Germany and Austria are slowly building players worthy of being top professionals in snooker. Already, Germany has produced two pros in the names of Lukas Kleckers and Simon Lichtenberg.
But Austrian player and coach Paul Schopf will next year enter QSchool to see how he gets on trying to secure that professional ticket that every serious player dreams of. He’s also playing in the Paul Hunter Classic amateur rounds and will be playing in some Pro-Am tournaments before QSchool.
For now, though, he wants to focus on spreading the gospel and growing the game in Austria.
The 29-year-old told SnookerZone: “When I started playing snooker in 2004, there were no coaches around and nobody in Austria took the game seriously, so I would like to be someone to help grow the game as a coach and player. I still love to compete in International Tournaments and I will compete in QSchool 2019 and see how far I can get. My goal is to become one of the best playing coaches in the world and try to do both.”
Schopf’s proud moment for him came in 2012 in an IBSF World Championship amateur event in Syria as he was the first Austrian to make a ton – a 102. His highest break overall is 133.
Austrian Snooker: Future Talent
He talks about the potential coming from the country that borders Germany.
He said: “We have a 16-year-old kid called Florian Nüßle who is a very promising talent. Andreas Ploner from Innsbruck has also tried to qualify for the Main tour for a couple of years and trains very hard with a professional attitude.”
He added: “There would be a chance of a snooker BOOM if an Austrian player would qualify for the main tour because at the moment it’s just a fringe sport. I regularly organize Snooker Junior Camps on school holidays which is a very good thing and a couple of pupils already have started playing. It’s a long journey but the start is made and I will keep it up.”
Pioner and Schopf proudly partnered in the 2015 World Cup snooker event in China representing their country.
When you ask him who he most admires at the top of the game, naturally, the name Ronnie O’Sullivan crops up.
But he also admires the four-times World Champion John Higgins whom he thinks has the best overall game in the history of the sport.
Watch one of his routines on his Youtube channel, below…Click play on video…
The Training Book
Snooker Coaching is a passion for Schopf as he has just released a training book. It’s a 158-page coaching manual with not just routines for players to practice but has mental tips to help players focus on their practice and match play. (SnookerZone will soon review it in the Reading Zone, so stay tuned.)
When asked what physical coaching product Schopf would create, he said: “I would love to create something for beginners to be able to get a better feeling for THE GRIP. In my opinion, the right Grip position, tightness of holding the cue and correct wrist action are one of the hardest parts to feel and learn for a beginner.”
Before he wanted to spread the gospel of snooker – Schopf as a kid had a very different aspiration!
He told SnookerZone: “When I was a kid I wanted to become a minister. Every Sunday I held my Mass at home using every sacristan things (oblates, wine, etc.) and wearing a minister suit as well 🙂
Like most of the players, his first experience of cue sports was when he was a youngster and he was playing pool and billiards. He then saw snooker on TV and, in his book, he describes the feeling of it: “One day I saw snooker on Eurosport, and I thought: What is this strange game? the mini pool table at home was getting boring for me!”
He said he then saw a full-size snooker table in the 14/1 cafe in Wels, and thought “ah cool” that’s the table seen on Eurosport! His passion went from there as he gained his coaching certificate in 2015 – as well as a chance on the big stage in the World Cup playing China’s A team Ding Junhui and Xao Guodong.
SnookerZone would like to thank Paul for his time and wish him well in QSchool next year.
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