Have you ever been watching a game of snooker, watched the camera pan to the players sitting waiting for their shots, and noticed they always have a jug and glass of water and seem to ALWAYS be drinking water in between shots?
I know many people have noticed this before, just take a look at this video of Ronnie O’Sullivan devouring a glass of water as a prime example!
So, why do snooker players drink water? It’s not as though they are losing a lot of water through sweat (or are they?) and it seems to be one of the few sports where players seem to always be maintaining hydration. Below, we’ll look into why snooker players seem to drink so much water.
Why Do Snooker Players Drink Water?
When you play snooker you don’t have to do any physical activity like running or jumping, so why do players drink so much water?
In reality, you don’t have to be doing an excessive amount of physical activity in order to need to drink water. There are many factors that go into why snooker players drink so much water.
- One reason is to hydrate the body. Drinking water helps you focus, and you need extreme concentration to play a game of snooker. One mistake can ruin the game.
- Matches can last for many hours if they are evenly matched. There are very few breaks in the game so it’s important to be hydrated. Dehydration will make you unfocused.
- Players sip water instead of drinking a lot of it to avoid having to go to the bathroom in between matches. It is important to take the time between matches to decompress and get ready for the next match.
- Sipping on water can calm nerves. This can come in handy if it is an important match or if you aren’t doing well in the game. Both the hydrating effect of the water and the physical habit of picking up a bottle can be comforting.
- Snooker players promote the brand of water that they’re drinking.
- The bright lights make the temperature of the room very hot, which makes players thirsty.
What Would Happen if a Snooker Player Got Dehydrated?
Dehydration happens when you are losing more fluids than you are taking in. This is very likely to happen under the hot lights in a snooker match unless you are sipping on water. If you are dehydrated, your body will not have enough water to function.
Headaches are a symptom of dehydration. Imagine trying to play snooker with a headache. Not only are there very bright lights that will make your headache worse, but you won’t be able to focus.
You can also get dizzy or lightheaded if you are dehydrated. In a game where you need laser-sharp focus and concentration, any dizziness would really throw you off your game.
Dehydration can make you sleepy. Snooker matches go on for hours. Being sleepy during a match would make it hard to complete the match.
You will also have a dry mouth if you are dehydrated. This can be distracting when trying to play a game of snooker. Although it may seem like a small thing when you are concentrating to such a high extent every little thing matters.
Can Snooker Players Drink Alcohol?
Snooker players can drink between matches and during the day but not during an actual match. If their blood alcohol content is so high that it is negatively affecting their game, such as having unsportsmanlike behavior or taking a long time between shots, they can get in trouble.
It used to be very common for snooker players to drink during matches and be obviously intoxicated while playing. A good example is Bill Werbeniuk who allegedly drank 6 pints of lager before every game. There are some other high-profile players who have had their battles with alcohol consumption and snooker but over the years the rules and behavior around the sport have changed.
With the popularity of the sport rising along with TV coverage and prize money, players are now more focused on coming across as model professionals – which always helps with sponsorship money – and being more focused on their playing ability which is easily impacted by the consumption of alcohol.
Snooker players can’t drink alcohol during a match because the game requires a lot of concentration. It also would create a bad reputation around the game if snooker players were seen drinking alcohol throughout the match.
How Does Alcohol Affect the Body?
Roughly 86% of people over the age of 18 have had a drink of alcohol. It might seem like a simple mood booster, but in reality, this drink has many consequences that you wouldn’t want while playing a game of snooker. Even a small amount of alcohol can have negative effects that would be unwanted.
Here are some ways alcohol would affect a snooker player:
- Alcohol slows the pathways in the brain that control the body. This slows down reflexes and worsens balance. This would make it very hard to make a shot while playing snooker.
- Alcohol makes you feel warm because blood flows towards the skin, and then body temperature falls afterward. This could be distracting to a player who needs to be comfortable in order to focus. Any small thing can be a distraction and ruin a shot.
- Alcohol gets broken down in the stomach and can cause irritation that results in abdominal pain. It would be difficult to play a game of snooker with an upset stomach.
- Alcohol can make you sleepy because it slows down your brain. This makes it easy to doze off. You don’t want to have to try to stay awake during an important match that you’re playing.
- Alcohol makes you go to the bathroom. There are very few breaks in a game of snooker, so it would be highly uncomfortable to drink alcohol during the game.
Clearly, a snooker player would not want any of the side effects of alcohol. Their careers are on the line during their games. It would be unwise to put any of that at stake just for a drink.
It used to be a thought process that alcohol will boost performance giving players more confidence and battling nerves with studies disproving this and the availability of sports psychologists in the modern game, turning to alcohol will negatively impact performance rather than boosting it and many players are now aware of this.
The main reason why snooker players drink water is to stay fully hydrated during a game in order to maintain focus, concentration, and mental clarity. Dehydration can impact all of these aspects leading to poor performance so players drink more water to prevent this.
Another important factor to note is that most players also do this out of habit. Sipping some water during your opponent’s shot is an involuntary action that is formed out of habit and having something to do whilst waiting to return to the table.
While it may seem like snooker players are always drinking water, this is mainly just the times when we see it happening due to the camera focusing on the players. In reality, players stay hydrated in all sports and the water consumed during snooker is definitely not excessive or above the normal intake – despite it seeming that way when watching a live game.