Snooker tips by Alan Trigg

Five Golden Rules of Snooker

The snooker player’s code of honor

Snooker is a gentleman’s game played by gentlemen, some of the unwritten rules are:

a) The opponent should always pick the coloured balls out and score his opponents break
b) The opponent should never distract the player at the table, by making noise or standing in the line of shot

There are many of these rules, most of which are learned as you participate in tournaments, today the question is about flukes, i will answer these questions in the order that they have been asked:

1) A player should never verbally apologize for any fluke or luck as this is deemed to be insincere as most players are very happy to have some luck, the correct way of signaling is to quickly hold your hand up towards your opponent. (All players will look at their opponent after having some luck, this is psychological, they are looking for an adverse reaction, if they see a wince, or even more of a reaction, this will lift their playing energy up, and certainly diminish their opponents energy, transference of energies during a tight match is the difference between winning and losing).
2) Flukes should be accepted as part of the game, usually the lower the standard of player luck plays a large part, the higher up the ladder you go the less flukes happen (but they still happen), the players that are more likely to be susceptible to flukes are the ones that hit the ball very hard, if they miss a shot there is no control, therefore the object ball can go anywhere, over the pocket (bad luck), or in a different pocket (good luck). When you fluke a snooker, this again should be signaled as lifting the hand towards your opponent.
3) Once the player has left the table leaving his opponent in a tough snooker (having fluked this), the attitude of the oncoming player and the referee should be that the player made this situation deliberately, then any resulting shot should be refereed accordingly, some lower class referees will get emotionally involved in games they are refereeing, after seeing such a fluke will take this into account when making a decision whether the shot was a miss or not, this is a major mistake, the referee is totally impartial to every shot.
4) It is totally acceptable to snooker your opponent after a fluke, against weak opponents this is a very good tactical move, it will make them mad, therefore they lose concentration then lose, against a good player, he will not react and keep high levels of concentration this will not affect his play.

The snooker grip
The snooker gripThe snooker grip is very personal, the picture here is the classic full grip making sure that the hand is relaxed, this is one of the grips that I teach, but there are many more, depending on what style of player you are, basically the looser the hand is when playing the shot, the straighter and quicker the cue goes, this is called timing, but to keep the cue in a straight line takes years of practice, below are a number of top professional players grips, ranging from very loose and free to controlled and slightly firm.

All the players you see here have practiced their cueing techniques and mastered them over many years, they then develop the grip from the accuracy they achieve, players like Ronnie O’ Sullivan have a very loose and re-laxed grip, only really using two or three fingers to control the cue, but other players have not got the same fluency, so they have to guide the cue through with more fingers therefore developing a slightly firmer grip, both types of grips have their advantages and disadvantages:

Using a firm grip is more guaranteed accuracy, but because of the hand being slightly firm the cue cannot travel as fast, so timing is affected, especially on slower tables Using a soft grip has more advantages, because the cue will naturally travel through the ball quicker, so you can hit the ball gentler and get more reaction on the cue ball, the gentler you hit the ball the accurate the pot becomes, but this action relies on confidence, once this goes the action also goes.

How to choose a cue

This is one of the most personal things you will do as a player, for example take two of the most successful player in modern time:
Stephen Hendry
For the first 5 world titles Stephen won, he played with a very old maple cue, that was probably worth about $10, it was bent in many directions and nobody else could use it
Steve Davis
Steve plays with an original Riley Burwat Eureka, this is one of the finest cues ever made and is worth in the region of $4000.

So as you can see the value of the cue does not really make much difference, only in the mind of the player, many players think the more expensive the cue, the better they will play, this is not always the case, I will now explain why there is such a difference in price between cues. Let us take three cues as an example, Steve Davis’s, Stephen Hendry’s and an average cue of value $400, if you take

How to choose a cue

The exact same shot with the three cues, white ball on baulk line to pot a straight blue into the corner bag and to screw the cue ball back 1 metre, with the average cue the shot will be successful and the cue ball will come back 1 metre, with Stephen Hendry’s cue, the shot will also be successful but the cue ball will only screw back 0.5 metres, with Steve Davis’s cue, the shot again will be successful and the cue ball will come back 2 metres, the power of the shot is in the density of the wood, the older the wood the better the shot will be, so this is the expense, how old the wood was before it was made into a cue. The weight of the cue will make no difference to the shot, this is only personal preference.

My advice in picking the correct cue is:

• The height of the cue should come up to the end of your shoulder.
• The best tip size has been proven to be 9.7mm, this gives you maximum contact and maximum reaction, smaller will give you more reaction, but less accuracy. I sell all handmade quality cues, ranging from the very cheap but high quality JX cues

Right the way up to the highest level cues, these are handmade to your own specifications, made with the very best ash in the world (very old), they also come with mini butt, extension and a real leather handmade case, the price for these is $1250, only the most serious players play with these