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How to improve snooker clubs and get more people in…

5 suggestions on how to improve snooker clubs to get more people playing…

 

Levels in Huddersfield was one of the new snooker clubs discussed in the webinar…Read SnookerZone’s feature, here…

YESTERDAY, Dave Lewis of Pro Am Snooker UK hosted another amateur snooker webinar.

With him on the show was amateur snooker player and founder of the events information website Snookerhub.co.uk Michael Waring, who is also a friend of this website SnookerZone.

The show lasted over two hours as the discussion involved snooker clubs and how they can be improved so that more people can enjoy snooker.

The debate…

A string of guests came on to talk to Dave and Michael about what they were doing to run their snooker clubs and how they were getting more people into the clubs to play snooker.

There was also interaction from watchers, and, also, SnookerZone got to make some points of his own on the matter, having played in three “local” snooker clubs across a span of some 20 years.

Watch the webinar: click here…

Here was one with Shaun Murphy…

It was a fruitful discussion.

Here are a few points raised by SnookerZone, below.

But first, in business, the no 1 focus on success must be to serve the customers’ need.

In snooker terms, one simple way to find out what a snooker player/customer wants is simple.

Ask them.

You could do this by surveys either online or through paper, but the important thing is to ask what people want from a snooker club.

Not all ideas will be used, but it’s an excellent way to find out what is going on in the mind of a customer.

Well worth the read if you’re struggling for ideas and want to grow a business learning new strategies.

How to get more customers into snooker clubs to play.

In the webinar, Snookerzone had these suggestions.

1) Schools and PE lessons…

To get more kids in, what about snooker club owners asking around local schools, and organizing for one term of the year, trying out snooker in the PE lessons (with the permission of parents, teachers, and a supervised WPBSA coach?

 

When SnookerZone was at school, his school would organize specific alternatives to the set curricular sports where the local sports club would be booked to introduce the kids to a range of other sports, including gym, squash, badminton, and even golf!

FullSizeSnookerTables
Some owners suggested that to get people enjoying snooker more, they needed to be introduced to tables which have “bigger” pockets so they can get used to potting balls. Then, they can move on to match tables like this one, based at Woking Snooker Centre in Surrey…

Snooker should be no different.

Or if you can’t, bring two small Star tables or more in for a session and see how it goes.

It could work well with 147 clubs.

2) Snooker loyalty cards…

To get more people to come to clubs, what about a Tesco loyalty type card?

Each time a player goes back, give them points or rewards (with a certain number of visits ending in a bigger reward for that customer).

The professional tour player David Grace said that the Northern Snooker Centre, Leeds, where he has been a loyal member for years, had been doing that kind of offer, and it was an excellent idea.

One other point on loyalty cards.

It shouldn’t just be a reward for attendance. It should also not be just a run of the mill awards scheme for a FREE drink etc.

It could be for money off a new cue and case set, for example. Or money off future entry to a competition, etc.

The point is, the rewards offer should stand out.

It works for supermarkets, why not snooker clubs?

3) A welcoming atmosphere…

It stands to reason, but a business should be in the habit of making its customers feel welcome. Many snooker owners, who came on the webinar, said they were in the business of making their customers feel at home at their club.

4) Marketing and advertising the snooker clubs…

As a business owner, you are not a snooker club owner, you are in the business of marketing a snooker club as an owner.

You should be advertising the club and getting eyeballs on it as much as possible.

Highlighting the benefits of the club and the advantages of coming.

Remember this equation:

Product (snooker club) + benefit/s + Tempting Offer = More Customers.

That means advertising your too good to refuse offer in…

  1. Local magazines
  2. Newspapers
  3. Community billboards in the area
  4. Snookerhub.co.uk can advertise your club for FREE
  5. Social media
  6. Word of mouth from other customers

5) Business swaps…

This one is a no brainer…

How about the owner contact a local business in their area, for example, a gym, and see if they can do a local business swap?

They then advertise each other’s businesses with a poster or banner and see if they can bring customers to each other’s business. The idea is not about sponsorship, it’s purely a collaboration of the local community so that people help each other out from time to time.

