I frequently hear snooker commentators use the words "thick" or "thin". A Web search has turned up a bunch of results, but none that clearly explains what these terms mean (in snooker). Can someone explain, please?

1 Answer 1


'Thick' and 'Thin' are terms to do with the way the player has aimed a shot, and in the attempt to make the shot, has hit the object ball in an undesired way; either not added enough angle (too thick), or added too much angle (too thin).

Here - showing my artistic prowess - is hopefully a better, visual, way of expressing the difference:

Snooker aiming visualisation - Picasso

In the attempt to pot the Blue into the top-right pocket, if the player were to miss the pocket to the left, they did not put enough angle on the ball and thus they hit the object ball "too thick", if they miss to right then the player added too much angle, and hit the ball "too thin".

But it is not just attempting to pot the ball that this applies too. For instance, on a safety shot, hitting the object ball "too thick" or "too thin" can lead to the player being disadvantaged.

For example, hit the object ball too thick or thin and the player risks not only moving the object ball into an undesired location, but also not getting the cue ball into a safe location - hitting too thick would remove momentum out of the cue ball, and conversely, hitting too thin would mean the cue ball has too much momentum, and could also not stop in a "safe" location.

It should also be noted that these terms are not unique to Snooker; you would also hear them in Pool and Billiards, too.

  • Thanks! So would It be correct to say "more thick" means roughly "by hitting the target back more directly from behind it"?
    – msh210
    Commented Jun 27, 2023 at 2:34
  • 1
    @msh210 - yes, that would be another way to put it, but with the caveat that most of the time it would be in the context of "hitting the target back more directly from behind it than intended"
    – ImClarky
    Commented Jun 27, 2023 at 8:26

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