Every snooker player is keen to find out how to add a few extra percentage points to their performance levels. Sometimes, however hard you practise the technical and physical aspects of the game, something happens to undermine your improvement. You might be a player who can hit 30 or 40 point breaks, but finds it almost impossible to go further. You might equally be a player with great technical ability who looks able to build breaks only to fall short when it comes to potting.
In examples such as these, the issues might actually lie upstairs between your ears. Building the ability to concentrate is such an important factor in becoming a better snooker player, but it is surprising how many players ignore it. Nothing is easy in a technical sport like snooker, but there are some straightforward steps that anyone can take to improve their mentality.
Study and Reflection
The importance of studying the game on a deep level cannot be understated. Read about the game as much as possible. Not only will this improve your all-round knowledge and understanding of the sport, but it will also help your mind learn to concentrate and to think about the game. Sometimes, biographies of players can provide you with the kind of insight that you feel you have been missing or a tip for helping you cope with pressure.
Practise at the Table
There is also a good practice drill for building concentration at the table. This is where you remove the reds from the table and spot the colours as normal. You then try and pot the colours in the usual order, but when they are potted you replace them on their spots. This means that you are working all the time to improve your position on the next ball, while the replaced balls form useful obstacles.
It is an interesting measure of progress to see how many times in succession you can pot every ball from yellow to black. This kind of baseline data can then be used as a way of gauging how your concentration is improving. Using this drill should also help your positioning on the table, as well as your potting.
By thinking more about the game, immersing yourself in its detail and doing some simple practice drills, you should see your game improve rapidly. It can also help to speak to other players to see what tips they can provide.
Steven Fenwick has been playing snooker all his life, since his uncle took him to his local club as a boy. He here writes on behalf of www.simplypoolandsnooker.co.uk
Photo source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/darksidex/5089224524/