rekoons wrote:***There is a completely different (and mind boggling) reason why this only happens going toward the Baulk corners but we should save that for some other discussion. For now, post again and let me know if you have seen this version of the slide effect and if you are interested, we can discuss why it only works toward Baulk end (or let me know if you have seen the same thing toward Black end).
Ace, I think you still owe us an explanation on this...
Hi again, Rekoons.
As this is far removed from the original thread topic, I will start a new thread for it. The origination of this thread started here:
So as to the cause of this type of unusual fluke, Rekoons, you postulated:
As for why this should only occur in the baulk direction, and not the other way is beyond me. All I can think of is perhaps the run of the cloth?
And in fact, that is exactly correct as to WHY it happens only the one direction, but it does not explain at all WHAT it is that actually happens. So I will attempt to explain the science of what actually happens then in this post.
WARNING! This post is intended for players only. It will be long, and technical, and very probably quite boring. So don't bother to read unless you are thrilled by the mundane. Even so, I still expect to see a TL;DR. You have been warned.
I took a little while and found a pretty good example of this type of fluke here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l9_HngD ... u.be&t=142
It is not quite the same because the first Red plants onto the second Red, but very often, the same thing happens where the very first Red simply drops into the (in this case, Green) corner pocket. I will describe the science of it as demonstrated in this particular video....i.e., the Red is played from near Pink spot into the Green side middle pocket and ultimately flukes into the Green corner pocket. I have witnessed this at least a dozen times on my own table, but always the fluke is into the Green or Yellow pockets; I have never seen the mirror image of the ball fluking into one of the Black pockets in a similar way.
First, we have to talk about a proper Snooker cloth. Here in the US sadly, many snooker tables are covered with the same cloth which is used on Pool tables. These play very differently than proper Snooker tables with Snooker cloth installed. Pool cloth is cotton based (I think) and very thin and smooth and it plays very fast with no nap. "Nap" refers to the directional aspect of Snooker cloth. If you brush your hand on it from the Brown spot to the Blue spot, it feels very smooth. If you brush your hand from Pink spot to Blue spot, you will feel the resistance of small fibers in the cloth. Snooker cloth is made from worsted wool. Now, I am not a clothier, but suffice to say that worsted wool is made from very fine sheep hair that is combed to lay all in the same direction. That is why you can actually feel the fibers of the nap when you brush your hand across it...it is made that way on purpose. Cotton cloths of Pool tables have no nap....therefore, balls roll in a straighter line. Snooker cloths are thicker with a fine to heavy nap (depending on the grade of cloth) so the balls will "roll off" some as a result. This may be due to the table being out of level, but even if the table is perfectly level, balls will roll off at slow speeds due to the thick, napped cloth. Imagine watching a golf tournament on telly and the camera zooms in on the golf ball rolling along the green....it is not a smooth movement as the ball hits bumps and grass blades. This is basically the same thing happening to a snooker ball on a snooker table. Of course, snooker balls are heavier than golf balls, and cloth fiber is finer than grass blades, but the effect is similar in principle if different in degree.
The nap of the cloth on a snooker table always runs from Baulk to Black. (At least it should....I have heard stories about people who did not understand this and then installed their own cloth incorrectly, either backwards or upside down.) So the way a snooker ball travels on the napped cloth will be affected by whether it travels WITH the nap, AGAINST the nap, ACROSS the nap, or most likely, a combination of these directions. The effect of this "nap roll" is small, but it is important and noticeable most especially when balls are traveling very slow speeds. And if a ball is spinning rather than simply sliding or rolling, there are even more complicated effects that occur.
So this effect is very subtle and usually ignored by players, but often, players are not even aware that the effect exists. I bought an instructional book written by Cliff "The Grinder" Thorborn nearly forty years ago. In it, he explains that he had been playing Snooker for ten years before someone he respected finally convinced him that nap roll exists and it is important enough to pay attention to and after understanding the effect, Cliff became a much better player. So you can play just fine if you don't know this or if you don't believe this. But if you accept these principles as true, you will become a better player, especially for strokes that require soft speeds and spins.
Unless you already know this effect, then what I am about to write below, you will not believe. Put simply, you will NOT believe it. I can only hope that you will be interested enough to take a small amount of time yourself to try this at your own club so that you will actually see it with your own eyes. And after you do that the first time, you probably STILL will not believe it. So do it two, three, four times, whatever it takes, and finally, you will have no choice but to believe that what I say below is true. Don't take my word for it. You won't.
Let's start with a very simple, common exercise to test how straight you cue the White ball. Nearly everyone has done this before. Place White on the Brown spot. Try to hit the White perfectly center ball so that it travels perfectly straight over Blue, Pink, Black spots, off Black cushion, and comes back in a straight line over spots again to strike your cue tip center ball. That is perfect cueing and it is difficult to do for most players especially if you strike White with some speed.
