A Road to Snooker Excellence

In the 1980’s I played a lot of Snooker. I was tired of always losing to the same guys that gave me 20 or 30 point spot and won my rent money. So I decided to change how I spent most of my time on the snooker table. I am about to share with you some of those things! First I started playing matches against myself. I would give my left hand a 50 point spot and play my right hand against my left hand. At first my left hand didn’t have a chance and it always felt awkward to shoot. I had a hard time just making a ball for a while. But after a few months my left hand was running 30 and 40 points fairly regularly and eventually I had my highest left handed run of 88 points. Although that is a success story in itself the real improvement was in my confidence and patience. In fact every time I would change from left handed to right handed I would get this wonderful feeling of power, almost as if I became Superman with the transition. So as my left handed shooting got much better so did my right.
Another thing that I changed was the type of drills that I would do. For many years the main snooker drill that I spent time on was the line drill. But I realized that the most important part of the game, especially in close games, was the end game when the reds were all gone and we were just shooting the colored balls. So I designed my own drill. It was a progressive drill. I would put all the colours on their spots and take ball in hand anywhere I want. From that position I would try to run out the colours in order. If I missed any ball I would start over again. After succeeding in running all the colours I would respot all the coloured balls and add a red ball. I could put the red ball wherever I wanted but I generally put it near the black ball. Then I would put the cue ball wherever I wanted (ball in hand) and shoot the red, then a colour, then all the colours in their respective order. If I missed I would respot all the colours and the red ball and try again until I was successful. Once I successfully ran out from the one red and the colours I would place 2 red balls and do the same. Then 3, then 4, etc. BTW I only took ball in hand for the first shot of any runout, all other shots were from playing position from the ball before it.
Within months of starting these new and different ways of spending time on the Snooker table my game elevated extremely fast and high. Of course these two new ways to practice were not the only changes that I made but they were a significant reason for my improvement. I was starting to win matches that I would never win in the past. My road to Snooker excellence was on a fast track and continued that way right through my pool years as well. And yes, I did win all my rent money and more back off of the same guys that used to give me 20-30 point spot. In fact they seemed in denial about the new me and it took a long time before they stopped playing me altogether.
I hope you find this article helpful in your own search for excellence!
Enjoy the Process!
Paul Potier

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