How to Pot the Ball in Snooker

Three Parts:Setting Yourself Up for SuccessKnowing Hand and Body PlacementShooting the Ball

Winning snooker doesn't require a ton of natural talent. While some have the magic, most of us have to rely on practice and a little know-how. With a basic understanding of the rules and tips on how to shoot, you'll be potting the ball and beating your friends at the pub in no time.

Part 1
Setting Yourself Up for Success

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    Learn the basic rules. Though the game is played in casual settings like bars it has quite a few rules. If you aren't familiar with them, don't be afraid to ask a friend who is. You can also consult Billiards, a governing authority of snooker games.[1]
    • If asking a friend, try to have them demonstrate the rule and how it is applied rather than just verbally explaining it.
    • Seeing what a "scratch" is, for instance, is much more helpful than simply being told the rule.
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    Evaluate the whole table. Take your time choosing your target ball. Many players attempt difficult shots because they don't see a simpler one. The easiest shots are shots where the target ball is close to a hole, and your cue ball has a clear path to the target ball. Walking around the snooker table will help you get a better perspective and make sure you aren't missing any easy balls.
    • Be sure to use your dominant eye when trying to line up potential shots. [2] When looking down the shaft of your cue stick with your dominant eye, you should be able to see a clear path through the cue ball and to the target ball.
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    Pick your target and aim. A completely straight shot in which the cup, target ball, and cue ball are all lined up is easy to aim for. To aim for indirect angles, imagine a straight line going from the cup and through your target ball. Aim your cue ball for the spot on the opposite side of the cup that the line goes through the target ball. Striking the target ball at that angle will direct it to the cup.[3]
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    Visualize potting the ball. After you have found your target, visualize the entire process before attempting it. Imagine your cue striking the cue ball, the cue ball striking the target ball, and the target ball falling into the cup. Allowing your mind to see success first will help your body follow through. [4]

Part 2
Knowing Hand and Body Placement

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    Find your stance. Position yourself behind the cue ball. If you are a right-handed player, your right foot should be behind you, directly opposite where the cue stick is aiming at the cue ball. Your left foot will be in front of you and at a comfortable angle that helps you to maintain balance. [5]
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    Position your aiming hand. Your front hand will create a "bridge" and provide your cue stick with balance as you drive through the shot. There are multiple ways to form a "bridge", and you will want to experiment until you find the one that works for you.[6]
    • The “open bridge” or “V bridge” rest the cue stick in the V formed by the bottom of your thumb and the top of your index finger.
    • The "closed bridge" involves letting the cue rest on your middle finger and wrapping your index finger around it to form a closed loop that the cue slides through.
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    Relax your shooting hand. It is important to have a firm but relaxed grip. After you are leaning against the table and your aiming hand is 6-8 inches away from the cue ball, the forearm of your shooting hand should be at about a 90 degree angle from your cue. [7] The cue stick will be positioned at 180 degree from the direction of your back foot.

Part 3
Shooting the Ball

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    Commit to the shot. Now that you are positioned, you are ready to make the shot. Be sure to firmly drive the cue through the shot, as opposed to simply tapping the cue ball with your cue. Remember that your cue can’t rest on the snooker table as you’re shooting.
    • You can practice lining up your shot and starting your shooting motion if you'd like, just like a golfer lining up his putt.
    • If you do practice the shooting motion, be sure not to touch the cue ball!
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    Hold your position and follow through. It is important to hold your position and keep your balance in the seconds after the shot. Failing to follow through will make it difficult for your body to remember the motion if you succeed - and correct the motion if you fail. Keep your feet firmly planted until the target ball is in the snooker hole. [8]
    • Being unable to keep your balance will point out a flaw in your stance or shot.
    • If you aren't able to keep your balance, reevaluate your stance and shooting motion.
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    Don't get discouraged. Snooker is only mastered with practice and patience. [9] You may not make your shot the first few times, or the first few dozen times. Keep honing your skills.
    • Having someone there who can point out what you do wrong will speed the learning process.


  • If you are new to snooker, focus more on improving your play and technique rather than worrying about winning or losing.
  • As your skills improve and you regularly pot balls, consider planning more than one shot at a time.
  • Chalk the tip of your cue between shots. Then lightly drop the butt of the cue on the floor to shake excess chalk dust.


  • You must shoot with at least one foot on the ground for your shot to be valid.
  • Hold your stick vertically when not shooting to avoid striking other people with it.

Article Info

Categories: Cue Sports