Given the current climate, that is for SnookerZone, a no brainer!

There’s enough to go around for everyone…

 

 

There’s lots more SnookerZone and indeed others could suggest re how to get more people into clubs, but this was just a flavour of the webinar last night.

It was a very insightful webinar listening to owners and what they were doing re their clubs.

We will no doubt revisit this again in the future.

What do you think? Leave a comment below…

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A special message for those who visit SnookerZone regularly…

Time…

Flies when you’re having fun.

CATTraining
A message from SnookerZone founder Chris Gaynor

Hi there,

How are you all doing?

I hope you are all keeping well, staying safe, and, at most, making sure loved ones are also well and safe?

Family and health are so important at the best of times, but more so now, aren’t they!?

You may want to know why I’m writing this, don’t you?

There are three reasons:

Firstly, I want to just check-in and see how you’re all doing.

Say a heartfelt thank you for your support and…

It’s coming up to a milestone in the brief history of SnookerZone’s existence as it will be in a couple of month’s time, 2 years since this website came into operation. 

And since most of the country is in lockdown and grappling with a pandemic. It’s a great time for us all to reflect, to ponder, to figure out certain things, not just in business, but in our personal lives.

It’s time for us all to change for the better.

One thing that I’m sure you have established during this lockdown, and I’m sure that you already knew it, but it just needed something like this to remind you, is, how important our health is, both individually and as a nation.

Our health is our wealth, but it’s also not only just our physical health that is important to look after, but it’s also our mental health.

Since snooker clubs have been closed because of the pandemic, people have had to look for other ways to keep themselves occupied, either by continuing to practice at home using innovative ways to keep that cue arm going.

But the lockdown has also taught us just how important “physical” activity is for us ALL.

SnookerZone has been cycling a lot more since the shutdown and has lost a stone in weight. I’m not saying this to brag, but to make a point that anything in life can be achieved, if there is a bit of will power, fight, and perseverance.

Baby steps lead to bigger results.

In the fable of the tortoise and the hare, it’s the steady and careful steps of the Tortoise that win the day, rather than the rushed and cheating ways of the hare who thinks racing away and cheating will get him there quicker.

How wrong he was.

What’s this got to do with the price of fish, you may ask.

Well, a lot.

Working on SnookerZone has been a hard slog. It’s not easy running a website single-handedly.

There’s not only writing and producing content. There’s also:

  1. Making sure it’s technically running smoothly
  2. Making sure the content is optimized for Search engines
  3. Making sure there’s the promotion of content
  4. Making sure there’s updated content regularly.
  5. And a lot more besides…

We’re taking baby steps all the time, but we’re getting there, and it’s worth it!

With our slow, but careful and measured steps, we will get there.

So, what’s the point of this message?

Threefold.

As the founder of the site, I just want to say a major thank you to those who are regularly coming to read either the reviews, the coaching interviews, the articles on the blog.

So thank you.

As I’ve said, it takes time and effort to do this, but it’s all to help those find out a bit more what the great sport snooker has to offer…

To those who have purchased something in the reviews sections. SnookerZone appreciates it too.

Thank you again.

Our mission was always to try and help newbies, and even intermediate snooker players discover what’s out there in snooker, whether it be training aids, equipment, and books. We just want players to discover how much great stuff (and not so great stuff) is out there in the world of snooker.

SnookerZone will continue with that search and mission as much as we possibly can.

The site is here to serve you with information and advice as much as possible.

I want you to be a part of that mission…

Will you help us by continuing to support the cause?

Before leaving, here’s a quote from the great George Bernard Shaw.

A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.

So, again, I want to say to all those who’ve been supporting our project.

THANK YOU…

Keep well. Keep safe. Keep healthy. Keep happy.

 

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Snooker first sport back on our TV screens in June…

Live professional sport…

Has been away from fans’ screens for two months now.

Trump2
It was early March, the last time we saw Judd Trump as he won his record sixth ranking event of the season – and lifted the Gibraltar Open trophy behind closed doors in the final.

 

But, in a bid to slowly get the country back to some kind of normality, snooker will be the first professional sport to be back on TV screens in June -whilst others are struggling to work out how to.

