It seems like everyone has a hobby nowadays.

We all enjoy watching movies, taking photos, playing sports, reading books, listening to music, and going for walks.

These hobbies keep us busy, and they allow us to relax.

They also help us enjoy ourselves. Many people use their leisure time to watch TV, play video games, surf the internet, read books or magazines, and listen to music.

Others prefer to relax by swimming, cycling, walking, hiking, fishing, boating, camping, and picnicking.

You may want to try something new, or you may simply want to add something extra to your routine. 

Here are some tips to help you get more enjoyment out of your leisure time.

Don’t expect to jump straight into a new activity. Choose something that you can easily manage and don’t let yourself become overwhelmed.

Start slowly and gradually increase the amount you do.

When you feel ready, move on to your next goal.

Whatever you choose to do, it’s important that you can stay safe.

Lots of activities rely on good eyesight – cycling, for example, could be dangerous without being able to see properly.

But you don’t always want to be wearing a pair of glasses that can be inconvenient and easily lost or broken.

Contact lenses are the perfect answer for anyone who wants to be active but able to see properly.

These days they’ve come on a lot, and you can now get a range of colour contact lenses to brighten up your appearance.

The most important thing to remember when you purchase coloured contacts is that they should be of the highest possible quality.

Some people wear colored contacts just for fun. Others wear them to change their appearance.

Either way, they can transform the way you enjoy your leisure time inexpensively.

But – back to the leisure itself:

The last couple of years has brought home to us how important it is to have family and friends around.

Isolation was the biggest problem during the pandemic. Some people saw no one for months on end.

The long-term effects of this are still being felt across Australia.

Breaking the cycle of isolation is an enormous challenge and getting people to socialise again is one of the biggest challenges of all.

One of the best uses of our leisure time is to mix with other people. It can be difficult in groups – sometimes it’s great to spend time one-to-one with somebody without it being awkward over a meal or a drink – often you don’t want something that intense.

Going to the cinema or theatre is an option, but it is difficult to talk and interact during the performances or screenings.

What to do?

Lurking in the background is a game played for hundreds of years which has been a stalwart in pubs and bars for everyone from farmers to city slickers – any guesses?

It’s a game of pool or snooker.

Pool is one of the most popular casual pastimes in Australia.

It’s a game that many people enjoy playing indoors. Whether it’s in their local pub or out on the patio by the pool. 

If you’ve ever wondered what the difference between pool and snooker is – it’s all about the different balls that are used. 

Pool is played on a table with six pockets using one white cue ball and 15 numbered object balls – usually of individual colours

Snooker is also played on a six pocket table, but it uses 15 red, 6 coloured and one white cue ball. Rather than just pocket the most balls, Points are scored by pocketing the red balls (one point each), the 6 coloured balls in order from 2 through to 7 points for the black ball. and forcing an opponent to give away points through ‘snookers’.

In case you’ve never come across the games, they are both played with a cue stick, which is usually made of wood (although plastic versions exist).

The cue stick is used to hit the cue ball towards an object ball and to cause that ball to fall into a pocket. The cue (or cue stick) is the crucial piece of equipment.

Pool cues come in many shapes and sizes. Cues vary in length, weight, and thickness. They normally make the shaft of the cue stick of wood, although metal and synthetic material alternatives exist.

The butt end of the cue stick is designed to fit comfortably against the hand of the player. 

The tip of the cue is flexible, and are shaped to allow the player to aim the cue at the target balls easily.

It’s important that the cue sticks are kept properly in a pool cue holderThese racks are designed to make sure that the cue is stored vertically to prevent it becoming warped or misaligned.

They are usually made of wood and fixed to a wall near the billiard table. They often have a rack for chalk, and sometimes a built-in blackboard or whiteboard for keeping score of the games as well.

Any decent billiard accessories store – online or off-line – will have a range of these to choose from.

Both the game of pool and snooker require the use of a triangle to group the numbered balls in pool and all the red balls in snooker in a triangular shape.

The arrangement of the pool balls needs to alternate from a high to low or low to high number so as to give no player a particular advantage. The breaking of this formation is usually done by the cue ball hitting the others in the ‘break’.

Both these leisure games involve skill and strategy, but most players know that only practise makes perfect.

Some people prefer to practise alone, while others like to play with friends or family. People often meet up with friends in local pubs or clubs to play pool. They may even organise tournaments and leagues.

It is interesting to know that leisure games such as these can become more than just a game for a highly skilled player and may even become a sports career.

Some people even travel abroad to compete in international competitions. Others simply enjoy the social aspect of meeting friends and colleagues in a friendly environment.

Lifestyle sports