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View Full Version : Why don't men snooker players dominate 9-ball?



phil in sofla
08-18-2002, 03:26 PM
Allison and Karen have dominated the women's 9-ball circuit for a number of years now, transferring their snooker champions' tools to the 9-ball game. There was a transition period when they had to fine-tune some things specific to 9-ball, but they were well served by having played on the larger tables, the more difficult pockets, etc., that snooker uses.

Why haven't any men snooker players made an equal impact on men's 9-ball? (Or have they?) Thinking of Steve Knight and Steve Davis, both can play some good 9-ball, but have neither dominated or even won that much, to my knowledge.

Is it maybe that the top snooker pros make too much money to consider the meager pickings for pro billiards sports in this country? I would think that the top men snooker players might have the skill advantages similar to Karen and Allison, so that one would dominate if they switched emphasis.

Or are Mikka, Rolf, etc., former snooker champs, which I don't know?

Cueless Joey
08-18-2002, 03:45 PM
Why would they bother? They make more money and don't have to travel far. Female snooker players don't make money anymore so they came here.

TonyM
08-18-2002, 11:34 PM
I think that there is too much money in men's Snooker for them to really take 9 ball seriously. Btw, Mika is a former Snooker player. He apparently has a few hundred centuries to his credit!

Also, almost all of the top Canadian 9 ball players are ex Snooker players.

The other issue is that skill level in terms of potting and position play are not that far apart between the top snooker players and the top 9 ball players, as they were with the women. And pro 9 bsall requires a different skill set beyond potting and position play. Namely the specific 9 ball safeties and kicks, as well as jump shots and of course, the break.

The top Snooker players would have to take some time away from their Snooker practice to develop the "extra" skills needed, and they likely don't want to waste that time.

The prize money in snooker is so much moe than that in pool.

Tony

NH_Steve
08-19-2002, 06:33 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote: Cueless Joey:</font><hr> Why would they bother? They make more money and don't have to travel far. Female snooker players don't make money anymore so they came here. <hr></blockquote>The men make terrific money at snooker, and they are virtually national heroes as well. Asking why they aren't interested in the American 9-ball tour is kind of like asking why Tiger Woods isn't interested in the Florida State Mini-Golf Tour...

08-19-2002, 07:56 AM

TonyM
08-19-2002, 10:04 AM
"If there is so much money in snooker, why don't Americans start shooting snooker?"

It's not so simple. In the past several top American pool pros have made the attempt. They found that they could not compete in England. The two games are very different. Snooker requires a slightly different technique. And to compete effectively, you really have to move to England and play with the top players for a while.

Also, the top English players really peak by the time they are 30. The game demands near perfect mechanics and eye sight. So you have to be committed to Snooker from an early age. By the time you are in your early twenties, it is actually too late to consider a career in Snooker!

Also, there are very few Snooker tables in the U.S. So few players get exposed to the game. So the pool of good players to choose from just isn't there.

There are literally millions of Snooker players in the U.K. competing each season.

If they thought they could compete (american pros) then I'm sure they would give it a try.

Tony

08-19-2002, 06:02 PM
Americans don't play snooker 'cos you can't fit a beer can in snooker pockets.

Or maybe it's because there's a far greater variety of shots in 9-ball. Snooker is accuracy, but 9-ball is knowledge. Steve Davis is becoming a very strong 9-ball
player, combining extraordinary CB speed control and snooker safeties with more and more 9-ball insight.

Actually, a very big factor is TV. Snooker was very much a minority sport, on a par with the UK flavour of 8-ball, and with bar table pool until the 70's brought colour TV. Snooker is _made_ for colour TV. The BBC started the "Pot Black" series, with guys like Fred Davis, Alex Higgins, Ray Reardon and Cliff Thorburn, and boom ! the whole game took off. After a couple of decades of incubation, the kids who grew up "doing the Ganley stance", are dominating snooker.

There's really no good reason why snooker stars should peak at 30. The great Joe Davis didn't. Eyesight is a big factor, but a fast lifestyle, fat wallet, and boredom are also factors.

If the Americans had any interest in snooker (by that I mean TV, and grass-roots interest), then kids might have the same desire and opportunity to learn.

Of course, you'll hear top players say "whenever I get on a snooker table, it's boring. I run 120. Easy" Oh, yeah, well stand up there and do it.

