Snooker basics: all-time greats give their advice

By Ballin' Bazzer •  Updated: 02/14/21 •  4 min read

If you’re just starting out in the game, learning a few snooker basics can help to accelerate your progress. Here are some of the sport’s biggest icons with their tips to help you get the fundamentals right.


Stephen Hendry on technique

“The most important thing is to have a solid stance. I put my right foot in line with the shot. My left foot goes just to the side. My right leg is straight and firm. If someone came to push me over, they wouldn’t be able to because I’m solid. All of that means it’s so much easier to stay still on the shot — and then you can do whatever you want on the cueball.”


Ronnie O’Sullivan on long potting

“The idea is to try to get the cue as parallel as you can to the table, so you’re hitting through the white ball. Try to hit the white as solidly as you can, but not too hard. There’s no need to hit it hard. It’s more about accuracy, delivery and trying to get the cue as parallel as you can, which helps you not put as much unwanted side on the ball. If you get the foundations and the basics right, that will help you consistently pot more long balls.”


Shaun Murphy on splitting the reds

“This is a shot where you screw into the pack of the reds, but the white doesn’t stop – it keeps on travelling. It’s played with a lot of back spin and a touch of opposite side so that when the white careers into the reds it keeps on spinning, takes again and hopefully ploughs through the reds to leave you on a nice pot.”


Steve Davis on cue actions

“Most amateur players make the mistake of too much head movement during the shot. So how do you train yourself not to move your head? The first thing to explain is what’s happening… You pull the cue back, but the effort required on the shot, or the fact you’re anxious, means that when you go through you move your head one way or the other. That moves your body, and that can take your cue off line. The way for the club player to stop doing this — and it’s a bit boring, I admit – is that you’ve got to train yourself that you never move your head either before, during or after the shot. You don’t move your head until the ball is either in the pocket or it’s wobbled in the jaws. You have to stay down for a lot longer on the shot.”


Jimmy White on break building

“When you’ve got the balls nice, you don’t want to be moving the cue ball or hitting the cushion. You’ve got to try to get the right angle on the black, then the right angle on the red, and to just keep going. (For practice), put five reds between the pink and black and try not to hit the cushion – just use stun and screw.”


Judd Trump on cue power

“It’s timing. The power comes from flicking the wrist when I get through it. I just enjoy hitting the ball hard, and that along with the flick of the wrist helps to generate a lot of power.”


Snooker Basics: Get the Right Gear


(Image credit: “File:Shaun Murphy at Snooker German Masters (DerHexer) 2015-02-08 19.jpg” by DerHexer is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0)

Ballin' Bazzer

Been playing snooker for more than 30 years. High break agonisingly just under a ton. Actively aiming for my first century with coaching, dedicated practice -- and a lot of luck.