Snooker Coaching – Striking the Ball

In the last two weeks we have looked at both your stance and how to bridge correctly to provide the stability needed for more accurate shots. Now we can expand upon that and look at the procedure for striking the ball.

There are two parts to this, first you need to sight the ball correctly to ensure you form your stance in the right place, then you need to deliver the cue in a smooth and straight line to give yourself the best possible chance of playing the intended shot.

To line up a ball you need to place your leading leg in line with the cue ball and the object ball.  Once in this position it is important to sight the shot and assess the angles required to make it a reality before you get down on the table to play it.

If you are not happy with your angles then begin this process again – never attempt to adjust the angle once already down and in position.

Once you get down to the play the shot you should flick your eyes between the cue ball and object ball to re-assess the angles you have chosen prior to striking the white.  You should then ensure you are looking at the object ball at the moment you strike the cue ball.

The key element in ‘striking the ball’ is to push the cue through in a straight line each time.  This can be practiced by placing the white and blue in line with the centre pockets and then by potting the blue.

Each time you pot the blue your cue action should be over the very centre of one of the middle pockets.  If it is not then you are not cueing straight.

This practice method is also an example of a ‘full ball’ shot.  An example of a ‘half ball’ shot would be to practice this by placing the white at a 45 degree angle to the blue on its spot.  To achieve the pot in this case, the white needs to hit exactly half of the blue ball.

Different shot speeds are achieved from varying the distance the cue is brought back immediately before the white is struck.  For soft shots the cue hand only needs to be brought back a small distance prior to striking the white.

Harder shots that require the white to travel or settle further mean the cue hand needs to be brought back a greater distance.  To practice this, place a red just above the black and at a lower angle to the white.

Practice potting the red from the same position twice, first playing for the black as the next colour and then for the blue.  The shots are the same but will require different speeds for the white to settle on the designated colour.

As the speed of the shot increases so does the likelihood of missing the shot, therefore slower shots give the ball a greater accuracy and more chance of the ball going into the pocket, however if the shot is missed it is probably going to remain close enough to the pocket for the opponent to pot.

You may have heard commentators talking about the ‘timing’ of the shot. This relates to the fact that a good cue action would be one that accelerates through the action and is still accelerating as the cue pushes through the cue ball. This results in the cue remaining in contact with the cue ball for a split second longer which leads to greater accuracy and more reaction when playing with spin.

Please Note: A video for this tutorial is available to Snooker Guide members

Main Learning Points:

  • Ensure your leading leg is in line with the shot
  • Deliver the cue in a straight line
  • Bring cue back further to increase shot speed
  • Try and time the shot to accelerate through the cue ball

About Snooker Guide:

Snooker Guide is an online video snooker coaching program developed in conjunction with professional snooker player Daniel Wells. Featuring over 50 minutes of video tuition plus many written lessons and features it is a complete beginners course suitable for anyone struggling to make breaks over 40 on a regular basis.

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