People do seem confused with the concept of water drinking in snooker tournaments. Why snooker players drink water? I think in every aspect of sports, hydration plays a crucial role. Be it football, cricket, basketball or even cue sports like snooker.
Snooker is a very different game of concentration and consistency. What happens during moments between shots (player taking the shot) and stay (player waiting for his turn) can completely change the game. As the players have to plan their moves accordingly, they need to keep hydrated for proper mental existence and physical execution. In simple words, water helps the brain to remain focused and regulate stress as well as anxiety throughout the match.
To understand this completely, we need to consider the mental skills required in snooker.
Mindset For The Snooker Frame
Player’s mindset during the frame is important.
It’s all about planning. In snooker, one bad shot can lead to difficult circumstances during the frame. But what happens in between the shots is also essential.
The player sitting and waiting for his turn might get stressed or distracted due to many factors. The players tend to visualize their shots and their impact. Now making this visualization process self-critical, players can have two outputs.
- Making the shot (The desired ball ends into the pocket)
- Missing the shot
At first, they have to have balanced emotional and mental awareness. Then their physicality needs to be perfect the stance, the bridge, everything should be inlined for the shot.
And the other factors can include crowd chattering, opponent’s performance which might debase their execution.
I believe these things can make a huge difference in the player’s mindset. To have control of your mind helps master your performance.
You might have guessed till here why snooker players drink water? But let’s dive a little deeper into this. We are starting with snooker history.
Alcoholic Snooker – In The Golden Era
Billie Werbeniuk ‘Big Bill’
80s snooker was not unsullied. Billie Werbeniuk ‘Big Bill’, the Canadian player, was well known for his drinking habit. Alex Higgins was also seen smoking and drinking during a match.
These instances do tell that things were smooth back in the golden era of snooker. But now, players are only allowed to drink sponsored non-alcoholic drink. Majorly it is water or else sponsored water.
And yes these restrictions are only for the professional matches,
Why Only Water? Importance Of Hydration In Snooker
Hydration is important for improving awareness.
You might be aware of Hydration (The process of absorbing water). Hydration has many benefits on the physical as well as mental health. Just like every other sport, snooker players also need to consume water for its beneficial effects.
Let’s look into some benefits of hydration:
- Water intake improves attention and awareness: Dehydration can cause mental and physical fatigue. When you feel you lack some speed or accuracy, water might help.
- Restore your mood and emotions: Hydration helps as a mood booster which eventually helps in performing well.
- Maintains brain functions: As mentioned before water helps in mental fatigue which improves brain function. Resulting in enhanced blood & oxygen flow into your brain.
- Preventing and relieving headaches: Headaches often result due to dehydration.
- Reducing stress: As water uplifts your mood, stress level goes down.
Snooker is a game of mental awareness more than physicality. Therefore, the water consumed by players helps in increasing their focus and attention span.
We have covered the player’s mindset, game’s history and the importance of hydration in this infotainment on snooker. It was one of the fundamental questions people have, so we tried compiling it in a box. If you have any more questions, you may let us know.
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Sometimes during a match, a perfect long shot on a snooker table might get diverted.Have you ever wondered why? And why after cleaning the table you need to iron it? You might also be thinking, how is it relevant to the main topic?
Let’s talk about the reason why snooker tables have to suffer from the heat.
A snooker table is heated to keep the surface cloth dry. Thus, it reduces the friction on the table surface, making the play faster and more consistent throughout the match. If the table is not heated above the room temperature, it will get cold and damp, causing an uneven surface. Thus, making the shot and the play inconsistent.
Let’s explain this further in detail.
What is the reason for heating snooker tables?
As I have mentioned above, that snooker tables are heated to reduce the friction on the table. Otherwise, the table would be cold and slightly damped to play on.
Now, the roughness on the surface is minor (not visible to naked eyes), but a slight bump can cause the ball to deviate at an angle which can eventually disrupt your shot.
The heating of the table makes it warm and causes the deposited moisture on the surface to evaporate.A hot and dehydrated snooker table provides a consistent and fast play, helping with the ‘run of the ball’ (When a player can hit the desired shot without any difficulty).
If the match is not consistent throughout the tournament, the players might have to make regular adjustments to their game depending on many factors like humidity level. The humidity level also depends on the number of people present in the room.
As mentioned, if a snooker table is not heated, then it might adjust to the changing temperature, which can cause minor contractions in the cloth.
Now after clarifying why a snooker table is heated? You might ask what should be the ideal temperature?
What should be the snooker table temperature?
If you are professional watcher, you might have noticed a digital display at the bottom of the table. This number displayed refers to the temperature at which the snooker table heats up. Usually, it is around 45C or 50C.
