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Snooker first sport back on our TV screens in June…

Live professional sport…

Has been away from fans’ screens for two months now.

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It was early March, the last time we saw Judd Trump as he won his record sixth ranking event of the season – and lifted the Gibraltar Open trophy behind closed doors in the final.

 

But, in a bid to slowly get the country back to some kind of normality, snooker will be the first professional sport to be back on TV screens in June -whilst others are struggling to work out how to.

Amid the chaos of lockdown and the postponement of the World Snooker Championships in April/May, fans have had to suffer repeats of classic sport to keep them sane for the last few weeks.

The BBC showcased two weeks of Crucible Snooker Classics in April-cum-May.

ShaunMurphy
Professionals have been able to practice in their clubs recently, while most are closed to the general public…

But in June from the 1 – 11, thanks to Barry Hearn and co, snooker is making history as being the first sport to return, despite there still being queries over whether schools will re-open and what will happen with the coronavirus pandemic and a potential second spike in cases.

The winner of the new Championship League event will pocket 30K and fans will get to see the likes of Judd Trump and Neil Robertson in action once again.

It won’t all be like it was before though.

Although ITV4 will showcase the 64 person Championship League tournament with players being invited to compete in the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes, fans will not be able to attend.

Like Gibraltar was, for a part, it will ALL be behind closed doors.

And, presenters like Jill Douglas and co will be working remotely and not in a TV studio. Messrs David Hendon and the commentary team will be at the venue.

Everyone will be tested and will isolate before the show starts. There will be the recommended social distancing measures in place as well.

The format…

RayReardon
Can you feel the buzz? Having players lift a trophy behind closed doors does not have the same feeling when there’s no audience?

Championship League will be split into three phases, with all matches during all stages played as the best-of-four frames. Play will begin at 3pm each day, running continuously until both groups are complete, with the exception of Friday, June 5th when play will begin at 4pm.

• GROUP MATCHES from June 1st to 8th will feature 16 groups of four players, with two groups played each day across two tables. The player who tops each group table will progress to Phase Two. Players will be awarded three points for a win and one point for a drawn match.

• GROUP WINNERS from June 9th to 10th sees the 16 group winners split into four further groups of four, with two groups per day also played over two tables.

• TOURNAMENT FINALS from June 11th will see the four Phase Two winners battle it out over one final group, played on one table, to determine the Championship League winner.

Boss Barry Hearn said: “We will be the first major sport to get back to live televised action. That’s not by chance, it’s because of the hard work and preparation we have done during the lockdown to make sure we are ready to get going again as soon as it is legal.”

He added: “During the challenging times of the past few weeks, we have examined the opportunities which still exist, and worked relentlessly towards the goal of getting our tour going again. While most other sports remain sidelined, we are ready to return from June 1st. This sends out a message to the sporting world that snooker is at the forefront of innovation.”

Some fans have welcomed the move, whilst others are skeptical of the timing.

One fan said on the Snooker Fans Facebook page: “I’m a huge snooker fan, but I can’t get to grips with this event in June. My gut is saying it’s wrong.”

Another fan commented: “Maybe it’s a trial to see what the World’s would be like in the quarantined format.”

Barry Hearn is seeking to put on the World Championships at the Crucible on in July, subject to what happens in the next few weeks regarding the pandemic and the lockdown.

There is still a potential of a second spike in cases, and the current lockdown measures are conditional to the R rate not going above 1.

One thing for sure, for a while, professional sport will not have the same buzz as it used to before the Covid-19 pandemic took a hold…

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How does this snooker phenomenon keep doing it?

Ronnie O’Sullivan…

Is to snooker what Elvis is to music.

Snooker fans will wonder which Ronnie will turn up when snooker can restart again once the Pandemic has calmed down…

Whether you love him, hate him, or are indifferent, the likelihood is you will have heard of him. The sport is not renowned for its high-profile superstars or personalities, but the one man that does fit this mould is ‘The Rocket’ himself. He shot onto the scene at an early age (17) and has been entertaining us with his rock-and-roll style ever since.

