Review: How to be Top in Snooker According to Stephen Hendry’s Me and the Table
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Stephen Hendry’s new snooker book Me and the Table is inspiring, compelling, and emotional.
The book is an autobiographical account of the life of one of snooker’s most successful players who still holds the record for the most World Snooker Championship wins in the History of the modern game.
It’s a record that may well never be broken – despite the fact that records are there to be broken.
In his book, Hendry is candid from the first moment you open the page to the end. He recounts his first encounter with a snooker table which his parents bought him for Christmas to his first encounter with a full-size table and the moment he became hooked.
It’s your typical rags to riches story with the Shakespearian rise and fall.
Hidden in the book are also some gems of tips for budding young snooker players dreaming of holding that World trophy over their heads like Stephen did in 1990 when he was the youngest winner of the title at just the tender age of 21. He had vowed years before he would win it and true to his word he did.
5 Snooker Tips to Heed from Stephen Hendry
From his early roadie years with his Dad, who noticed his talent and passion early on, to being molded into the professional and hard man to scrape off the table in his manager Ian Doyle who gave him the reality check of what a professional must do to win and win big.
Sprinkled throughout the book you get some great advice you can take into your own game from the seven-times World Champion. He learned the hard way. He learned what you must do to be a champion.
Tip 1: Study Your Opponent
He recounts his passion for his idol Jimmy White, but learned that by studying the coolness and slickness of his arch-rival Steve Davis, he could beat him. He was fallible.
Indeed, in the book, Hendry talks of the no fear you must have when coming up against an opponent such as Davis. Something any player can learn when studying your opponent. However good they are – they are only human and are always beatable!
This is something players currently on tour can learn – a player is only human and if you study them enough you can find out their weaknesses and exploit them.
Tip 2: Be Smart
Looking the part gives off the scent to your opponent that you mean business. Being smart ensures your mind is organized and tidy. Being smart shows your opponent you’re confident and not scared of the table or your opponent.
Hendry would often put fear into an opponent just by being there and just by the way he acted around the table. This was the fear factor that is now instilled into the likes of Ronnie O’Sullivan, John Higgins and Mark Williams and makes them such formidable opponents. Often players who come up against them have already lost before they’ve struck a ball!
Tip 3: A Natural Snooker Cue Action isn’t Always Advised
According to Hendry in the book, when he began to have coaching with Frank Callan, his cue action didn’t have a pause and it was Callan who suggested he introduce a pause into his cue action. Callan and Hendry apparently went on for years as teacher and student.
Hendry describes in the book the now deceased Frank Callan, who had also coached those such as Terry Griffiths, now a top coach himself, as: “He’s (was) cantankerous, rude, funny, honest and he doesn’t (or didn’t) give a stuff what anyone thinks (thought) about him.”
He noticed Hendry’s “pumping” cue action and straight away said he should pause – and then deliver the cue. That extra second or two helps you to focus on the ball and the pocket. Hendry noticed immediately his long potting improved dramatically.
Tip 4: Safety is a Positive, Not Negative
Safety was a bone of contention with Hendry. He just wanted to pot balls. As does everyone. But Callan apparently taught him that a safety shot was a positive shot. Not a negative shot.
Callan exclaimed when Hendry said safety was negative; “Right, I see. So if you play a safety shot, you force a mistake and you get in, what’s negative about that?”
Tip 5: Stay Away from Women…(
His manager Ian Doyle was on a drive to create a winning machine. Scotland’s winning machine. And he did. Not after some lovers tiffs over women, particularly when Hendry was courting his girlfriend and then wife Mandy. There was a period where the two weren’t allowed to see each other. Then, after some persuasion and sneaking around, Doyle had no choice but for the couple to spend time together which they were doing anyway for a time (in secret.) Moral of the story if you’re wanting to be a top-class sportsperson. Career first. Relationships second. Career first. Relationships second. In that order.
You can get the book on Amazon by clicking on the image link below…Buy it now as it’s a gripping read full of juicy tidbits for all snooker fans!