Choosing the ideal Snooker Cue for you - Pro's advise
Choosing your Cue by Steve Davis - Snooker legendMost top players have their cues specially made, but that's not to say you can't buy a decent one from a shop shelf.
Here's a guide to the things you should look out for.
Remember a cue is only a bit of wood! It doesn't have to be hand-crafted to be any good.
Alan McManus still plays with a machine-made cue and Stephen Hendry won all his World Championships with a basic cue.
It is simply a case of whatever suits the individual.
Most people think they need a cue with certain qualities. You might think you know what you want but you don't.
It's very important to stay with the same cue and practice with it. You need time to tune into it, it won't tune into you!
You might even have a back-up cue but it won't play the same, even if it's made to the same dimensions.
Each bit of wood is different. So my advice is to buy a cue and stick with it. And if you can, get a feel of the cue at your snooker club before purchase.
The biggest difference is its diameter and surface area. This has the most significant effect on the cue's characteristics.
The bigger tip is better for beginners. A thinner tip can be really lively and takes good cueing to keep control of the ball.
The hardness of a tip varies as well. A hard tip may last a bit longer but it's gets shiny quickly and won't grip the ball properly.
Whereas a soft tip tends to collapse on contact and pushes the ball off course. Ideally, you want something in between.
Dimensions haven't changed much over the years, although most players now favour a three-quarter length cue with a quick release button to allow for the screw-in extension.
But a two-piece is not essential. The only benefit of this is the convenience of travelling with it.
Stephen Hendry has a light cue, while Jimmy White has a heavy one. It's all about how YOU feel.
They have similar characteristics, although the American pool players would never use ash.
The grain on ash is sometimes heavier and can help when sighting your shot but it's quite often a fad thing.
Some say that because maple is a white wood it simply looks better. You decide.
Most of this is common sense but it needs to be said. Don't leave it where it can be knocked over, or lean it against a wall because it can warp.
And don't leave it in a car in the hot weather.
See it as a piece of antique furniture that you want to last forever.
And no matter how well or badly you get on in a match, go easy on it!
Mike Hallett once smashed his cue into four pieces after losing.