A snooker player from Huddersfield has got his big break.
John Bastow set up in business as a snooker coach – with the new venture getting its official launch at the World Championship in Sheffield.
John, 52, has won several trophies during a 35-year career as a player and has battled it out on the green baize against some of the game’s biggest names, including Stephen Hendry, John Parrot and Shaun Murphy.
He also spent a day with his idol, Steve Davis, during his four-day intensive training course to qualify as a Level 2 World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA) snooker coach – a qualification run in conjunction with 1st4Sport.
John received his certificate from WPBSA chairman and former professional Jason Ferguson at the Crucible Theatre.
John, of Marsden, said: “The last 15 years, although I’ve continued to play matches once a week. I’ve not entered many competitions or spent much time practising, rather I’ve focused on my career and raising my two daughters. I am now teaching them to play – and they are showing great potential!
“Going forward, my main career is now taking a back seat and I intend to spend more time coaching, continuing to learn about the game and promoting the game locally.”
John said being a coach gave him “fantastic access” to the WPBSA, the coaching network and the chance to meet influential figures in the game.
He said: “In November, I attended an exclusive talk by Shaun Murphy to a small number of WPBSA coaches about his experience of coaching and how vital it has been in his development as a player. A real eye-opener for anyone that doubts the value of coaching and tremendous motivation.
“If a player genuinely wants to improve and is prepared to put the work in, then with access to a good coach, they probably will.
“For everyone, including children, absolute beginners and established players, this process has to be both challenging and fun. I’ve accumulated over 1,000 exercises and practice routines to help with this.”
John still plays for Meltham Liberal Club and formerly played for Conservative clubs at Meltham, Crosland Moor and Moldgreen. He has represented Huddersfield in the Yorkshire League and has played in the Huddersfield, Bob Bramley and Holme Valley leagues.
His daughters Abi, seven, and Jessie, six, both play – using a three-quarter sized snooker table at the family home.
John said: “Snooker is a game with high standards of behaviour, with players who fight hard to win and has a strong code of ethics. It’s requires great physical and mental self-control. It requires a lot of skill to master and can be both frustrating and exhilarating.
“The WPBSA are keen to promote the game in schools, for example by linking it to mathematics. It aims to give more people with disabilities the opportunity to play cue sports. A new site for women’s snooker has also just been launched.
“Finally, snooker aims to become an Olympic sport. This is an achievable aim – cue sports are a huge participation sport all over the world. Part of the WPBSAs strategy for growing the game is to have more coaches – and I’m proud to play a part.”