Amid the chaos of lockdown and the postponement of the World Snooker Championships in April/May, fans have had to suffer repeats of classic sport to keep them sane for the last few weeks.

The BBC showcased two weeks of Crucible Snooker Classics in April-cum-May.

ShaunMurphy
Professionals have been able to practice in their clubs recently, while most are closed to the general public…

But in June from the 1 – 11, thanks to Barry Hearn and co, snooker is making history as being the first sport to return, despite there still being queries over whether schools will re-open and what will happen with the coronavirus pandemic and a potential second spike in cases.

The winner of the new Championship League event will pocket 30K and fans will get to see the likes of Judd Trump and Neil Robertson in action once again.

It won’t all be like it was before though.

Although ITV4 will showcase the 64 person Championship League tournament with players being invited to compete in the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes, fans will not be able to attend.

Like Gibraltar was, for a part, it will ALL be behind closed doors.

And, presenters like Jill Douglas and co will be working remotely and not in a TV studio. Messrs David Hendon and the commentary team will be at the venue.

Everyone will be tested and will isolate before the show starts. There will be the recommended social distancing measures in place as well.

The format…

RayReardon
Can you feel the buzz? Having players lift a trophy behind closed doors does not have the same feeling when there’s no audience?

Championship League will be split into three phases, with all matches during all stages played as the best-of-four frames. Play will begin at 3pm each day, running continuously until both groups are complete, with the exception of Friday, June 5th when play will begin at 4pm.

• GROUP MATCHES from June 1st to 8th will feature 16 groups of four players, with two groups played each day across two tables. The player who tops each group table will progress to Phase Two. Players will be awarded three points for a win and one point for a drawn match.

• GROUP WINNERS from June 9th to 10th sees the 16 group winners split into four further groups of four, with two groups per day also played over two tables.

• TOURNAMENT FINALS from June 11th will see the four Phase Two winners battle it out over one final group, played on one table, to determine the Championship League winner.

Boss Barry Hearn said: “We will be the first major sport to get back to live televised action. That’s not by chance, it’s because of the hard work and preparation we have done during the lockdown to make sure we are ready to get going again as soon as it is legal.”

He added: “During the challenging times of the past few weeks, we have examined the opportunities which still exist, and worked relentlessly towards the goal of getting our tour going again. While most other sports remain sidelined, we are ready to return from June 1st. This sends out a message to the sporting world that snooker is at the forefront of innovation.”

Some fans have welcomed the move, whilst others are skeptical of the timing.

One fan said on the Snooker Fans Facebook page: “I’m a huge snooker fan, but I can’t get to grips with this event in June. My gut is saying it’s wrong.”

Another fan commented: “Maybe it’s a trial to see what the World’s would be like in the quarantined format.”

Barry Hearn is seeking to put on the World Championships at the Crucible on in July, subject to what happens in the next few weeks regarding the pandemic and the lockdown.

There is still a potential of a second spike in cases, and the current lockdown measures are conditional to the R rate not going above 1.

One thing for sure, for a while, professional sport will not have the same buzz as it used to before the Covid-19 pandemic took a hold…

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Well-respected snooker coach scoops local award…

Tim Dunkley has scooped a local coaching award for snooker in Hampshire, in the UK.

 

In session: Juniors getting some pearls of wisdom from passionate coach Dunkley…

The 62-year-old coach at Chandlers Ford picked up Performance Coach of the Year on Monday at Eastleigh’s Sport and Physical Activity Alliance (SPAA).

Dunkley, a well-respected coach on the Cuestars amateur circuit, (and a coach who SnookerZone has already featured in the Coaching Zone interview pages) which caters for a wide range of age groups, was one of several people behind the scenes to be honoured in a local awards ceremony held online this week.

Tim Dunkley
Screenshot from Cuestars website

 

It was the tenth awards ceremony and because of the coronavirus pandemic and lockdown; they held the ceremony online through the Eastleigh Sports and Physical Activity Alliance twitter account.

The news of the award humbled him…

When Dunkley received news of the award, he humbly said: “Wow! I’ve never won an award before. Thanks. Can’t wait to get back to Chandlers Ford Snooker Club to see the kids.”

