Practice: Cushion Play

Snooker Cue

Snooker Angles - 1 Many believe that when the cue-ball rebounds from the cushion, (when it is played with no side, screw, or top-spin), that it ALWAYS leaves the cushion at the same (though opposite) angle that it arrived from. But this is untrue.

Consider the diagram to the left. If that statement was true then to escape from the snooker, the cue-ball would need to strike the cushion half-way between the two balls, as shown on the right. But of course that shot cannot be played because that's exactly where the middle pocket is.

By playing the shot to a point just before the middle pocket though, the escape is almost a certainty. The cue-ball approaches the cushion at an angle that's less than 45°, and so slides along the cushion slightly before it's pushed away, and that slide makes the shot possible.

You may never be faced with that exact snooker but variations of it are fairly common. Try to remember this sliding effect and allow for it when you aim.

Snooker Angles - 2 During most normal play you will take your line of aim through the center of the cue-ball, but the shot in this diagram shows the value of moving this imaginary line to the outside edge of the cue-ball.

If you aimed normally through the center of the cue-ball to your chosen point of aim on the cushion, the cue-ball would hit the cushion a little lower, closer to the middle pocket.

Although this can SOMETIMES save you from altering your aim to allow for the sliding effect mentioned above, it's by no means foolproof.

Use the outside edge of the cue-ball to take your line, and then adjust the point of aim slightly back and you should be consistently more accurate.

This may well seem very strange at first but after a little practice it will become quite natural. You may also find this method very helpful when you're playing a fine cut.

Playing a ball powerfully into a cushion, at an angle of 45° or more has the opposite effect.

Snooker Angles - 3 Place the cue-ball as shown in Diagram 'A' and the red over the middle pocket can be potted by aiming at the centre of the opposite cushion.

This is known as the natural angle, but it is only made when the cue-ball is struck gently and played without side-spin, top or bottom.

When played strongly the cue-ball will rebound at a sharper angle, and hit the cushion several inches before the red.

Snooker Angles - 4 The higher strength forces the cue-ball to sink into the cushion which regains its normal shape so quickly that it pushes the cue-ball away and distorts the natural angle.

This effect can be used to your advantage.

In Diagram 'B' the red is a few inches away from the natural angle. Play the shot with great strength and aim for a full-ball contact. You'll find the red rebounds at an angle that will take it straight into the pocket.

Snooker Angles - 5 You will all be familiar with the shot in Diagram C.

Play a double as hard as you can and the ball you're trying to pot will go back and forth across the table, straighten out, and never get to the pocket.

Well now you know why this happens! why it always happens.

If you play these shots with power you must allow for the object-ball to rebound at a sharper angle. So aim wide, as if the pocket were six inches or so further along the cushion.

Snooker Cue