But why at this temperature?
I would say because of the thickened slates (The material used in making the playing surface of a snooker table) on snooker tables. As the heating system is installed under the slates, the temperature measured on the surface is much less.
45C – 50C is hot enough to pass the heat through the slates to the surface at approximately 20C – 30C.
This heating process takes place with the help of a few methods.
How are snooker tables heated?
The use of table heater systems mounted under the slates ensures the table is kept warm and dry.
Snooker table heating system Source
Commercial heating systems consume over 500 watts of power. Sections of plywood form closed chambers when mounted under the slates. In between these space ‘Heating wire’ or ‘Heating film’ is placed on insulators.
A thermostat controls the power that means it regulates the heat, keeping the slates temperature above the room.
But what if the snooker table does not have a heating system?
How to iron a snooker table?
You need to iron the snooker table, after cleaning it. One can find it online at eBay or Amazon.
These table irons can be used to keep the snooker in optimum condition. It has a thermostat to control the heat. The temperature for the table iron should not be too high as it can burn the cloth.
Always iron the table after cleaning it.
Snooker table iron is quite heavy, which provides a firm pressure holding the cloth smooth and pressed. Also, watch out for any tramlines on the cloth (Hint: Turn the iron to a slight angle).
The power consumed by these types of equipment is relatively high, so you need to take precautions while using them.
To get a complete idea on this topic, you need to understand a few basics. I can not cover everything here. The physics is just that heating a snooker table keeps the surface smooth and playable.
For more articles like this, Snooker Box is the place.
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How to iron a snooker table?
One of the common questions people have is regarding the ‘Free Ball‘ situation. What is a free ball? When a player is snookered by a foul, then the player can nominate any object ball as a substitute for the ‘on’ ball, this substituted ball is regarded as the free ball.
So what does it mean? Let’s understand this with an example
What is a Free Ball?
Let’s take an example of player A and player B.
When player A commits a foul, and player B is snookered on the red ball by a black (or any coloured ball), i.e. he can not hit both sides of the red ball with a straight shot. Now, player B has an option to nominate the black as a ‘Free Ball‘.
Before going further into discussing different free ball situations, let’s look at some basic rules related to this scenario.
Free Ball Rule
In the above situation, there are certain rules that the player has to follow in a free ball situation.
- The player commits a foul if he rolls up to the nominated black ball.
- You can not snooker behind the nominated ball by accident or design i.e. If the player misses to pot the black after hitting it and the black comes back to snooker the opponent on the red ball, it is considered a foul.
- The player can snooker the opponent behind any other colour other than black if black is nominated as the free ball. It is not a foul, even if the black stops other coloured balls from hitting the red because snooker ball in this situation is not black.
Now, as we are clear with some basic rules, let’s answer a few questions regarding different situations with various examples?
Free Ball Situation In Snooker
Let’s say, a foul has been committed, and the player is snooked on the last red near the corner pocket. So, the player nominates the black as his free ball, as it is in front of the red ball. Now,
- If the player pots the red by hitting the black. The player gets one point, but if both of the balls go in then, the player receives two points. The black ball is then respotted at its position.
What if there is a pink ball in between the nominated black and the last red ball?
- The player can pot the red through pink, by hitting the black ball on to the pink ball. The player gets one point.
- If the pink also goes along with the red ball. The player gets no point for the red or the pink ball. On the contradictory, the opponent is awarded a foul, and he gets four points. At this point, the pink is respotted, but the red ball stays in.
Taking another situation in which a foul has been committed. The red which is the ball ‘on’ and the cue ball is placed at the cushion. The cue ball is near the mid-pocket, here the mid-pocket is blocking the cue ball’s path to hit the red.
- In this scenario, you are angled but not snookered. So you can not have a free ball.
- Also, if a pink ball is in between the cue and the red ball, still, the cushion is stopping you from hitting the red. So no free ball.
- But if the pink is the first obstacle, not the cushion, then you get a free ball.
Is It A Free Ball?
I am going to take a different case to explain this particular situation.
Your opponent commits a foul, and now you can place the cue ball anywhere in the ‘D’. If you are trying to hit a red ball and the only thing stopping you from hitting both the extremities of the red is another red, i.e. another ‘ball on’. Then, it is not a free ball.
But if the ball stopping you is ‘not on’, then you get a free ball.
In the end, I know it is not ideal to have a referee for every match. So, the person not at the table becomes the referee, which does solve many issues.
So the next time, if there is an argument about a particular situation regarding the free ball, you have to get your issues sorted out before playing the next shot. Because when you play the next shot, Whatever the decision might be, you can not change it afterwards.
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