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Is Feathering Really Important in Cueing in Snooker?

So, when I first started, there was a BIG question I found myself asking: 

Should I feather or not? And, if so, how many feathers?

There are so many views on what seems a minor issue.

But, it’s actually very IMPORTANT.

Some say have two or three long feathers.

Some say it doesn’t matter if you don’t feather at all.

And if you watch the professionals like Marco Fu, for example, then you’ll notice he has no feathers.

It really depends on what suits you.

However, below is a SIMPLE interesting drill you can do that will help test if you are suited to doing NO feathers at all.

And, it will test your aiming and cueing.

But first…

So far, we’ve found two key aspects of the cueing part of the game that work really well (for us).

They are:

  • The essential pause in delivery on the final backswing.
  • The Addressing (pause) of the cue ball and making sure you are striking where you intend before the final swing. 

However, an interesting drill that SnookerZone developed last weekend was this:

Getting down to the line of aim and delivering the cue with no preliminary featherings! As the blog title suggests, is feathering essential or optional? How many are too many?

If you want to learn about aiming in more detail. Check out Nic Barrow’s Aim Frame below now…

AimFrame

 

As before, If you watch the top players, some feather the cue lots.

German Masters Champion Anthony Hamilton, for example, feathers up lots!

Others do simply what SnookerZone did in a drill – establish the line of aim, get down and deliver…

SnookerZone is not suggesting players should not feather at all, however, on the weekend, our drill was to establish whether we had problems with aiming or cueing.

On analysis after, it seemed whenever a pot was missed – (AND staying down after to assess) most of the time the cue tip was pointing in a straight line on the line of aim selected. That suggests to us that our issues on missed pots were aiming issues and alignment.

HOW MANY FEATHERS?

Whilst feathering can give you a “feel” of how the cue action is developing and whether it may be straight (or not) SnookerZone is not entirely convinced that feathering is necessarily an essential part in ensuring a straight delivery. It’s not about what is wrong, or is right. It’s about what is “right” for that particular individual.

Interestingly, when spending the whole sessions simply selecting the line, confidently getting down on the shot, delivering the cue in just one swing (with a slight pause on the backswing) pot success increased on more difficult pots from medium to long range.

Again, to repeat, SnookerZone is not advocating having any featherings, we’re just saying try this drill for a session (or two) and see if you have an aiming or cueing issue.

If you’ve selected the right line of aim initially, we found that when you deliver the cue in one swing, the cueing takes care of itself! Or 99.999999% of the time it should do! It did with SnookerZone!

In fact, a useful tip is to start practicing from having no featherings, and, slowly introducing featherings into your game and see how many are/is right for you!

Try it yourself and let SnookerZone know what you think…

Enjoy your snooker…

 

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Snooker: Your Eyes Lead, Your Feet Should Follow?

Calling All Coaches: 

Go where the eyes go, NOT where your feet are told to go.

Here at SnookerZone, we’re not just about talking to coaches. We like to try things out and discover things that we have either read about or discovered for ourselves on the table that may or may not work. But, if they do or don’t, we still want to hear from the opinions of coaches.

We don’t all learn the same way and we don’t all see the shot the same way. So, here’s something that SnookerZone tried out last weekend.

Watch: This video below is a typical example of demoing the snooker textbook stance:

 

The Approach

Most coaches tell you to put your right foot on the line either by stepping in from the belly button or by having your right foot on the line already. However, over the weekend, SnookerZone decided to go one step further (no pun intended) and put his right foot outside of the line to the left of the cue ball. Hope that makes sense so far.

It looks awkward on the eyes, (and the hips) but the next step (again no pun intended) was to then bring with the cue down onto the line of the shot. Indeed, this somewhat unusual method/discovery led to a significant improvement in potting and indeed much more confidence in finding the line of the shot on approach. Not to mention “seeing” the shot from using the master eye. In this case, the right eye.

As a student of the game, SnookerZone has always struggled with the approach, as the dogma of knowing where to stand has always been an issue. And, to be honest – approaching from the belly button and then stepping in with the right foot has always felt uncomfortable and unnatural.

One coach, John Bastow, who SnookerZone came across while surfing the net, said this in a blog he wrote on the 10 things he had learned since being a Level 2 coach:

We all may have examples, in my case, the single worst piece of advice I have been given as a right-handed player is to “put your right foot on the line of aim”. Many professionals and coaches say this and whilst it may be a good guide, in my experience, this is not always appropriate. You don’t hit the cue ball with your feet. In my opinion and based on what I have seen through coaching, the only thing that matters is that the stance should ensure that the player is comfortable, well balanced, can stay still on the shot, is sufficiently low to the shot and can push the cue through in a straight line without moving.”

Exactly John. As John says, you don’t pot the ball with your feet, you pot the balls with your eyes. Initially. Then, it’s your body (or cue arm) that follows what your brain (eyes) have seen.

The main point to come from this is that I don’t think it matters where you put your feet. Go where your eyes take you in relation to the shot. Then get down and deliver the cue on the line. Trust your eyes…

Because they are a powerful set of organs!

After a brief email with John, he told me he was releasing a new book near Christmas, which would uncover all about the lines of aim!

Not much has been covered about the approach in snooker – apart from the textbook theory – only Roy Chisholm has attempted to debunk the textbook myth in Snooker Secrets, which you can read the review here in the SnookerZone Training Zone…

SnookerZone wants to know what you think. Leave a comment.