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5 Warm-Up Snooker Routines to Get You Focused

Dear snooker practicer,

Do you ever get to the practice table and think, what do I do now to start warming up? Maybe you go straight into serious “practice routines” without really warming up?

In this post, we’ll show you two things:

  • How to get yourself in focus for “proper” practice, and…
  • 5 great warm-up snooker routines you can do in your practice sessions to make your sessions more varied and less “boring” and, more importantly, get you focused for the real stuff!

Are you the type of player who just goes and does line-ups? Are you getting bored with just going there and practicing the same old routines again and again? I bet you are sometimes, right?

Think of these five routines as the starter before the main course. When you go out to dinner, you normally have an appetizer before the main meal, right? Well, these are the appetizers and they’ll get you in the mood for the rest of your practice sessions…Here they are.

  1. Finding the speed of the table (a fun game to start)…

You don’t need a cue for this. This is an exercise you can do when you first get on the practice table. All you need is a snooker ball. Spend at least five/ten minutes (up to you) doing this and you’ll find it’ll help you find the speed of the table and how it runs!

Simply gently roll a snooker ball up and down the table from the baulk line to the black spot and see if you can get the ball to rest on the baulk cushion. If you can – you’ve earnt yourself three points! If it goes past the baulk line – then you’ve earnt two points. If you fail to reach baulk line – 0 points. Anywhere in between and it’s one!

You’re learning:

  • Pace and speed of table…
  1. 2) Pot the Cue Ball from Anywhere…

Now, you may wonder: What’s the point of just aimlessly potting the cue ball into pockets from anywhere? Actually, there’s a lot to it! You’re for one establishing where to line up to get the ball to go into the centre of the pocket! In fact, place the cue ball anywhere in baulk, and try to pot the cue ball into a corner pocket. Do the same thing from the other end and strike the cue ball at different speeds to see what happens! In fact, you’ll find the harder you hit it, the less likely the ball will go in! Also, imagine there’s a ball in front of the cue ball and where you would need to hit the ball in order to pot it! Snooker is a game of memory more than anything!

You’re also testing your:

  1. Eyes and judgement
  2. Cue and pace at which to hit
  3. Cueing Rhythm
  4. Setting up your pre-shot routine so that you do the same thing all the time.  This will get you focused for when you do actually play with two balls!

 

  1. 3) Practice Cueing On the Baulk Line 

This is a simple one and will take literally five mins! In fact, I’d recommend doing this first to get you in the zone. SImply cue up to the baulk line (sideways) and practice running your cue through the line and you can see if your cue is being delivered straight!

What you’re learning:

  1. Straight cueing
  2. Muscle memory
  3. Lining up – Pre-shot routine
  4. Solid bridging

 

  1. 4) Running Cue Ball Along Spots

This has been a practice routine in snooker since the year dot. Just place the cue ball on the brown spot and practice cueing up and down the blue, pink and black spots. It’s a simple cueing exercise but effective as a “warm-up” exercise.

You’ll learn:

  • Smooth cueing and whether you’re imparting any unintentional side on the cue ball.

Alternatively, for a more detailed look at cueing, the Blade Cue Pocket Trainer is a great simple tool for practicing cueing in greater detail. Click here to see SnookerZone’s review of the Pocket Trainer, here and discover straighter cueing starting now…

 

  1. 5) Pot 20 Straight Blues to the Middle Pockets

This is another “warm-up” exercise which you can do to test straight cueing. Simply place the blue on its spot and the cue ball sideways next to it and then, playing top on the ball, simply see if you can pot the blue and follow the cue ball into the same pocket. If you can do this on a regular basis, then it’s a sign that you’re cueing well. Similarly, do this with screwing back and see if you can screw the cue ball back into the opposite pocket. Have a go at it say for 20 go’s and see how many you can score.

All of these exercises are great as warm-ups and also help to get you focused for the rest of your practice session. SnookerZone recommends you pick one/two of these in each practice session and start them as soon as you get on the table. 

Enjoy your snooker…

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Ladies Snooker: Big Breaks Down Under

Three times World Women’s Champion On Yee had also racked the high break of 139 at Mounties

Hong Kong’s top female cueist Ng On Yee claimed the Australian Women’s Open title in Sydney over the weekend. 

The 27-year-old, who had also claimed the UK Women’s Championship a few weeks ago also made an incredible 139 break topping Reanne Evans’s 137 to take the high break of the event.

