The WPBSA coaching team recently held its latest WPBSA World Snooker Level 1 Coaching course at the Mahdlo Youth Zone in Oldham.
Mahdlo is a registered charity based in Oldham, Greater Manchester, which offers a range of activities for people aged from 8-19 (increasing to 25 for young people with a disability) and aims to raise aspirations and support young people to be the best they can be.
The coaching course is the latest milestone in a relationship between Mahdlo and the WPBSA, which has seen snooker’s world governing body donate six Little Star tables to the facility to encourage more young people to get active by participating in snooker.
“Everyone had a great day at Mahdlo,” said WPBSA coaching consultant Chris Lovell, who was part of the course delivery team. “All who completed the course put every effort in to learning about snooker in today’s world, safeguarding training and an introduction on how to coach the basics of the game, together with how to use the tables to encourage kids to play snooker.”
The link between the WPBSA and Mahdlo was established following a positive meeting between Lovell and Keith Lucas at the English Open in Manchester last year. Keith’s son Simeon has Down’s syndrome and was a member of Mahdlo for over 3 years fully participating in the range of activities offered. The pair met Lovell at the Cue Zone at that event and having enjoyed the day were encouraged to learn more about World Disability Billiards and Snooker (WDBS) and its events.
Since then Simeon has gone on to participate in WDBS events in Gloucester, Manchester, Derby and Cwmbran over the past year. Initially Simeon undertook solo practice during event Open Days, but has now gone on to compete fully in tournaments, most recently against players with other disabilities at the WDBS Welsh Open.
As well as his enjoyment of the game itself, the benefits that Simeon has received from snooker on a social level have also been significant and something that according to his father Keith, has enhanced his day to day life.
“I have no doubt that snooker and its governing body has been a formative experience for Simeon,” said Keith Lucas. “With the support of Chris Lovell and the WDBS team, he has been able to take a sport that he loves, into a social activity which has been fantastic to see for him. He has made friends, even to the point where arrangements have been made for him to stay at the same hotel as other players in Wolverhampton for the next WDBS event.”
Simeon’s final year of special needs education will be based around WDBS and in particular the coaching that he has received from WDBS director Bob Hill.
“We are extremely excited about our partnership with Chris and his colleagues at the WPBSA,” said Gareth Nixon, Head of Business Development at Mahdlo. “The tables and coaching provided will ensure that our young people have fun trying a new sport and learning new skills.”
The WPBSA looks forward to its continued work with Mahdlo and the future opportunities that exist for the two bodies.
Learn more about Mahdlo at their website.