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Snooker, Beginners, Frustration and maybe a realization
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Cameron Smith
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Snooker, Beginners, Frustration and maybe a realization - 02-04-2006, 12:05 AM

I was playing snooker at the poolroom today and I was doing fairly well. Racked up some respectable breaks in practice. I then played a good snooker player a couple games and beat him in a rather dominating fashion, 78-3, 92-10, 64-30. But than a friend of mine walked in with his roommate who wanted to play me a game, so I did. However my game was not nearly as impressive as before, I won 35-22.

I was very frustrated and couldn't understand what had happened. I personally don't believe much of the so-called curse of playing a beginner. I have always thought there has to be a reason behind it. There has to be reasonable explanation for going from knocking in breaks 40's and 50's to falling to a break of 10. I don't think there is a whole lot of weight to the idea that, I play poorly against beginners because I don't want to discourage them. Personally I don't care, unless I’m playing against my girlfriend I have no qualms about running rack after rack, or running big breaks in snooker. I’m a nice guy but I believe that if a crushing loss to a far superior player is enough to discourage you from the game, you have some character building to do.

Back on topic. I think that snooker is probably the toughest game to play against beginners. After analyzing my performance, I realized that I didn't miss any pots that I should have made. In my practice and against the experienced opponent, the reds were spread mainly across the top half of the table (near the pink and black). The colours were primarily on their spots. This made break building very easy. Against my friends roommate the colours were clustered at one end of the table, and the reds were clustered at the other. Hardly ideal circumstances.

In snooker, beginners miss so wildly that, if you don't achieve a long run within the first two shots of the frame, than it will be very difficult to do it later. Balls get clustered and awkward very quickly. This seems to echo into other pool games. I think more advanced players have a difficult time against beginners because they cannot adequately deal with clusters and the ever-changing table layout. We play against each other on the other hand, great care is taken to leave the balls alone, or if we run into them its only to improve the layout of the table. Secondly beginners miss wildly, with no regard for positioning the cue ball thus leaving a whole lot to luck. Often times (frustratingly so) this luck will work for them. Two intermediate/advanced players tend to miss narrowly leaving balls over the pockets. Furthermore due to an increased attention to cue ball placement, it is often left in the open with a myriad of shot possibilities.

So what is the solution? Accept that it sucks playing against beginners, that it will result in a scrappy game? Hell no!!!! Practice those sloppy situations. Set the table up in a less than ideal situation. That’s what I’m doing all day tomorrow. Pool may be one of the most difficult games play but I truly believe it is the easiest game to practice and learn. In pool you can set up situations over and over again, and it doesn’t cost much. Tennis may have the ball machines but it can never accurately reproduce a good player. In Golf you have to play through, you can't go to the 10th and practice a certain shot that you find difficult.

Anyways that’s my rambling for the day. I would happily encourage thoughts and criticisms.
  
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02-04-2006, 04:25 AM

I think it's difficult to show your true speed playing someone way below your level. Especially if you start trying hard to show them how much better you really are. Most likely you won't play much safety, if at all since the other guy can't really take advantage of your mistakes. And there's frustration because you think you should have wipe the floor with him. It doesn't matter what game you play. Although I think 9ball is the most dangerous as far as losing to someone way below your level goes. I'm sure most of us have lost to ball bangers in short sets by rattling the nine or eight, opponent making crazy combo's, funny rolls, etc.
  
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02-04-2006, 04:56 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cameron Smith
Back on topic. I think that snooker is probably the toughest game to play against beginners.
Wow, really? I would say Snooker is one of the easiest games to play against beginners. You can just control a game against a novice player, wait for the openings you are bound to get and capitalise on them.

9-Ball IMO is the hardest game to play against a beginner. One miss and the beginner might have 2/3 balls to clear which isn't impossible.

I would be quite comfortable in giving a beginner at Snooker a 40/50 start and winning the frame, but in a race to 7/8 at 9-Ball giving the beginner maybe even 2 racks, I wouldn't be as confident.
  
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02-04-2006, 09:18 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Buckster_uk
Wow, really? I would say Snooker is one of the easiest games to play against beginners. You can just control a game against a novice player, wait for the openings you are bound to get and capitalise on them.

9-Ball IMO is the hardest game to play against a beginner. One miss and the beginner might have 2/3 balls to clear which isn't impossible.

I would be quite comfortable in giving a beginner at Snooker a 40/50 start and winning the frame, but in a race to 7/8 at 9-Ball giving the beginner maybe even 2 racks, I wouldn't be as confident.
I guess what i meant was that snooker, for me at least, seems to be the hardest game to play to your usual speed. I have never lost to a beginner, except for when I was one, its just that the score and my breaks aren't nearly as dominating.

With the colours at one end of the table and the reds down at the other, you have to pull out some nifty positional shots keep your break going. You also have to make sure (or hope) that the pink and black spots are open so that you don't create more problems after potting them.

Im sure Stephen Hendry or Ronnie O'Sullovan don't have this problem, that its problem with my game. So im heading down to pool hall to practice those positions.
  
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02-04-2006, 11:58 AM

When you play someone considerably worse than you - which is actually a more difficult task, mentally - winning won't signify much. Thus, motivation is hard to come by, attention wavers, and fine muscle tone isn't great. That's why we "play down to the level of the competition." You have to do very deliberate things to keep your head in the game against someone you expect to beat easily.
from Pleasures of Small Motions by Bob Fancher
  
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02-05-2006, 08:40 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gage
When you play someone considerably worse than you - which is actually a more difficult task, mentally - winning won't signify much. Thus, motivation is hard to come by, attention wavers, and fine muscle tone isn't great. That's why we "play down to the level of the competition." You have to do very deliberate things to keep your head in the game against someone you expect to beat easily.
from Pleasures of Small Motions by Bob Fancher
I have to read that book. Although that makes sense I can't believe that the problem is entirely mental. If you saw the layout I had on the snooker table, you would probably agree that there was probably little chance of accumulating a break higher than 10.
  
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02-05-2006, 09:07 PM

Some players such as Ronnie know how to get into the balls to put together a big break even if the color balls are not on the spot. I think this is why even among pro level players, some players are capable of running balls more so than others.

I do not knwo how to acquire this ability, may be experience will help, but there has to be more to it than just that.

Richard
  
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02-05-2006, 10:13 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by nipponbilliards
Some players such as Ronnie know how to get into the balls to put together a big break even if the color balls are not on the spot. I think this is why even among pro level players, some players are capable of running balls more so than others.

I do not knwo how to acquire this ability, may be experience will help, but there has to be more to it than just that.

Richard
I guess thats what seperates me from Ronnie (among other things ). Thats what I have to practice, breaking into the balls. Also I get a little tentative when power is required on the longer pots. I only seem to be dangerous if the red are broken up or if I have an easy break shot on the black or the blue. So much to practice, so far to go.
  
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