Ronnie the Record-breaker…

He is still going strong at the ripe old age of 44 and although he plays fewer tournaments than he once did, he still exudes the same brand of high-octane snooker. How does he do it? And how long can we realistically expect him to do it?

Most sports people have a limited shelf life.

Watch a previous interview with Ronnie about being the best.

Career spirals…

Towards the mid to late thirties, early forties, most professionals duck out or give way to the next wave of players. If they continue, then their ranking tends to slip and you will see previously top ten ranked competitors scrapping their way through qualification to the big tournaments. This is not the case with Ronnie.

A Maverick…

At 44, he is still ranked in the top-ten and is still picking up silverware regularly. As a maverick character, a lot of Ronnie’s success depends on how he feels and what mindset he is in when he is competing. There were always questions about how far he could go, as it was apparent he had the unique talent the game has ever seen, but also a temperamental side and a tendency to lose focus..

Which Ronnie will turn up when the snooker restarts?

Ronnie O’Sullivan is like a Tiger. Hungry and on the prowl for more wins to win 37 ranking titles. Photo by Stone Wang on Unsplash

For all the questions on mental approach we still find Ronnie one of the most talked-about players in the game, one of the most successful and still the biggest draw to fans around the world. He is still at the top and deserves all the credit he gets.

How does he keep the hunger and passion for the sport and how can someone maintain the standards he does, for as long as he has? Experts in SBO wonder if he will continue breaking records?

Ronnie has channeled his obsessions for the greater good…

It is well known that Ronnie is a keen runner and is obsessive about keeping fit in his free time. He has, by his own admission, an addictive personality and has found that channeling this into something beneficial for the body has complemented his game and improved his quality of life.

Ronnie’s book Running explains the theory behind the passion…

Food for thought…

Another important part of the Rocket’s preparation is his diet. In 2017 he met Rhiannon Lambert, a nutritionist and diet expert and, since then, she has helped him revolutionize his diet and totally overturn his old eating habits. He is now carefully planning his meals in order to get the most energy and nutrition available. He has not only changed what he eats but how often he eats. Everything is planned, right down to the quantity. He swears by his diet and claims that his recent resurgence in form and success is down to this. The diet has re-energized him as a player.

Ronnie is still hungry for more at 44…

Mentally, Ronnie is still hungry and said himself that if he still has a chance of winning tournaments, he could continue for 5, 10 or even 15 years. It remains to be seen for how long he can pose a threat, but for now he is looking as strong as ever. If he remains fit and healthy and keeps a positive state of mind, then it will take skill and effort for any opponents to move him out of the way.

If Ronnie can get his diet in order, then so can you. This book has simple and easy to do recipes for those eager to get their diet in order. Pick up a copy and try some now…

How long will the Prince of snooker Judd Trump rule?

Judd Trump

The new generation are coming through strongly and the mercurial form of the Ronnie-esque Judd Trump is providing the biggest challenge. The likes of the ever-consistent Neil Robertson and the intelligent and determined Mark Selby will pose a challenge and the busy schedule of tournaments always throws up various obstacles. Ronnie has been playing a limited number of tournaments of late, although he is toying with the idea of playing more.

When the season restarts it remains to be seen which Ronnie we see, but be sure of one thing, he will entertain us, it will take something special to topple the king!

>>This is a sponsored post by Florence Marceau<<

 

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Snooker poem: We miss…

A poem…

Can often say so much about how someone is feeling in a certain situation.

And for SnookerZone, he thought he’d pen this short poem to highlight what he misses about snooker and try to connect you with those feelings.

Let us know what makes you miss snooker so much? Leave a comment below after you’ve read the poem…

We miss: By Chris Gaynor…

snooker

We miss the sound of the balls thundering in the pockets…

We miss the sound of voices echoing around.

We miss the sight of our opponent missing the pot and sighing and making a sound…

!Why did I miss,” he shouts?

We miss watching the Rocket…

We miss the rattle of the drinks glasses at lunchtime, or the sizzle of the sausages cooking in the frying pan.

