Puddy’s Privilege: David Coaching at the Masters at the Ally Pally in London 2018…(photo courtesy of David Puddy)

In the good old days of the BOOM times in 80s snooker, there were a handful of talented Canadians.

As fans, players and followers of this great sport, we all remember the history of the great Canadian players who entertained us with their panache and razmataz on and off the table.

We all remember the 147 that started with a fluke from the 1980 World Champion Cliff Thorburn at the Crucible in 83 when he made the first ever maximum in Sheffield. Just go to Youtube and it’ll be easy to find…

We all remember the razmataz of the flamboyant Canadian in the white suit, the talented Kirk Stevens when he made the 147 at the Masters. Again, Youtube geeks will know where to find it…

And some of us may know about the commentary of the pool/snooker player Jim Wych…

And not to mention the beer-guzzling Bill Werbeniuk…

Those were the days, eh?

But…

The Canadian snooker scene has never really stood the test of time on the big stage – but in the words of a Canadian coach, “Canadian snooker is definitely on the way back (now)…”

David Puddy is trying to inspire the younger generation of Canadians to pick up a cue and make it in the sport like Stevens et al.

He was never boring: Watch the man in the white suit: Kirk Stevens…


The 64-year-old with 50 years knowledge of playing the game since 13 is keen to show the world that Canada has what it takes to be a big force in snooker again and to make their mark on the world stage on the professional stage. It’s hard work, but anything can be done when you put your mind to it…

Puddy, from Ontario, begins by explaining the state of snooker: “Canada enjoyed a high profile presence on the world stage in the 1980s. There was never a 2nd generation of Canadian players to take over from Cliff Thorburn, Bill Werbeniuk, Alain Robidoux, Jimmy Wych, and Kirk Stevens, among others. Currently, there are a number of very committed people who love the sport, that are working hard to find the next wave of talented young players that are ready to step back onto the world stage. Some of the qualifying tournaments in the Toronto area are drawing up to 70 players on a consistent basis. There are also smaller regional tournaments that are being organized at the grassroots level in almost every province across the country.

He added: “When I completed my WPBSA Level 2 Training in 2018, I made a promise that within 10 years we would have another new Canadian presence on the international World Snooker tour. I’m working with a couple of younger players that have the dream of winning national titles and possibly going further. Canadian snooker is definitely on its way back.”
With Puddy’s experience and the highest break of 108 in competitive play, he’s got the drive to inspire the next generation of talent.

PUDDY ON TRAINING AIDS USED IN SNOOKER…

He told SnookerZone that when it comes to his style of coaching, he’s not one to use many training aids. In fact, he’s very much using the ghost ball theory to teach. Puddy explains…
“I haven’t yet found a training product that I love. I work with my students on the concept of the ‘ghost ball’ to help with sighting the right contact point and I know that there are some products out there that help with that. But I’m not sure that they need to spend money on that when it’s so easily demonstrated without the training aid.
The one that I do use sparingly is the training aid cue ball. The best one that I’ve found, among a few that are available, is Nic Barrow’s one. It does give the student’s eye something to focus on, but I think it’s best used in the very beginning of the lessons, and then put away fairly quickly….
READ MORE TRAINING AID REVIEWS IN SNOOKERZONE’S TRAINING ZONE: CLICK ON THE IMAGE… 
He added: “After playing for 50 years, I’ve never been able to get my head around the concept of 1/4, 1/2, 3/4 ball aiming. I am working on something that I use for aiming on every shot, that makes it easier for the students to find the right spot. It may end up being a ‘product’ one day but that would be sometime in the future.
SnookerZone has mentioned in the past, that one key way to improve is to watch as much snooker as you can, whether it’s live, on TV, or even down your club/s.
Puddy tells me that he attended the 2018 Masters in London at the Alexandra Palace, where he had the privilege of coaching in the Cue Zone, and when he had a chance he managed to watch the current World Champion Mark Williams vs German Master Kyren Wilson.
He said: “I think I learned more about playing snooker in that one match than I had over decades of playing.

HOW TO GET THE BEST OUT OF A STUDENT…

In our coaching zone interviews, we like to ask coaches coaching actively in the game what coaching means to them. For Puddy, he told us…

“I think that being a coach is about being a great listener. You have to really hear what your student wants from the experience of playing great snooker. Have they been beaten by a friend for years and just want to get the upper hand? Or do they want to win tournaments and reach very high standards? One of the other things to understand as a coach is ‘what method of learning’ is best for your student. Do they learn by explanation, demonstration or by doing? You have to structure your lesson plan to accommodate their preferred learning style.

He added: “I think that an eye for detail and analysis is also vital. To be able to watch them striking a cue ball and seeing that a slight shift in their centre of gravity in their stance, or shifting the point that the cue sits in their grip, might make a major difference in their level of play.
I had one particular student that was struggling to make long pots. He had a really good technique and was a strong player. I watched him hit and he made 5 of 10 attempt long pots. What I suggested to him was to shift his centre of gravity about an inch or two forward in his stance. Nothing else was changed. His success when he attempted went to 9 out of 10 attempts.
You have to be willing to trust your gut and have permission from your student to test things out with them.”
Coaching is always about learning and, you never stop learning – in any field you are in, education is an ongoing experience. Puddy is eager to learn more skills for his coaching business, and, he says he is eager to come over to the UK to partake in more coaching from the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association in June for their level 3 courses they are launching…
Finally, he adds this…

“I am currently ranked #14 in the Snooker Canada rankings and I am a certified referee through the RACCS organization. I am also in the process of completing my Snooker Canada Refereeing Certification. I have refereed Provincial and national championships including the Richler Cup, (named after Mordecai Richler (SnookerZone has read his book and reviewed it, here) and the Canadian Open and Canadian Championship.

I used to live in Scotland, in the Shetland Islands many years ago. I bought a small croft when I was there. Forty years later, I still own it and try to get back as often as I can.”
AND, AFTER…
READ MORE OF OUR COACHING INSIGHTS IN THE COACHING ZONE: CLICK THE IMAGE BANNER TO GO TO MEET SOME OF SNOOKER’S TOP COACHES – NOW!

 

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