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Ken Doherty's defensive tips
Ken Doherty
Ken Doherty
Snooker star

When I was 10-years old I woke up on Christmas morning to find a little two-by-one foot snooker table at the bottom of my bed.

I taught myself, although there were people who gave me tips and advice along the way.


I would practise a lot. But I didn't see it as practice. I was playing the game I loved.

It was only once I started playing in competitions that I considered it practice.

Ken Doherty lines up a long pot

As a player you need dedication, ability and self-discipline.

You might need help sometimes, especially if you're doing something wrong in terms of your cue action - which only someone else will spot.

And there are elements you can take from other sportsmen and people in general about how you conduct and motivate yourself.

I read a lot of sports biographies and you learn about people's thinking that way.


The balls aren't always going to be set up where you can go in and make 60, 70 or 80 at a time. So you need a plan B.

That's when you need to go on the defensive.

It's what happens when either you or your opponent are trying to force an opening or a mistake. Or if the balls are in such a position that you cannot pot one.

Ken Doherty lines up a pot
Concentration is the key to playing well defensively

If you want to improve your defensive game make sure you know your angles.

When you're trying to play safe off a cushion or a particular ball, you need to have an idea where the cue ball is going to end up.

You also need vision. This will help you predict where a particular shot might leave you or your opponent.

The best way to practise your defensive game is to play a series of shots without actually potting a ball - the object being to keep the cue ball safe.

But, you do get to practise at playing safety shots, even in practice matches.

Some players use little tricks to try and psyche their opponents out.

Some might nip off to the little boys' room after a frame or try and slow the game down!

But if you're playing well, and that means being at the table, there isn't much they can do.

Sometimes you can't do anything but play safe. But remember, success in this game is about potting balls.


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