Evans, 33, who had won the European Women’s Masters in Belgium this season not but a few weeks ago also, notched up three tons during the event, with the 137, a 110, and a 109. The Dudley cueist lost out in the semi-final to Katrina Wan as On Yee defeated Wan 4 – 2 in the final.

Another regular last four player Nutcharut Wongharuthai, also racked a ton on the list with a 115 making the total of six tons made over the event by three players Evans, On Yee and Wong.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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How Many Snooker Cue Action Pauses Should You Have?

Snooker Cue Action Pauses:

Two-time ranking event winner Anthony McGill is back on his Youtube channel teaching fans snooker. 

After a long spell away, he’s now talking about the snooker cue action pauses and how many he recommends you should have – which is three.

He suggests this:

  • One pause before you begin your preliminary feathers
  • One just after you’ve done your preliminary featherings
  • And one pause at the end of your final backswing…(which is essential in SnookerZone’s view!)

Watch what he suggests in the video below and then try it out for yourself and see if it works.

Having a pause/s in your cue action not only helps you to make sure you’re cueing nice and smooth but can also help you to generate a little bit more power if you go through the white after delivery!

 

Missed SnookerZone’s post on how to work out potting angles? Read that post right now by clicking here…

 

 

 

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Bingham’s Rocky Road Ends in Victory at English Open

STUART BINGHAM claimed the 2018 BetVictor English Open (Steve Davis Trophy) down in Crawley last weekend beating 27 years professional Mark Davis in a thrilling final 9 – 7. 

Embed from Getty Images

It was not for the first time both finalists were in their forties as 46-year-old Mark Davis was contesting his first ever ranking final in 27 years as a pro  – and stood up to the test well making a 136 to go 4 – 4.

It was a nip and tuck match as both players were in high scoring mode despite the first four frames of the first session showing signs of nerves. But, as the match progressed, the snooker was one visit snooker. At frame 10 however, Davis, unfortunately, was on to win another frame and feathered the white by accident and gave away a foul to leave Bingham to clear to take the frame 5 – 5. From then on, it was a case of who would break first – and Bingham, at 7 – 7, managed to calmly make an important ton to go 8 – 7 before winning the final frame to claim his fifth ranking title which of course included his famous World Championship win in 2015.

A tearful and emotional Bingham said after it had been a “rocky road” for the past year – with troubles off the table and said it was a relief to be back in the winner’s enclosure.

Davis, who on route to the final had beaten the likes of the class of 92 players Rocket Ronnie O’Sullivan and John Higgins quipped he hoped it wouldn’t be another 27 years before he reached another ranking event final and added if it was it might be a problem!

Bingham’s win means he is into the Champion of Champions next month in Coventry.

The 42-year-old  also pocketed 70K and his second Home Nations trophy win after he won the Welsh Open a couple of seasons ago.

O’Sullivan after the match said Davis was good enough to win a ranking event and was surprised it had taken so long for him to get to a major final.

In Belgium, Davis’s friend and pro tour colleague Jimmy Robertson won his first ranking title in Lommel at the European Masters and Davis was trying to follow in the footsteps of Mark King and Anthony Hamilton all long-standing pros who picked up silverware for the first time in the last couple of seasons.

Embed from Getty Images

 

The International Championship begins in a week’s time with Mark Selby as the defending champion. 

 

 

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How to Work Out Potting Angles FAST: Read On

So, when I first started watching snooker on TV, I heard a lot of jargon which I had no idea what it was about. 

For example, “he’s playing this pink half ball.” Or, “he needs to hit this 3/4 and come back up!”

Have you heard that before? I bet you have, right?

Thing is, to those who are just watching for pleasure, those phrases mean nothing.

But, understanding and learning what they mean is simple and can be done in under five minutes.

And, from then on, being able to recognise them AND understand them on a snooker table and on the TV will be a doddle.

After reading this post, you’ll be able to:

  • Understand what potting angles mean practically
  • Recognize them on a snooker table
  • Spot them on the TV
  • And even be able to even pot some!

Here’s a visual of the most important angles in snooker!

Practice these and you’ll soon be recognizing them all over the table…

Practice potting angles like these using Nic Barrow’s useful Aiming tool starting now – click the image to go to Nic’s member’s area and get your copy of the Aim Frame – Now!

