fcsnooker - Top Quality Snooker Coaching and Instruction - In association with Mr Frank Callan Advanced Level -
"Two Tasks for the Brain"

Unless the object ball is very close to the pocket, the margin of error on a pot can be so high that 100% effort is required to play every shot, something which most players can seldom achieve. Hence "The Drill."

But remember, in most cases, potting the object ball is not the only requirement. Positioning the cue ball for the next shot is another consideration and this alone can often lead to a missed pot.

As an example, imagine a situation where having potted a red, you are now in a position to pot the blue off its spot into a centre pocket. But because there are no loose reds available, you have to play a cannon on to the pink ball to disturb the reds in the pack.

Now your brain has two tasks to achieve:

1) the pot on the blue, which remains the number one priority.

2) to strike the cue ball in exactly the right place and at the right speed to achieve the cannon on the pink.

This is a top-class shot, which is extremely difficult to execute. Things can go wrong and there is always the danger of catching the pink awkwardly and going in-off into one of the top pockets.

Alternatively the blue is missed as your brain focuses on achieving the second part of the shot instead of the first. If this is the case, what has happened is this;

Before you have struck the cue ball, your eyes have drifted towards the pack to see if you have come into contact with the pink correctly. This is a very common fault and happens in so many other situations. How then can we ensure that your eyes remain on the object ball when striking the white?

There are three ways.

  • The last time that you cue up to the white ball, after making your preliminary waggles, pause slightly to transfer your eyes from the white to the object ball. Now carry on with the last back swing and after another pause at the back, go through with the shot. This, in effect, means that two pauses are required.
  • With your eyes still fixed on the white ball and after cueing up to the cue ball for the last time, switch your eyes forward to the spot on the object ball that has to be hit to as your cue comes back on the last back swing. Care should be taken that the last back swing is slow to give you time to transfer your eyes from the cue ball to the object ball.
  • This time, the eyes are on the white until the last back swing is completed. Then the eyes are switched to the spot on the object ball that has to be hit before going through with the shot. This entails a good pause at the back, and as Steve Davis would say, it could almost be classed as a 'wait' at the back rather than a pause.

Once again, I recommend practising all these methods to find out which works best for you. Do not underestimate the importance of sighting the shot correctly.

Clearly this is only one example of when your mind may be faced with more than one issue to consider. A distraction in the crowd or your playing surrounds, a referees decision, the requirement for inch perfect position, the position on the scoreboard all create distractions from the most important thing of all. What happens on the table!

Following the correct routines and having method in your game can prevent the errors that occur when your brain is faced with a number of tasks.

Frank Callan Suite - 282 Ribbleton Lane, Ribbleton, Preston, Lancashire, England - PR1 5EB - tel. + 44 (0) 1772 702211 - info@fcsnooker.co.uk

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