Lou Gittens, Chair of Eastleigh’s Sport and Physical Activity Alliance (SPAA) introduced the online awards, followed by Councillor Keith House, Leader of Eastleigh Borough Council and Eastleigh MP, Paul Holmes. Ex-Saint Francis Benali, the Alliance’s Official Ambassador, was the guest speaker.

Lou Gittens said:

‘Whilst these awards are recognition of last year’s performance and efforts, I would like to say how pleasing it has been to see coaches, clubs, organisations, volunteers working so hard in recent months to keep providing opportunities for health and engagement within the community. The recognised benefits of such activities are well-known to us. We can hope that this may provide a positive legacy moving on from these experiences.’

Tributes poured in from across the snooker world for Dunkley’s award.

Here’s just an example of what a Cuestars junior set up looks like. Watch below now…

Writing on the Cuestars website, those involved in the Cuestars project, for which Dunkley is a major player and coach to many juniors…

They wrote: “I know that Tim will hate the fuss, but the truth is this really is a well-deserved award. Players and parents alike have a massive amount of respect and admiration for Tim. Just by being near the table most player’s techniques will improve as they know they are being watched by the main man! The volume of congratulatory posts on Facebook show just how well thought of and valued Tim Dunkley is as both a snooker coach and friend.”

Read SnookerZone’s EXCLUSIVE interview we did a while back with Mr Dunkley, here now…

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How does this snooker phenomenon keep doing it?

Ronnie O’Sullivan…

Is to snooker what Elvis is to music.

Snooker fans will wonder which Ronnie will turn up when snooker can restart again once the Pandemic has calmed down…

Whether you love him, hate him, or are indifferent, the likelihood is you will have heard of him. The sport is not renowned for its high-profile superstars or personalities, but the one man that does fit this mould is ‘The Rocket’ himself. He shot onto the scene at an early age (17) and has been entertaining us with his rock-and-roll style ever since.

Ronnie the Record-breaker…

He is still going strong at the ripe old age of 44 and although he plays fewer tournaments than he once did, he still exudes the same brand of high-octane snooker. How does he do it? And how long can we realistically expect him to do it?

Most sports people have a limited shelf life.

Watch a previous interview with Ronnie about being the best.

Career spirals…

Towards the mid to late thirties, early forties, most professionals duck out or give way to the next wave of players. If they continue, then their ranking tends to slip and you will see previously top ten ranked competitors scrapping their way through qualification to the big tournaments. This is not the case with Ronnie.

A Maverick…

At 44, he is still ranked in the top-ten and is still picking up silverware regularly. As a maverick character, a lot of Ronnie’s success depends on how he feels and what mindset he is in when he is competing. There were always questions about how far he could go, as it was apparent he had the unique talent the game has ever seen, but also a temperamental side and a tendency to lose focus..

Which Ronnie will turn up when the snooker restarts?

Ronnie O’Sullivan is like a Tiger. Hungry and on the prowl for more wins to win 37 ranking titles. Photo by Stone Wang on Unsplash

For all the questions on mental approach we still find Ronnie one of the most talked-about players in the game, one of the most successful and still the biggest draw to fans around the world. He is still at the top and deserves all the credit he gets.

How does he keep the hunger and passion for the sport and how can someone maintain the standards he does, for as long as he has? Experts in SBO wonder if he will continue breaking records?

Ronnie has channeled his obsessions for the greater good…

It is well known that Ronnie is a keen runner and is obsessive about keeping fit in his free time. He has, by his own admission, an addictive personality and has found that channeling this into something beneficial for the body has complemented his game and improved his quality of life.

Ronnie’s book Running explains the theory behind the passion…

Food for thought…

Another important part of the Rocket’s preparation is his diet. In 2017 he met Rhiannon Lambert, a nutritionist and diet expert and, since then, she has helped him revolutionize his diet and totally overturn his old eating habits. He is now carefully planning his meals in order to get the most energy and nutrition available. He has not only changed what he eats but how often he eats. Everything is planned, right down to the quantity. He swears by his diet and claims that his recent resurgence in form and success is down to this. The diet has re-energized him as a player.