We miss the sight of seeing the scores go up and up – yeah, it’s 100.

We miss the clap of that one person who utters, “good shot mate.”

We miss, we miss…

We miss being able to shake hands with our mates.

We miss being able to impress those female dates.

We miss being able to bang the cue down on the floor,

We miss the desperation of leaving and then desperately wanting to come back for more…

We miss, we miss…

We miss those special moments of laughter, tears, and joy.

We miss the joy of playing with our little girl or wee boy…

We miss being able to tap the table in appreciation.

And we miss banging our knuckles in desperation.

But most of all, we miss to miss…

We miss chatting to the staff guy who works hard for free table time

We miss asking him if he’d like a frame.

We miss knocking in a belter down the rail

And hearing that guy kick up a stink on another table.

We miss feeling the way we used to…

We miss parking the car and getting that snooker feeling meeting you know who…

But most of all, we miss to miss…

We miss the smell of rotten tobacco outside in the bins…

Nah We don’t really.

But we miss watching the others light up outside,

Trying to de-stress from the pressures of missing,

As we miss having our own intervals…

We miss to miss…

We miss running our hands over the rough cloth,

Or swatting that pesky Moth,

We miss seeing the lampshade flicker,

telling us it’s time for dinner…

But most of all

We miss, to miss…

We miss meeting up with coach, who tells us we’re doing OK,

And we miss when he gives us a big confidence boost and then likes to say…

Here’s your homework to do for next session, enjoy…

We miss time flying,

We miss working on those new routines and stressing about too hard trying…

But most of all,

We miss, to miss…

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Snooker and reopening…

Snooker chiefs and MPs will discuss the next steps for moving forward with reopening next week.

The All-Party Parliamentary Group for snooker have informed the Sports Minister on how the sport’s governing body the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA) have been preparing to bring the sport back when “conditional” lockdown restrictions ease further in the next few weeks/months.

Practicing snooker in clubs has been non-existent for almost eight weeks now as players not lucky enough to have tables have been practicing home snooker on kitchen or dining tables…

The cross-party group have sent the key documentation over to Oliver Dowden as the government seek to try to get key sports like snooker back on when it’s safe to do so.

It comes as there have been hints that there could be a return for the Premier League football behind closed doors in June – although; the hint is conditional depending on how the second phase of the government’s eased lockdown restrictions develop over the next few weeks.

And World Snooker Tour Boss Barry Hearn has been hoping for a return to snooker in July/August as the April/May World Championships were postponed due to a partial shutdown of the economy.

Speaking on the excellent work the WPBSA is doing behind the scenes, Karl McCartney MP said: “Snooker is a huge global sport, particularly in China.  As a global governing body, the WPBSA was therefore necessarily ahead of many national NGBs and had already seen the impact of the restrictions imposed.”

He added: “The APPG has been in regular contact with the WPBSA and has received its excellent guidance documentation for snooker to return as soon as specific restrictions are lifted.  I have sent that draft guidance today to the Sports Minister so he is aware and will, hopefully, ensure snooker as a playable sport will be able to return swiftly.”

Next week, directors and the APPG will hook up to discuss ways forward and responses to current circumstances.

McCartney added, “At times like this, you see the best in people.  Snooker is more than just a sport; it is hugely important for people of all ages throughout the UK.  I have seen how hard the staff at WPBSA have been working to ensure the sport of snooker is in a position to return as soon as possible.  They should be congratulated on their response.”

Professionals can now return to work, providing it’s safe to do so…

Professionals on the World Snooker Tour will be allowed to return to their clubs to practice, provided they social distance, and the club owners have strict cleaning and sanitation arrangements, according to the WPBSA.

The rest will be unable to return, for now.

The message reads: “The place of work of a professional snooker player is not only at events. It is also where their practice table is based for training purposes. It is essential that players have access to training facilities before returning to professional tournament play.

Snooker is no different to other professional sports and professional snooker players are no different to other athletes in this respect. Return to professional competition or approved online activity is essential for professional players to earn a living.”

