understand angles of some shots better. This process involves working up to the angle from an angle you know (full ball for example) to an angle that you are uncomfortable with and don’t know (like the shot shown earlier). It’s a simple process that you can follow as shown below:

Start with this shot and count your success out of 50. You should be able to make this shot 50 out of 50 without difficulty.

Start with this shot and count your success out of 50. You should be able to make this shot 50 out of 50 without difficulty. It’s a good shot to start at because it will show you all the technical issues you may have.

After you have success with the previous shot, try this shot. Count your success out of 50. Try hard and concentrate.

After you have success with the previous shot, try this shot. In this shot, the cue ball is just slightly below full ball. It’s about 1-2 inches away from full ball and you should comfortably be able to make this shot. Count your success out of 50. You should be able to make this shot at least 45 out of 50. Try hard and concentrate.

Now the shot is getting harder. If you are not making this shot at least 40 out of 50, then there is something wrong and you shouldn't progress any further. I explain what to look at and pay attention to further below.

Now the shot is getting harder. Again, move the cue ball another 1-2 inches further away from the previous shot. If you are not making this shot at least 40 out of 50, then there is something wrong and you shouldn’t progress any further. I explain what to look at and pay attention to further below. Often, as mentioned in this article it’s a combination of your mechanics and technique and not recognizing the correct cue ball contact point on the object ball.

With this shot, you are starting to work towards the toughest shot and you should be see whats going wrong. Again stop with this shot until you fully understand the shot and are making it 40 out of 50.

With this shot, you are starting to work towards the toughest shot. This is a common angle to start missing because some players tend to look at the pocket and in this shot, this will be difficult. Again stop with this shot until you fully understand the shot and are making it 40 out of 50. When I say ‘understand’ what I mean is to keep studying the angle, and the cue ball path until you intimately understand the shot and you can visually see the impact as well as the cue ball path instantly.

Only attempt this shot if you have mastered the other 4 shots. You should be able to make this shot at least 40 out of 50.

Only attempt this shot if you have mastered the other 4 shots. You should be able to make this shot at least 40 out of 50 with practice and study. You should really spend focused time when doing these practice routines. Focus on angles, contact points and pace. Work hard and study your body and the reactions of the balls. You should be paying attention when in practice.

 

With the above tutorial, it’s a simple process of doing the shot from easy to hard and creating some success. If you believe it’s just about muscle memory and angles, you are missing the point. The real growth will come when you study the missed shots. It’s when you miss and then study what went wrong, that you understand what you need to do. When I say understand the shot, what I mean is:

  1. Perceive the angle perfectly
  2. Feel when it’s wrong
  3. Sense where the cue ball will go
  4. Know the object ball will get pocketed

I use a lot of “right brain” (creative) ways of describing how to understand the shot because I believe that success in this game is part science (angles, collisions, spin) but also part art as well. Only you can fix the shot based on your own brain’s ability to perceive and sense where it’s going wrong.

I hope that helps!  Please leave comments and rate below!

 

Snooker Success Principles and Shot Selection – Part 3

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I started this topic in a previous blog post because I had a visitor comment about some difficulties he faces over shot selection and execution. Namely,

  1. Taking shots they aren’t 100% committed to.
  2. Consciously missing shots by thinking about missing vs thinking about making.
  3. Being stuck in a rut of not stepping back and analyzing the current situation thoroughly.

You can read those comments and concerns here (scroll to the bottom to see the comments).

In Part 1, I introduced some of the mental “mechanics” that you should think about like shot execution for yourself, vs for a pro and mentioned that practice was the jewel that led to greater consistency and confidence in playing the right shot more often.

In Part 2, I introduced the idea of pressure and how it played a pivotal role in snooker and I gave an example of how I chose to focus instead on shot selection, execution, and my own thoughts rather than getting caught up in the match, the opponent, or the pressure from someone else.

In this blog post, I want to talk a bit more about pressure as I think it’s such an important topic to fully explore. I will then introduce the idea of control and how we can control the pressure we feel and apply.  In Part 4 of this series, I will cover a game plan and system that will give you a map to work with that solves all the issues we commonly face as snooker players.