Ronnie is still hungry for more at 44…

Mentally, Ronnie is still hungry and said himself that if he still has a chance of winning tournaments, he could continue for 5, 10 or even 15 years. It remains to be seen for how long he can pose a threat, but for now he is looking as strong as ever. If he remains fit and healthy and keeps a positive state of mind, then it will take skill and effort for any opponents to move him out of the way.

If Ronnie can get his diet in order, then so can you. This book has simple and easy to do recipes for those eager to get their diet in order. Pick up a copy and try some now…

How long will the Prince of snooker Judd Trump rule?

Judd Trump

The new generation are coming through strongly and the mercurial form of the Ronnie-esque Judd Trump is providing the biggest challenge. The likes of the ever-consistent Neil Robertson and the intelligent and determined Mark Selby will pose a challenge and the busy schedule of tournaments always throws up various obstacles. Ronnie has been playing a limited number of tournaments of late, although he is toying with the idea of playing more.

When the season restarts it remains to be seen which Ronnie we see, but be sure of one thing, he will entertain us, it will take something special to topple the king!

>>This is a sponsored post by Florence Marceau<<

 

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A snooker player’s biggest nightmare…

In sport…

We all have favorites we love to idolize, and even copy.

However, if you are looking to become a good sportsperson, then you should follow this #1 piece of advice for snooker from the London coach Gary Filtness below.

Gary Filtness
Filtness battled his demons and has been smashing it on the revitalized World Snooker Seniors Tour…

Chatting in the new cue sports magazine The Chalk, the Essex coach, 56, talks about his career to date and explained how he had to give up snooker for a while because of the yips.

But he managed to end the nightmare.

And here’s how.

Like Seven-times World Champion Stephen Hendry, who retired in 2012, admitted in his book Me and the Table, the yips is a crippling condition for a sportsperson and in snooker terms, it means not being able to get through the cue smoothly enough.

It’s painful emotionally…

Filtness said in the interview: “I copied Reardon’s action, elbow out,
I started to improve but I felt my game was not strong enough for the top level so decided to tinker, copied a few others– forgot who I was. Then one day it happened and it was game over.

What happened?

He said: “I got the yips, I found I couldn’t get through the cue ball anymore, dreaded condition and robbed me of the sport I loved for 27 years. You’ve seen it in golf and darts as well.”

How Filtness conquered his demons…

He locked himself in his room for weeks and faced his demons, and came out the other side.

Beating the yips was Filtness’s toughest opponent yet, he admitted.

He told The Chalk: “Without a doubt. Beating the yips, my toughest ever opponent and biggest ever victory. When I see a player suffering nowadays I get very emotional as I’ve been there and I know how they feel.”

In the interview, Filtness also talks about how he’s making up for 27 years of lost time since conquering the yips.

He’s been smashing it on the Seniors tour and was given a new lease of life.

He added: “Yes, it’s great seeing old friends and sharing memories. The best part is the banter but the willingness to win is still there. I still compete as hard as ever. The Seniors Tour standard has gone up and up. We’re having to practice and prepare like professionals but the rewards are still there and now someone like me still has a chance to walk out at the Crucible one day, I’d never of thought that could happen.”

But he also has this great piece of advice for any budding snooker players out there;

Don’t copy…

He said: “I don’t tell any player to copy any other, I work on natural ability, tell them be yourself. You are either born with a cue action or not. No one aims to miss.”

Read the full interview and more great features, including a piece written by SnookerZone’s Chris Gaynor in the newly released monthly Chalk Magazine.

Download issue 2 now, here…

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Snooker poem: We miss…

A poem…

Can often say so much about how someone is feeling in a certain situation.

And for SnookerZone, he thought he’d pen this short poem to highlight what he misses about snooker and try to connect you with those feelings.

Let us know what makes you miss snooker so much? Leave a comment below after you’ve read the poem…

We miss: By Chris Gaynor…

snooker

We miss the sound of the balls thundering in the pockets…

We miss the sound of voices echoing around.

