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Learn to control the cue ball
Hit the ball in different areas for different effects

The most important ball on the snooker table is the white.

It is the only one you strike with the cue and your ability to control it is vital.

And it's not just about making the pot. You have to plan ahead and manoeuvre the cue ball accurately.

SCREW AND STUN

This is the most common form of spin used by players. It's achieved by striking the lower half of the cue ball.

You can stop the cue ball dead by hitting just below centre, but if it's more backspin you're after, strike the ball lower.

Be careful not to strike too low or the cue-ball will jump and, if you really overdo it, you may even end up ripping the cloth!

As for direction, screw back in a straight line by hitting the bottom centre of the ball.

Strike the lower sides of the cue ball to send the ball left or right after impact.

SIDE SPIN

Probably the hardest technique to employ successfully - even experienced professionals have difficulty judging it - is side spin.

Matthew Stevens in action

Side spin is used for a number of reasons, but its main job is to change the angle the cue-ball bounces off the cushion after hitting the object ball.

This is achieved by striking left or right of the centre of the cue-ball.

For example, with left side spin, the cue-ball will rebound off the cushion further to the left after hitting the object ball. And vice-versa.

Once perfected, this skill can also be used to swerve the cue-ball - sometimes required to get out of being snookered.

TOP SPIN

Striking the upper part of the cue ball causes it to travel further after impact with the object ball.

It is helpful to raise your bridge hand when playing this shot.

This will steady your aim and enables greater accuracy when striking above the centre of the white ball.

Players use this shot frequently, particularly when attempting to open a pack of reds.

Also concentrate on the follow-through of your cue after striking the ball.

It is this follow-through, combined with the power and distance between the cue ball and the object ball, that determines the amount of spin.



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