Why is snooker so hard?

January 19, 2017 12:44 3 Comments

Snooker Balls

Quick update from last week, I still haven't made a 50 break!

Before I get into the nitty gritty of this weeks newsletter I just wanted to say thank you for the replies that I received after last Wednesdays email and blog confession about my lack of snooker ability.

It seems that it resonated with a great number of you. You either felt the same pain as me or were a far better player that was not offering any judgement, only advice. Some of that advice and encouragement I will try and comile into a future newsletter.

One of the coolest things I found is that one of you guys is a fully qualified snooker coach, I will be speaking with this person to see if we can offer some group coaching to the rest of you.

Why is snooker so hard?

Professional players like Ronnie O'Sullivan, John Higgins and Mark Selby make the game look so easy on TV. When they are on fire the game looks effortless. We all know that is so far from the truth so why is the game so hard?

Snooker combines a lot of brain power with some fine motor skills in order to complete the desired action every time.

It is about judging angles, pace, spin and the bounce off a cushion. There are so many things going on at once that we often forget. We forget that we are processing this information for every single shot. It is no surprise when slight things go wrong, or more than slight in my case!

If you add in the pressure of league play, tournaments or simply not wanting to lose face in front of your friends you have yet another dynamic. Something else that can make those fine motor skills go wrong.

Any cue game can be difficult if you are a complete beginner but snooker is the pinnacle in terms of difficulty, everyone watches it on TV, everyone aspires to play like the best.

The size of the table compared to a pool table doesn't help make it any easier. In fact with that amount of distance to move a cue ball getting position is often hard, Ronnie O'Sullivan says that he doesn't play for an exact ball but an area to give him a chance [break building part starts at about 12:20 in].

Maybe that is the key, maybe as amateur players we try too hard to be exact, we try too hard to get perfect position each time. Possibly if we took a step back and looked at getting the cueball into an area then we may find that the higher breaks start coming. This is certainly a mindset I am going to be trying over the next few weeks.

The size of a snooker table also makes it hard in terms of the biomechanics of playing the game, solid fundamentals are required. Stance, grip, striking the cue ball, follow through and of course keeping your head still are all going to contribute.

There are two areas of the fundamentals I am working on currently, that is keeping my head still throughout the shot and also trying to shoot loose. What I mean by this is relaxed in the shoulder, elbow and in the grip. Holding the cue too tight can add unwanted movement through a shot so try and relax the hand a bit. Tension will make you miss balls - I know this from lots of experience!

Ultimately I sell snooker and pool products, but there is not a single product on the market that is going to help you with the fundamentals, that is all down to you. So, off you go and practice.

A charity challenge

This year not only am I trying to get my first 50 break but I am also going to be raising money for charity. 

The first charity challenge I am taking part in is the 106km round Isle of Wight walking challenge. I aim to do this in around 30 hours(ish!). I have opted for Macmillan Cancer Support as my chosen charity as my father has been suffering now for two years with this terrible disease.

I realise that the majority of you do not know me personally but I thought I would just ask if you could help contribute towards my fundraising target of £500 [link to a Just Giving page] for this walk. Any donation large or small really does help a fantastic charity helping and supporting a lot of families deal with the shock and pain of such a terrible disease.

If you are enjoying these articles please let me know, if you have any helpful tips or advice on snooker or pool please let me know. Those that responded previously know that I always send a reply back.

In the meantime enjoy your trials on the table.

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