We miss the sight of our opponent missing the pot and sighing and making a sound…

!Why did I miss,” he shouts?

We miss watching the Rocket…

We miss the rattle of the drinks glasses at lunchtime, or the sizzle of the sausages cooking in the frying pan.

We miss the sight of seeing the scores go up and up – yeah, it’s 100.

We miss the clap of that one person who utters, “good shot mate.”

We miss, we miss…

We miss being able to shake hands with our mates.

We miss being able to impress those female dates.

We miss being able to bang the cue down on the floor,

We miss the desperation of leaving and then desperately wanting to come back for more…

We miss, we miss…

We miss those special moments of laughter, tears, and joy.

We miss the joy of playing with our little girl or wee boy…

We miss being able to tap the table in appreciation.

And we miss banging our knuckles in desperation.

But most of all, we miss to miss…

We miss chatting to the staff guy who works hard for free table time

We miss asking him if he’d like a frame.

We miss knocking in a belter down the rail

And hearing that guy kick up a stink on another table.

We miss feeling the way we used to…

We miss parking the car and getting that snooker feeling meeting you know who…

But most of all, we miss to miss…

We miss the smell of rotten tobacco outside in the bins…

Nah We don’t really.

But we miss watching the others light up outside,

Trying to de-stress from the pressures of missing,

As we miss having our own intervals…

We miss to miss…

We miss running our hands over the rough cloth,

Or swatting that pesky Moth,

We miss seeing the lampshade flicker,

telling us it’s time for dinner…

But most of all

We miss, to miss…

We miss meeting up with coach, who tells us we’re doing OK,

And we miss when he gives us a big confidence boost and then likes to say…

Here’s your homework to do for next session, enjoy…

We miss time flying,

We miss working on those new routines and stressing about too hard trying…

But most of all,

We miss, to miss…

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Snooker and reopening…

Snooker chiefs and MPs will discuss the next steps for moving forward with reopening next week.

The All-Party Parliamentary Group for snooker have informed the Sports Minister on how the sport’s governing body the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA) have been preparing to bring the sport back when “conditional” lockdown restrictions ease further in the next few weeks/months.

Practicing snooker in clubs has been non-existent for almost eight weeks now as players not lucky enough to have tables have been practicing home snooker on kitchen or dining tables…

The cross-party group have sent the key documentation over to Oliver Dowden as the government seek to try to get key sports like snooker back on when it’s safe to do so.

It comes as there have been hints that there could be a return for the Premier League football behind closed doors in June – although; the hint is conditional depending on how the second phase of the government’s eased lockdown restrictions develop over the next few weeks.

And World Snooker Tour Boss Barry Hearn has been hoping for a return to snooker in July/August as the April/May World Championships were postponed due to a partial shutdown of the economy.

Speaking on the excellent work the WPBSA is doing behind the scenes, Karl McCartney MP said: “Snooker is a huge global sport, particularly in China.  As a global governing body, the WPBSA was therefore necessarily ahead of many national NGBs and had already seen the impact of the restrictions imposed.”

He added: “The APPG has been in regular contact with the WPBSA and has received its excellent guidance documentation for snooker to return as soon as specific restrictions are lifted.  I have sent that draft guidance today to the Sports Minister so he is aware and will, hopefully, ensure snooker as a playable sport will be able to return swiftly.”

Next week, directors and the APPG will hook up to discuss ways forward and responses to current circumstances.

McCartney added, “At times like this, you see the best in people.  Snooker is more than just a sport; it is hugely important for people of all ages throughout the UK.  I have seen how hard the staff at WPBSA have been working to ensure the sport of snooker is in a position to return as soon as possible.  They should be congratulated on their response.”

Professionals can now return to work, providing it’s safe to do so…

Professionals on the World Snooker Tour will be allowed to return to their clubs to practice, provided they social distance, and the club owners have strict cleaning and sanitation arrangements, according to the WPBSA.

The rest will be unable to return, for now.

The message reads: “The place of work of a professional snooker player is not only at events. It is also where their practice table is based for training purposes. It is essential that players have access to training facilities before returning to professional tournament play.