Let's face it, even the Canadians have done it. Cliff Thorburn (world title), Kirk Stevens, Bill Werbienuik, and Alan Robidoux to name a few.

HOWARD
08-19-2002, 06:25 PM
MEN SNOOKER PLAYERS MAKE MORE MONEY DOING WHAT THEY ARE DOING. HOWEVER - ISN'T THERE ALWAY A HOWEVER - I BELIEVE THE WOMEN SNOOKER PLAYERS THAT ARRIVED HERE WERE FAR IN ADVANCE OF THE WOMEN PLAYERS AT THE TIME THEY ARRIVED. SO IT WOULD SEEM IT WAS EASIER FIELD FOR THEM. WHERE AS THE MEN IN THE U.S. PLAYED VERY STRONG AT THAT TIME SO THE MALE SNOOKER PLAYERS COULD COME OVER AND ROB THE PURSES WITH EASE. I BELIEVE NOW OUR WOMEN ARE CATCHING UP. BUT AT THAT TIME -JUST OFF TELEVISION MIND YOU - THE FIELDS DID NOT LOOK THAT STRONG OR DEEP. HOWARD

08-19-2002, 06:30 PM
Of note:

I have heard the tale from Robert Byrne, that when Hurricane Higgins was dominating Snooker, after yet another win, he was bragging to a candydish full of reporters that he could beat anyone at anygame, anytime, any amount..

Byrne then then ran into Higgins at a tournament down the way, and offered to put up 10 grand for Higgins to play any of the top 25 American nine ballers as soon as possible..

Higgins was not so brash, and stated that he would need at least 6 months to learn the game, under the tutelage of one of the top nine-ballers..

I would offer this hypthesis as to why the lady snooker players got better at nine ball quicker than their male counterparts.. Sure the "amount" of money in English snooker may have made the snooker men consider it a waste of time..

Hate to say it though, but the "potting" skills of the Lady Snooker players allowed them to come over, and although they did not know the "kicks" and other nine ball idiosyncracies, they were still plain and simple, better potters..

The American male nine ballers, are at least equal in "potting" skills as compared to the English snooker players, thus, with their years of "nine ball savvy" it makes it a lot tougher on the male snooker players to enter the game and start dominating..

Sound sensible..

Carson

08-20-2002, 08:57 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote: phil in sofla:</font><hr> Allison and Karen have dominated the women's 9-ball circuit for a number of years now, transferring their snooker champions' tools to the 9-ball game. There was a transition period when they had to fine-tune some things specific to 9-ball, but they were well served by having played on the larger tables, the more difficult pockets, etc., that snooker uses.

Why haven't any men snooker players made an equal impact on men's 9-ball? (Or have they?) Thinking of Steve Knight and Steve Davis, both can play some good 9-ball, but have neither dominated or even won that much, to my knowledge.

Is it maybe that the top snooker pros make too much money to consider the meager pickings for pro billiards sports in this country? I would think that the top men snooker players might have the skill advantages similar to Karen and Allison, so that one would dominate if they switched emphasis.
<hr></blockquote>

The difference is, of course, that the level of play in women's 9-ball drops off so quickly after the top few players, that two ladies with the ability to make pots from anywhere, find it hard to lose, as, unbelievably, not all of the top women's players can do that. That of course, is only a reflection of the relatively short time the woman's game has been played. It has yet to build up the depth and sheer numbers of the men's game.

As far as male snooker player's are concerned the money is undoubtedly a factor. But money aside there are some fundamnetal differences with the way snooker players shoot 9-ball. They shoot 9-ball like it's snooker: open bridge, the 'awquard' stance some of you will be familiar with, and thin snooker cues, rather than 12mm(ish) pool cues. Do these really effect their results? Maybe not.

The reason snooker players only play occasional pool tourney's though, is that sinking balls in larger pool pockets, does genuinely effect the ability to make the shots on snooker tables, with both the balls and the pockets being smaller. Not to mention the table being 4ft longer and 2ft wider.

Mark Williams (world Snooker No1) crashed out of the World Pool Championships, himself admitting that he was tactically completely outmanned. Leaving us a quote; 'Some of the shots he played i wouldn't have thought of in a million years.'

