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Beaming with pride.....Part 2

Postby acesinc

This post is a follow up to a one I made some time back which can be found here:


Warning: long tedious post ahead about a personal viewpoint. If you like short, terse posts, don't read this one. You have been warned...

My little one table snooker club has been open for over six years now. This region and the USA in general of course remains a barren snooker desert so the club continues to have just a handful of members. Competitive snooker is scarce and proper tournaments are non-existent due to lack of participation or interest. So I had been feeding my love for the game mostly with exercises and drills, line up and variations, usually about 4 to 6 hours a week. I could never find the dedication to give it any more than that. I love the game, but practice is not enough; the game needs to be played.

There has never been a world champion boxer who rose to the top strictly by "shadow boxing". To hone the necessary skills, a sparring partner is a necessity. As far as snooker goes, I prefer the term "playing partner" which, in my eyes, is very different from an opponent. None other than Ding Junhui had a lot of trouble when he first moved to the UK to compete primarily in my opinion from the lack of a proper playing partner. The problem in my little club is everyone is only interested in being an opponent, not a playing partner, meaning that the only thing important is to win the frame at hand. And that usually means tedium, awful table management, and lots and lots of safety. In short, horrible snooker. A playing partner is much more than that. Playing partners help each other out, prop each other up, and encourage positive snooker. With playing partners, it truly is "May the best man win today", not "May the man who flicks his lighter just as the opponent is stroking win" or "May the man who stands in the line of sight and lurches forward as if to retrieve a colour out of the pocket even before the cue ball is struck win". (Yes, these things still happen regularly. It is sad and comical at the same time.)

So finally, as of early this year, I have my playing partner. It has come together very well, I am hitting the balls the best I ever have, even in the frames that I am dragged down by an opponent playing the most negative snooker possible. And it is due in large part to a thought that crossed my mind over twenty-five years ago...

It began as a thought experiment. It is no longer just a thought experiment as I have now implemented the concept into actual gameplay with my son since the beginning of this year and both his and my game have improved tremendously since then undeniably proving the hitherto theoretical benefits of the system. It is a handicapping system with the side benefit of automatically teaching sound gameplay principles. As a result of this, I now consider my son to be the second most "snooker intelligent" player in my club, far more savvy than many players who have literally been striking balls for decades. His physical skills continue to develop, but his decision making and table management are already second to none after less than a year.

Early on, many, many, (many) years ago, I noticed how differently a frame progresses when comparing a professional standard to a common amateur standard and I thought long and hard about exactly why this is the case. It is very easy to say the difference is "lots of practice" but in any endeavour, undirected practice is pretty much a waste of time. You can practice all you want, but if you are not practicing the RIGHT things, you will never get much better at whatever it is that you are trying to accomplish.

In the time that my club has been open, I have approached just about every player that has come through the door with this concept. The idea should in fact not only to help the lower level player to improve but actually to help the higher level player improve as well in essence by providing a simulated higher level opponent. Within my club this idea has gone over like a lead balloon; not a single member has even read the paper let alone tried the exercise. Several members SAID they read the paper but didn't like the idea, but when questioned about their views, it became clear that while they said they read the paper, in fact, they obviously had not. Apparently, I have a club full of Ronnie O'Sullivans, too bullheaded to need any handicap, already at the pinnacle of their game (despite the fact that most struggle to string just four balls together). I have come to the conclusion that in general, swinging a snooker cue does tend to close one's mind. Hopefully, some on this forum may help to change that gloomy outlook.

So I ask of you, fellow Snooker Island players, open your minds, read the white paper I reference below, implement it into your game if you can, and give me feedback. I actually would only prefer critiques from those among you who actually PLAY the game with some regularity, not the watchers. I would particularly appreciate the thoughts of the high level players such as Sickpotter and Roland and any other higher level players of whom I am unaware. If any of you have regular playing partners whereby one player plays to a handicap, please give this method a go.

If the idea of spending 20 minutes reading 13 pages of technical drivel sounds unappealing, let me suggest starting with a shortened version. In just a matter of a few minutes (about equal to a single typed page), you can begin by reading the second section middle of page 2, labeled in bold as, "The real purpose of using handicaps" all the way through to the next bolded section break. After that, skip to page 6, and read just the last paragraph above the bolded, "The 'Handicap Colours' System" that begins with, "So can there be a way....?". After that, jump ahead to the last half page and read the "Summary". If you read just this handful of paragraphs, I hope that perhaps you will be intrigued enough to take the time to go back to the beginning and read all the way through.

I am presenting this in case it may be useful to any on the forum, and ask for discussion if anyone has interest. I am not asking for opinions as to whether this may work or not...I now know, twenty five years later, that it works fabulously. The table time I have with my son is by far the most interesting, exciting, and fun snooker that I play in my club. Other opponents utterly pale by comparison. Incessantly scrappy frames tend to wear on one's nerves. Truth is if I am stranded on a desert island with nothing but perfect snooker equipment and unlimited sustenance, and I can pick only one person as a companion, my kid is the one. Great snooker and coconut cream pies for life!

The full white paper can be found here: ... epaper.pdf

Re: Beaming with pride.....Part 2

Postby Dan-cat

Will read the paper when I take a break today :)

ps. Oh and Acesinc, off topic, please indulge me... look at the Harrogate Leisure Centre / Hammerain Club now! Great to see it thriving for cue sports still

I'm off up to Yorkshire in a few weeks gonna get me a game :)