Phil Tsang Q&A

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This week sees UK Coaching celebrate its inaugural Coaching Week, a celebration of #GreatCoaching across the country.

To mark the event we will be hearing from a number of our WPBSA World Snooker Coaches as to why they find coaching to be so rewarding and what they think makes Great Coaching…

What made you get into coaching?

I’ve loved snooker from the age of 10-years-old and when I saw that there was a WPBSA coaching course running during my two weeks of annual leave I jumped at the chance to do the Level 1 & 2 courses.

The coaching course was inspiring on so many levels, from learning the basics of coaching through practical exercises to meeting one of my childhood idols Steve Davis! I came away from the course with a sense of focus and belief that I could start my own snooker coaching business and four months on I have six regular students and am giving between 2–4 lessons per week doing something that I love. There is no way this would have been possible without the training provided at the South West Snooker Academy in Gloucester.

What joy do you get from coaching?

I’m passionate about helping people and I have volunteered my coaching services at two World Disability Billiards and Snooker (WDBS) events, the Parris Cues UK Open in Northampton and the Paul Hunter Disability Classic in Derby.  To see the joy that people get from receiving professional coaching is something money can’t buy. Snooker brings together all classes of people and no matter what standard you are there is always something that you to learn or improve on and there is always a better way of doing things.

I feel blessed that my coaching has allowed me to meet so many new friends on my journey and it feels like there is so much more to come. I have enjoyed coaching so much at the disability events that I am embarking on a journey to learn sign language to help improve my communication to WDBS players in the future.

What do you think Great Coaching is?

Great Coaching to me is building a relationship of trust and understanding with your students and working with them through thick and thin to improve their game and guiding them through what is a devilishly difficult game. I like to communicate with my students regularly and take a personal interest in all my students to find out how they are getting on. I use WhatsApp to stay in contact with students and ask them questions such as did they make any breaks, complete any exercises and that they are comfortable asking any questions.

In my opinion a great coach will understand that not everyone learns in the same way and that in order to get the most out of people this takes time.

What is your favourite session to run?

I enjoy running through the beginner’s colours and start by asking them to pot the colours in sequence over each pocket carefully considering the positional side of their shots whilst giving me a running commentary as to what they are doing. When the table is cleared, we repeat the exercise but this time I tell them exactly what to do and give them a running commentary of what’s going through my mind and the way I see the shots.

I love this session as it tells me a lot about how their positional play is and also gets them thinking about where they are putting that ball. It also allows me to see how they would see and play certain shots. I find this session gets people involved and really thinking about what they are doing rather than just hitting balls.

Share your own stories of Great Coaching online by using the #GreatCoaching hashtag.