Let me ask you a question:

Under which of these situations do you feel the most pressure? 

a. It’s the finals of a major tournament, best of 35, and the frames are tied 17-17. Your opponent just scored a 50 break and you are 50-0 down with 51 left on the table (3 reds). All the colors are on their spots. You have a very marginal red tight on the cushion (which you are likely to miss even in practice) to get in and score.  You could pass the shot up for now and play safe.  The other two reds are in more open positions and if you miss the marginal red, it’s likely your opponent will pot one of them.
b.  It’s the finals of a major tournament, best of 35, and the frames are tied 17-17. You just scored 50 and there is 51 left on the table. All the colors are on their spots. There are 3 open reds left but you can’t get to them now as you didn’t play position correctly from the last color.  You have to play a good safety now. The only reasonable safety shot you can play will leave a red on but in marginal position tight on the cushion. Your opponent would only have the marginal red after you have played the safety shot. The other two reds would be easily available if he misses.

Is there a right answer to the above?  Nope. The actual answer is different for everyone. We all see things differently. Some see the cup half full, and others see the cup half empty. Our entire life experience becomes part of our decision making in snooker. We stop and go, defend and attack, based on our survival instincts and feelings. Some like to play offense, and others like to play defense.  Some might choose option a, while others choose option b.

Let’s explore each of the two pressure situations above a bit more.

Option A – You are 50 down with 51 on (3 reds).  There is only a marginal red available at the moment.  If you make it, you can get on the black and the other two reds are easily accessible, but if you miss, you are likely to lose the frame and match.

Let’s say that option a is where you feel the most pressure.  The first problem you encounter is that you know you must score 3 reds, 3 blacks and all the colors to win. The red your opponent has left you, however, isn’t an ideal shot to begin the break but it’s the only offensive shot you have right now. If you make it, you would certainly be on the black, but if you miss – which you are likely to do even on a practice table – you would lose the frame.

The odd thing about this situation is that, regardless of difficulty, most players still take the red on.  Why is that?

  • Some people are only thinking about scoring and see this marginal red as the one they must play.
  • Some people take it on because they feel that the longer they wait, the less chance they have and they just don’t want to miss this (slim) chance.
  • Some people just give it a go because they are suddenly overly optimistic about their own abilities.
  • Some people feel so much pressure that they just want to take the shot on so that they can release themselves of the pressure.
  • Some people underestimate their opponent and feel that the repercussions are not severe enough. 

All of the above reasons are situations under which we will make an attempt at the red even though it’s a low percentage shot.  Regardless of skill, the odds just aren’t in our favor. This current opportunity isn’t one you created, it’s one the opponent has left you.

Is it possible for you to play safe and develop a chance on one of three reds yourself? Let’s think about it a bit more.

What if I was there with you and we could sit down and have a discussion about this situation you face now?  Let’s think it through. Let’s accept that it’s a tough shot under any circumstances and your chance of winning are slim from this red right now.

Let’s consider another option: that you pass this red up for now and play safe. Do you think you can regain control of the table and earn a better shot?  Do you think you have a chance of winning a safety battle and keeping your opponent from scoring on any of the 3 remaining reds? Are the odds a little better? Even though, you face an uphill battle, the odds might be more in your favor if you pass this red up for now.

The proper approach regardless of the pressure you are under is to evaluate the odds and act accordingly. Your primary aim should be to take control and score on your own terms.  That’s the right way to play this game.

I want you to consider two very important things: pressure and control.  In this scenario, pressure is being applied upon you to score, and control is something that has been taken away – at least for now.  The opponent is currently dictating the terms through the use of pressure and control. If you can regain control, however, through the use of a smart safety shot, you might be able to turn the odds around.

Understanding and using control and pressure in your favor is the biggest secret in this game.  If you have control of the table and control over the shots your opponent plays, then the pressure comes off your shoulders and gets transferred to the opponent.  Instead of being under control, you are in control and instead of feeling pressure, you are applying it.

