The Sense of Sight

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Snooker isn’t a game you can play with your eyes closed. It’s also not a game you can play with the wrong eye open.

A strong game demands not only sharp skills, but deft handling and automated habits. Every decent player knows this, yet too many rely on bad habits that hurt their potting ability and directly impact their successful development as a shooter. Accurate sighting from all distances and positions is critical.

Before he can improve his potting, a player has to determine his “master eye.” Some 98% of the population or dominant in one eye. Finding the master eye as early on as possible is best. It’s always easier to start off on the right foot and develop accordingly than it is trying to correct bad habits later.

Putting yourself in a position where you’re constantly modifying your sighting undermines any chance you have at consistency. If that wasn’t enough of a handicap, it can also directly upset fundamentals like cue action and alignment.

Recognizing whether you are dominant right eye, left eye, or both is an easy enough task. You can single out which option you should use for sighting with a piece of chalk. Place the chalk on one end of the table, then stand on the opposite side. With both eyes open, point at the chalk with your forefinger. Then, close your left eye. If you can still see your finger pointing directly at the chalk, you’re right-eyed. If you have to move your finger to realign it with the chalk, you’re left-eyed. Even-sighted players will see their finger diverge from the chalk slightly when they close either eye.

The importance of knowing your master eye can’t be overstated. Many top players sight down the cue. This is a good potting strategy, but can be disastrous if the eye which is doing the sighting isn’t directly over the cue. More often than not this will lead to hitting across the ball.

If you find you need to force a change in your “master eye,” be prepared for a downturn in your game. Changing sight can take several months to conquer and effectively implement. It’s never an easy thing to change a habit.

Be warned: forcing a change in your sighting will have an unavoidable affect on your overall game. Consciously working to change your habits puts your focus and concentration on the change itself. Being as snooker demands your full attention on a number of fronts, a good amount of practice is required to automate the change in sight.

A common problem many players face is the fact that eyes can change depending on circumstances. Being sick, tired, or hungover can directly change the degree to which an eye is dominant.

What’s more, if an eye isn’t overtly dominant many players will suffer sighting issues on long pots. Most play is done in the balls with relatively short pots which can make it exceedingly tempting to sight from center chin for most shots.

The more conscious you are of every aspect of your game, the better player you’ll be. Awareness is next to master fulness.

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