Lockdown “survival” measures for businesses such as snooker clubs…

Currently, clubs across the UK are closed as the government has entered the second phase of easing restrictions on tough lockdown measures, but on Sunday Boris Johnson announced his “conditional” road map for the next few months ahead with a gradual easing in place over the months of May, June, and July.

Some outside sports have started.

The May measures included people being able to go out for “unlimited exercise” and being able to play some outdoor sports such as golf, tennis, and fishing whilst social distancing.

However, the WPBSA has been working hard under their 147 Club scheme in partnership with some snooker clubs to keep ahead so they can have a smooth reopening.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s Job Retention Scheme has been snapped up by an overwhelming 7 million…

Clubs, such as the Cue Ball Derby have also been making use of some of the measures introduced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak, who, at the start of lockdown a few weeks ago announced a major Job Retention Scheme so that employees wouldn’t lose all their wages or employment.

The government announced they would supplement 80% of employees’ income. They have extended that to September/October with the caveat that businesses share the cost.

Some snooker players have adapted to the way they practice during the lockdown…

Across the land, snooker players of all abilities have been practicing on home tables, or, those not lucky enough to have a table, have been finding innovative ways to keep their cue arm going whilst in lockdown.

 

 

 

 

 

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Get a Daily Fix of Snooker from Matchroom – FREE…

Sign up for FREE and see some of snooker’s greatest moments ALL in one place and re-live those cherished memories INSTANTLY anytime, anywhere…

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you can now re-live some snooker memories from Matchroom including some of Judd Trump’s greatest achievements…

Snooker fans can now get their fix of some great past snooker by signing up for free at Matchroom Live (a new streaming service) designed to give fans a dose of their favorite sporting moments all in one place.

Choose from darts, pool, snooker, and more…

Ideal for those who are craving a quick fix of snooker in the lockdown.

Snooker memories are forever treasured by fans and it’s also a chance for those new to the sport to experience those cherished moments again and again.

Re-live Ronnie O’Sullivan’s 147 break in 1997 of 5 mins 20 seconds (then revised to 5 mins 8 seconds)…

Re-live the Mark Williams v Stephen Hendry Masters final moments from 1998…

Or, re-live the Williams v John Parrott final of German Masters…

And more…

As well as re-living some of those great memories, fans can gain access to a range of other content including the World Snooker Tour’s Baize Watch and also some interviews from players and some views on the current state of the tour. More content will follow.

Get your fix here free…

Did you watch the BBC’s Crucible Classics?

In the last couple of weeks, the BBC played host to 17 days of Crucible classic memories which were snippets of past glories from the likes of Stephen Hendry, Steve Davis and Dennis Taylor, as well some more modern memories from Judd Trump and Ronnie O’Sullivan.

It kept some snooker fans satisfied that they hadn’t been forgotten.

The Crucible Classics programme was due to the postponement of the 2020 Betfred World Championship, due to Covid-19. Although, fans could watch a virtual World Championship snooker final between a virtual John Higgins and Mark Selby, with 7 titles between them.

Barry Hearn, the boss of WST is hoping there will be a proper World Championship in July/August, although there is no definite quite yet.

It was the first virtual title for Selby

WATCH the virtual drama and how it unfolded below now…

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How snooker has evolved since Joe Davis and the 1960s…

Joe Davis was the Mr Snooker of the 1960s…

Joe Davis
Joe Davis was the player who made the first TV century break in 62.

He was the pioneer of snooker technique and all facets of the game. He could pot balls. In fact, he was the first player to make a TV century in 1962. He also could play very good safety.

In fact, Joe’s TV century was one of SnookerZone’s very early memories of snooker. He remembers it well. Watching Joe’s ton on a VHS video called Snooker’s Century Breakers. The greatest hits of some of snooker’s top tons. Joe Davis’s brother Fred, also appears on the video, described as the “grand old man.”

