Hi everyone, and thanks for writing to me with your questions. I would like to talk about etiquette in our sport. Having been a snooker player for the majority of my playing career thus far, I felt compelled to talk about the differences in sportsmanship between the two games.
I have found from experience that many players lack good sportsmanship. I have seen a snooker player commit a foul shot, feathering a ball that even a referee didn’t see when standing right over him. The player was Jimmy White, and he did this in a televised final, walking away from the table after the foul. It cost him $100,000 and a winning trophy.
I am proud to have been brought up in a sport where almost all of the players play like that. Unfortunately, when I came to the U.S., I found many players to be the opposite. I was stunned and amazed that someone can walk a way from a table and feel good about sharking an opponent in some manner or another. I have been preyed upon quite a few times in different ways, such as intimidation, being taken advantage of when an opponent realized I had forgotten a rule, and someone knowing I didn’t mark up a game or two and going on to win a match 9-8. The worst part was that they bragged to fans after the match. I know this because the fans came up to me and complained about it.
Of course, there are players who move something or another while in the line of the shot. They usually wipe a cue down or take a drink while someone is shooting in their direction. I think it is because some players have been around or are hustlers, and they have sunk down to a low level. You should try to keep perfectly still when your opponent is shooting, even trying not to blink. The thing is, winning or losing is not the end of the world or the beginning of another! Be proud that you not only tried your best but that you behaved like a true champion. That is what is remembered, not the results.
I have just returned from a trip where I have been teaching all of the time. I first went to Vancouver to the Pool School in Paradise where I teach with Gerda Hofstatter, Mike Massey, and Paul Potier. I then went to Las Vegas for two weeks as a spokesperson for the APA. I had the pleasure of meeting thousands of amateur players, doing exhibitions, and teaching. The most common thing that I saw was that when striking the cue ball, many players stopped straight away or had very little follow through. What a sin! The most important thing is the follow through for every shot. This imparts the energy on the cue ball that is necessary for most shots. Get in the habit of finishing your stroke. Imagine a golfer or a tennis player. When they strike a ball, they do not just stop—they finish until they have followed through completely. My own little rule is that whatever you draw the cue back in the final back swing, you must follow through the other side after contact with the cue ball. Try it and see the difference. Good luck!