Australia’s Neil Robertson may have played a howler in his latest snooker gaffe when he turned up to the wrong Barnsley for the latest World Open qualifiers. Silly though it was, it’s not unheard of.
In SnookerZone’s latest coaching interview, top Irish coach PJ Nolan had a similar scenario years ago when returning from Milan, Italy, one of many European countries where he does a lot of coaching now as a European national coach.
Nolan runs the 147 Academy in Ireland, and has recently launched a new training package with an Italian friend and passionate coach Davide Coltro, from Italy’s Ambrosian Academy, designed to help players tackle the fundamentals of their game better. SnookerZone will have the pleasure of reviewing this product the Master Doctor Kit soon.
Nolan explains the tricky moment he got into when on a coaching trip in Italy in Milan.
Several years ago I held a camp in Milan, Italy, and I got collected and then dropped back after to the same airport. I went inside and I could not find my return flight to Dublin anywhere. I went up to the information desk and I was told I was in the wrong airport; I thought he meant wrong terminal, but I then realized there were two airports in Milan.
I rang Davide and said I will miss my flight as the other airport was one hour away and flight was closing in 1hr 5min. Davide said come outside where I saw this car come from nowhere like superman. He got me across the city and checked me in for my flight like he was Santa Claus.
Nolan though has traveled far and wide promoting the great game of snooker and has flitted from being national Qatar coach in the Middle East to Irish national coach more times than hot dinners.
But Italy is one of several European countries where the game is growing, and has many passionate players in the sport, as Nolan seeks to impart his some 40 years coaching pearls of wisdom to a new breed.
Said PJ: The Italian players have a lot of passion to learn the game, but they need experience and time to develop. They are entering the European Championships every year now. I also know there are a number of top class Academies in Italy and I have trained several EBSA Coaches and talented players so the future is in good hands.
On the training aid the Master Doctor Kit, Nolan explains how his partnership came about with his buddy Davide.
I have coached in Italy since 2013 and Davide is a real snooker lover. His passion is incredible in growing the game in Italy. He runs a fantastic Academy in Milan called the Ambrosian Snooker Academy. He has become an EBSA and World Snooker Coach over the years to grow the game around Italy. I hold coaching camps in his academy each year. The MDK has been developed from a tool I had used and I now use the MDK every day in my academy.
The top WPBSA coach also recommends the Blade cue. He says he uses it all the time with students in his Irish academy. The Blade cue was the brainchild of London coach Gary Filtness, a regular on the World seniors tour and the cue maker from Tyrone cues. The Blade cue was designed to get players not twisting the cue on their delivery of shots.
Nolan believes more European players will become a force in the game. So far, the World tour has seen players from Germany, Switzerland with the likes of Lukas Kleckers and Alex Ursenbacher breakthrough, among others.
He adds: There are fantastic young boys and girls as stars of the future from all across Europe and from Countries who are maybe not famous for producing players like Hungary, Austria, Ukraine, Belarus, Czech Republic, Romania and Moldova.
I really believe they will become a force in the future. I think some players do develop faster and some are slow learners but in my experience the passion you get from a player is the most important factor in seeing his potential.
Finally, PJ had the chance in his early days to play a young player who turned out to be a winning machine in the 90s and the youngest to become World Champion at 21. Yep, you guessed it; it was the King of the Crucible, Stephen Hendry!