It doesn't take a great natural talent to win a game of pool. While it's true that some people find it easier, most of us just need some practice and experience to play well. With a basic knowledge of the rules and tips on how to make your shots, it's only a matter of time before you're pocketing the balls and beating your friends at the bar.
Part 1 of 3: Preparing to Win
Step 1. Learn the ground rules
Although snooker is practiced in relaxed environments such as bars, there are, yes, some rules. If you're not familiar with the rules of the game, don't be shy about asking someone who knows them. You can also consult Billiards, an authority on pool games.
- If you ask someone for rules, try asking them to demonstrate how they work and how the rules are applied rather than just explaining them verbally.
- Seeing a demonstration of what it means to “commit suicide” (pocket the white ball) is, for example, much simpler than hearing an explanation of this rule.
Step 2. Evaluate your options across the table
Take your time, calmly choose your target ball. Many players try hard shots because they don't realize there are easier options. The easiest shots are those where the target ball is close to the pocket, and the cue ball (“cuteball”) has a clear path to the target ball. Walking around the pool table gives you a better perspective on the game and ensures you don't miss out on easy opportunities.
Remember to use your dominant eye when lining up for potential shots. When looking at the tip of your club with your dominant eye, you should be able to see a clear path between the cue ball and the target ball
Step 3. Choose your target and aim
A completely straight shot in which the pocket, target ball and cue ball are aligned is easy to aim. To aim for indirect angles, imagine a straight line from the pocket to the target ball. Aim the cue ball so that it hits the opposite side of the pocket where the straight line to the target ball comes from. Hitting the target ball from this angle will direct it into the pocket.
Step 4. Visualize your shot
Once you have chosen a target ball, visualize the entire process before attempting the shot. Imagine your cue hitting the cue ball, the cue ball hitting the target ball, and the target ball falling into the pocket. Allowing your mind to visualize a successful move will help your body execute it.
Part 2 of 3: Correctly positioning your hands and body
Step 1. Find your balance
Position yourself behind the cue ball. If you are right-handed, your right foot should be behind your body, directly opposite the position where the cue is aiming for the cue ball. Your left foot is forward, at a comfortable angle that helps you keep your balance.
Step 2. Position your hand responsible for the crosshairs
The hand that is in front of the club will create a “bridge” and ensure the balance of the club when you take your swing. There are several ways to make a “bridge”, and you'll want to test them all until you find the one that works best for you.
- The “open bridge” or “V-bridge” supports the club in the V formed between the thumb and forefinger.
- "Closed bridge" involves placing the club on your middle finger and wrapping it with your index finger to form a closed loop through which the club slides.
Step 3. Relax the hand responsible for the shot
It's important to hold the club firmly but in a relaxed way. After leaning across the table and placing your aiming hand 6 to 8 inches away from the cue ball, the forearm of your putting hand should be at a 90-degree angle to the club. The putter will be positioned parallel to the direction of your back foot.
Part 3 of 3: Taking the Putt
Step 1. Make your move
Now that you're properly positioned, you're ready to putt. Remember to firmly control the club during the shot, rather than simply hitting the cue ball with the club. Your putter shouldn't remain on the pool table when you're swinging.
- If you like, you can practice lining up your shot and starting your swing and stopping it, just as golfers do when they're getting ready to hit the ball.
- If you're actually going to practice your move as described above, remember not to touch the cue ball!
Step 2. Stay in your position and watch the shot
It's important to stay in your stance and maintain your balance within seconds of the shot. Leaving your position right after the shot will make it harder for your body to memorize the move you made if you make a good move - or correct your move if you make a bad move. Keep your feet planted firmly until you see the target ball pocket.
- Failure to maintain balance after play exposes flaws in your placement or shot.
- If you can't keep your balance, reassess your placement and the movement of your shot.
Step 3. Don't get discouraged
Snooker is only mastered with a little practice and patience. Chances are you won't hit your shot on the first few tries, or even the first dozen tries. Keep improving your skills little by little.
Having someone able to show you what you are doing wrong in your practice will make the learning process faster
- If you've never played pool, focus more on improving your game and technique rather than worrying about winning or losing.
- To get more power in the shot, the distance between the cue ball and the tip of the cue should be greater, but don't lose control of power while playing pool.
- As your technique improves and you begin to pot the balls frequently, try to plan more than one shot at a time.
- Chalk the end of your club between one shot and another. Then lightly tap the back of the stick on the floor to remove excess chalk.
- You must make your shot with at least one foot planted on the ground for your play to be valid.
- Hold your putter vertically when it's not your turn to avoid hitting other people with it.