A client in our private client group recently posted his following frustration:
‘In all honesty I feel as if I’ve lost my sighting, cueing and stepping into the shot. I couldn’t even pot a single ball 😑 and feel like wasting my time in snooker atm.’
Mark White from the USA commented:
‘How are you doing on medium range straight shots? As Nic always says, most likely it’s your cueing, not your sighting. The straight shot is the acid test.’
I replied with a couple of ideas from both my experience as a player, and that of others who I have seen get out of playing badly (‘being in a snooker rut’) in their own game:
‘That is correct Mark, and keep reducing it down to perhaps an even simpler shot than a straight blue in the middle to follow the cue ball in. Play it slowly so that the cue ball just rolls in gently. Once you have done that three times in a row, then increase the distance of the shot 10% until you can do that three in a row. Keep going until you cannot get three in a row - and there you have your current circle of competence which you can work on. This difficulty level is almost always much easier than a struggling player 'thinks it should be', hence their upset.
Part of the art of snooker is learning how to become better at getting out of ruts - and you have a great opportunity to practice this now, perhaps writing notes about how you got out of it for your future database on escaping ruts. I often say to players who are trying to make their first 100 break, that in order to do so they must escape from 100 ruts - they will then be at a high enough proficiency level in this key skill that they can often get out of a rut in a few minutes before other people even notice it.
The counter-intuitive key is to focus on WHAT YOU WANT (eg playing well, being relaxed, feeling in control, watching the ball to the pocket properly and accurately self diagnosing errors) rather than WHAT YOU DON'T WANT (eg not playing bad, not being tight, not snatching, not getting angry) as the latter will attract more problems to into your universe.’