And i guess that about sums it up. The standard in the men's game is so consistantly high, that all that really seperates the player's is a tactical knowledge that some of the snooker players lack. Snooker in Britain is gettin stronger all the time, the prizes getting larger, so maybe in time the snooker players will dominate.

Forgive the rambling nature of this reply.

Sally
08-20-2002, 10:49 AM
Tang Hoa from Southern California was the 1995 U.S. snooker champion, as well as a great 9-ball player.

08-21-2002, 10:08 PM
very curious post. i've wondered the same thing but in a different way: "why don't sub-par male snooker players dominate all our billiards sports?". snooker absolutely does require much more precision by far, but is still below three cushion(an embarrassing game for nearly any 9-ball professional) in intense accuracy. i suspect that any snooker to nine ball, male to female, country to country difference results less from money and more from pride in the superiority of snooker. why challenge your passion in a less fulfilling way? visit Europe and nine ball to locals seems silly in comparison to the afore mentioned sports, strategically and mechanically. Or as another poster put it “it’s golf to Putt-Putt”.
Now an even more important question is why don’t players from all over the world dominate snooker? the cash rewards are superior to any less oft televised american sport(even oft ESPN x-games). The simple answer that exludes the Orient and other notable places is that american movies as the Colour of Money are still seen as inspirational yet the west of Europe keeps snooker all to themselves happily as a dignified respectable sport. Don’t think for a moment that Eastern players couldn’t do exceptionally well or dominate snooker. Pool in general is still seedy to most of our american population. Many reasons and none simple. Still though, looking at the potentials is interesting.
Best Regards,
^v^

Q-guy
08-22-2002, 09:08 AM
For one, the obvious reason is money. I was at a tournament in Sheffield England with a prize fund around two and a half million dollars. That one tournament had more prize money then the US open gave away in the last ten years total. As far as the two games go, I believe that a snooker player can switch to pool with little problem. But a pool player can't switch to snooker and compete at a high level. Steve Mizerak made a comment a while back that he may want to play snooker in Europe for a while. He was told by I believe it was Steve Davis that with a lot of practice he still would not be able to beat a good player in a pub. The games are very different. Pool you can take up, snooker you have to grow up playing to play at a high level. "BELIEVE" me, if it could be done, there would be more then one pool player doing it. I also believe they control the players and are very organized. You can't just show up and say "I would like to play."

Tommy_Davidson
08-23-2002, 01:48 AM
&gt; If Steven Hendry,Steve Davis,and any of about 20 others showed up in America,and we had an organized,funtional tour,a lot of guys would be out looking for jobs. All either of the two Steves need is a month or so,with an American instructor teaching them the mechanics of the blast break,and give them 6 months or so to adjust to American table conditions,then the men would have the same problem the women have found with Allison and Karen. Steve Davis beat Mizerak in a 75 point 14.1 game,complete with a 58 ball run,in his second ever 14.1 game. He also beat the Miz a race to 5,in his first ever 9-ball session. He plays at a very high level in the Cardiff tournaments,and only plays it then. What would happen if he played it full time? The same thing that Allison did shortly after getting here. The English snooker players miss very few balls,even on very tight tables,due to their superior mechanics,they control the cue ball well,and are very regimented in their shotmaking sequence. All they need is a little better break as a group,and they might have as big an influence on the way the game is played as the Filipinos have had. On the other hand,why come here and play for drink and motel money? Steve Davis used to appear in commercials for some brand of baked beans in the U.K.,why would he or anyone else in the top 64 over there take a pay cut to play a totally different game? Tommy D.

08-23-2002, 10:00 AM

Q-guy
08-23-2002, 10:29 AM
Pool is a very forgiving game by its nature, 9-ball especially, It does not requires such precise position. I think the European players, use to playing for what is millions of dollars in prize money don't have much dog in them. They have hearts like lions and train like athletes. American players on the other hand are not nearly as disciplined. I will admit though, the lack of discipline it due more to the fact that pro pool is hardly worth even practicing for. I know pros that show up at tournaments without any real preparation at all, and just see what happens. After years of playing, who wants to practice six hours a day for nothing. But they do like to play, so they play. If the question is, who can switch games and succeed. The answer is the snooker player. Let me tell you how different it is over there. Room owners encourage the growth of young players. They have very cheap table time for what they call train time, when you are playing by yourself. They want players to get better. Tell me how a young person is to become any good at the game at $5.00 an hour or more to practice by him or her self. No kid can spent $25.00 a day just on practice time. Room owners here "DON'T" care at all about the game. Most could not even answer a question on a rule. I dare to say most of the people working in rooms don't know anything about the game either. Test one of them sometime. I am afraid I have gotten on a sore subject for me, about how poorly many rooms are run and the idiots that own them. Anyone with a decent room in their area is really blessed.