What shot would I play under these circumstances?  Well because I know the pressure is on to score, and I’m not in control, I’m going to pass that red up.  I don’t want to take it on, yet.  I want to take it on when I’m in control or at least regained some control during the frame.  I want to take the pressure off my shoulders, and give it to the opponent.  If, in the next few shots, the opponent plays a bad safety and leaves me that same red, I might take it on.  Why?  Because by applying pressure on my opponent to play a good safety, I’m turning the pressure and control around.  I don’t want my opponent to dictate the terms all the time. I want to have a say as well. It’s an important point to remember. The moment we start taking control away from the opponent, they start feeling pressure and then they start missing. That’s what we want.

Winning in snooker is all about odds. Either they are for you, or against you and it’s the control and pressure that you apply onto your opponent and release from yourself that can often dictate the terms of how a match will end.

Let’s look at option b now.

Option B – You just scored 50 but there is 51 on (3 reds).  You ran out of position and need to play a safety now. One of the reds is easy to play safe from and would leave it essentially out of play tight on the cushion, but still pottable for your opponent. 

Most snooker players would wonder if you should feel any pressure at all here. What are the chances your opponent could score now? If you feel that this is a higher pressure situation, you are probably in fear of losing the frame even though the odds are in your favor. You are thinking about all the situations under which you could lose the frame and in the worst case, that the opponent would make a miraculous clearance.

What you need to understand is that you are in control.  You now dictate the terms and it’s your opponent that will be feeling a lot of pressure to score.  In reality, the odds are completely in your favor.

Often, the fear we feel isn’t based on truthful information.  A common definition of F.E.A.R, is False Evidence Appearing Real.

In this situation, you need to understand that you are removing the pressure on yourself by having scored a 50 break. For every point we score and get into better frame winning positions, we transfer pressure from ourselves onto our opponent.  Pressure gets further applied when we can stay in control of the table by playing a good trap or snooker.

In Summary

I hope the scenarios above have highlighted something important about pressure and control in snooker: either pressure is being applied upon you, or pressure is being applied by you. Either you are in control, or your opponent is in control.

The best situation to be in, undoubtedly, is to always be applying pressure and staying in control. Eventually, it takes its toll on your opponent.

What happens when we STOP feeling pressure? We start potting balls and playing well.  Our cue action becomes more fluid and natural. We stop seeing danger and start seeing opportunity. We get “into the zone” and we start winning.

Pressure and Control are tools that you use.  They are the architects of your success if you know how to use them.

Remember: stay in control and apply pressure either through heavy scoring or good safety play and success becomes more likely! Don’t become a victim of pressure and control, become the master!

In the next and last article in this series, I will bring all of the concepts I have discussed in these first three parts together and talk about a match strategy that will help you win more frames.

Stay tuned!

Snooker Success Principles and Shot Selection – Part 2

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I started this topic in a previous blog post because I had a visitor comment about some difficulties he faces over shot selection and execution. Namely,

  1. Taking shots they aren’t 100% committed to.
  2. Consciously missing shots by thinking about missing vs thinking about making.
  3. Being stuck in a rut of not stepping back and analyzing the current situation thoroughly.

You can read those comments and concerns here (scroll to the bottom to see the comments). In the last post, I started discussing what the right shot was at a given moment and how that would affect your anxiety and stress over making the shot.

The example I used in that discussion was a 3/4 blue with angle to screw into the pink and open the reds.  It’s a shot we see pros take and make all the time.  But what about us?  Should we follow the same routine and take that shot on?  What if we aren’t prepared for the repercussions? Playing the right shot – or what we think is the right shot – is an ongoing discussion every player has in their head.

Even the pros face the same challenge of trying to determine the right shot and when to play it. Sometimes, they pass up a long red to get in and score, and other times, they take it on. Why is that? Are they playing by feel? Some might be yes. Are they playing the score? Yes, perhaps that’s taken into consideration as well. Are they surveying the table to see the risks? Yes, probably that plays a role also. Why do pros take certain shots on?  Do they have a system or method for determining when to play a shot? I don’t have a complete answer quite yet.  Keep reading.

The Use of Pressure

At this point, it’s absolutely essential to bring a new facet into this discussion. Namely the use and application of pressure.  Pressure is an absolutely key ingredient that plays a huge role in all cue sports. Pressure is something we feel when we are behind points, or something the opponent feels when you are in the lead.  Pressure comes from being in a snooker (or hooked as Americans like to say), or needing one to keep the match alive. Pressure turns it’s ugly head when we miss a shot we shouldn’t.  It’s like a kettle ready to boil over.  If we don’t understand pressure and how to use it to our advantage, we end up being a victim of it in match play. Let me elaborate further.

