Snooker Strategies & the Mental Approach

Thank you Vic for this great article !


Some Thoughts on Snooker – Strategy & the Mental Approach


There are many articles and instructional videos with advice on snooker, but below I have tried to summarize what I think are some of the basics of this great game – my version.

Vic Wilensky – Thornhill Community Centre
Controlling the game . . .

If you are a 50% average potter playing against an 80% average player, how do you win? Once you get behind, you usually feel a real necessity to make every pot. You feel yourself tightening up and making shots too quickly and hitting them too hard – usually leaving a shot for your opponent. What to do? Take control of the game. Take a couple of deep breaths to relax your body, and slow everything down.

How to control the game? By playing your opponent safe until you have your 50% opportunity. If you have a chance for a hook, take it – after all, the name of the game is snooker. Otherwise just leave the cue ball at the baulk end of the table, well away from the reds at the other end. Or leave the cue ball on one of the rails to make your opponent do the heavy lifting.


Beyond just potting – play for position

Spoiler Alert – You win the game by making the most points!

In considering an opportunity of potting a red, select the coloured ball you will be aiming for next, the best position for the cue ball to end up in order to pot that ball, and the proper combination of pace and necessary side-spin that will get you there. Hit the cue ball with only the force necessary for it to come to rest where you want. (Think of golf and the 80% rule – increasing your accuracy by 10-20%.) You never see the pros hitting the cue ball hard – only as much as they need to. Striking the cue ball too hard can also increase your chance of sewering – which pros rarely do.


Showtime – have a routine

Stand back and look at the table. Determine the angle, including any desired shape needed to sink the object ball and arrive at your chosen destination point for the cue ball. Once you walk up to the table and bend forward, forget absolutely everything else and totally commit to making the shot. This is where all of your practice and muscle memory comes into play. Take the full time you need to fine-tune your direction – be sure to keep your head down. Always hit smoothly and through the cue ball. This will maintain it on the proper line, just as in a golf stroke.


Think positive, but relax

There is certainly truth to the Henry Ford quote “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right.” Attitude certainly makes a difference.

However, thinking positive when you are behind or not playing well is somewhat of an illusion. (This applies to most sports.) When you are playing well, do you try to think positive? The answer is no . . . because you never stopped not thinking positive. You just allowed negativity to take over. Keep your hopes up and believe that you have a chance to win this game. Remaining relaxed and forget your mistakes – you know they just happen. Take a breath and allow yourself to just enjoy the game!



SCORE: Self-discipline / Confidence / Optimism / Relaxation / Enjoyment.

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