Technique Tips - How to Pot a Ball


This is mainly for those who are new to the game or even those who play snooker leisurely but need some reinforcement of what fundamentals they should incorporate into their potting technique. This will include tips from all over as well as some insight provided by professional players.

Identify the line of the shot (potting angle) and walk into the shot

This is one of Ronnie O’Sullivan’s top tips which can be found on YouTube where once you have assessed the shot you want to make – take a couple steps back and walk into the shot. This makes it easier to get your feet and body into a stable position where you can focus on your bridge and cuing

Go for accuracy and not power

I would avoid going for the Judd Trump-esque kinds of shots; particularly when starting out. If you try to hit the cue ball too hard, you’ll often cue across the white and miss your pot by a long way. Instead, focus on delivering a solid cue action using the further tips below and work on getting your pots closer to the pocket. You’ll be amazed at what a difference it can make. Once you’ve got the hang of that then by all means, scroll that power bar right up!

The following tips mainly apply to when your hand is on the table and about to take the shot. Getting these things in your cue action right (as early as possible) will have a huge impact on your potting success. So let’s see what we should keep an eye on.

Maintain a stable bridge

The bridge refers to the position your opposing hand takes that your cue rests on. There are a few common positions that players use and there is no wrong position when it comes to this. The main staple is using a bridge position that allows you to comfortably deliver the cue in a straight line as consistently as possible

Deliver your cuing arm as straight as possible

One of the main reasons you are probably missing pots and don’t know the reason for this is because you are not actually hitting the cue ball where you are intending. This occurs when you cue across the white ball and do not hit it directly in the centre (or where you were planning to) which in turns affects the outcome of the shot

Something Steve Davis used to do before practicing is just stroke the cue ball up and down the table. And he would make sure the cue ball would return to him in a straight line. When he was able to do this, he knew that he was delivering his cue arm as straight as possible. You can practice this using the baulk line to ensure you are not putting unintentional side when you strike the cue ball.

Keep still

Keeping your head, bridge and body as still as possible will reduce the chance of an improper cue action. Steve Davis is the perfect example of a player to watch when it comes to technique. Even once he played the shot he would keep his head down and still until the ball went into the pocket.

Try to maintain a consistent pre-shot routine

When playing a shot, you tend to feather the ball a few times before you take the shot to ensure you are striking the cue ball where you want to and in a straight action. This is similar to how golfers like Shaun Murphy attempt practice swings before their actual shot. If you watch Mark Selby, he has the same pre-shot routine for every shot where he lines the cue up and takes two large backswings before he takes his shot. He does this for every shot whether going for a pot or a safety and this is why his safety play is so high-tier.


The difficult thing about snooker and making a pot is remembering to implement all of these tips into every single shot. Due to the lengthy nature of snooker, it can become very easy to forget these fundamentals and just hit the cue ball out of frustration, especially after not potting a ball in a long while. But, as with everything, the more you keep practising, the more second-nature these techniques will become.

Have fun!

No explanation necessary

There are definitely a lot more things that you can do to improve your game but this was mainly for those (including myself) who have difficulty even when it comes to potting a single ball in snooker. There’s a lot of advice out there on the internet and YouTube (I recommend Barry Stark’s videos) in which you can pick up little things that you can take into your next session. Hopefully you were able to pick up some things here!

Snooker is a difficult game; but don’t knock it until you’ve given it a solid attempt. You’ll find yourself having a fun time even if you miss most of your shots. I wouldn’t go into this game expecting to be able to pot everything just by emulating what you see on TV. But the great thing about snooker is that there’s always room for improvement; even at the highest level. Technically speaking, no one is the perfect snooker player. But snooker is a game with a steep learning curve where players (professional and casual) can elevate to new heights with even the minutest of changes.