Tuition: Top

Snooker Cue

Top is applied to the cue-ball by striking above centre and following-through with the cue. This high striking causes the cue-ball to spin with a forward rotation that gives it the extra momentum to run-through after the object-ball.

On a straight shot the cue-ball will obviously run along behind the object-ball in a straight line (as shown in the second exercise on cue-action). On an angled shot the cue-ball will run through on a slightly thinner angle than if it were struck lower (as illustrated in the Stun section).


The exercise shown below should be studied by players making breaks of 40 or less. Variations of these positional problems occur throughout every game.

Practice strokes for controlling the cue-ball with 'top'. Top - Stroke a. First pot the straight pink with a fairly strong 'punching' type of shot, striking the cue-ball just above centre as shown in Diagram 1. The cue-ball should then run through three or four inches to drop behind the nearest red. With a little practice you will consistently make this positional shot.

Top - Stroke b. Stroke 2, potting the red nearest the pink to gain position on the black, requires the cue-ball to be struck much higher as shown in Diagram 3. More top is required due to the short distance between the cue-ball and the red. If you hit the cue-ball too close to the centre you will probably stop the cue-ball dead and end your break. Strike it high, follow-through and practice until you get straight on the black. Pot the black and replace the cue-ball behind the pink.

Top - Stroke c. Now start the sequence again but play for the second red. Strike the cue-ball a little higher and play with the same strength as you did for the first. If you get straight on the second red you will need to strike the cue-ball as shown in Diagram 2 to gain position on the black.


Players making breaks of forty or more should begin from position a. Players making breaks of forty or less should begin from position b.

The striking points shown for each shot only give an indication of where to strike the cue-ball. The exact aiming point will always depend on the distance between the two balls, the strength that you play the shot, and the distance that you follow through with the cue.

General Notes on Top-Spin

Keep the cue as horizontal as you can to avoid downward striking or you will squeeze the ball between the tip and the cloth. If you also strike the cue-ball off-centre even the slightest amount of side-spin will be increased and lower your chance of playing a successful stroke.

There will be times when you have to raise the back of the cue due to an intervening ball, and on these occasions you must take great care to ensure that the centre of the tip is directly underneath the highest part of the ball (Diagram 3). The centre of the tip will then be correctly aligned on the cue-ball's vertical centre and no side-spin will be given to the ball.


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Snooker Cue