2021 Q-School Event-1 – Day 3

This is WST report on the third day at the Q-School Event 1:

Tony Knowles’ bid to earn a place on the pro tour for the first time since 2001 gathered pace as he scored a shock 4-0 win over Craig Steadman in round two of Q School event one.

All results

Knowles, age 65, followed up his 4-1 first round victory Bradley Cowdroy with an even more impressive win over Steadman, who was a semi-finalist at the Shoot Out last season.

Former world number two Knowles has a high break of just 38 in those two matches, but his tactical nous is winning him frames and he took three on the colours today as he set up a third-round meeting with Raymond Fry. Four more wins would earn him a two-year tour card.

World Seniors champion David Lilley made a top break of 89 as he beat Chris Totten 4-0. Ian Burns, the top seed in the event, also won 4-0 as he beat Anton Kazakov with a top run of 78.

James Cahill top scored with 86 in a 4-0 win over Julien LeClercq. Jackson Page saw off Daan Leyssen 4-2 while former Shoot Out champion Michael Georgiou beat Brian Cini 4-2 with breaks of 66, 64, 52 and 77.

Barry Pinches suffered a 4-3 defeat against Stuart Watson, while Austria’s Florian Nuessle came from 2-0 down to beat Dylan Mitchell 4-3.

Event one runs until Tuesday in Sheffield.


I have to say that Tony Knowles’ win over Craig Steadman came as a huge surprise to me.

Yesterday was the first day that saw a number of this season “relegated” professionals in action and all of  them except Barry Pinches won their match. I expect this trend to continue … unfortunately. I have absolutely nothing against the relegated pros, but, fact is, that the system as it is, isn’t particularly helpful to the young aspiring players and doesn’t help injection of “new blood” into our sport.

This time, more than ever, it will be difficult for amateurs to get on the tour, especially the younger ones who have no or very little experience of the main tour conditions. Due to the pandemic, they had very little opportunities to play over the last year whislt the Main Tour essentially carried on nearly as usual.

It’s even harder for the “overseas” amateur players. Yesterday I spoke over the phone to the father of one of the young Europeans who had just lost his round two match. Amateur competitions were all canceled this season in their country. Practicing has been difficult as well. Father and son arrived in the UK ten days before the start of the Q-School. Despite being both fully vaccinated, they had to be tested, twice, and had to stay into quarantine, not leaving their hotel room for 8 days. The tests costed them about 600 Euros. Staying isolated in a room for eigth days isn’t easy at the best of times, and, needless to say, it didn’t help the young lad’s preparation. He had just two days of practice before his first match … which he managed to win. He was beaten yesterday by a relegated pro, one of the favourites to regain his tour card right away. The youngster will play in both remaining events. If he manages to go deep in the third, both father and son will have stayed in a hotel in Sheffield for nearly four weeks. That doesn’t come cheap and it adds to the travel costs, test costs and the £1,000 entry fees as well. Going home between comps isn’t an option because it would mean going through the tests and the quarantine again when coming back for the next event.

All this of course is neither WST nor WPBSA’s fault and they have made every effort this season to keep snooker going at professional level at least. They deserve every praise for this. However, even in a “normal” year, a great deal of the above remains true, and having the whole Q-School played in the UK does give UK players a non-negligible advantage. Hopefully the gouverning body comes good with their promise to have an European Q-School sooner than later.

The CBSA qualifying events run in China this year were effectively a China Q-School. However that’s not enough. For instance, there are no Thai players in the Q-School this year, despite the strength of the amateur game in the country. There is a need for an Asian Q-School, not just a China Q-School.

In the light of the above, Florian Nüßle’s (Austria) and Niel Vincent’s (France) wins yesterday deserve plaudits, Niel’s win in particular as he has never competed on the main tour before in any capacity. Niels’s is only 20.

I was also happy to see all the young “relegated” Chinese players win their first match. The last year has been extremely hard for them, living as expats away from their families.


