fcsnooker - Top Quality Snooker Coaching and Instruction in association with Mr Frank Callan - Basic Level -
"Sighting the Ball

First, a player has to find out which is his 'master eye'.

A certain percentage of players have the left eye as their master eye, others have their right eyes and others are even-sighted. For example, former professional snooker player and Big Break host John Virgo is right-eyed and former world champion John Parrot is left-eyed.

Seven times world champion Stephen Hendry has an even-sighted approach with the cue placed centrally under the chin as does Terry Griffiths as shown below.

To determine which eye is your master eye place a piece of chalk at one end of the table and stand directly in front of it at the other end. Point your forefinger at the chalk with both eyes open. Close your left eye and see if your finger is still pointing at the chalk. If it is, you will know you are right-eyed.

To confirm it, close your right eye. If you have to move your finger to keep it pointing at the chalk you have further proof that your right eye is your master eye. Obviously, if by closing the left eye you have to move your index finger - but not when the right eye is closed - you are left-eyed. If you are even-sighted your finger will deviate slightly to the left or right dependant on which eye you shut.

It seems amazing to me that no previous coaching book has ever emphasized the importance of finding out whether a player is left-eyed, right-eyed or even-sighted.

If your left eye is the master eye you want your left eye over the ball when you go down to sight the shot as demonstrated in Figure 1.

Figure 2 demonstrates the position of the cue and eyes if you are right- eyed, and Figure 3, shows the position if you are even-sighted.

If the eye, which is doing the sighting, is not directly over the cue, you will have a strong tendency to hit across the ball.

Now that you have found out about your master eye, which ball, cue ball or object ball, should you be looking at when you actually strike the cue ball? (A golfer, tennis player, footballer or cricketer does not have this problem as he has only one ball to worry about.)

Here, I want to make an analogy with a darts player. Just imagine John Lowe playing darts. He has his waggles - his preliminary address - just the same as a snooker player. After this preparation he throws the dart. He is also luckier than a snooker player because he has only one thing to look at. We'll say he wants the bull for game.

All the time he is doing those waggles his eyes are on the bull. At the very second he releases the dart his eyes are still on the bull, if he wants to have any chance of hitting it. So if you want to direct the cue ball to the correct spot on the object ball in the same way that John Lowe looks at the bull, you have to have your eyes on that spot on the object ball when you hit the cue ball.

To take the analogy further, John Lowe wants double six for game. Double six is at three o'clock on the board. He has lined up and got his eyes on the double six. Suppose, in the split second before he throws the dart, his eyes switch to the bull. He now throws the dart. Because he has switched his eyes from double six to bull there is no way that dart is going to go in double six. No darts player would ever do this, of course. I merely make this analogy because this is what happens so often at snooker.

Translated into snooker terms you may be on the black with a three-quarter-ball pot into a top pocket, but you don't just want to pot the black, you also want to split a cluster of reds. You line up correctly on the black, but just before you come through to hit the cue ball your eyes switch not to the point on the black you are trying to hit but to the pack to see if you have opened the reds. Have you any chance of potting the black? This is what happens without players realizing it. They miss the black because they are looking to see what will happen to the cue ball when their eyes should still be on the object ball.

Another very common fault is to switch your eyes to the pocket to see if the ball has gone in! This is another way to invite disaster.

When you play a pot, two things are required of your brain. One is to pot the ball you are aiming at, the other is to send the cue ball along the line you want it to go for position.

Your eyes are not going to help you hit the cue ball to open the reds. Where you put the tip to the cue ball - right or left of center, above or below - how much you move the cue in preparation for the shot, the strength of the stroke: all this will take care of the positional side of the shot. But you have to pot the black and that is why you have to have your eyes on the spot on the object ball that needs to be hit.

Every decent player knows this, but not every decent player does it. Never forget: eyes on the object ball when striking the cue ball!

(For more information on sighting, visit the link to potting)

fcsnooker - The Frank Callan Suite - 282 Ribbleton Lane, Ribbleton, Preston, Lancashire, England - PR1 5EB - tel. + 44 (0) 1772 702211 - info@fcsnooker.co.uk

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