Tips for Hitting the Cue Ball

Date Posted:2 January 2019 

It’s no secret that the most important ball on the snooker table is the cue ball. Unfortunately, it is also one of the hardest balls to manoeuvre. As it is the only ball you strike with your cue, your ability to control it is crucial in your ability to reign victorious as a snooker player. With a combination of practice, technique and following these simple tips, you'll hit the cue ball dead centre every time.

Technique #1 – The Stroke

Improper stroke technique is the single biggest reason for unpredictability in a snooker player’s game. If you fluctuate between good playing days and bad playing days, or simply find the cue ball isn’t going where it should, a poor stroke technique is usually to blame.

Learning the Bottle Drill is the simplest way to improve your stroke. This stance involves keeping your head still, moving only the forearm while shooting, holding the cue stick gently, a clean follow-through, and moving only after the cue ball has stopped.

Technique #2 – Aiming System

Most novice pool players do not realize that developing proper aim and hitting techniques are the most important skills to master when learning to play pool. If you’ve learned to accurately hit where you aim, all you need is a friend to show you where to aim the cue ball.

Technique #3 – Ghost Ball

The Ghost Ball is a simple technique which shows you where to aim without assistance.

Firstly, mentally draw a line from the pocket to the ball you are aiming for to visualise the path the ball needs to take. Extend the line past the ball, and draw a line from the cue ball centre to the ghost ball centre. Align both feet and cue along the line of the ball and go down on the shot. Look at the pocket and the shot image (the cue ball and ball you want to hit). Lastly, shoot the ball using a good stroke with a smooth follow through.

Technique #4 – Fractional Hit

This technique involves dividing the ball into "slices" or fractions and aiming the ghost ball at the different "slices". The fractional aiming system works from the point of view of the shooter when they are down on the shot. Using this technique, you work backwards from the angle you need to find the fraction you need to hit. The edge of the ball is the easiest place to aim, and the easiest angle to recognise.

Technique #5 – Control the Cue Ball

Slowly move the rear of your cue back and forth, like a horizontal pendulum. Gradually drift to the left until you are sure the aim is slightly off, then drift to the right until you're sure you've gone too far. Continue going back and forth (a little less each time) while you zero in on the point between the two extremes.

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