2021 Q-School Event 1 – Day 2

This is WST report on what happened yesterday:

White Dazzles In Q School Opener

Michael White fired two centuries in a 4-1 win over Ronnie Blake as he got his 2021 Q School campaign off to an impressive start in Sheffield.

All results

Former Indian Open, Shoot Out and Paul Hunter Classic winner White was relegated from the pro tour in 2020 and narrowly missed on an immediate bounce back via Q School. The Welshman is among the favourites to win one of 14 tour cards available this time at Ponds Forge.

Breaks of 127, 81 and 103 helped him to a comfortable win over Blake as he set up a meeting with Ben Fortey. White will need four more wins to earn a tour card from event one.

Veteran Peter Lines also made two centuries – 119 and 102 – as he saw off Connor Benzey 4-1. Australia’s Ryan Thomerson beat Callum Beresford 4-3, taking the deciding frame on a respotted black.

Former world number eight Dean Reynolds suffered a 4-1 defeat against Russia’s Ivan Kakovskii. Rebecca Kenna, the only female player in the draw, lost 4-1 to Germany’s Umut Dikme, whose top break was 84.

Event one runs until Tuesday.

Ahead of the event, Michael White has spoken very honestly about his struggles and it’s nice to see him play well again. I was also please to see a win for Ross Muir who had his young career ruined by health issues.

Now I can’t understand why there is any focus on someome like Dean Reynolds, except for the ever-present nostalgia factor. Dean suffered a stroke some year ago and had to re-learn to play snooker, which is admirable, but at 58 he’s got no hope in this, nor as a pro in the future.

What I want to put forward is this: of the 31 matches played yesterday 14 were won by a non-British/Irish player, whilst 9 were lost by a non-British/Irish player. Amongst those “defeated” we have two Polish players who had to withdraw. So actually, 29 matches were played, 13 of them won by non-British/Irish players, only 7 were actually lost by non-British/Irish players.  And that is, despite the fact that there are very few Asian players in the draw this time. Many of the players from mainland Europe who won yesterday are young guys.

What does this show? First of all that there is strong interest in snooker, and quality, outside the UK, in mainland Europe in particular, which in turn vindicates my opinion that it’s high time to “break” the structural UK bias, compounded by having all qualifiers played in the UK and the Q-Schools in the UK.

One young European player who did not win is the much fancied Ben Mertens from Belgium. I have no doubts that Ben is a fatastic talent, but I’m not sure that all the hype around him is doing any good! Julien Leclercq, who won his first match at the World Qualifiers last month, is through to the second round.




2021 Q-School Event 1 – Day 1

The first 2021 Q-School event started yesterday in Ponds Forge.

Here is the report by WST:

Strong Start For Knowles At Q School

Tony Knowles eased to a 4-1 win over Bradley Cowdroy as his bid to regain a tour card at the age of 65 started well at Q School in Sheffield.

All results

Former world number two Knowles believes he has a realistic chance of earning one of the 14 cards which will be won at Ponds Forge over the next 18 days.

His top break against Cowdroy was just 38 but he won three frames on the colours as he progressed to a second round meeting with Craig Steadman on Saturday. Knowles will need to win five more matches to secure a tour card.

Former world number 24 Michael Judge scored a 4-1 victory over Fergal Quinn while highly-rated Englishman Connor Benzey top scored with 74 in a 4-0 defeat of Aidan Murphy. Harvey Chandler beat Chen Feilong 4-1 in a battle between two former pros.

Top break of the day was a 107 from Kishan Hirani, but he let slip a 3-1 lead and was edged out 4-3 by Joe Fenton.

