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  • head movement is it all hype

    i have been watching the world championship extensively this year and i have noticed quite a few players who don't stay still on the shot.

    in particular head movement, we all know Selby and his swaying but he seems to stop this as he strikes, however watching Marco Fu and Alan McManus both of them left their head up just as the are to deliver the cue.

    this movement doesn't seem to effect their shot at all as the were potting superbly, so all this stay absolutely still on the shot, which all textbooks and most coaches advocate seems not all that valid if you watch some of these pros

  • #2
    Ultimately. Nothing matters as long as you can bring the cue through straight and accurately. These guys have learnt how to do that and still have body movement.

    Clearly for us lesser mortals. The less body movement the better. Which is something I'm working on and it's a lot harder to control then I thought it would be.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by cyberheater View Post
      Ultimately. Nothing matters as long as you can bring the cue through straight and accurately.
      i think that is the key, although you would think raising the head would raise the cue and therefore you would strike the cueball at a different height to that you were addressing it.

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      • #4
        The aim is to get the balls in the pockets at the end of the day.

        There's a whole list of things a coach would teach. Think of it as damage limitation.

        1) keep head still
        2) have your arm vertical at address
        3) slow backswing
        4) slow acceleration
        5) standing correctly

        etc etc... you get the idea.

        So at the end of the day, as a single fault, no, it's not the end of the world. They're all just things that we do, to make ourselves as consistent as possible.

        Think of this way: out of the list, Alan McManus does 49/50 things correctly, his head moving being the one he fails on. So he's pretty awesome.

        The average club player does 6/50 things correctly, so he's not very good.
        WPBSA Level 2 - 1st4Sport Coach
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        • #5
          if you have a tendency to move your head on the shot you can bet it will be the first thing to go under pressure

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          • #6
            Originally posted by tedisbill View Post
            The aim is to get the balls in the pockets at the end of the day.

            There's a whole list of things a coach would teach. Think of it as damage limitation.

            1) keep head still
            2) have your arm vertical at address
            3) slow backswing
            4) slow acceleration
            5) standing correctly

            etc etc... you get the idea.

            So at the end of the day, as a single fault, no, it's not the end of the world. They're all just things that we do, to make ourselves as consistent as possible.

            Think of this way: out of the list, Alan McManus does 49/50 things correctly, his head moving being the one he fails on. So he's pretty awesome.

            The average club player does 6/50 things correctly, so he's not very good.
            I think that's a very good way of looking at it tedisbill ... thank you ...

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            • #7
              Originally posted by alabadi View Post
              i have been watching the world championship extensively this year and i have noticed quite a few players who don't stay still on the shot.

              in particular head movement, we all know Selby and his swaying but he seems to stop this as he strikes, however watching Marco Fu and Alan McManus both of them left their head up just as the are to deliver the cue.

              this movement doesn't seem to effect their shot at all as the were potting superbly, so all this stay absolutely still on the shot, which all textbooks and most coaches advocate seems not all that valid if you watch some of these pros
              Stating that the head movement doesnt affect their shot actually is quite untrue. In every case, this seemingly benighn imperfection does in fact affect their ability to create the entire range of shots thats needed. Marco can't get the power, McManus will break under pressure, Selby doesn't have pinpoint accuracy in his cue action (you can see it on longer balls in slow mo even though he still makes them off the jaw).

              There is a reason the pros and all books state that head movement is bad - because it is.

              What really interests me though is WHY does their head move. Most snooker players can come up with obvious answers like:

              - they look at the pocket
              - they subconciously bring their body up to avoid hitting their chest
              - the can't tilt their head up like other players
              - its a nervous tick

              I think each of the players has a way of aiming and timing that they have developed that somehow has caused their head to move on/before striking the cue ball. If you could train them to sight, aim, and strike the cue ball a little bit differently, you would find that their head movement would stop.

              Selby seems to be working on this by the way. He may do well this year.
              Mayur Jobanputra, Snooker Coach and Snooker Enthusiast
              My Snooker Blog: www.snookerdelight.com

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              • #8
                I was watching today and noticed during power shots McManus raised his head so I suppose as long as he drove the cue through straight it's okay but for mere mortals like myself it has a catastrophic effect on the shot
                It's hard to pot balls with a Chimpanzee tea party going on in your head

                Wibble

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by tedisbill View Post
                  The aim is to get the balls in the pockets at the end of the day.

                  There's a whole list of things a coach would teach. Think of it as damage limitation.