Pressure and the use of pressure is something we create in our heads.  The ball layout, the score, the frames won or lost, the skill level of the opponent.  All of these and more add to how we feel and determines where we focus our thoughts on during a match. If we let the pressure get to us, we lose focus, and then the inevitable happens: we start missing.

It happens to the best of us and the worst of us. Every pro has missed a shot they wouldn’t miss in a hundred tries on a practice table.  Just ask Steve Davis about 1985 when he missed the black. How could he miss a routine shot? Sure it’s probably not routine for us, but for him, surely it’s a shot he can make right? But he missed. Why is that?  Did he not prepare for the shot properly?  Was his alignment off?  When you start missing routine shots in match play, it’s likely that pressure played a major role.

I had an experience recently of playing a match as the defending Champion at my snooker club. Last year, I was the champion and took first prize. I played the tournament again this year as it was the proper thing to do and I enjoyed the challenge. Deep down though, I knew my chances weren’t good as I had recently changed cues and have also done some fairly drastic re-construction of my grip and cue action over the last 6 months.

I won my first 3 matches in the tournament. The first match I won comfortably against a better player. My opponent wasn’t in good enough form himself to bring his top game to the table and I played well enough to win. The second match I hoped to be an easy win but the game didn’t go my way. I expected to win the best of 5 match with a 3-1 or 3-0 win, but I ended up being down 0-2 after the second frame. Fortunately, I had some new mental strategies to rescue myself out the match and eventually win the next 3 frames.

My first thoughts at the interval before starting the 3rd frame was my lack of good cueing and poor focus.  I had made the mistake of starting the match immediately upon entering the doors.  I wanted to see, as an experiment, if I could cue properly without some practice prior to the match.  Some of my m8’s at the club had suggested that practicing before a key match can actually turn against you because you start to discover imperfections that you think about during your match play.  Not practicing before a match, however, turned out to be a mistake and it’s something I didn’t do for the other matches I played.

The second mistake I made was assuming the match would be an easy win. The moment we start to overestimate our own abilities, or underestimate the skill of our opponent, we set ourselves up for a lot of pressure coming our way. What if we can’t cue like we expect?  What if the opponent, knowing you might be the better player, raises his game from within himself, zones in, and takes the lead?  It happens more often than you think. The underdog is a good one to bet on in snooker for the simple fact that the better player gets into their head that they are bound to win.

What ended up happening is that I decided to focus on good cueing, proper shot selection, and keeping the pressure on my opponent with good offense when I was in, and better defense when I didn’t have a shot. I changed my focus away from the poor situation I was in, and placed it instead on the things which I could control: my mechanics and my thoughts. I stopped thinking about losing, and started thinking about winning.

I started saying to myself that if I was going to lose, I was going to lose playing somewhere near my best.  Scoring, making great shots, and winning with a strong offense is the game I have chosen to play over the years and it’s suits me to a T. I can play the defense game but I don’t think it’s how this game is meant to be played anyways. Knowing I could lose any moment, also took some of the pressure off me and I started playing my natural game, free flowing, scoring and winning without getting into a protracted safety battle.

Pressure is the funniest thing.  Someone else, being down 0-2 in a best of 5 might feel so much pressure on winning, that they play worse. Maybe they need to win, or have never won, or have a poor record against the opponent, or maybe all their m8’s are watching and they just can’t lose. Either way, they feel so much pressure that they start shaking in their boots, and then their cueing fails them, and then they miss routines shots, and then the pressure get’s worse and worse and worse.  It’s like a kettle you can’t turn off and every time you miss, you just keep adding more water.

If you let pressure take control, it can have a terrible affect on your game.  Sometimes, when we don’t play well in one match, we carry that poor performance on the next day or the next frame, or onto the next shot. As my m8 often quips, it’s better to play this game like a dog: forgetting what happened 10 seconds ago and just sniffing out the next opportunity. But we aren’t dogs.  Pressure will always play it’s role.  Some people understand it, embrace it, enjoy it, and thrive on the challenge. Others, let it control them, and under pressure, they can’t perform.