 

Let’s start with the easy one first!

Full ball contact (see image)

This isn’t an angle, but if you imagine two balls locked together, then you get a full ball contact! When you see a dead straight pot, you’re effectively looking at a full ball contact! When aiming, you will be aiming at the centre of the middle point of the object ball!

3/4 Ball Contact (that’s the yellow and red balls in the picture either side of the pink)

When you’re just off straight – and anywhere in between full ball and half ball, you’re going to be hitting the object with the cue ball at ¾ ball contact. The point of contact will be just off the middle as you see the shot. As the angle widens, you’ll end up with half ball…

Half Ball Contact (That’s the brown and black balls in the picture)

Interestingly, you’ll then gradually as the angle widens even more – end up hitting the ball quarter ball! (That’s the red and green balls at the end in the picture)

The Eighth Ball 

This is the final angle of the four and is actually the easiest because any pot where you have to have a thin cut is an eighth ball contact or more…(In the picture, this would be another ball placed next to the quarter ball red and green balls in the picture)

TIPS:

As the angle widens, you are hitting less of the ball, as the angle narrows, you’re hitting more of the ball!

Also, depending on which angle you’re on, the point of contact of the cue ball and object ball doesn’t change, it’s just you’re looking at the point from a different position!

So, there you go! Potting angles understood in minutes!

A LITTLE EXERCISE FOR YOU:

Watch a frame/s of snooker on the TV and see if you can spot which angle the player is on when making a break! Call it out – obviously, TV camera angles can be deceptive but call out a rough estimate of what you think the angle might be!

Enjoy your learning and practicing of potting angles!

SNOOKERZONE

PS: Start learning to aim like a pro and learn potting angles in seconds practicing with Nic Barrow’s amazing Aim Frame and end up making higher breaks and potting more balls! Read the SnookerZone review…

AimFrame

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Watch Ronnie O’Sullivan’s Incredible 15th 147 Here

Ronnie O’Sullivan racked his 15th career 147 down in Crawley yesterday – joining Thepchaiya Un-Nooh as the second maximum of the 2018 English Open.

That makes it the fourth maximum of this season so far.

Watch the drama unfold below…

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Poll: What Snooker Potting/Aiming Aid Would You Buy? Vote Now!

It would be helpful for SnookerZone to find out which of the 3 potting/aiming aid reviews in the Training Zone you would prefer to buy by voting in this short poll which will take 5 seconds of your time.

Simply select from the options in the drop-down in the poll where it says SELECT, click on the one you want…Then click on SUBMIT…

Thanks for your time…

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Watch Thepchaiya Un-Nooh’s Incredible 147 in 2018 English Open Now!

Thailand’s talented Thepchaiya Un-Nooh has racked his second career 147 in this year’s English Open at the K2 Crawley.

His maximum came against Iran’s Soheil Vahedi and is the third of the 2018/19 snooker season following already maximums made by Jamie Jones and Michael Georgiou.

Watch it below on the video…

 

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The Cue and You…

When potting balls…

Only two things matter.

They are:

  • Good aiming, and…
  • Straight cueing

Forget everything else, and just focus on…

  • Getting down onto the line of the shot right
  • And delivering the cue nice and smooth and straight!

In aiming…

Your eyes see two balls. They should visualize where the cue ball needs to hit the object ball in order for it to go where you want it to go! Once your eyes have visualized that, then, as soon as you have,  you should get down on the line you’ve seen and deliver the cue in a straight line on that line of aim.

Forget worrying about where your feet should go, your eyes will take you to the position where your feet will be comfortable.

…if you trust them.

More on aiming now…

We’ll come to cueing in a second. But first. More on aiming.

When your eyes have seen the line, then here’s where getting into position is important! If you watch the top professionals, the walk-in and approach is a simple movement forward without any head/body movement at all as the head/body go down onto the line of the shot and get into position. Try not to move the head/body as any head/body movement – i.e, mainly the head, will make you stray offline!

Watch four-times World Champion John Higgins very closely for a perfect visual of his walk-in and approach. You will see what I mean!

Watch: A simple message from Steve Barton in this video! Keep potting simple…

Learning angles should not be about knowing if a ball is a half ball or 3/4 ball pot.

It should be the memory of recognizing that some shots come up again and again. There is no substitute for playing the same shot over and over again until your brain (eyes) see the shot naturally and have no hesitation to lead your body onto the right line!