Before the snooker boom, there was a game called billiards. Joe was good at that too. But billiards was not a great spectacle for TV, so snooker became the go-to viewing for cue sports fans. The 70s brought it to the fore with a tournament called Pot Black. The boom had begun

The game has evolved a lot since the 1970s when it first became a craze. Everyone was going snooker loopy. Clubs were opening in their droves. Players were becoming huge celebrities. The World Championships then became televised in full at the Crucible Theatre, Sheffield in 1977. Snooker was in a boom.

[bctt tweet=”Here, I will explain how playing snooker has developed since the 1960s. This includes:” username=”@chrisgaynor2″]

 

  • How the safety and tactical game has evolved

 

  • How the potting aspect of snooker has evolved

 

  • And a brief explanation on how basic snooker technique (mainly stance) has evolved.

 

Snooker in the 1970s – Safety and tactical play…

Although the aesthetics of snooker have not changed at all, the way the game is played has.

Safety and tactical play have evolved a little since the 1970s.

Former Six-times World Champion Ray Reardon understood the safety. He realized you could make opponents make mistakes. Through those mistakes, players like Ray could then open up the game and score more.

Through the era of the 70s/80s, the game continued in this vein. Safety was the bread and butter of a top snooker player’s diet. To be able to play good safety, you needed to get your opponent in big trouble. And then take your chance when you got it!

You achieve this by leaving the cue ball on the baulk cushion in a difficult spot, so your opponent can’t pot a ball! And then, leave you in.

 

How making very big breaks to win in one single visit has overtaken safety duels in the modern era…

Fast forward now, and there has been developments. What has evolved now is players’ and their long potting skills have become much better. Players are going for their shots more. The balls are being opened up much earlier so that players can win the frame quicker.

JuddTrump
Judd Trump has become the Mr snooker of the 2020s. A great potter and break-builder and can also play some top tactical snooker. He realized the key to success was having a good all-around game.

 

Top players like Judd Trump enjoy forging their own chances to win frames. But he also learned the art of great tactical play and shrewd safety.

The first player to put this idea into action was the young Stephen Hendry in the 1990s. Hendry was the youngest player to win the World Championships at 21. His way of playing aggressive snooker changed the face of the game. He was keen to open up the balls as early as possible and then win the frame.

Stephen Hendry was the player who went for the attack in frames. Got the balls open early so the frame could be won in one visit…

 

Safety and tactical play were not on his radar. He could play it, but he didn’t enjoy it.

The Modern Century Breakers: Watch Joe Davis’s first TV ton below…

Yesterday’s players could make century breaks. But only 8 centuries were recorded at the 1977 World Championships, though.

Now, after the 2019 World Championships, a record 100 centuries were made, beating the record of 86. This shows how potting and break-building has overtaken the importance of safety in the modern game.

World Champion Judd Trump made no less than 14 tons in the World Snooker Championships 2019. That’s just over double made in 1977!

NEILR_001
Robertson was the first player to break the century of centuries by making 103 in one one season. Only Judd has come near to that this season (despite the season hanging in the balance over Corona Virus.)

 

Neil Robertson of Australia is the only player so far to make over 100 tons in a season with 103.

Since the 1970s, there have been lots of great safety players who are terrific potters as well. These include names such as…

 

  • Welshman Ray Reardon

 

  • Welshman Mark Williams

 

  • Scotsman Alan McManus

 

  • Scotsman John Higgins

 

  • Englishman Ronnie O’Sullivan.

 

Ray Reardon was one teacher to the modern greats such as Ronnie O’Sullivan at safety and tactical play.

How snooker technique has evolved since Joe Davis…

We return now to Joe Davis and the final part of this article. Technique. Joe Davis even wrote his own books, and the most popular one is How I Play Snooker.

The book is the starting point for learning how to play snooker. Players such as Steve Davis swore by it, calling it the bible of snooker books.

Joe had a very textbook technique. Some today call it old-fashioned, but it is the foundation for playing the game. So, let’s go over the basics now.