If you watch pro-level snooker and listen to the commentary, you might hear Steve Davis say the now famous quote, “Play like it means nothing, when it means everything”.  Many of the commentators also have talked about playing each shot, and forgetting about the frame, the score, the match, the opponent.  Focusing on the shot at hand and playing it to your best ability.  They are all eluding to pressure and how to ignore it.

I’m going to continue this discussion in Part 3 of this series. Specifically, I’m going to talk about 2 things which can turn pressure around in your favor:

  1. A systematic approach to match play
  2. A shot selection system that accounts for your current skill level

Did this blog post help you?  Let me know!  Leave a comment and subscribe!

Read Part 3 of Key Success Principles and Shot Selection

Snooker Success Principles and Shot Selection – Part 1

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I’m starting this blog post in response to a visitor’s comments concerning shot selection and committing to shots they aren’t completely prepared for.  You can see those comments on the previous blog post, A Snooker Player Life Cycle, here (scroll to the bottom to see the comments). The main concerns, the commentor had were:

  1. Taking shots they aren’t 100% committed to.
  2. Consciously missing shots by thinking about missing vs thinking about making.
  3. Being stuck in a rut of not stepping back and analyzing the current situation thoroughly.

I’m going to make an attempt in this blog post to provide a clear answer on how to avoid the problems above. I caution you, however, that if you come here looking for a complete answer, I might not satisfy you.  This topic opens up an entire area of the game concerning shot selection, mental approach, committing to shots and more, and I think it’s going to create just as many new questions as answers!

What is the right shot?

First of all, let’s talk about taking the right shot vs taking the right shot for you.  It’s a good one to discuss.  If we look at how professionals play snooker, and if we tried to emulate their style of play and ball selection, we might think we should do the same. Maybe we should.  After all, if a professional does it, we should too right? Makes sense.  If we follow the same principles they do, we should get the same results if we do it enough times right? Is that how that works? But then should we be following their lead verbatim?  Are we supposed to play the way the pros play?  What if we can’t?  Or should we be doing something different until we reach that level of skill?  Does that even make sense? After all, how do we reach that level if we don’t play the way they do? It’s a conundrum isn’t it.  Which comes first? The chicken or the egg? Can this be solved? Do we play differently until such time that we play like them? Does that happen? I believe I have some of the answers. Read on.

Let’s start with a good example of a shot we have all seen played, and probably tried ourselves. In most cases, when professionals are 3/4 on the blue with an angle to open many reds by potting the blue with pace and screwing into the pink, they usually opt to play that shot. Quite often, they win frames directly as a result and so it’s deemed to be the right shot to play under most circumstances. As far as the pros are concerned, it’s the right shot and they take it on.

There are exceptions of course (like anything else in an individual sport) like Stephen Lee, who isn’t as flamboyant (or courageous or daring) and is well known to pass that shot up. Stephen Lee often opts for a softer cannon into the side of the pack or leaving the pack alone altogether.  Is it fair to say that because he isn’t as aggressive, he hasn’t had the level of success in snooker that most believe he should have had?  I’m not entirely sure I can say as I don’t know Stephen personally nor how his game has changed over the years.  Perhaps he learned a different way to play and has his own reasons for passing that shot up. I can’t say. On a side note, it’s remarkable he doesn’t open the balls up more often, given his tremendous skill at potting and his superb cue action.  Personally, I think with someone of his caliber and superb skill, he should open the balls up much more often.

The important question to ask right now is, “Should we play the same shot under the same circumstances? Is crashing into the pink the right shot for us too?”.  My gut instinct says yes but you need to understand you take more risk than a pro does in playing that shot.

The first and most obvious risk is that you miss the blue all together, and open the reds up for your opponent. That’s a complete disaster. If you can’t reliably pot the blue with pace and screw into the pink, then you shouldn’t be playing that shot at all.  Yes, I’m actually saying it’s the wrong shot for you. I mean, think about it.  What is the point of taking what’s considered the right shot, if you can’t do it yourself?  All you end up doing is frustrating yourself which in turn makes you miss more shots.

