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  • Absolute Beginner Practice

    What's the best practice for an absolute beginner?

    I played a fair bit of pool and a little bit of snooker during my misspent youth, and watched my granddad's Terry Griffith's video maybe thirty times. Now I'm in my thirties and am looking for something to get me out of the house.

    I have a fair idea of the very basics. I went to the local snooker hall yesterday for about ninety minutes and started concentrating on my cueing action, stance, grip, lineup, etc. Placing a red halfway between the black and pink spot and the black on its spot I could sometimes manage both the red and black, and once manage a red, black red, with the reds I had set up off to the side. I started noticing from one side of the table I was drawing the cue across my body and not hitting the cue ball straight, so the next time I'm back I'm going to reevaluate how I'm standing.

    I did a few minutes where I'd just knock the cueball along the baulk line. I manage to hit it straight along it, but sometimes I'd spin the ball off once it hit the cushion, mostly to the right.

    At my starting point I think I have to get into the routine of setting up properly for every ball. It's a lot of thought process into doing it every time, but the plan would be to make it second nature. I don't have the facility to record myself or get a coach (not with the cost involved at my starting point.) So a lot of it is based on just examining my own physical feelings and what's happening on the table.

    I think it's natural to want to be potting balls, that's where the fun is. I'm just wondering what type of practice I should be doing, what should I be focusing on, and what should be going through my mind as I do all this?

  • #2
    Hello mate. If you can't afford a couple of lessons to get you started, working thru some of the on-line videos is a good alternative. You could try Barton Snooker who posts his videos on The Forum. There's one called The Basics. Barry Stark has some videos which are also good.
    Is there no friendly chap at your club who could give you a few tips for free?

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally Posted by Nifty50 View Post
      Hello mate. If you can't afford a couple of lessons to get you started, working thru some of the on-line videos is a good alternative. You could try Barton Snooker who posts his videos on The Forum. There's one called The Basics. Barry Stark has some videos which are also good.
      Is there no friendly chap at your club who could give you a few tips for free?
      I've no clue yet. I only went for my first time yesterday, so even if I keep turning up I'll still be a blow in for a while.

      I'll keep showing up and keep practicing, which is all I can do. I watched a few videos online but I'll try the Barton Snooker videos you recommend.

      Comment


      • #4
        Thanks Nifty50!

        As Nifty says, I post videos regularly on my YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/BartonSnooker

        If you have a look through some of my videos, hopefully this will give you a good idea of getting some of the basics right and a few things to practice and work on to improve your control of the cue.

        Don't worry too much at this stage about things going a bit wrong. We all had to start somewhere. With more practice your game will improve and you'll hopefully get more enjoyment from your practice.

        Good luck!
        WPBSA Level 2 - 1st4Sport Coach
        Available for personalised one-to-one coaching sessions
        --------------------------------------------------------------------
        Contact: steve@bartonsnooker.co.uk
        Website: www.bartonsnooker.co.uk

        Comment


        • #5
          I'm no expert but a good starting basis is to pot some reds first - no colours and either put them in a line up or just spread them around and see how many you can pot...Focus on the basics and get confident in potting reds. Then when you feel confident integrate colours.

          Pot as many blues as you can off the spot and see if you can screw the cue ball into the other pocket or run it through into the oopposite pocket...

          Practice that and it's a good starting point for confidence in cue action...
          Follow my snooker Articles/stories on Twitter@chrisgaynor2

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally Posted by tedisbill View Post
            Thanks Nifty50!

            As Nifty says, I post videos regularly on my YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/BartonSnooker

            If you have a look through some of my videos, hopefully this will give you a good idea of getting some of the basics right and a few things to practice and work on to improve your control of the cue.

            Don't worry too much at this stage about things going a bit wrong. We all had to start somewhere. With more practice your game will improve and you'll hopefully get more enjoyment from your practice.

            Good luck!
            Getting loads of enjoyment from practice! Love screwing back now courtesy of Steve's tip on cue power. In fact, am getting too much now and falling out of position! lol
            Follow my snooker Articles/stories on Twitter@chrisgaynor2

            Comment


            • #7
              I've been to the snooker hall three times now. Each time on my own practicing. Yesterday I was there for two hours and tried a couple of different things.

              There's definitely a difference between when I try to focus on all I should be doing to play properly and set up properly, and when I go for shots naturally. If I don't think about anything I have a decent chance of potting something while if I'm concentrating on lining up the pot, walking in properly, a steady backswing, pause and hit then I seem to be doing worse than when I just let everything flow. I know I need to focus on getting my technique correct, but when you're playing worse when you're doing all that it's a bit disheartening.

              Each time I go to the snooker hall I notice a few things about my game. Yesterday, for the first time, I just tried hitting the cue ball down the table along the spots. I placed balls either side of the black and pink spot, and the black at the end of the table and tried to hit it. I don't know if it was the table (or me wishing it so) or my cueing, but I often veered off to the right by the time it reached the black spot.