Snooker is no different to other professional sports and professional snooker players are no different to other athletes in this respect. Return to professional competition or approved online activity is essential for professional players to earn a living.”

Lockdown “survival” measures for businesses such as snooker clubs…

Currently, clubs across the UK are closed as the government has entered the second phase of easing restrictions on tough lockdown measures, but on Sunday Boris Johnson announced his “conditional” road map for the next few months ahead with a gradual easing in place over the months of May, June, and July.

Some outside sports have started.

The May measures included people being able to go out for “unlimited exercise” and being able to play some outdoor sports such as golf, tennis, and fishing whilst social distancing.

However, the WPBSA has been working hard under their 147 Club scheme in partnership with some snooker clubs to keep ahead so they can have a smooth reopening.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s Job Retention Scheme has been snapped up by an overwhelming 7 million…

Clubs, such as the Cue Ball Derby have also been making use of some of the measures introduced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak, who, at the start of lockdown a few weeks ago announced a major Job Retention Scheme so that employees wouldn’t lose all their wages or employment.

The government announced they would supplement 80% of employees’ income. They have extended that to September/October with the caveat that businesses share the cost.

Some snooker players have adapted to the way they practice during the lockdown…

Across the land, snooker players of all abilities have been practicing on home tables, or, those not lucky enough to have a table, have been finding innovative ways to keep their cue arm going whilst in lockdown.

 

 

 

 

 

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Aramith Billiard Ball Cleaner – Review…

Clean and shine your snooker and billiard balls in under 10 mins – EVERY TIME…

Cleaning SnookerZone’s snooker balls was quick and easy

So, you’ve purchased snooker balls, and you’ve been playing with them down the club for a while now.

Your next task is to clean them. Now, one way you can do that, that is cost-effective, is using fairy liquid and lukewarm water.

It is MORE time-consuming, though.

Another way is by using the product Aramith Ball Cleaner which comes in 250ml and is made in Belgium by Aramith. SnookerZone received it yesterday and cleaned his snooker balls with it straight after.

We had heard a lot about it, but wanted to see for ourselves so we could review for SnookerZone.

When we first opened the bottle, the smell surprised. It smelt sweet, like grapefruit!

Nice smell lol!

Cleaning your snooker balls is simple with it.

snooker ball
You’ll notice a difference when you clean your set with the Ball Cleaner…

Shake the bottle well before use. Then gently squeeze a slight amount of the white stuff onto the ball.

Rub it around with a decent microfiber cloth for a few seconds and then leave.

Rinse and repeat.

Once you’ve done all 22 balls, you can then get a dry clean cloth or paper and rub again to buff to a shine.

The result: clean and shiny balls.

SnookerZone was surprised at just how shiny the balls were. And how easy it was to use and apply. In under ten minutes, we had cleaned the balls, and they looked nice and shiny.

How long should it last?

Following the guidance, and depending on how much you play, it should last awhile. Although, the guidance on the bottle says you should clean them after every time you use your balls on the table. If you’re playing every day as a very serious player, then you may well end up using it a lot.

You only need to apply a little of the cream though on each ball…

Cleaning with the Aramith Billiard Ball cleaner will take no more than ten minutes, and you will be free of the hassle of running lukewarm water in a sink and spending ages “washing” up the balls.

What do we think?

Worth the £10 if you want to save time on washing your balls manually in a sink. A bit of advice.

Get yourself a decent microfiber cloth.

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News

The great amateur snooker debate – Part 1

Wednesday night, a Facebook live webinar was held discussing top amateur snooker.

Ben Hancorn
Current English Amateur Champion Ben Hancorn was one of the players who spoke on the webinar…

The main topics were how to improve the two top main events on the amateur circuit – the Challenge Tour and World Snooker Tour’s QSchool.

The two-hour webinar had players, fans, and people who have been involved in some way in amateur snooker, whether it be helping out in the events, playing in them, writing about them, or organizing them.

It proved fruitful with ideas.

Watch the discussion in the video:

Amateur snooker is a multi-faceted subject, and there is so much to debate and discuss, but in the video, the main topics were Challenge Tour and QSchool and something briefly on the set-up of organisations involved. Some very good points raised.