The second risk you take in playing that shot like a pro is that you don’t follow up that shot with a frame winning break.  Scattering the reds everywhere serves you no useful purpose in winning the frame if you can’t score heavily enough to win.  So then it’s not the right shot for you either…. or is it?

We are starting to run into a chicken/egg problem again.  If you can’t reliably pot the blue and open the reds, or you can’t consistently win frames with heavy scoring, then how on earth are we supposed to get into frame winning positions?  Is the shot the pros play the right shot just for them and not for us? Should everyone play the same shot, even if they can’t execute and follow up like a pro?

Let me give you a few things to think about.

Firstly, if you decide you want to give yourself the best chance of winning the frame by scoring heavily, and you want to play the shot the ways the pros do, then take the shot on.

In regards to that shot in particular, I want to give you some cautionary guidelines.I’m not a big fan when nearly all the reds are in tight formation under the pink. Under that condition, the black get’s tied up too often. I only think it’s the right shot when you are fairly certain you won’t tie up the black – like when there are only a half dozen or so reds under the pink.

In any event, be prepared for the less desirable circumstances that may occur for you if you still choose to play the shot:

  1. You might miss the blue altogether, open the reds, and lose the frame
  2. You might not score heavily enough and lose the frame
  3. You might not be able to commit to the shot 100% because you understand the repercussions stated above
  4. You might think about missing the blue, and actually miss it

Do the last two above sound familiar?  Yep, that’s exactly what one of my visitors had to say about their own concerns with their current level of play and it’s the reason I started this post.

Is there a path to reducing our anxiety about opening balls off the blue and playing like the pros?  Yep.  It’s called practice.

Practicing shots we aren’t familiar with is the only way of reducing anxiety when in match play. In the meantime, start accepting that if you choose to play shots you aren’t ready for, that you won’t be fully committed, or you might doubt your skill when faced with a tough shot.

Believe me, even the pros hesitate on shots they aren’t familiar with.

Eventually though, they head over to the practice table and work out their own issues with shots they don’t like. Practice is truly the ONLY way we can become more comfortable with shots we have fear over.

Think about fear in other areas of life that you had to overcome – moving jobs, public speaking.  A lot of the time, it’s practice that reduces our anxiety and fear. As we do it more often, we become better at it and eventually, master the challenge instead of having the challenge master us.

Anxiety,stress, fear and all the other mental factors that get a hold on your subconcious are all part of the game.  It’s normal. The pro’s don’t show it, but they feel the same anxiety you do in certain situations. Just not as often!

Anxiety is something we need to embrace and get comfortable with. It teaches us and shows us where we are weakest. As we face our fears, practice on our weak areas, and learn from those ahead of us, we get better. That’s how snooker works. Coincidentally, that’s how life works too.

I’m going to continue this discussion in a future blog post and spend more time on the particulars of practice, coming up with a game plan and system to follow, solving the shot selection dilemna, and overcoming challenges. Subscribe and stay tuned!

Read Part 2 of Key Success Principles and Shot Selection

 

A Snooker Player Life Cycle

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If you want to become a master violin maker, you follow some fairly predictable stages throughout your career:

  1. Beginner Level where you are learning about violin making. Nothing is straightforward and you make a lot of mistakes.
  2. Awkward Level where you can build a violin but it’s not anywhere near perfect and it doesn’t have a world class sound.  You know the fundamentals but there is a lot you need to learn.
  3. Competant Level where you can now build a fairly decent looking and complete violin. It has enough life and personality to be a musical instrument that some musicians may want to buy. You don’t know everything but you know enough to do a decent job.
  4. Master Level where you now can build a world class violin that is highly sought after by musicians of all levels. You have gone through all the trial and error and you now understand the process quite well. You don’t ever stop learning but you know what works and you have some fairly good ideas on what it takes to have success as a violin maker.

I’m showing the typical stages above with a violin because it’s easier to see with something tangible that we can all understand and probably relate to.  I have never built a a violin but I’m sure that 90% of violin makers go through the above stages.  It’s all hard work and years of knowledge, practice, trial and error, learning from others, sharing ideas, experimenting and much more. Getting to the master level takes some real dedication and most violin makers never reach that far.  The few that reach master level do it because they love the work.