Among the players in action on Friday are former world number eight Dean Reynolds, two-time ranking event winner Michael White, Belgian whizz-kid Ben Mertens and women’s world number four Rebecca Kenna.

and here are the results:

9:00 AM Session
Peter Butler 0 – 4 Lee Stephens
Shafaqut Hussain 0 – 4  David Donovan
Jack Haley 0 – 4 Lee Shanker
Billy Ginn 1 – 4  Ronnie Blake
Connor Benzey 4 – 0 Aidan Murphy
Alex Taubman 4 – 1 Liam Graham
Ross Bulman 1 – 4 Gary Thomson
Sean McAllister 4 – 2 Neal Jones

11:30 AM Session
Martyn Taylor 1 – 4  Matthew Roberts
Chris Totten 4 – 0 Peter Geronimo
James Burrett 0 – 4 Luke Maddison
Brandon Sargeant 4 – 1 John Welsh
Jed Mann 4 – 3 Jenson Kendrick
Connor Benzey 4 – 0 Aidan Murphy
Danny Brindle 4 – 3  James Height
Fergal Quinn 1 – 4 Michael Judge

2:00 PM Session
Ross Vallance 4 – 1 James Silverwood
Raymond Fry 4 – 0 Aaron Graham
Roshan Birdi 0 – 4 Samuel Lee-Stevens
Gary Challis 4 – 1 Adam Brown
Labeeb Ahmed 1 – 4 Simon Bedford
Bradley Cowdroy 1 – 4 Tony Knowles
Manasawin Phetmalaikul 2 – 4 Niel Vincent
Jordan Rimmer 4 – 1 Conor Caniff

4:30 PM Session
Lewis Ullah 1 – 4 Jamie Jones II
Brandon Hall 4 – 3 Westley Cooper
Stuart Watson 4 – 3 Carl Mottershaw
Joe Fenton 4 – 3 Kishan Hirani
Mark Vincent 3 – 4 Lewis Gillen
Dylan Mitchell 4 – 2 Jamie Tudor
Harvey Chandler 4 – 1 Chen Feilong
Scott Bell 4 – 0 Thomas McSorley

7:00 PM Session
Luke Simmonds 4 – 1 Michael Tomlinson
Halim Hussain 3 – 4 Elliott Weston
Stan Moody 3 – 4 Callum Lloyd
Dylan Smith 0 – 4 Liam Pullen
Dave Finbow 0 – 4 Jack Bradford
Andy Milliard 4 – 3 Mark Ganderton
Imran Puri 2 – 4 Adam Goff
Alfie Lee 4 – 2  Joshua Cooper

So to summarise … a significant number of Seniors (WSS) players were in action yesterday and most of them won their match: Gary Thomson, Mick Judge, Gary Challis, Simon Bedford, Tony Knowles, Stuart Watson and Andrew Milliard.

The two Irish young prospects, Ros Bulman and Fergal Quinn, lost heavily to veterans. Given the circumstances, maybe they were unable to perpare as well as they would need to.

There are two young French lads involved in the comp. Niel Vincent won yesterday. Brian Ochoiski will be in action today.

Two 14 years old, both English, played yesterday, both lost but with honours, by 4-3. They are Wesley Cooper and Stan Moody. I remember Wesley playing Ronnie in an exhibition when he was about 6 …  he impressed.

As so often the WST report focus is on an older player. It would be extraordinary if Tony Knowles was able to regain his tour card, but IMO, it would also be worrying for the future of the game.



Tour News – 25 May 2021 – Venues announced

Some information about the coming season’s venues  has been shared by WST.

The 2021 English Open will be played in Milton Keynes … with fans

Stadium MK To Host Snooker’s English Open

Judd Trump beat Neil Robertson 9-8 in a superb final last season

The world’s top snooker stars will return to Milton Keynes later this year when the English Open takes place at Stadium MK.

The world ranking event will run from November 1 to 7 and is open to all 128 players on the World Snooker Tour. Judd Trump won the title last season, beating Neil Robertson 9-8 in a dramatic final, having come through a strong field which also included the likes of Ronnie O’Sullivan, Mark Selby, John Higgins, Shaun Murphy, Mark Williams and Kyren Wilson.

