Nic Barrow's The Snooker Gym ... "We Train Frustrated Amateurs, To Beat Their Highest Break"

“Would you have any clue why I would cue across the ball so much without realising it?”

technique Feb 21, 2019

A client in our private online The Snooker Gym Community was talking about practicing long blues and asked the question:

“Would you have any clue why I would cue across the ball so much without realising it?” 

What was going to be a three point email turned into something longer, so I thought I would share it with you.


I replied: 

I find it helpful to always apply the mantra: 'Everything we do has a positive intention'. So, that helps me get into detective mode with a clients and help discover why a symptom exists. In my experience the top reason for players cueing across straight balls is, in order of frequency with highest being first:


1. Chest and hip crowding cue

Positive Intentions: To avoid the hip / avoid hitting the grip into the ribs / follow through more.

Solution: Achieve a 2-8 inch 'Grip Hip Gap' by testing one or more of the following (which assume right handedness) until you feel the cue is moving unrestricted and straight indicating you have found your optimum:

A. Right toe (rather than heel) on the line of aim.

B. Angle of right foot (pointing straight forward is the common dogma of what we 'must do' but reduces Grip Hip Gap and vice versa. Maximum recommended angle would be 30 degrees or so, and I virtually never see an optimum greater than 45 degrees.

C. Left foot width/ distance from right foot.

D. Left foot forwards / backwards position - a 'squarer' stance again is a very popular dogma but simply reduces the Grip Hip Gap.

E. Left knee angle. Many player keeps this artificially too straight because they don't feel they have 'permission' to bend it, and bending it can get us lower to the shot and also increase the Grip Hip Gap.

F. Rotating both shoulders clockwise (with the head remaining fixed in position). This pushes the bridge forwards and pulls the cueing elbow backwards slightly, and may help the chest to stop crowding the cue. It also has the added advantage of increasing the distance from cueing elbow to bridge hand which, for a given bridge length, will reduce sideways tip error for a given sideways grip error.

G. Heresy Warning!: You may even find that you cue better and straighter with the chest NOT TOUCHING THE CUE! A minority of players cue straighter and freer with the chest away from the cue. The current dogma that ' you must cue on the chest' is wrong, otherwise it would work best for everyone - which is does not. So you may want to try this to see if it improves or degrades your cueing.


2. Eye alignment error

Positive Intention: To correct the aim.

Solution: Confirm or correct your eye alignment on straight pots (and keep it the same on all angled pots):

You must understand this first: The Dominant Eye Theory Is Wrong!



Then you are ready to find your vision centre: Two Rests Aiming Technique



This method is quite clunky, and more up to date information can be found here: AimFrame

You are then ready to learn straight cueing: Cue Action Trainer: Mastery Mode



3. Feel not being real

Positive Intention: To deliver the cue in the way that feels straight.

Solution: Cue up in front of a mirror at home or in the club (a hairdresser’s mirror works well here as it is discreet) until you can cue across the ball the same amount but in the OPPOSITE direction. This will weaken the original habit. Then deliver cue with eyes closed, guess if it was straight or not, then open eyes to see if you were correct. This will help your feel to become real.


4. Thinking it is wrong to hit the grip into the chest

Positive Intention: To avoid doing something that feels weird or not allowed..

Solution: Watch the pros on TV and try to find one who does not finish the grip hand at a stop point on the chest (apart from Mark Allen who impacts his cue ball a long way back from vertical).


Please comment below if you have any questions or feedback…


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