Tuition: Rest Play

Snooker Cue

Many snooker players fear using the rest, especially the longer ones, yet with a little knowledge they can be used quite confidently. The main principles involved apply equally to most rest-play, so this session will concentrate on the most feared - the long-butt and cue, and finish with some advice for the spider.

To take things in order, you must first chalk the cue - you can do this before you take it off the table hooks - please don't chalk the cue over the table.

Having done this place the cue and rest into position on the table, but at this stage keep them both well away from the cue-ball. Many of the long cues become bent or warped and you must ensure that you hold the cue with the bend facing down. This balances the cue and keeps it looking straight as you sight along it.

To discover if the cue is bent simply lay the butt of the cue on the palm of your hand and release it, if it is warped it will roll naturally as the weight balances the cue.

Having decided on your line of aim, move the head of the rest into position and lower the handle to the table or cushion. Keep it firmly in place by pressing down with your normal bridge hand.

Watch the shadow of the cue to see how close the tip is to the cue-ball. You must now judge the distance between the tip of the cue and the cue-ball. This causes problems for many players - and not only beginners! yet the method is very simple - you need only to look at the shadow of the cue on the table. You will see this very clearly even at a long distance, and you will be able to move the tip to within half-an-inch or so of the cue-ball quite easily.

Please do not lower the tip to the cloth and then push it forward to the cue-ball - this not only marks the cloth but when you raise the tip to take aim you will find you pull the cue back again and so are not much better off than before. Keep the tip off the cloth and look for the shadow - it is quicker, cleaner, and more controlled.

When playing normally your forearm should form a 90° angle with the cue and you must keep this relationship when using the rest. The only difference being that in rest play your forearm should be horizontal to prevent your cue hand dropping as you push through due to the hinge effect of your elbow.

Don't grip the cue too tightly and keep your wrist flexible.

Holding the cue in this way with the tip very close to the cue-ball lets you play the stroke with a fairly short arm movement. The weight of the cue will provide the power so strike the cue-ball nearer the centre than you would when playing normally, this will also help you avoid a common cause of failure - the miscue.

Move the cue back and forth a few times, two or three inches is enough, and follow through by the same amount. This short movement keeps the cue under control and helps create the accuracy that leads to a successful stroke.

Finally, keep your positional play simple, as the more difficult you make the stroke you lower your chance of success.

spider The Spider rest creates many problems due to the downward striking of the cue. This magnifies any unintentional side and causes a massé effect, making true control of the cue-ball far more difficult.

When using the spider it is essential to check that the centre of the cue is aimed directly below the highest point of the cue-ball. This point will always be on the centre of the ball vertically, and will ensure that the stroke is played without sidespin.

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Snooker Cue