But now, instead of White traveling back to your cue tip, strike it with pace so that is just comes off Black cushion and stops somewhere around Black spot. THAT is the speed I want you to remember. Do this a few times if you have to to memorize that exact speed, always just plain center ball. When comfortable with that, now you will put LEFT side on your White ball and play exactly the same shot. A reasonable amount of side, maybe one cue tip to the left of center. I am sure you know what will happen. White will start maybe to the RIGHT just a touch but it will arc to the left to travel over Blue spot and it will continue to drift left of the Pink and Black spots. If any spin remains in the White when it strikes cushion, you will see it kick off to the left side quite a bit, but it is possible that all of the spin has faded away at the slow speed.
You probably already know all of that but you should do it anyway. Next, you will do exactly the same thing but in the other direction. Set the White on the Pink spot and first play center ball and learn the speed to make White bounce off Baulk cushion just about a foot or less, as if there is a "phantom" Black spot there. When comfortable with that, now apply the LEFT side to White exactly like when you ran the other direction.
What will happen? Most likely, if you are like pretty much everyone, you think it will just be the same thing, only going the opposite direction. That is absolutely not correct.
Because of the nap of the cloth, a very strange (you might say mind-boggling) effect occurs. When you play the stroke with the LEFT side, again White will jump to the right initially like the other way, but then it will straighten out and it will not cross Blue spot. In fact, even though you put GENTLE LEFT side spin on it, the White WILL NOT come back to the left in an arc at all. It will begin to drift toward the RIGHT! When played at speed to just bounce off the Baulk cushion a foot, LEFT side spin will cause the White to drift to the RIGHT by about two inches (50 mm) by the time White strikes the cushion. If there is still any side spin remaining, it will still kick back toward the left a little bit just like normal.
I think that nearly everyone has seen this happen before. But when a player witnesses a roll off of this type, I believe the usual reaction is "Table isn't level" so nothing is learned from the observation. That is why you , the reader, must do this exercise yourself in order to believe that it is true. When you have this knowledge, it can lead to some very strange seeming shot choices. For instance, let's say you just want to roll the White ball from the jaws of the Yellow pocket, over the Blue spot, to finish just at the opposite Black corner pocket. Dead weight speed to just touch a ball sitting there. In that case, you just cue it straight and try to get the speed correct. But now reverse it.....White is in the Black corner jaws and now you need to roll over the Blue spot dead weight to the Yellow corner. If you just hit center ball, due to the nap of the cloth, White will roll over Blue spot (or maybe just a touch to the left of it) but as the White slows down, it will drift further and further to the left as it slows. It will probably strike the cushion 4 to 6 inches toward the middle pocket if you were aiming for center of the Yellow pocket. Maybe more with heavier nap.
So what do you do if you must play that White in a straight line at a slow speed against the nap as in this corner-to-opposite-corner stroke? You have two choices. You can either try to compensate.....aim well to the RIGHT of the Yellow pocket and try to judge how far the cue ball is going to drift to the left as it goes against the nap. This is EXTREMELY difficult to do. The exact speed the White is traveling has a major effect on when and how far the cue ball will arc as it slows down so put simply, it is extremely difficult to judge correctly. The second option, BELIEVE IT OR NOT, is to put that little touch of side on White ball.....BUT you will put side on White OPPOSITE of what your intuition tells you. To be specific for this example....you know that the White is going to drift off to the left when you strike center ball. So playing at an angle against the nap, to stop this drift to the left, you must put LEFT side on the White ball! CRAZY! And actually, it is far easier to judge this shot than the first option because, after all, you are simply lining it up in a straight line where you need to hit it. Having the counter-intuitive knowledge to put OPPOSITE side on the White ball turns this into to quite an easy shot to judge.
You cannot possibly believe this until you do it yourself. But remember, this effect ONLY acts this way when the White (or any other ball) is traveling quite slowly and traveling against the nap (straight against or at an angle against the nap). If you are snookered and you have to play a strong swerve shot against the nap, White will act pretty normally and if you strike White strong left with elevated cue, the White will swerve left like you would expect. It is just when White is slowing down and coming to a stop that it will act funny and you might actually notice a sort of "S" shaped arc if it comes to a stop before hitting a cushion.
That is a lot of information. And I have not even gotten to the bit yet about how the Red ball hugs that side cushion in the video. If everything that is written above makes sense to you, then you may be able to figure out yourself why that Red hugs cushion. This has all laid a good foundation. I have to take a break and walk the dog, eat dinner, etc. so I will try to get back to this tomorrow to finish up about the Red hugging the cushion.