              I was also taking straight on shots on the blue. With follow through, if I take it seriously, I can regularly get the cue ball to follow the blue into the pocket. I have absolutely no success in screwing the cue ball back.

              I tried a few long pots, with the blue on its spot and trying a straight shot from the baulk line. I tried maybe seven or eight times. I was close twice, maybe, but never managed it. I think it's possibly a step too far for me at the moment.

              Most of the time I had two reds between the pink and black, one above the black, and I tried to get as many reds + colours as I could manage. I'm not great at it, and even if I mange to pot a red I'm often in poor position for the black. The best I managed was two reds, a black and a pink.

              The big thing I noticed about my play was I'm adjusting my bridge from what I'm naturally doing when I go down on it. It's a small adjustment, but it seems I'm seeing the line differently from when I'm standing and when I'm cueing, or maybe I'm not setting up my bridge hand properly based on how I'm seeing the line standing up. It's just a small movement of my fingers, or my thumb, and readjusting the cue on it. If I think about it when I do it I invariably miss. I think it has something to do with how I'm placing my right foot (I'm right handed), along with how I line up the cue with my dominant (right) eye, and how I run it beneath my chin. The cue doesn't seem to be directly beneath my chin, but a little off to the right of it, more beneath my eye than my chin.

              I'm not too sure if any of this can be solved based purely on forum posts, I guess I just have to keep practicing and see if I can sort it out naturally. I figure an update on what I'm doing is worthwhile though.

              Comment


              • #8
                Hi.

                Snooker is just like getting good at any other skill in life.

                You wouldn't buy a piano and expect that in 3 hours you were playing songs and having no trouble. If someone told you to play a basic tune with just one hand, you may do it with a bit of practice, but then if a piano teacher got to to put your hands in the correct position, get your fingers playing the correct keys, and use both hands, you would be absolutely all over the place.

                No different in snooker. You may feel like you are a bit more successful by just trying to pot odd balls here and there; and you're probably right!

                If the goal is to actually improve and be good though, you may as well try the correct things from day one, and then improve from there. It's better to improve using the correct technique, than to improve a bit but be doing everything wrong.

                Hope that makes sense! Keep practicing!
                WPBSA Level 2 - 1st4Sport Coach
                Available for personalised one-to-one coaching sessions
                --------------------------------------------------------------------
                Contact: steve@bartonsnooker.co.uk
                Website: www.bartonsnooker.co.uk

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally Posted by tedisbill View Post
                  Hi.

                  Snooker is just like getting good at any other skill in life.

                  You wouldn't buy a piano and expect that in 3 hours you were playing songs and having no trouble. If someone told you to play a basic tune with just one hand, you may do it with a bit of practice, but then if a piano teacher got to to put your hands in the correct position, get your fingers playing the correct keys, and use both hands, you would be absolutely all over the place.

                  No different in snooker. You may feel like you are a bit more successful by just trying to pot odd balls here and there; and you're probably right!

                  If the goal is to actually improve and be good though, you may as well try the correct things from day one, and then improve from there. It's better to improve using the correct technique, than to improve a bit but be doing everything wrong.

                  Hope that makes sense! Keep practicing!
                  That's exactly my attitude. I have to build the fundamentals before I can go anywhere else. At the very least I'm noticing small things about what I'm doing each time I practice, so that's a good start.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally Posted by CarrotGawks View Post
                    What's the best practice for an absolute beginner?

                    I think it's natural to want to be potting balls, that's where the fun is. I'm just wondering what type of practice I should be doing, what should I be focusing on, and what should be going through my mind as I do all this?
                    The absolute basic is to look at what you want to hit, just getting down into a text book stance will do nothing unless you're looking at the correct target.
                    Some will say you need to learn the correct angles, but that is bollocks, what you need is to focus your eyes on the correct target and the correct target is the contact the cue ball will make on the object ball.
                    Focus on this when standing up behind the shot before you get down, switch focus between this and the cue ball as you get down and focus on only this as you deliver the cue.

                    It's a game of hand/eye co-ordination, your hand will follow your eye, your hand holds the cue. Don't come back with any questions about how to go about doing this, all you have to do is look, keeping your eye on the target will make sure you stay still on the shot, everything comes from the first basic of hitting what you're looking at, this is first and foremost.
                    Speak up, you've got to speak up against the madness, you've got speak your mind if you dare
                    but don't try to get yourself elected, for if you do you'll have to cut your hair

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally Posted by vmax View Post
                      The absolute basic is to look at what you want to hit, just getting down into a text book stance will do nothing unless you're looking at the correct target.
                      Some will say you need to learn the correct angles, but that is bollocks, what you need is to focus your eyes on the correct target and the correct target is the contact the cue ball will make on the object ball.
                      Focus on this when standing up behind the shot before you get down, switch focus between this and the cue ball as you get down and focus on only this as you deliver the cue.

