The World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA) hosted delegates from a landmark new project known as Skills development in and through snooker (‘STROKE’) at this year’s Betfred World Championship in Sheffield.
Launched in Bulgaria back in February, the project is initially targeted at students aged 15-18 years old and aims to promote the educational values of snooker and encourage its integration in the curriculum of mathematics and physics. It is anticipated that the use of snooker in the classroom will help students to develop practical skills for the workplace including improved concentration, dealing with pressure, consistency, precision and strategy, as well as social abilities such as teamwork, solidarity, tolerance and fair play.
WSF member national federations participating in the project are Bulgaria, Portugal, Italy and Iceland and representatives of all visited Sheffield together with Simon Smith and John Terry of the European Billiards and Snooker Association. The project is co-funded with the support of the European Union’s Erasmus+ Programme.
Activities during the day included a welcome presentation by WPBSA Chairman Jason Ferguson, who provided delegates with an overview of the WPBSA’s ongoing community projects including the Cue Zone into Schools initiative, organised by WPBSA Coaching Consultant Chris Lovell and Sports Development Manager Chris Hornby.
This was followed by a visit to Sheffield Mencap & Gateway, at which WPBSA Community Coach and Mencap employee Aaron Firth and his Monday Motivation snooker group demonstrated a selection of snooker games played on the WPBSA’s Little STAR tables.
The day was concluded with an exclusive backstage tour of the Crucible Theatre, with delegates given the chance to walk down the iconic steps at the home of snooker, before receiving tickets to watch evening session matches at this year’s World Championship.
Jason Ferguson said: “This is a hugely exciting project and it is impressive to see the great progress that has been made by Oleg Velinov (chairman of the Bulgarian Snooker Federation) and his team.
“The WPBSA, through its working partnership with the World Snooker Federation, is looking to work closely with regional and national federations to develop the next generation of snooker stars whilst educating through sport and we will do all we can to help this project to project be a success.”