Stadium MK has hosted a wide range of snooker events over the past year, behind closed doors. But this time, WST is planning to welcome fans to the outstanding Milton Keynes venue for the first time.

WST has led the sporting world in the post-lockdown return of live audiences, and will continue to work closely with the UK Government on Covid-19 regulation. Fans can be assured that all necessary precautions will be taken at events to minimise the risk of virus transmission, keeping safety as our highest priority.

A WST spokesman said: “We are delighted to be heading back to Stadium MK for a huge event on our calendar. Over the past year we have staged nearly 20 events at this venue, many of them in a Covid-secure bubble, and the team at the venue have been fantastic to work with.

“It’s wonderful to now plan to host a tournament at the same location which is open to fans. For the players, competing at Stadium MK in front of a packed crowd will be a thrilling experience. We expect to see tickets selling fast as the English Open will have an incredibly strong field. The chance to see the very best players in the world cannot be missed.”

The English Open is the second of four events in the 2021/22 Home Nations Series and will receive extensive live television coverage on Eurosport. A qualifying round, for players seeded outside the top 16, will take place in September.

The venue has supported the Tour for the best part of this season and it’s only right that they can now host another event, this time with fans in attendance. I’m not that certain that players will be thrilled though. They must be sick and tired of the place 🙄 …

Phil Haigh also reports about venues for other events:

World Grand Prix, Snooker Shoot Out and English Open get new venues this season

Judd Trump
Judd Trump lifted the World Grand Prix title last year (Picture: WST)

The calendar for the upcoming 2021/22 snooker season continues to take shape with three ranking events getting new venues for the campaign.

It was announced on Tuesday that Stadium MK in Milton Keynes will host the English Open in November, while the Snooker Shoot Out will head to the Morningside Arena in Leicester in January.

World Snooker Tour have also listed the World Grand Prix as taking place at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry on their website, with the event held in December.

The calendar for the season was announced last month but with a number of gaps and details TBC, so those gaps are slowly being filled and details firmed up.

Tickets for the English Open, Grand Prix and Shoot Out are all listed as going on sale this Friday (28 May).

The Sportsman report that the Aldersley Arena in Wolverhampton and Venue Cymru in Llandudno will host the other two Cazoo Series events after the Grand Prix – the Players Championship and Tour Championship.

WST chairman Steve Dawson told the Sportsman: ‘It’s fantastic to add new host cities to our roster, such as Leicester, Coventry and Wolverhampton, where we know there is deep-rooted support for snooker, while keeping many of the superb venues we have grown to love over the years.

The players are excited by the chance to get back out on the road around the UK, visit these great cities and enjoy the buzz of competing in front of fans.

The Champion of Champions in November has found a new home this season in Bolton but an announcement is still to come on the venue for the British Open in August.

The sportsman also reports that Mark SElby is delighted to have the Shoot-Out in Leicester

World Champion Mark Selby Delighted As Leicester Lands Ranking Event

After a campaign spent almost entirely in Milton Keynes, snooker is back on the road

World champion Mark Selby is fired up about his home city of Leicester staging a first ever ranking tournament this season.

The 37-year-old, who claimed a fourth Betfred World Championship crown in early May at the Crucible, is delighted Wednesday’s new calendar for 2021-22 brings the Shootout to the East Midlands.

After a campaign spent almost entirely in Milton Keynes, snooker is back on the road, with venues across the UK as well as Berlin, Gibraltar and quite possibly China and Malta too.

Selby, who must wait until January for his big day at the Morningside Arena, was the runner-up at last season’s quickfire event with frames lasting 10 minutes and a shot-clock dropping to just 10 seconds.

Selby, who watched Leicester City win the FA Cup at Wembley before seeing them miss out on a Champions League spot against Spurs at the King Power, was off to play golf with two of Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker’s sons at top course Sunningdale on Wednesday.