Now think about your snooker game.  Can you relate to one of the stages above?  Are you at the Beginner level where you are constantly seeking ideas, advice, experimenting, making mistakes, getting frustrated?  Whatever stage you are at, I can just say “Congratulations!” You are doing what nearly every other snooker player has already done in their career!

Now let me take the above metaphor with violin making and describe the stages above in snooker terms:

  1. Beginner Level where you are learning about snooker and cueing action.  You understand the basic rules of the game and you are trying to become a competent potter and positional player. Nothing is straightforward and you make a lot of mistakes and are very inconsistent.
  2. Awkward Level where you can now make the odd 20/30 break but it’s not anywhere near perfect and it’s certainly not world class positional play. You lose the white ball a lot and you play a series of recovery shots throughout a break.  You know the fundamentals but there is a lot you need to learn.  You probably struggle with staying in position and you all too often miss a black or pink or other ball off the spot.  You think it’s cueing, and it probably is, but it’s other areas of your mechanics and understanding of the game too.
  3. Competant Level where you can now build a fairly decent break in the 40’s and 50’s or higher and you know what it takes to win frames. Your safety play is decent and you can make plenty of balls now.  Your potting ability has matured and you know how to make just about every shot at one time or another. Consistency, however, eludes you. If only you could string 25 shots together (yes, that’s all you need for a century – 12 blacks plus a red and any color higher than yellow) you would make a century! You still don’t know everything about break building and positional play but you know plenty enough to win matches and become a decent player. For some that reach this stage (like me), you start looking at the mental side of the game in this stage because you know it’s a stumbling block.  For others, it’s the cueing or positional play that isn’t perfectly understood and that becomes your stumbling block.
  4. Master Level where you now are a very capable and near complete snooker player.  You have made at least a few centuries and you can now see cueing action imperfections and minutae like a bouncing white or an slightly imperfect cue action – both in yourself and in others. You have gone through all the trial and error and you now understand the process of winning, break building, match play, and practice time very well. You don’t ever stop learning and there are probably a few areas you need to improve but you know what works and you have some fairly good ideas on what it takes to have success as a snooker player.

I would say for myself, I’m at the Competent level right now.  I’m an excellent potter and I can string the odd break together but it’s the mental side now that will likely be my stumbling block. I know what it takes to win but I can’t execute quite yet because I don’t have the level of familiarity needed to be playing at a Master level.  I still lose the white every so often but on balance, I can stay in position if I’m focused and playing well.  My 50 breaks usually consist of mostly blacks and pinks and the odd blue or baulk color.

I’m highlighting the above stages because I think as snooker players, we all get into ruts where we start to hate the game.  We know we need to improve but we don’t know how or where. Maybe it’s the cue?  Maybe it’s the cue action?  We aren’t entirely sure sometimes but we keep trying and experimenting.  For the lucky few, we progress but for most other players, they reach an impasse and never get over it.

It’s common for snooker players to have an ego but for many it gets to their heads and they never progress because they think they know what it takes to win. Even when they are getting beat, they think it’s the table, or the balls or the cue or something else and they never progress. Sometimes, winning is the worst thing that can happen to you because you fail to see the truth about yourself or your game. Maybe the above examples will help you realize the shortcomings in your own game are real and not made up.

So what then do you need to do to get to the Master Level in snooker and become a regular century maker and world class player?  Well, let’s turn the question around and think about what you would tell a violin maker if they asked you the same question. The answer, of course, would always be, “go seek out the best Master violin maker you can find.  See if they will show you the ropes and be your guide. Take a course or hire a teacher if possible. Trust their judgement and advice and learn as much as you can from them.”

If you want to grow from the stage you are at now, it’s almost certain that you need someone to lead you there.  It’s very rare for us to see the shortcomings in our game. The odd video recording of yourself might show you a thing or two but that’s assuming you are able to see yourself and your game in a completely objective manner.

Don’t have someone around that can show you the ropes?  Whatever stage you are at, I’m  happy to be your guide. By watching you on video, or seeing you in person, I can give you a helping hand with your game and help you highlight your shortcomings. Get in touch with me.