This short post derives from one previously written on why snooker tables are heated. Click here if you haven’t check that one out yet. Effectively, that led to the question as to whether professional players would be able to play well on any snooker table; whether at the club, bar or in a tournament venue.
At initial thought, the answer would be yes - and this is true to a reasonable degree. The best way to think of a professional playing on any snooker table is whether a football player would be able to play on any pitch; or if a tennis player would be able to play on any court.
A football player will likely struggle if a pitch is wet/damp as opposed to regular, dry conditions. Similarly, in tennis you have players that perform better at Wimbledon when playing on grass and players that are better at competing on clay. The same applies to snooker tables in that players will need to adjust to the conditions they are given.
Typically, club tables are slower running because they are cheaper than professional match tables and don’t have under-table heaters or finer cloths. Most who play on these tables will often find themselves struggling to find good position and will need to ‘punch’ the cue ball a little more – and if the cushions aren’t reactive, can make for a difficult session of snooker.
Obviously, professional players are better equipped than anyone else to deal with conditions like these considering the amount of practice and experience they have, but it wouldn’t be ideal for them. Even when playing in high profile tournaments involving a one or two-table setup, you will sometimes hear commentators and players mentioning tables not playing well. Pros very quickly have to adapt to the conditions of the table they are playing on in order to compete.
Ultimately, professionals technically can play on any kind of table but a poorer table means that scoring and break building will suffer, especially if the players can’t adapt to the conditions. Slow cloths and less than ideal rails can make for a difficult game of snooker where players will need to pot themselves out of trouble.
For those who play snooker leisurely, have you tried playing on a match table before and noticed any difference?