He said, “I am delighted Leicester has finally got a ranking tournament with the Shootout. 

“It is a hotbed of snooker and has produced a lot of players, and there is huge interest in the game in the city. I expect the crowds to be really good for that one. 

“Leicester has been very high-profile as a sporting city over recent years with obviously the football, and rugby’s Leicester Tigers, and the Riders basketball who play at the Arena. 

“But apart from the odd invitation event or the Championship League, Leicester hasn’t had a big tournament like that. 

“I didn’t play the Shootout a few times, but I’ll definitely be there this season. 

“The atmosphere will be excellent, Vikki and Sofia can come and there will be a lot of friends there to cheer the Leicester players.  

“For me personally, there are a few events on the new calendar in the Midlands which is going to make travelling there from home much easier. 

“Of course it is brilliant to be going back to all our usual venues and some new and exciting ones. And it shows that things are gradually getting back to normality. 

“But Milton Keynes and the MK Stadium served a valuable purpose for us all last season, if they hadn’t have staged all those tournaments we probably wouldn’t have played at all. 

“We could easily have been sitting at home and not earning like many other sports. 

“And so I am glad that has been recognised with them keeping the English Open this season, to show some gratitude from the sport. It’s the least we could do.” 

The UK Championship will be back in York, and the Masters at Alexandra Palace – with the Champion of Champions in Bolton and the revived British Open still awaiting a venue. 

The English Open is the event remaining in Milton Keynes but the other Home Series tournaments will be in Glasgow, Belfast and Celtic Manor. 

In the Cazoo Series the venues will be the Ricoh Arena in Coventry, the Aldersley Arena in Wolverhampton and the Venue Cymru in Llandudno. The German Masters will return to Berlin, the new Turkish Masters is in Antalya, and the Gibraltar Open is back on ‘the Rock’ with further events possible in China and Malta.  

Governing body World Snooker Tour, mindful of recent developments in certain areas of the UK related to the Covid Indian variant, issued their own statement on Wednesday. 

It read: “We will continue to work closely with the government and all of our venues and partners on Covid-19 regulation. Fans can be assured that all necessary precautions will be taken at events to minimise the risk of virus transmission, keeping safety as our highest priority. 

“If at the time of the event the Government restrictions force this event to change its terms of attendance, customers will be offered a variety of options and where necessary refunds will be made available. As an additional measure and where possible, e-tickets will be issued in place of more traditional ticketing methods.”

WST chairman Steve Dawson said, “We are thrilled to offer this chance to snooker fans across the UK to come to our events next season and enjoy the incredible experience of watching snooker live. 

“The World Championship at the Crucible was a landmark for British sport in welcoming back a live audience and the atmosphere was extraordinary. We want to see that repeated across our tour next season.

“It’s fantastic to add new host cities to our roster, such as Leicester, Coventry and Wolverhampton, where we know there is deep-rooted support for snooker, while keeping many of the superb venues we have grown to love over the years. 

“The players are excited by the chance to get back out on the road around the UK, visit these great cities and enjoy the buzz of competing in front of fans. 

“There has never been a better time to watch snooker live and to witness the remarkable talent of the leading stars.”

So the next season;s calendar is progressively taking shape.

If my memory serves me well, Mark Selby, to his own admission, only played in the Shoot Out this season because he was on course for the Euro Series bonus … so I’m a bit surprised by his enthusiasm here. Of course it will be great for him to have his family watching but I can’t help to think that the choice of Leicester for the Shoot Out wasn’t just random. If the plot was to make sure that the World Champion would support the rather controversial “ranking event” often shunned by top players … it worked!



Dave Hendon and Michael McMullan discuss rankings and “Gods of Snooker”

Episode 159 of the Snooker Scene podcast is out and can be found here.

Dave and Michael discuss two main themes: the ranking system and the BBC “Gods of Snooker” series.

