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Questions from Mike (UK)
What make of cue do you use.
I use a John Parris Cue.
What length ,weight and tip size.
It is 57 and 5/8ths inches long, 17 oz. weight with a 10mm ferrel and an 11mm tip.
What type of tip do you use.
I use the regular Elkmaster tip which is pared back over the ferrel
which explains why the tip is wider than the ferrel.
Have you tried the new laminated tips.
I have not tried the laminated tips to date. The Elkmaster are working fine for me.
What made you decide to change cue.
I changed cues because the old one had a very narrow shaft and it felt a bit whippy
when playing power shots or stun shots. The shaft was a bit too narrow and I felt
that something less whippy might give me more control on my shots.
The new cue has a thicker shaft and feels better.
Do you have any tips on learning potting angles?
The only way to learn potting angles is through practice. Naturally when you play any pot you play the
angle required to pot the object ball and to give you the required position for your next shot.
You will notice that the professional players stay down on their shots until the cue ball has stopped
moving. They do this to watch the path of the object ball and the reaction of the cue ball.
They learn from the movement of the balls what has gone wrong or what has worked perfectly.
When potting any ball you must be cueing straight (see practice page),
keep your head down and straight and keep your arms straight.
You have remarkable powers of concentration before every shot.
How do you achieve this?
As for concentration I am always focussed on the shot or match in hand. Professional players will
always look for an opportunity to create a framewinning break. When you see me play on television
you will notice that I will walk to the table and chalk the cue while I am standing up and looking at the
position of the balls. Only after I have decided what shot I will take, will I bend down to play.
At that point I am focussed on cueing straight and picking the point on the cue ball that I want to hit
to achieve position and picking the point on the object ball that I want to strike.
I want to know how to get started, where to get entry forms from and also how much are entry fees
for the pontins events.
The best way to get information on upcoming tournaments is to check out the WSA website.
You can access this through the links page on my website. You will have to register but it is free
and quick and easy to do. They will have all the information on recognised official tournaments.
Entry fees vary with the tournaments but most would not be too expensive to enter.
I find I score really well in practice with line up etc but during frames/matches cannot replicate this.
Obviously you have the levels of skill required to get breaks and the difference is that in a match
you are probably changing your focus to the score or you are considering what your opponent
might do when they get to the table. The simple rule of thumb is that you practice like you would play
and you play as if you were practicing. You need to focus on the shot on hand and nothing else.
You must play the balls and not the opponent.
When you are in a televised snooker tournament do you watch much between your own games
and do you watch back home if you have been knocked out?
When I am playing in tournaments I would watch a little of the other matches and I would watch some
of them back home as well. I always watch every final and I record my own matches to analyse for
errors. This analysis helps me to learn for the next match I have to play.
Do you prefer to see the tactical frames or the large break frames?
I enjoy watching big breaks but tactical games can be very interesting and you can learn a lot from them.
Steve Davis is very good to watch and learn from tactically and Stephen Hendry is excellent to watch
as he is break building.
Do you have favourite commentators?
My favourite commentators are Clive Everton and Dennis Taylor.
What is the difference between a parris cue and any other cue?
There are many good cue makers around. I personally chose a Parris cue as they had made me
a replica cue before that I was very happy with. All cues are about personal choices.
What would you recommend that I should practise for my safety play?
For safety play you can use many different techniques. Try playing on the black as two people.
That is play like a re-spotted black with the first shot trying to play safe.
Play a frame by yourself and only allow yourself to pot a single ball at a time.
Play a safety shot after that. Some more safety routines will appear in the practice page shortly.
How many maximums have you made?
I have had 30 maximums so far. I had one in the qualifiers for the Finnish Masters which was held in
the Coach Club in Belfast and 2 others in exhibitions. The first was in Joey's snooker club in May 1995
and the second a month later in The Silver Swan club, both of which are in Dublin. The rest were in practice.
Whats your favourite way of practicising?
My favourite type of practice is playing other top pro's, with my favourites being Ronnie O'Sullivan,
Stephen Hendry and Anthony Hamilton. They give me the best workouts and you can learn from
watching their style and shot selection.
I lose my confidence easily. Can you give me any tips that you think will help me.?
Anybody can pot any ball but the trick to break-building is confidence. Cue ball positioning is critical
and practice gives you the confidence to strike the cue ball exactly as you want to. Confidence comes
with constant potting. When you have played the same shot hundreds of times you will feel confident
about your game. Keep practicing and you will see a marked improvement in your game. This will
seem monotonous at times but it is the most effective method.
How long do you practise for each day ?
I practice for approximately 6 hours per day and usually six days a week when I am at home.
When I practice in the UK this might be up to 10 hours per day and 7 days per week.
Even when there are no competitions on during the summer I would still only take a two week break
This one had us puzzled at a recent club match. Say the only remaining red is on the pink spot
following a foul and your opponent has left you with a free ball. You nominate and play the blue
(which you do not pot). The white travels to a point directly between the brown and baulk cushion
(ie a full ball snooker on the red) and the blue lands back on its spot (ie in a direct line beween white
and red.) On the basis that it is a foul to lay a snooker behind a free ball....is this a foul.
Is the brown (being closer to cueball) or the blue (closer to object ball) considered the snookering ball ?
In this situation the brown is considered the snookering ball and there is no free ball. If there was
a direct path to the blue then it would be a free ball.