Tuition: Aiming and Potting

Snooker Cue

Aiming in Snooker The diagram gives two examples of pots into the middle pocket.

Stroke A shows a straight pot, the line of aim going through the centre of the cue-ball, the centre of the object-ball, and the centre of the pocket. This is the only time the line of aim coincides with the point of contact.

Stroke B, a quarter-ball cut, shows the line of aim for the cue-ball, and the line the object-ball must take to enter the pocket. Note that the object-ball has not been aimed to the centre of the pocket, but further to the right. If the line of aim were to the centre of the pocket then the near jaw may be struck first, and the pot would be missed.
When you are faced with any pot similar to this, especially those at a longer distance, make sure you look for your line of aim before you take up your position at the table.

This is where the aiming process begins, and it is critical that you understand the importance of this. Every 'How to Play' book will tell you how to aim, but 99% of them fail to stress that you begin aiming before you reach the table.

So - stand back, look to see where you wish the centre of the cue-ball to be when it strikes the object-ball, and keep your eyes focused on this point as you step in to the playing position. Your body should then be perfectly balanced along the line of aim.

Line of Aim and Points of Aim and ContactLine of Aim and Points of Aim and Contact

Now address the cue-ball a few times, taking the tip of your cue as close to the cue-ball as you can. As you do this, check to see that you are aiming the cue at the part of the cue-ball you need to strike.

Look up along your line of aim to check that you are still aiming your cue correctly, and when you are ready to play the shot ensure that you are looking at the point of aim, not the point of contact.

You must keep your eyes fixed on this point as you play the stroke to see if the cue-ball actually arrives where you have aimed. If it doesn't, then obviously your cue-action or steadiness on the stroke is at fault.

If it does arrive where you have aimed, and you miss the pot, then you will know that you have aimed incorrectly. This will improve as you gain experience and you'll gradually gain the consistency that will make you a far better player.

If all this seems strange when you try it for the first time, please trust me and stay with it. You will be surprised at how much control you feel coming into your game.

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