Particularly for snooker players below regular 40 break standard, and often for players up to 100 break standard, the most common misdiagnosis I see is to do with aiming.
Usually, your problem is still that your CUEING is clouding how good or bad you are at aiming. So, my point is, is that YOU HAVE NO IDEA how good you are at aiming if your cueing is not good enough to reliably hit the ball where you are aiming in the first place. It is this mind loop that locks most players into below regular 40 break standard because your ladder will be on the wrong wall and you will have priority disorder!
If your cueing suddenly became as good as world snooker champion's Neil Robertson's, your aiming would improve so quickly that it would make you angry... because you would realise that for all these years you have been barking up the wrong tree and assuming that your aiming was perfect….
‘How difficult can it be to deliver the snooker cue straight?!’ I hear players think. Well, pulling the cue 1mm off line is enough to push the cue ball 10mm off by the time it reaches the object ball on a long pot, which may then miss the pocket by 100mm.
The THREE things that prevent most players breaking through in their aiming from 40 break standard are:
1. NOT having the courage to COMMIT to a line of aim before shot approach – and trying to fish for the line when they are down.
2. NOT cueing up enough - most players below regular 40 break standard cue up less than Ronnie and expect to play well... John Higgins, though, cues up FOUR times even on easy shots. With no cueing action or ‘feathers’ you don’t really know where the cue is pointing, and also cannot confirm if the cue is moving in a straight line before ‘pulling the trigger’ and making the backswing / delivery.
3. REFUSING to do the following things after striking the cue ball regardless of having played the best or worst shot in the world:
a. Staying still - no steering the snooker cue even 1mm even if you do not like where the object ball is going
b. Watch the object ball travel to the pocket or cushion – on 50% of shots missed by players below regular 40 break standard, the player does not know what side of the pocket they missed which makes it impossible to improve.
c. Staying down on the shot until step b is complete
d. Watching what happens without judgement clouding observation (celebration of a 'good' shot is just as damaging as anger at a 'bad' shot in terms of one's observation and learning from the shot)
e. After a miss, not asking EVERY time: 'Did I miss because of cueing, or because of aiming?' Unless your cueing is perfect, then you have no clue how good your aiming was, so have no right to think about aiming as a reason for missing. The purpose of straight cueing is to reduce the reasons for missing to one variable - aiming!
You won't always be able to work out the answer to this self diagnosis question and sometimes will have to guess... but you are wasting your time hoping to improve at snooker if you are not willing to get good at this step of self diagnosis as improvement is impossible without it.
So follow the steps above for a month (even if it is to confirm that none of the above will make any difference!) and let us know the results….