WPBSA Coach Brian Cox has had the stamina to run and finish a London marathon.
But, he’s also seen much along the way on what can often be a rocky path in snooker as both a top player and coach.
My first meeting with the Cyclone Brian Cox…
So, when I first started looking for a coach online to help improve my game, it was such a minefield.
I just didn’t know who to call.
How did I know if they were any good or not? What did their qualifications mean? What snooker had they played? What would they actually do to help improve my game? All these questions were rolling around in my head.
And then, I stumbled on Brian Cox’s web page and took the plunge and booked a FULL day’s lesson to find out. I’m a journalist and a copywriter, and so he kindly agreed to do an interview with me as well.
It was then that I found out what great snooker coaching actually is!
Brian Cox is and was thorough.
He was accommodating to my snooker needs which were to become a good solid club player who knows what they’re doing around the table.
He was friendly and did not put any pressure on me to have any more lessons after that.
I can honestly say, Brian Cox is the real deal for snooker coaching. He will not leave the table until you’ve understood and can apply what he teaches you.
SnookerZone caught up with Brian recently for a Q&A, and there are four quirky things that have happened to him during his long snooker career! PLUS, find out what clever gadget he would create as a snooker product, given the chance!
1) Can you state your name, age, and where you are based for the record?
Brian Cox, 43, based in Coulsdon (Frames Academy)
2) How did you get into snooker?
My parents bought me a very mini table for 8th birthday. The cue looked like a drummer’s drumstick without even a tip ha ha. The Balls were like marbles
3) What made you want to start a career in coaching?
After winning local events and getting known, I would be practicing on my own and people would watch and ask me how I got so much screw or side or how I did certain shots.
I would get pleasure out of showing them how it was done and the smile on their face once they had achieved it. I then carried on with practicing. I told my girlfriend at the time and her dad suggested I should be a coach as a back-up from playing. I thought, why not? And then looked into the ways of becoming one. Big Derek Hill (ex-coach to Ronnie O’Sullivan) taught me a fair bit regarding the technique / certain shots etc which helped decide to go for coaching, so his input played a part too. I learned certain parts off Barry Stark too which helped me on my way before my exams etc
I have always had the passion to help people and it seemed the perfect job even though I wanted to make a career out of playing.
4) Have you played in leagues or events and where? Have you won any titles?
I used to live in Boston (Lincolnshire) and played in the league there and entered the Boston and District events. I have won the Boston and District individual title 9 times and the top league with my team over ten times also recording the Boston leagues highest ever break of 137 in 2012.
I have won many other titles plus a small EASB event and played for my country representing England at the home internationals at Prestatyn Wales 2011.
I have played on the pro ticket tour and old PIOS tour as well as the pro tour back in the late 90s.
4) What’s your highest break?
No player in particular, as I like a lot of them, but I do admire players that fight on through the hard times (money worries and lack of confidence/results etc) and come out the other side as better players whilst remaining the same grounded person as they were before they broke through.
7) If you had the chance to create a snooker product what would it be?
A digital product that would show the player (especially the average club player or below-average club player) the difficulty factor of the shot and the likely pot percentage the player has of getting it in, so they become aware of just how tough the shot is compared to the standard they are. Too often I hear players moaning / groaning / tutting / swearing about missing certain shots they have very little chance of sinking (a one in ten pot, for example) due to, let’s say, the white being near the cushion or a long distance between white and object ball plus the severity of the angle (which is hard to judge).
These factors, plus a player’s incorrect technique, make it even tougher to pot that shot, as well as the pot, made even tougher by the player’s angry negative mind. Lack of practice doesn’t help too!
Then, they obviously miss the shot, then moan that they are playing useless or hate the game (Or say, it’s not my day today or say the cues crap etc). But, if you knew or were aware of all the realistic factors which I have mentioned above then you would enjoy playing more and not get so uptight.
So, a digital product that takes a picture of the shot and gives you a realistic pot percentage that can give the player a realistic view/result of shot/outcome etc!
Obviously, the player’s input /ability would have to be typed in, plus each pot missed recorded by typing in your missed pots in the game and what distance – angle – the pace of shot it was so it can record your shot data etc. Will also pinpoint your weak and strong shot. Sounds complicated, but things are done in a flash with a press of a button and a camera: then it will list your missed shots / potted shots/pot percentage etc
8) Can you give the readers of SnookerZone an actionable tip/s that they can take away and use to help improve their game now?
Hold the cue relaxed with the back arm at a right angle…
With a solid bridge and follow-through cue through the white ball. (That’s just a little snippet) there are tons of other coaching details/tips for all types of players/standards! Everyone is different and has their own style etc
Be calm and enjoy 🙂
9) If you were a pro what would you call yourself as a nickname?
I used to be fast, so it would be The Cyclone – ten or so years ago. But what with lack of practice time it has slowed me down a tad, so the name would be The Coulsdon Breeze
10) Have you got anyone you coach who might be a future prospect in the game? Don’t name names but do you see many talents coming through in the areas where you teach?
I have two or three pupils with big potential, but they also know how much sacrificing and hard work is needed with the correct attitude. Not all carry it out, although, money can be a huge factor in pursuing dreams too as it’s tough to follow dreams without help /money and a good team around you.
11) When you are coaching, give us an example of a routine you would teach a player?
Each routine depends on the standard of that player.
If an average club player who isn’t great at playing with side or doesn’t understand it fully, then I would show the player the white’s throw at different paces with varying amounts of the side going down the spots.
Also, showing white’s effect with the side against the nap.
Then showing the white’s sidespin effect on pots from different distances and paces with varying amounts of side, showing how you need to adjust your aim to compensate for the white’s “throw. “
For example., white throws off track more with faster pace and distance!
12) Tell us something about you that people who know you may not know – can be a funny story or just something unusual!
Staying in a field under a tent next door to a cow field when a sponsor let me down with a hotel.
Clutch snapping in the car on the way to a pro match and having to run with cue case to match.
Opposition player peeling a banana directly in front of my shot and biting it to put me off.
Tip flying off in the middle of a final…
SnookerZone would like to thank Brian for taking the time to do a Q&A with us and we’ll catch up with him again soon!