                      It's a game of hand/eye co-ordination, your hand will follow your eye, your hand holds the cue. Don't come back with any questions about how to go about doing this, all you have to do is look, keeping your eye on the target will make sure you stay still on the shot, everything comes from the first basic of hitting what you're looking at, this is first and foremost.
                      I really like this advice, but it assumes the acceptance of a lot of misses duo looking at the wrong line for the CB? So that does need work, imho.

                      But most certainly decide exactly how to play the shot before your bridge hand hits the table, AND DO NOT CHANGE YOUR MIND WITHOUT STANDING BACK UP, but that is very, very difficult.

                      Don't aspire to a perfect textbook stance\action as while I genuinely doubt that one exits, if people claim there is, then it will be out of date in a year or three.

                      Get a camera thing, or use phone and record yourself - you will probably see what is wrong....

                      That all typed it would be interesting to have a zero to something thread as per whatshername midget and Chris thingy in that prog which was linked a lil while back. Big Shot?

                      Esther Rantzen.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally Posted by blahblah01 View Post
                        I really like this advice, but it assumes the acceptance of a lot of misses duo looking at the wrong line for the CB? So that does need work, imho..
                        There is no line to look at or imagine, you look from the cue ball to the contact point on the object ball and your brain knows that two spheres contacting each other will make one go in a certain direction while the other one goes in another, you learn to control one through the other and that takes time/experience.
                        Of course there will be a lot of misses, the bloke's a beginner, but hand/eye is a natural thing and if you have good hand/eye then snooker could be your game once you have ironed out the bad habits; sure you may need other eyes to spot them but on your own at the beginning you focus on target fixation.

                        LOOK AND LEARN
                        Speak up, you've got to speak up against the madness, you've got speak your mind if you dare
                        but don't try to get yourself elected, for if you do you'll have to cut your hair

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          That is the line that I mean, disagreeing about target on OB and line of CB to that target is semantics to me.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            It's a good thing you brought up the lining up aspects because that was exactly what I was dealing with in my 75 minutes today.

                            Previously I was playing around the black spot, so I'd look at the line as though I was cueing the object ball straight into the pocket, set my eye on the spot, then step to the white with a sidestep, and then step into it. I figured out the problem with this fairly quickly today when I scattered some reds and went for longer shots. It's just not possible (at least for me) to take multiple steps around the table while keeping a line in your mind, as you need the interaction between CB, OB and yourself all in focus when you're doing it. With that in mind I started to just figure out the angle when standing behind the CB, and it's helped with my ease in playing. It felt unnatural at first, but after a few minutes and ignoring my own doubt about the exact angles it felt a lot easier to step into the ball.

                            I also adjusted where the cue is on my chin. Previously I seem to have been putting it to the side of my chin, in a line beneath my right (dominant) eye. With no other adjustments other than ensuring it's directly below my chin and from there it's running to my chest I've been potting better, more successfully and seem to have a better idea of the strength on my shots. I have to force myself to do it, but it hasn't necessitated any other changes, so it seems how I was doing it previously was detrimental to my shots.

                            Finally, I tried putting a ball on every pocket (right in the jaws) and trying to clear them. After a few attempts I tried doing them in an order (top right, top left, middle right, middle left, bottom right, bottom left, starting with the CB on the brown spot.) It was more difficult at first than I thought, and I found myself focusing a lot more on the pace I was hitting the ball and ensuring I didn't follow on the OB. It's a fun little exercise as a beginner, because the ball is (almost) always going in.

                            I didn't spend as long as I could have practicing today. I figured out the adjustment to how I have to line up the shots halfway through, so I think I'll need a night to sleep on it and a fresh start to really appreciate how to do it.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally Posted by CarrotGawks View Post
                              It's a good thing you brought up the lining up aspects because that was exactly what I was dealing with in my 75 minutes today.

                              Previously I was playing around the black spot, so I'd look at the line as though I was cueing the object ball straight into the pocket, set my eye on the spot, then step to the white with a sidestep, and then step into it. I figured out the problem with this fairly quickly today when I scattered some reds and went for longer shots. It's just not possible (at least for me) to take multiple steps around the table while keeping a line in your mind, as you need the interaction between CB, OB and yourself all in focus when you're doing it. With that in mind I started to just figure out the angle when standing behind the CB, and it's helped with my ease in playing. It felt unnatural at first, but after a few minutes and ignoring my own doubt about the exact angles it felt a lot easier to step into the ball.
                              You'll find it helps to keep your eye on the object ball as you walk around the table to get behind the cue ball. The cue ball will be in your peripheral vision while doing this and you will take in the whole scenario subconsciously and be more able to focus on the contact point on the object ball when you get into position behind the cue ball.
                              Speak up, you've got to speak up against the madness, you've got speak your mind if you dare
                              but don't try to get yourself elected, for if you do you'll have to cut your hair

                              Comment

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