Joe Davis’s Stance

Joe’s starting position was having a very short walk-in to the shot. Almost standing right behind it. He then placed his right leg onto the line of aim and got down with his left leg bent forward to the table. His right leg in front with a straight right leg. Joe also wanted to have his chin right down on the cue.

Nowadays, some coaches say that having the chin on the cue is NOT all that important. What is important, when delivering the shot, is you must keep dead still on the shot, with NO head movement at all. That’s still the philosophy now.

The modern snooker stance…

The modern player stands different. Most players stand square on to the shot, have a much longer walk-in to the shot (like Neil Robertson for example). They get down with a less straight bent right or left leg. It depends on how tall you are, but there is no right or wrong stance. Kyren Wilson, for example, bends both knees on the shot.

As long as your stance is comfortable and helps you deliver the cue in a straight line, then it’s fine. You will need to test your stance in practice.

Wrapping Up…

So, there you go! This article has explained how some key aspects of the game that have evolved since its early boom in the 1970s.

The game is now global. And there are more coaches around who can show you the basics and get you to improve your game so you can enjoy it more.

Find a coach and get playing.- see some great coaches here…

And most of all, enjoy it!

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How to get the most out of your home practice…

SnookerGym coach Nic Barrow has created the first in a series of videos on home snooker training.

It’s designed to guide players through this very unusual and unprecedented time in 2020 with the COVID 19 outbreak.

CAT
Snooker clubs maybe closed for now, but Nic Barrow is still open for business as he helps people with home training for snooker…

Due to the dangers of COVID 19, the British public have been instructed by the British government to “stay in their homes” and only go out to shop infrequently for essential items such as food, or to take one daily exercise per day or to seek medical help if needed.

But, with ALL non-essential shops closed, and sports clubs, bars, pubs, theatres closed, there is still much you can do to utilize the time if your passion is snooker.

Here’s just some things you can do if you are not one of those lucky ones to be able to have a full-size table at home!:

  • Watch as many videos as you can on snooker matches and analyze…
  • Set up your own cueing space each day and practice your cueing. (It doesn’t have to be long sessions. Even do it for 15 mins in the morning, and afternoon.)
  • Purchase a training aid like the CAT or something else and practice your straight cueing.
  • And watch videos like Nic Barrow’s for advice on how to get the best out of your home training, whilst going through this difficult time.
CAT
The CAT can be a good home training device for snooker in these long weeks of lockdown…

Check the CAT out here

Watch the first in the series of Nic’s videos on home training, below, now…

SnookerZone would also say that this time can be really important as a way of reassessing everything. Not just snooker.

Think about your mental attitude and how you are coping with the COVID 19 outbreak. Are you treating it as a problem that you can overcome?

Meditation for half an hour is a very useful way to channel your energy into feeling more positive and refreshed about the current situation. Imagine you are faced with a difficult pot in snooker. How would you overcome fear?

Film your technique from all angles…

You can also do some filming of yourself from different angles by using an inexpensive camera tripod, an iPhone and a coaching app such as Coach’s Eye. Watch our video as we illustrate the type of angles you can film yourself from.

 

All that remains to be said is stay safe, stay at home. Protect the NHS. Save lives. 

See you on the other side…

SnookerZone

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New coming up on SnookerZone in 2020…

Fresh from the Christmas break and going into the New Year, it’s going to be an exciting 2020 for SnookerZone. 

We’re going to briefly let you know what’s coming up in early 2020, review wise.

Before Christmas, we managed to get hold of a special training aid from Nic Barrow on loan to review for the site.

The Cue Action Trainer will be SnookerZone’s first big review of 2020. 

This device is so much more than just a cueing aid. We’ve had it for a week now and have been practicing with it on the kitchen side, but there is a lot more for us to report over the next five to six weeks that we have access to it very kindly from Nic.

CAT
More than just a cueing aid: Nic Barrow’s Cue Action Trainer

We’ll be charting our cueing progress with the CAT and also recording two videos with it illustrating the power of this training aid.

Already, even just by practicing on the kitchen table we’ve noticed 7 advantages and benefits of the CAT in action.

