Practice: Position

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Most practice routines concentrate on potting but you should also take time to study the positional side of the game. Try the exercises below from the position shown and then experiment with easy pots over the other five pockets.

Position - 1 Never underestimate the value of an easy pot! It allows a rare opportunity to concentrate almost totally on the positional part of the stroke.

From the position shown you should be able to send the cue-ball to any part of the table. This may be to keep your break going, or to place the cue-ball in a position from which you can lay a really good snooker.

Practicing simple pots and playing position on awkwardly placed balls can give you a wealth of knowledge that you can draw on if you're faced with a similar position in competitive play. You will recognise certain angles and remember how to control the cue-ball.

Practice the routines shown below and experiment with side, screw, stun and top.

To practice either of the following routines it takes a little time to set the table, but don't let this put you off!  To improve your game you must be prepared to work hard and treat these practice routines as a serious part of your learning.

Position - 2 Set the table similar to the way it is shown, so the reds can be potted but are not too easy.

The object of the routine is to pot the easy black and play to get close to one of the reds. If you pot the red it stays in the pocket, and the cue-ball and the black are returned to their original positions.

With the object-ball so close to the cushion you will find side and screw useful for taking the cue-ball right down the table. It can be played fairly slowly and the spin will 'grip' the cushion to flick the cue-ball away quite quickly.

Learning how to get close to an awkwardly placed ball gives you a far greater chance of playing a good positional stroke for the next shot. This can help to keep your break going, and sometimes you'll get a colour back into play.

Some of these reds are easier to get on than others, the most difficult will improve your game the most.

Position - 3 Here's another variation.

The normal snooker rules apply of course, any red followed by a colour, and so on; and then the colours in order.

Place the cue-ball wherever you like for the first shot. Here it's shown halfway between the black and the pink but you can start from any position.

More experienced players should increase the difficulty by placing the reds closer to, or touching the cushions.

Make this routine competitive by finding a willing opponent. Have five attempts each and the winner will be the one who makes the highest aggregate score.

Like any other practice routine there are no set rules so you may adapt these in any way you choose. But there is one golden rule that you should always obey. This is simply that when you miss a pot you reset the table and start again.

Snooker Cue