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Thread: Slow backswing, grip and snatching problems

  1. #1
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    Default Slow backswing, grip and snatching problems

    Was wondering if anyone could give me some advice as I am really frustrated with my game at present, and feel it is related to the three areas - 1) A very short jabby backswing with little follow through, 2) issues with my grip, particularly during matches, 3) snatching causing miscues and poor position.

    Sorry for the overload but I do feel the 3 above are connected.

    Basically I am 5ft 11.5 inches tall, of slim build and in decent health. I have a couple of cues, one is made in Thailand 17.8 oz and 58" (one piece), the other 18.5 (3/4), 58" which is an Emperor I ordered from China. After nearly 15 years off I returned to playing a couple of years ago having been a decent standard previously, i.e. a couple of centuries and 80s, 90s. As I'm a 'young' 49 now who has always loved the game, returning has been hard as I am no where near the player I was, and at times struggle to make 50s. I know this is to an extent down to physiology and sight ( I wear reading glasses), I feel that my cue action continually lets me down. In particular I seem to have returned with a very jabby action, with a very short backswing and tendency to miscue on some screw shots as a result, and there's a lot of movement. I have tried playing 8 inches away from the bridge, which can be compact but sometimes feels constricted, and have altered this at times to 10 inches. I just feel whatever the grip I seem to struggle to feel the shot like I used to.

    A coach I have used recently told me this is partly down to something called 'vision anxiety' and suggested I try playing for half an hour where I set up and close my eyes, to feel and concentrate on a slow backswing on impact - however this has not really cured the problem.

    Are there any tips or drills you can suggest that I might do that could cure this? I play with some very good players and they all tell me I am very fast on the backswing but can't seem to get rid of it! PLEASE HELP!!!

    All I want to do is to be able to be nice and relaxed and play the shot I need to play positively with a loose grip and keep very still, but I seem to struggle to do this, particularly when others are watching. I do try and practise on my own a couple of times a week but this has not resolved or improved anything.

    Really appreciate your thoughts and tips.

    P.s. I know I am not likely to be anything special but just want to try to improve this key problem which lies at the heart of why I'm not progressing.

  2. #2
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    I have the same problem, never played to your standard but know when i snatch or move on the shot or just try to hit too hard it affects the pot. I would say your case just seems to be down to getting tense and a lack of confidence as you haven't played 4 a while and your expectations r high as you used o be a quality player, maybe concentrate on the pause and making sure the follow through from then is smooth. I have the same problems and will be listening to my own advice and maybe some breathing exercises to keep you calm and relaxed. If that fails maybe light some of the green stuff up before a frame

  3. #3
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    Cheers for your reply Wbb. I do find when I pause before pulling back that seems to help, but your advice on trying to stay relaxed is equally important...it's amazing how anxious I can get, mainly as I want to play well I guess. I used to love the pressure situations, but maybe I've lost my bottle so the green stuff may help :*(*(

  4. #4
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    Imagine your grip hand and butt of cue is in a trough of water. Your aim is to cue and not splash or overly disturb the water in the trough. It's physically impossible to do this without maintained bg a slow and smooth action. Imagining the resistance of the water is great for learning the sensation of generating effortless power. A swimming stroke that is very powerful (especially breaststroke) displaces the maximum water for minimum effort. The person who gave me this drill used to run a bath, kneel in it and practice backswing and through minus the cue - they're a multi discipline world champion do I didn't take the mickey too much!

  5. #5
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    I too have had this problem diagnosed by Nic Barrow years ago along with 11 other problems I had when I returned to snooker after a 10yr layoff. He encouraged me to first lengthen the backswing as far as I could without being uncomfortable. Then the next problem was tightening the grip too early in the delivery and too tight and he had me holding the cue and delivering without tightening the hand at all (although you can't get any power, just do this in solo practice).

    Next on the list was upper body movement. He showed me in a video I was lifting my upper body during the backswing (in order to get more power he thought) and as a consequence my cue would go off-line my brain would realize this and attempt to correct it in the more dynamic delivery and of course over-correct and deliver the cue right-to-left (I'm STILL trying to sort out this problem).

    Last but by no means least is to increase the time of the front pause (after the feathers and before the final backswing) and laser focus my eyes on the object ball and keep them there (This is my own as I'm an older guy). At the end I encourage you to drive through and beyond the cueball and in your mind try and hit the object ball with your tip and then leave the cue extended for a couple of seconds at the end of the delivery and with your head still (see Shaun Murphy).

    As to grip I use what recommended by Joe Davis in his book, 'let the cue rest in the bed of the 4 fingers with the thumb just holding it in the bed'. The thumb should point straight down to the floor. Recently I have changed the grip slightly, loosening the forefinger and holding the cue with the back 3 fingers and not allowing the thumb to play any other part except holding the cue in place and keeping the grip as loose as possible.

    I hope this helps you out.
    Terry Davidson
    IBSF Master Coach & Examiner

  6. #6
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    Thanks GasMonkey. Radical advice but I'll try anything once! 😁

  7. #7
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    Thanks Terry, all the issues you had strongly resonate with me. And some fantastic advice which I will pay great attention to and see what progress I make. Will keep you posted, all the best 👍

  8. #8
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    developing a smooth fluent and reliable cue action takes time practice and some. so if snooker is your passion its well worth the effort because, the discipline stays with you for life.

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