CAT
The CAT has 7 useful benefits to work on your game at home or away…

7 Initial Benefits of using the Cue Action Trainer

They are:

  1. The CAT gives you a proper feeling of a straight action rather than just a “look” of a straight action. When it comes to your eyes, they can be very deceptive about what looks straight, as well as what feels straight.
  2. This training device allows you to get down on the line of aim better and teaches you the importance of getting the cue down first onto the line and NOT your body first! Remember, CUE FIRST, THEN BODY. The CAT helps to shape your body around the cue.
  3. The CAT forces you to commit to a line of aim and then it’s simply a case of cueing practice to ensure that you deliver the cue straight along that line selected by the CAT.
  4. One of the technical advantages of the CAT since practicing for the first week with it away from a snooker table is it allows you to feel how loose or tight you are holding the grip on the cue. Because the CAT legs are so sensitive, any tight grip will mean the cue pulls offline when using the CAT for practice!
  5. In one of the videos that come with the product, Nic Barrow talks about “stopping and checking” for instant feedback. This allows you to observe what is happening with the cue and allows you to correct errors. When SnookerZone was practicing with the CAT during the Christmas week on the kitchen side, we noticed our cueing had a tendency to arch to the left, meaning we’d be imparting left-hand side on the cue ball. The CAT has so far ensured we are more to what seems to be the right. CENTER.
  6. The CAT also helps you discover your ideal stance position. By getting down and moving your body around, you can discover what stance is best for you, and the most comfortable. It will also ensure you’re not crowding the cue with your chest and hips. Testing is key here!
  7. The CAT helps to focus your mind on your technique on these aspects! 100% concentration and focus are needed when you’re using this device! It really is a workout in every aspect.

So, the big question, will it help you pot more balls? Well, that’s a question that SnookerZone will come back to in around six weeks’ time. We’ll let you know the final verdict.

CAT
Nic demoing the benefits of the CAT

Over the weeks, we’ll be giving mini-updates on progress! So stay tuned.

We played a match with a snooker friend over the weekend, and, the results of just a week were positive in terms of a much smoother awareness of what we were doing with our cue and our technique.

INITIAL TIP When using the CAT.

When you’ve finished using the CAT in a session, try to implement what you’ve learned straight away on the table. Test, test, and test some more when it comes to your mechanics. The CAT will help you understand your mechanical set-up much faster. Remember, the cue is first, your body is second.

All that remains to be said for now is we hope you all have a Happy New Year, and we’ll see you on the other side in 2020!

Many thanks. 

From Chris Gaynor at SnookerZone. 

PS: Take your cueing to the next level in 2020 by reserving your CAT now. Nic Barrow has 37 on offer for March delivery so…

Reserve yours now

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Snooker’s top 10 money earners ending 2019

So, as 2019 ends, who has landed in the top 10 on the money list during what has been a fascinating year of top-class snooker and the 2019/2020 season so far? 

JuddTrump
Top of the earnings and the leader of the pack in 2019…Judd Trump

Naturally, with Judd Trump winning the World Championship in May, and then in the 2019/2020 season winning three ranking events, (still much more to be played) the 30-year-old Juddernaut from Bristol is currently on top in this season’s money earnings at 526K.

The other nine are as follows:

  • Shaun Murphy – he came runner-up in the Shanghai Masters early on in the season, and he’s in the second spot with 375K after a BIG win in the China Championship.

 

  • Ronnie O’Sullivan – The Rocket claimed the Invitational event the Shanghai Masters early on, and reached a final of the Northern Ireland Open. He’s third with over 294K.

 

  • Mark Selby – A two-time ranking event winner so far, and climbing back up the rankings, the Jester from Leicester is currently in fourth with a nice 285K.
Junhui Ding
How will Ding get on in 2020 after he landed a BIG UK win in 2019?