08-23-2002, 10:36 AM

TonyM
08-23-2002, 10:40 AM
"I think Allison and Karen are very good mechanically, but that they are too stiff. Their grips are tool firm (ala snooker). This is good for shot making, but I defy you to tell me that this is the best thing to when getting that fine position. etc etc etc etc."

I think you are off the mark a bit. First off, Allison does not have a tight grip. In fact she uses a very relaxed grip. She pulls the cue up into the web formed between her first finger and thumb, but then she allows the cue to pivot freely about that first finger. In fact I've got a few tapes where the commentator remarks on her "free" grip.

Also, I think the area of their games that is really better than the other ladies is not shot making. In fact Allison has often said that Vivian is a better shot maker. I think that it is their position play that sets them apart. They play precision position. The others don't.

You must have never seen world class Snooker at its best. While the shot making is impressive, it is the pin-point position play that really stands out. They control that cueball so well that they rarely ever have a shot that is very difficult.

Their technique is superior in every respect imo, except for extreme power.

Tony

TonyM
08-23-2002, 10:43 AM
No most of the brits do not have tight grips. You mistake a lack of space between the cue and the grip hand for muscular tightness. How do you think they play such pin-point position in England?

Tony

08-23-2002, 12:56 PM

08-23-2002, 01:00 PM

HOWARD
08-23-2002, 02:44 PM
PERHAPS THE QUESTION SHOULD BE REVISED IN THIS WAY - WITH THE AMOUNT OF MONEY THEY PLAY FOR IN ENGLAND. WHY HAVE NOT THE U.S. PLAYERS GOT DOWN ON THE OLD 6 X 12 - AND GONE TO ENGLAND TO TRY TO MAKE SOME OF THAT BIG BREAD? HOWARD

NH_Steve
08-23-2002, 03:16 PM
Tnoy, I agree with you 100%, and would also add that anyone who thinks there is more strategy in 9-ball than Snooker is a bit deluded!

Try this test:
How do you keep score in 9-ball? How do you keep score in Snooker?
Which ball do you select to shoot at 9-ball? Which ball do you select to shoot at Snooker?

Get the point??? 9-ball is about the weakest game of all when it comes to strategy /ccboard/images/icons/frown.gif Not that it doesn't have strategy, but it comes with more of a 'road map' than just about every other pool game there is.

TonyM
08-23-2002, 05:41 PM
Check Frank Callan's website for a more detailed explanation of the grip for Snooker. He was Allison's, Steve Davis' and Stephen Hendry's coach.

Note that her hand opens up as she draws back the cue (the back fingers lift off). The cue isn't really "gripped" at all. The best description that I have is that the cue is free to "pivot" or roll around the first finger.

I use this grip and I try not to squeeze, or "grip" the cue at all.

Tony

08-23-2002, 05:46 PM
"Are you the same CCBer who says that Allison pulls here last stroke back and then focuses on the OB just before shooting? If so, you have lost some credibilty here with me as I have asked you twice to correct your mistake..."

Whitewolf, ya kinda lost me on this one. I'm confused. Are you saying Allison doesn't pause and focus on the object ball? Or that she does?

TonyM
08-23-2002, 05:46 PM
I guess that I have different definition of tight and loose. I say she doesn't have a tight grip, but not a "loose" grip.

Something in between would be about right.

And why would I correct my mistake about where her eyes focus when I believe that I'm right and your wrong? Again, look at Frank Callan's website for further info on snooker grips and eye/ball timing.


Btw, my background is Snooker, but I play mostly 9 ball now.

Tony
-have a great evening!

08-23-2002, 05:56 PM
Allison has the following on her website:

Q. Can you tell me why you pause for almost a full second before you begin the forward acceleration of your stroke and is it worthwhile to add this to my stroke?

A. That is to get my eyes focused on the object ball.