Cue Action - How to play SnookerWe started with an overview and a basic, but very good practice routine to help develop your cue action. How is it going? I am positive if you are incorporating all the lessons and diligently putting in the practice you will be seeing some slight improvement. Regardless, never be deterred, it takes a few years to be able to do what the players on television do. They were once in your position. If you are young, you will also need to grow a little taller as well. I first started to play when I was 7 in my Great Grand Father’s billiard club in the town of Swansea, a little town at the mouth of the channel that feeds Lake Macquarie, just south of Newcastle in New South Wales. My father, his brother James and many from the local area learnt to play there. I started by standing on a wooden fruit box, so I could see over the cushion properly. I had a side-arm cue action then, but as I got taller it turned over to be the cue action I talk about today. Stick with your practice.

This lesson we are going to look at some further parts of the cue action and some practice routines to help.
I would like to repeat that your cueing arm is – your forearm, wrist and fist, all swinging from your elbow as one unit. Do not develop a wristy action. There should be no wrist action at all, for any shot in snooker or pool. There is to be no movement of your cue arm shoulder at all. Your cueing arm is to swing from your elbow only. Remember to always keep your cue as level as possible.

“Your cue action should be a short, flat, back and forth motion, as relaxed, steady and as slow as you can manage, without losing the nice, smooth rhythm you should continually practice to develop into your technique”.

Timing is another requirement to becoming a good cueist. It is essential, otherwise you will never consistently stroke the shots at the right speed. What follows is that your intended distance of travel of the cue ball seldom works out as planned. The timing is between your eyes and cueing arm.

In the lesson on aiming it was outlined the procedure of how to prepare to pocket a ball. Making sure that you are hitting the cue ball where intended, then were you looking at the object ball and how hard to hit the ball. During this time when preparing to hit the cue ball and your eyes are moving from cue ball to object ball this is where the timing of the shot can be put out of cinch. My father was a great believer in the fractional stopping of the cueing action to give your eyes a chance to settle. I’ll let him tell you about the “Pause”.

“While the concentration of my mind and eyes have been on the two balls concerned, I have always had the feel of my cue, in stroking back and forth during my preliminary movements, as to how hard or how soft I am going to play the particular shot. My sighting and cue technique, from the time my stance was set and cue aligned, has taken about 10 seconds. Now, happy with all thoughts on this particular shot, when staring at the object ball for the third time, I stop my cue with the cue tip to within 13mm (½”) of the cue ball, for the fraction of a second that it takes to lower your eyes to the cue ball, making sure that my tip is still going to strike the intended area on the cue ball, I raise my eyes back to the intended area on the object ball, and deliver my stroke by pulling back and finally playing forward, and through the cue ball.

I have found that the slight ‘pause’ has been invaluable in my play since the late and great Joe Davis (undefeated World Professional Snooker Champion for twenty years) offered me that advice whilst helping me with my game on my first visit to London in 1968. Joe and I became good friends over the years and his advice to me on the ‘pause’ is the best advice ever extended to me during my snooker playing career”.

The pause at this point in aiming and cueing action takes only a second or two and is within the 8-10 seconds of the whole process. It basically gives your eyes the time to settle on the object ball prior to firing. If your timing is out fractionally you may fire the shot before your eyes have settled on the object properly and you may miss the shot.