But first, what are Challenge Tour and QSchool for those who don’t know.

The Challenge Tour

The Challenge Tour is not a new concept by any means but in terms of the modern era under Barry Hearn, it is new and began a couple of years ago. Its design was to give top amateurs a leg up onto the main tour through a qualification over a series of 10 events. The benefits are that players get to feel what it’s like playing in events where there are similar conditions to those on the pro tour. However, some players have complained that the second year of the CT was anything but ideal in playing conditions.

Its two years shall we say “trial” has had mixed reactions from players.

some players have said conditions were great on year one.

Others have said that conditions on year two were a lot to be desired.

Some have said the expense puts players off from traveling around the world to different countries. Previously, the CT was known as the WPBSA minor tour, and, then, known as the UK tour in the 1990s/2000s.

Some say that regardless of playing conditions, the cream of the crop will rise to the top.

And it generally does in amateur or pro circles.

In 2018, it was hailed as a significant mark in giving top amateurs of any gender a chance to play in events with the incentive of a card or two at the end. The Order of Merit also gives the opportunity for players to accumulate as many points as they can to be considered for top-ups or wildcards in pro events.

When previous amateur tours were scrapped, it was generally down to lack of numbers. Generally, it’s the case up to 64 players compete, although that’s not necessarily always the case as some don’t play or decide to enter. Generally, the field comprises ex-pros who’ve recently dropped off, or those who’ve dropped off in previous seasons. You will generally come across the same names again and again.

And here’s the point:

The amateur snooker scene needs to focus from the bottom up, NOT the top down.

So, what deters players from playing in events? It’s three things in SnookerZone’s view.

  1. Funding (both from the organizations involved and the cost for players
  2. lack of a proper set-up (if you watch Michael Waring’s commentary (the founder of Snookerhub.co.uk) on the video above, he makes the valid point (and to paraphrase) that amateur snooker should be treated like a business where the organization involved has a proper structure, pays its people properly without constantly having to rely on volunteers or gracious gestures from people to help out ( and invests in better resources and then, from there more advertising can be done.
  3. Lack of information on anything. For example, how much do newbies know about the potential routes to becoming a pro? Do even those who’ve been playing a while know? Who knows about the set-up? Where’s the information? Who is running the amateur set-up?

Amateur snooker needs a Barry Hearn type character who is business savvy, understands snooker, and has the drive to drive policies through and to achieve targets and goals, and handle setbacks or problems…

QSchool

If you have more than £1000 in your bank account and want to become a professional snooker player, you have the opportunity to play in World Snooker Tour’s QSchool. The event played over generally three events plus playoffs, has been going since 2011.

Because it’s an “open” event to anyone, here lies the problem on three counts.

  1. Some who enter will do it because they can, and are doing it to say, “I played in QSchool…” regardless of whether they wanted a pro ticket.
  2. Some who enter may well have genuine desires to turn pro, but, sorry to say, they may not cut it and may not be ready for pro status, either now, or in the future.
  3. Of the number who enter, a small % will genuinely have what it takes to make it at pro level. But even those who do will find the standard jump tough. Some, for example, drop off, jump on again, a bit like waiting for a bus at a bus stop. Sometimes, you have to wait ages for the bus to turn up. Then you might be on and off.

QSchool issues and problems

Is it right that anyone with a grand in cash can turn up and lay claim to a place on QSchool when there are players up and down who’ve worked on their game years to get there on their game?

No.

Qschool should be a selection process where players from outside usual amateur circles should be vetted on simple form questions, such as how long they’ve been playing, what their highest break is (in competition), whether they have played in previous events, whether they’ve had any league experience, and any coaching, etc?

Tough but fair vetting can iron out the thrill-seekers from the true seekers.

SnookerZone believes there is a place for QSchool, but just less “open” to all and should be for the ones who are serious.

Some who enter are deluding themselves.

There is so much to write about on amateur snooker. Its problems. Its issues. Too much for one post. So SnookerZone will be returning to this at a later date with much more to say and potentially interview some players on the blog. If there are any players who would like to be interviewed for the blog.

Contact us here now