There are four main angles on a snooker table, which you can learn using training aids such as Nic Barrow’s Aim Frame.

If you’re interested in the Ghost Ball theory to potting, then pick up Rob Reed’s Ghost Ball Potting Aid, click here…

Now to cueing…

Now that we’ve established the basics of aiming and angles,  JARGON FREE, it’s time to mention the basics of cueing.

We’re not going to go into great detail about grip and other basic parts here (there’s plenty of videos explaining those – SEARCH YOUTUBE) – but the rule of thumb is to have a relaxed grip that doesn’t prevent you from jagging the cue offline, but, at the same time it doesn’t need to be too tight – as you won’t get the freedom to cue how you want.

For more detailed information on grip, SnookerZone also suggests you go and see a  good coach who will show you the basics of these and can then explain one to one and iron out any questions you may have…There are plenty of great coaches around. Check out some top coaches we’ve interviewed so far, (all who will be happy to answer in person any questions you may have,) in the Coaching Zone of SnookerZone, here…

More on Cueing…

Do you ever find that your cue arm feels “loose” and a wee bit “wobbly” when you cue the snooker cue on the backswing? Chances are, that’s because your cue arm elbow is not straight enough in the upright position as possible. What SnookerZone means is the elbow should be as vertical as possible in order for the cue hand grip to deliver it horizontally straight on the line (or as straight as humanly possible).

Imagine this picture in your head. It may seem funny for a minute, but you will have this image in your head when learning to cue…

Imagine a shark swimming in the water with its fin sticking up upright! Yes, Jaws is coming to get you!

Embed from Getty Images

That’s the picture you want of your ideal cue arm!

If your cue elbow is too loose and not rigid enough vertically, then chances are the cue will stray offline! Try it – try tensing up as an exercise and see if your cue delivery improves (with a cue – of course)! This does not mean tensing up the muscles so you’re stiff but simply making sure the elbow is up straight. Yes, they will feel tense at first, but once you start repeating this, it will feel less tense and more natural.

Imagine comparing it to slouching in a chair – your back feels kinda wobbly, right? It’s much better to be sitting upright with the back posture straight than slumped and forming a hunchback! It’s the same when cueing, try to keep the elbow as vertically straight as possible!

One way to test if you’re cueing straight, is to deliver your cue on the baulk line and see if the cue runs along the line of the baulk line: If it doesn’t then you have a cueing issue.

You could, of course, get a more detailed look at cueing with Nic Barrow’s Cue Action Trainer which will help you discover straighter, smoother and better cueing.

Read more about the CAT – now

Hope some of the tips on aiming and cueing in this post help…

Enjoy your snooker!

SnookerZone…

 

 

 

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Last Weekend’s New and Not So New Snooker Winners

Huge congratulations must go to last weekend’s winners in the European Masters for Women and the main tour European Masters in Lommel, Belgium.

Reanne Evans made it back into the winners’ enclosure in the European Masters for women in her first title of the 2018/19 season and on the main tour Jimmy Robertson, 32, scooped his first ranking title to join an elite group of players who have won just one ranking title.

Robertson defeated the Gentleman Joe Perry in a top quality final which saw a minor comeback from Joe Perry after being 7 – 3 down. But it was Robertson who held his nerve to win the match with a century 108 to seal his place in the winners’ enclosure 9 – 6.

Robertson said after the 75K win it had “come out of the blue.”

Winning Much Older

26 players have won just one ranking title as in the last couple of years, Jimmy Robertson has joined the likes of Mark King, a semi-finalist also in Lommel, and Joe Perry and Anthony Hamilton all who have won titles within the last couple of seasons.

Robertson’s win also means he has a place in next month’s Champion of Champions elite 16 man event in Coventry.

Recently, it has been the Class of 92 players in their 40s such as Mark Williams, Ronnie O’Sullivan and John Higgins who have been clearing up at events in the last year but it was great to see a new face enter the winner’s enclosure on Sunday evening.

However, at 32, Robertson’s win still makes it hard for players under the age of 30 to win events.

It seems in snooker those waiting their turn to win a ranking event have to wait until at least their 30s now – or later to win their first!

Robertson will head to the south next for Crawley’s K2 where the English Open will be contested for the first time and Ronnie O’Sullivan will be back in action after his non-ranking win in Shanghai some two weeks ago or so.