Snooker Practice: 5 drills to improve your short range positional play

By Snooker Jim •  Updated: 04/27/23 •  4 min read

In snooker, the next shot is always just as important as the one you are about to hit. As such, you need to make sure you hit the shot, with that next shot in mind.

This is known as positional play. It’s really important if you want to keep that advantage, and not had control over to the opposition.

Here are a few snooker drills to improve your short range positional play.

Filling in the blanks

Put the black ball into a nice position to pot, and then put a couple of reds alongside it. The aim of this is to pot the black and leave the cue ball in a position where you can pot the red.

The way you do this is to fill in the blanks. Make a mental note in your head of where you want the cue ball to land, focus on this, and the cue ball will more than likely end up where you are thinking it will land.

If you want to nail this skill, then take a walk around the table, and visualise the journey of the cue ball of where you want it to land, you should get a good idea of where it will land, and where how much power you need to put on the ball.

Use a physical object

What can help if you are a beginner at trying positional play, is to place a physical object down to aim for.

Have your balls lined up, and then put a physical object down where you want the cue ball to land.

If you keep doing this, eventually you will be able to visualise it in your own head and you can practice it on your own.

Lining up the black

Lie four balls in a line, usually the black, two reds and the pink ball. Line them up in a straight line and the idea is to pot all four of the balls.

If you are a beginner, then take some chalk, talk a walk around the table and mark where you want the ball to land.

Otherwise, picture in your head where you want the ball to land. Try and give yourself the least margin of error you can to clear the table as effectively as possible.

Lining the reds

Line up all of the reds in the centre of the table, and pick up a little disc or something like that as a guide for where you want to put the cue ball.

Using a disc is particularly handy as you can properly gauge where the cue ball is going to land. So long as it lands in that disc, you will be playing a good shot.

With this, you can also play several different kinds of shots, i.e. straight, screw or top spin.

Once you pot each ball, move the disc onto the next shot.

All the colours

Line up the colours in their usual positions, without the red balls, and try to pot them all.

As with all the others, make a mental note, or use a physical object if you are not able to do that, of where you want the cue ball to land.

Use this, and you will be able to clear the table more effectively.

As always with these guides, practice makes perfect. Setting aside 20-3o minutes of your snooker practice to shore up on your drills will pay off in the long run and will ultimately make you a better snooker player.

Looking for more advice? Check out our post on snooker drills to improve your cue ball control.

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.