How to Win in Snooker
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:
- Your opponent has no chance of scoring
- Your opponent can’t snooker you or play safe
- 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:
- You become skilled in moving the cue ball into various positions
- You know how to play cannons and kisses
- You know how to clear the colors at the end of the frame
- You aren’t scared of taking chances and scoring heavily
- 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:
- Lack cue ball control
- Lack potting ability
- Have poor ball selection
- Have poor mechanics
- 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:
- Clear the colors from a ball in hand position
- Learn how to go from black to yellow from different cue ball positions
- Learn how to go from pink to yellow from different cue ball positions
- Learn how to go from blue to yellow from different cue ball positions
- Clear 3 reds, 3 black balls and all the colors
- Clear 5 reds, 5 black balls and all the colors
- Clear 7 reds, 7 black balls and all the colors
- 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
- 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
- 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”.
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