 

  • Ding Junhui – The UK Champion by way of his mega 200K win in York sees him land the fifth spot. Ding’s UK win has set him back on the path to confidence and a prospect of being just as successful in 2020. With the Masters coming up in January, there’s a good chance that Ding is one of the favorites now, especially as Ronnie O’Sullivan will not be in the line-up.
  • Neil Robertson – Although the talented Australian was crowned the 2019 Champion of Champions Champion, Neil’s success in ranking events has so far in the 2019/2020 season eluded him. But his CofC helped him to the sixth spot with 262K earned so far.
  • Stephen Maguire – Stephen’s fantastic performance to get to the final of the UK Championship against Ding was one of the underrated highlights of the season so far, but it cements his place in the top 10 to end 2019 in the seventh spot with 238K.
StephenMaguire
A brilliant run in York for the “on fire Maguire”. He also won the Six Reds beating John Higgins and was Team Scotland with John in the World Cup…

 

  • Mark Allen – The Pistol from Northern Ireland has been one of the most consistent players of the season in reaching a string of semi-finals, but so far has yet to break a final duck to win. Having said that, Allen is definitely one to watch as the season continues to unfold, as his consistency means he will near enough be at the business end of tournaments in the New Year.

John Higgins – The 44-year-old Wizard of Wishaw has yet to claim a ranking title since the 2018 Welsh Open, and is sitting on 30 ranking titles. But, you just never know with John. Despite being in three World Championship finals in a row, you just never know when the next BIG win for John will be around the corner. A good win at the World Cup with his buddy Maguire, and some consistent result, he’s in ninth spot with 178K so far.

  • Yan Bingtao: In at number 10! The Chinese teenager Yan, a potential heir to Ding in the future, won his first ranking event at Riga this season. He appears on the list for that very reason. We can probably expect more from Yan in 2020 if he gets his head down and dedicates his time to becoming a multiple winner in the game. The first ranking event win may well have given him the confidence to win more. He almost came good in the UK semi-finals, losing to Ding Junhui, whom he would have learned a lot from in that match, and, indeed, the tournament. His earnings for the 2019 end going into 2020 are 145K and counting…

Thanks to the CueTracker website for the money stats et al…

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News

Judd Trump bags a whopping 504K this season in 2019 so far…

World Champion Judd Trump rolled to yet another title this season – claiming the 2019 19.com Northern Ireland Open title defeating Ronnie O’Sullivan 9 – 7 in a top-quality final. 

JuddTrump
Three finals in three weeks for Judd Trump…

The 30-year-old’s prize money total for this current season so far has just topped the half-a-million mark as the Ace in the Pack has claimed three big titles already.

Judd started off the season winning the International Championship in Daqing, then, a few months later won the World Open but a few weeks ago. Now, he claimed his second Northern Ireland Open, defending the title from last season and becoming the first player to successfully defend a Home Nations title.

Squeezed in between that was his final appearance in the elite Champion of Champions final against Neil Robertson where he only narrowly lost 10 – 9!.

Three finals in three weeks.

He bagged 70K for the win in Belfast and lifted the Alex Higgins trophy.

It was fitting that two of the World’s best appeared in the final again, as Ronnie was potentially on for a 37th ranking title, which would have put him on top of the list of ranking wins – beating Stephen Hendry’s 36.

Ronnie will be defending his UK Championship in York in a week or so time.

But Judd will have ideas of scooping the treble in York by becoming the fourth player to win snooker’s triple crown’s all in one year, including two in a season – that being the Masters, UK and World Championship.

Steve Davis, Stephen Hendry and Mark Williams have won the triple crown in the same year of two seasons.

It’s rare for current World Champions to have so much success in the season after scooping the World title, especially their first. Judd has got better and better since the World final where he steam-rollered John Higgins.

Ironically, the Juddernaut played John Higgins in the semi-finals in Belfast and outplayed John yet again in every department.

Trump is getting better and better…

Judd is riding the crest of a wave at moment, but it doesn’t look like his form will dip just yet.

York will be the next BIG test for Judd.

Watch as coach Steve Barton explains how to do Judd Trump’s impressive exhibition black he made against John Higgins in the semi-finals below.