Snooker Practice: 5 snooker drills to improve your safety play

By Snooker Jim •  Updated: 04/25/23 •  4 min read

snooker balls 1 on Snooker Spot

It might not be the most glamorous way to play, but safety shots are very important in snooker too.

If there is a shot you don’t think you can land, then you want to give your opponent as hard a shot as possible.

Here are five snooker drills to improve your safety play.

Long Potting

There is an exercise where you can combine safety play with long potting. All you need is the cue ball and one red ball.

Place the red ball on the pink spot, and place the cue ball anywhere in the D.

You start on five points. If you can pot the ball, then you get an extra three points, and you get a point if the cue goes beyond the baulk line.

If you fail to do either of those things, you lose a point.

The exercise concludes when you reach 20 points.

Escaping snookers

It can be a little alarming when you get snookered, the obvious shot you want to play isn’t on.

It is handy to practice escaping these snookers. There are two things you need to consider- any natural angle you have, and ensuring the cue ball lands in a safe area.

To practice these, put the cue ball really close to one of the coloured balls, and leave a red ball in a place where you can pot.

It’s handy to use the cushions, but also be wary of the power you put on a shot. The cushion will absorb some of the power, so the cue ball may end up going in a different direction in this scenario.

Learn your angles.; it’s going to take some trial and error at first, but once you nail down where you need to hit the ball and also how hard you need to hit the ball, you’re on your way to mastering the art of escaping snookers.

Strategic shots

When you are playing a safety shot, there are two things you need to consider. You need to both not leave your opponent a getable shot, or snooker them behind one of the coloured balls.

Ideally, you want to aim the ball for the cushions back at the front, or put them behind a ball.

Line the nine red balls up along the bottom pocket behind the three coloured balls. If you aim for a spot between those, and on the pocket, then you will have given your opponent a really hard shot.

However, for this, it is important to reach the cushion. Even if it’s only a little bit out, you will give your opponent a way out.

Lining the Reds

Line the red balls in a straight, diagonal line and place the cue ball behind the three coloured balls.

What you are aiming to do here, is hit a red, and then allow the cue ball to come back down behind the coloured balls and onto the baulk cushion. This is to make it as hard as possible for your opponent.

Keep practising until you can get this shot off regularly.

Hiding the Reds

Line the cue ball up behind one of the coloured balls, and leave a red on the cushion between the middle pocket, and the end pocket at the other end of the cushion.

This is a hard shot to do, but what you are aiming to do, is hit the red, and get the ball to come back around in a figure-eight style, and back around to the baulk.

It doesn’t necessarily have to be that specific scenario, but it is a handy shot to practice.

Looking for more advice? Check out our post on snooker practice drills for beginners.

Snooker Jim

Gone from a 6ft table in my dad's garage as a kid to a 9ft table at the office, with the full-size snooker club visits in between. Hoping one day to get the playing technique right.