I have recently been watching the world snooker championships which are held in Sheffield. I have noticed how luck can play a major part in deciding the results of many of the matches played. This must be a huge frustration to the players who have spent many hours practicing for the tournament.
I myself have been playing snooker for around twenty years and have reached a fairly high standard. Even though luck does play a part at the level that I play at, it certainly does not influence the results as much as it does in the professional game.
I am now going to write about the elements of luck which I have been witnessing whilst watching this years world championship.
I am sure that most snooker players are aware of what a kick is, in snooker. Basically the ball lifts from the bed of the table and can cause the shot to go offline which can easily cause a missed attempted pot, the positional side to go astray or the safety shot to go wrong.
The player from no apparent fault of their own can easily lose a frame as a result of one of these kicks.
Many people believe that over the course of a match the amount of these kicks will probably be the same for each player. This may be correct, however as you will see later confidence plays a big part in snooker and if one player can get a run together and obtain a good early lead, it can be hard to peg them back.
Many experts have being trying to work out why these kicks happen, to attempt to remove them from the game.
Thus far they have been unsuccessful.
A ball drifting offline
I watched a match last night where the player attempted a pot into a middle pocket. He played the shot quite slowly and it was heading into the heart of the pocket.
At the last moment is seemed to roll offline and it hit the jaw of the pocket, his opponent then cleared up the rest of the balls to win the frame.
The player looked in disgust as the table for whatever reason had not played true, the commentators were also at a loss to explain it and even said that it had been a problem all week. When the table had been set up various people had spent hours rolling balls up and down to check for any problems but there had not been any. The commentator commented that with the large crowd in the arena and the atmosphere, that this could affect the roll of the table.
This is course is no good to the player who has been practicing long and hard for weeks.
A dodgy bounce off a cushion
Some of the players have played a shot at what they believe is the correct speed or strength only to see the ball bounce off one of the cushions at an irregular speed.
This again can affect their safety or positional play, which again can result in them losing a frame.
I believe that confidence plays a big factor in snooker. It is often stated that a certain player needs to start well if they are to have any chance of winning.
If a player has a few of these bits of bad luck early in a match, whether it be from a kick, a ball rolling offline or by a dodgy bounce off a cushion, they can quickly find themselves three or four frames behind.
This will increase the pressure that they are under and have a negative affect on their confidence. Their opponent however will suddenly feel very confident, the pockets will now seem much bigger and they are likely to start finding their form.
I think it is a big shame that such a great sport and its results can be affected in such a big way by these elements of luck.
Other sports also have elements of luck which can play apart in the matches. I have never known another sport however where luck is such a big and important factor in the professional game.
Something needs to be done as quickly as possible to stop it from becoming a farce.
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