                  1) keep head still
                  2) have your arm vertical at address
                  3) slow backswing
                  4) slow acceleration
                  5) standing correctly

                  etc etc... you get the idea.

                  So at the end of the day, as a single fault, no, it's not the end of the world. They're all just things that we do, to make ourselves as consistent as possible.

                  Think of this way: out of the list, Alan McManus does 49/50 things correctly, his head moving being the one he fails on. So he's pretty awesome.

                  The average club player does 6/50 things correctly, so he's not very good.
                  I slightly disagree with this. I think if you are not perfect, which I understand is impossible, your errors have to cancel each other out. Ie you have to make a compensating movement. It is not a coincidence that Alan is having a resurgence now that there are loads more events and he is playing loads more under pressure, he has again learned to time his move.

                  Nor is it a coincidence that Fu has been plagued with technical difficulties throughout his career.

                  The game is a memory game, a muscle memory game and it is of a coincidence that the greatest exponents are also those who spend the most time playing and practicing, not only to hone their techniques but to polish out those errors.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by alabadi View Post
                    i have been watching the world championship extensively this year and i have noticed quite a few players who don't stay still on the shot.

                    in particular head movement, we all know Selby and his swaying but he seems to stop this as he strikes, however watching Marco Fu and Alan McManus both of them left their head up just as the are to deliver the cue.

                    this movement doesn't seem to effect their shot at all as the were potting superbly, so all this stay absolutely still on the shot, which all textbooks and most coaches advocate seems not all that valid if you watch some of these pros
                    it's possible that it is mostly hype I think if u lined up on the shot correctly and u know ur lined up correctly then even if you do have movement you will still mostly pot the ball. certainly for my standard level, it is not the most important error although I agree that staying still is desirable.
                    Highest Match Break 39 (November 10th 2015)

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                    • #11
                      Their head movement is not nearly as bad as movement that you will typically see in clubs. It is nothing like amateurish super nervous twitch, not even near that, it is more like slight rising, looks the same every time too. Seems to me like they managed to make their moving work for them, rather than against them.
                      Of course, repeating that would be too difficult for almost any other player..nearly impossible to coordinate...

                      Question is, would these two be better players if they have learned long ago to be more rock solid, Murphy like? My gut feeling is yes, but we will never know for sure.

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                      • #12
                        I Think Marco Fu in particular his head movement does not effect his shot at all. and I disagree that because of his head movement he lacks power in his shots.

                        I think his limitations are to do with his timing on power shots, maybe he doesn't feel confident to have a long back swing or its the way he plays.
                        what he does good is his positional play around the black and pink. he is very underrated superb break builder.

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                        • #13
                          I think both McManus and Fu move their heads up in order to look at the object ball before the strike. Probably don't see it very well when right down on the cue, ie looking through their eyebrows and object ball just out of vision so the head needs to move up a bit.

                          Most head movement in players is a result of looking up at the pocket.
                          I think that both of these players, after the initial upward movement of their heads, keep still when striking the cue ball though.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by armstm View Post
                            it's possible that it is mostly hype I think if u lined up on the shot correctly and u know ur lined up correctly then even if you do have movement you will still mostly pot the ball. certainly for my standard level, it is not the most important error although I agree that staying still is desirable.
                            Point your finger at the wall. Now move your head. Your finger appears to be pointing at a different part of the wall. Unless you move your finger as well. If you move your finger as well, it looks like it is pointing at the same bit of the wall. However, it's not.

                            Address the white, move your head, in order to keep the tip at the same part of the white you have to move your head but keep your hand and arm in exactly the same place. Not easy to do.

                            It's just another variable that leads to inaccuracy and has to be compensated for.

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                            • #15
                              This has been discussed before but I will say it again. ANY HEAD MOVEMENT AT ALL TAKES THE CUE OFF-LINE AND THERE IS NO DOUBT ABOUT THAT AS YOU CAN TRY IT YOURSELF AND SEE. If you move the head up you must have moved the shoulders up too unless you are an individual who can lift his head without moving his shoulders.

                              Now all that said, what you have injected into your technique is a movement which takes the cue off-line and which you have to do something else in coordination to bring the cue back onto the line of aim. Younger players with good hand/eye coordination can do this a lot easier than players near 40yrs or more.

                              This is why players like Fu or McManus are inconsistent and sometimes play really well and at other times are complete crap because they are not coordinating perfectly. Those players with no upper body movement like Davis, Higgins, Murphy, Selby (on the delivery) usually play well and at the very least have a really good 'B' game.

                              Terry
                              Terry Davidson
                              IBSF Master Coach & Examiner

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