Tuition is good for you.
In another article I touched upon the various psychological benefits
of playing the game of snooker. As enjoyable as our wonderful game is, we all know how difficult and frustrating it can be, especially when we focus all of our attention on the result. In this post I want to discuss how tuition improves mental health by optimising our enjoyment, and I use the word enjoyment deliberately because that is why we all play the game. I speak from personal experience when I tell you that receiving expert tuition from Brian Cox has opened up numerous avenues for finding that joy in both practicing and playing.
Learning a new skill helps improve brain function.
I only picked up a cue again about 20 months ago, having had a 25-year break from the game. During that time I concentrated my efforts on learning to play a higher standard of golf. I was lucky enough to get to scratch handicap, and that was only achievable with the help of excellent coaching… namely Jon Grant at Hoebridge Golf Centre. Even though I nearly drank the bar dry the day I realised my goal, it was the specific aspect of learning and being coached that gave me the most mental fulfilment. It is no different in snooker. I have learned so much and will never stop learning from Brian.
Learning is the key word here. Neurological research tells us that the process of learning new skills actually changes the physical structures within the brain. Learning stimulates the neurons which form more neural pathways, which in turn allows impulses to travel faster along those pathways. This creates neuroplasticity which helps to maintain those neural pathways. In essence by receiving tuition you are improving your brain function, whatever age you might be.
Learning boosts confidence and self-esteem.
I’m sure all of us tried to copy our heroes in the sports we love. I know I used to try to copy Seve Ballesteros’s pitching technique (not that I got anywhere near it!). In snooker I used to try to copy Steve Davis. This is a good way to start but it can only get you so far and you might not always be watching techniques that will work for you. Think of Judd Trump’s cue action or Neil Robertson’s short follow-through for instance. As great as these two players are, deliberately copying them would probably cause you all sorts of problems!
It’s when you embrace expert tuition that a whole other world opens up, and that’s where the psychological benefits of learning a new skill are to be found. That’s because we’re all unique and a good coach will be able to see things that will specifically benefit you. Under a trained eye your ability will improve much faster than you could ever achieve from watching the professionals or YouTube videos.
I love the process of learning and as a result I’ve gone from 30 breaks 18 months ago to very nearly achieving a century break (missed the green on 98!!). When you realise that you’re making progress your confidence and self-esteem get a welcome boost. It’s during tuition and practice time that I find myself in a mental state that has those therapeutic benefits. The daily grind doesn’t seem as much of a challenge after an hour or two at the table applying what I learned Brian. Tuition has definitely improved my mental health.
Coaching is a big part of what we do here at Surrey Snooker Academy, so come and give it a try. I’m sure you’ll find it a rich and fulfilling experience.