Whether you're an amateur, a local team player or a professional snooker player, there is always room to improve your game.
In snooker, the level of practice and preparation you undertake prior to a game is key, after all, the vast majority of your snooker playing time will be spent on a practice table.
Introducing some simple rules to your practice sesions is a good idea if you are serious about improving your all-round game.
We've listed 7 top tips below on how to get the most from your snooker practice sessions.
- Go solo
It is a well known fact that many snooker players do not spend enough time engaging in solo practice on the snooker table. To really improve your game, experts suggest you need to spend around 30 per cent of your total practice time in solo practice in order to focus on areas such as technical changes or use structured routines to help build on your strengths.
- Mix it up
Obtaining the right mix of competitive practice partners is important. As part of your practice, you should seek to split your time up between players that are a lower standard, a similar or competitive standard and a higher standard to you, to really bring your game on. Playing against a good mix of standards and practice partners is a great way to maximise improvement.
- Keep a diary
Keeping a snooker diary can have a direct affect on your snooker game. It's very easy to forget what went wrong after a game has been played, but keeping a diary will serve as a log so you can pick up on what went wrong and areas you can improve on during your next solo practice session. Keeping a regular log of your games also serves as an advantage, for example, if you want to look back over your game six months ago and compare it to your current form. Most importantly, a diary will be able to highlight key areas where you need to improve your overall game.
- Structure practice
Always plan your solo practice session in advance so as not to waste time. Regularly checking your diary is one way of highlighting areas which may need improvement during the next practice session. Include performance targets and goal setting as part of your practice to help you to remain focussed and motivated. Avoid being vague and make sure your objectives are specific.
- Remain focussed
Staying focussed during practice sessions is the key to genuine improvement. There are many exercises that can be performed to help maintain concentration at the table, but to get the most from your practice sessions, the key is to keep them relatively short. One hour of structured and focussed practice is far better than several hours of unstructured practice and poor concentration.
- Take practice seriously
It's important to take practice sessions as seriously as an actual match, therefore you should prepare for them in exactly the same way. Stick to the same routine and habits as matchplay, for example using the same tempo and rhythm. You will gain nothing from doing one thing in practice and a different thing in a match so aim to keep your practice and matchplay as identical as you can.
- Be prepared
Being prepared for every eventuality is the key to successful snooker playing. During a match you have to be prepared for whatever may be thrown at you. Surprise elements such as an opponent's form, a lucky break, the conditions of play, the referee on the day and the conditions you are playing in are just some of the many factors that can affect your game. Not every element of a snooker match is within your control and you need to accept this. Providing you are well prepared, you shouldn't allow any of the above distractions to divert your mind from your ultimate goal, to win the match.