High breaks are no longer enough

Once upon a time I could emerge from a session of snooker and my view of my performance would be entirely based on my highest break on the day.  An old snooker buddy once asked me how I could consider a 49 break to be disappointing and yet a 50 to be a success – and while I’m the first to admit my “base ten fixation”, I think it was this question that got me started on the idea of MySnookerStats, and trying to really understand what a good performance was.

Nowadays, armed with the extra information, I can see that there are many times when I would kid myself that I’m playing well just because I’d made one decent contribution across two hours of snooker, and many other times where the high break might not have been there but my consistency of play was better.  Sometimes I guess it’s just pretty hard to get excited about a string of mediocre breaks.

Note: it’s all relative, of course – there’ll be many players out there who rattle in centuries like clockwork, and there’ll be many more who never quite reach the giddy heights of the half century, but everyone has their own understanding of what represents a good day or a bad day on the baize.

For a long time, I had focussed on the number of 30+ and 50+ breaks I made relative to the number of frames I played.  This probably explains the yips I still get when I’m on 29 or 49…  Once I realised I could use my mobile phone to remember the outcome of every shot I played by simply adapting it as a mini electronic scoreboard, the idea was born.

So, what do I know now?  My long term positional success is 69.1% (my potting is 69.7%) based on the evidence of 646 recorded frames.  Compare this if you will against John Higgins’s 86.7% position (with 89.0% potting) recorded in his 9-7 defeat of Ryan Day in the 2008 Royal London Watches Grand Prix final.  So there’s the consistency benchmark I want to be aiming for!

If your long term positional record is 70%+, then you’re almost certainly a better player than me, and you should expect to beat me, unless you’re even more reckless than me when faced with that tricky long pot that you really really ought to refuse…

If your long term record is below 69%, then we’re in for a decent game, and hopefully I’ll just edge you out in the decider…

Comments are closed.