Regarding the rankings, basically they believe that the current system is too top-heavy and that, with Barry Hearn retiring, now is a good time to maybe reconsider it. I agree.

David Hendon actually comes up with a proposal, and here it is provided I understood it correctly:

  • Each event should be classed in a category, depending on the prize money available for the winner of the event. A category or “band” woud be associated with a “range” of prize money. For instance: “500000 or more”, “200000 to 499999”, ect …
  • In Dave’s proposal, each category would be associated with one of the snooker colours, the black category being the most prestigious, the yellow category the less prestigious.
  • Within a category, all events would carry the same amount of ranking points at every stage, in effect “decoupling” the ranking points and their repartition from the prize money. The idea being to make the system less top heavy and to have a certain level of harmonisation between events when it comes to rankings.

I would be 100% in favour of that, with one additional “twitch”: the bands should not be solely about the money but also about the format and matches length. Similar efforts should be rewarded in similar ways. If some lunatic were to offer one million to the winner of the Shoot-out it wouldn’t make the event worth of the “Black band” with huge ranking points in my views, mind you, it would not change my opnion that it simply should never be ranking.

Also, first round losers should still get some money, as they did contribute to the tournamen, did bring value to the sponsor and broadcasters. At the very minimum, playing should not cost them. “Decoupling” money from ranking points may help to get this idea through as giving them something for their work and efforts would not impact the rankings in any way.

Their other main subject was the BBC “Gods of Snooker” series which they praised. I managed to watch all three episodes and I agree: it’s interesting, with lots of material I had never seen before especially in episodes 2 and 3. Also, for once, Alex Higgins wasn’t presented as a “victim” of the system. Whilst his impact on the sport can’t be denied – he changed snooker, and its image foerever and made it what it is today – as a person he was far from “great” and Michael McMullan, who is Northern Irish himself was clear about his opinion that Alex Higgins went away with a lot, far too much actually. I can’t agree more.

Despite its obvious qualities, this is yet another BBC feature focusing on snooker’s past and David was left wondering how and why the BBC always refused to do a feature about Ronnie for instance.

The series “triggered” this “review”:

TV review: Gods Of Snooker went out in a baize of glory

© Andy Hooper/ANL/ShutterstockAlex ‘Hurricane’ Higgins was seen as the wild man of snooker in the 1980s
Alex ‘Hurricane’ Higgins was seen as the wild man of snooker in the 1980s

Is there a more dreary game to watch than snooker?

Men dressed as waiters push little balls around a table in dead silence for days at a time; as a sleeping aid, it’s probably second only to being hit with a tranquilliser dart while listening to Douglas Ross read Atlas Shrugged.

Yet, in the 1980s, snooker was more rock’n’roll than even rock’n’roll. Well, it was the days of Spandau Ballet.

Gods Of Snooker was a fantastic look at the years when seemingly everyone, high on colour televisions, became obsessed with the parlour pastime.

There seemed to be something about the game that sent the players slightly snooker loopy.

Alex “Hurricane” Higgins wielded a cigarette more than he did a cue, and sank more lagers than he did difficult pinks.

His rival, the more successful and rather dull Ray Reardon, complained nobody talks about him any more, while Higgins is still hailed to this day.

It’s no wonder. Staggering round the table playing cavalier snooker – well, as much as snooker can be described as such – Alex was prone to a rampage away from the table.

Slurred resignations, throwing cues at spectators and threatening to have rivals shot; current snooker wildman Ronnie O’Sullivan looks like Cliff Richard in comparison. They don’t make ’em like this any more.

This isn’t a review, it doesn’t say much about the feature itself and  it’s taken as an opportunity to disparage the sport we love. and I’m not sure that the author watched beyond the first episode, if that. I’m the one who put the “bold” highlight.

Judd is rigth that there is too much focus on the past, and on the UK, and it showed as well in the features WST did in the building of the Q-School: they were mainly about over-40 yo British players trying to regain their tour card. If the sports want to grwo global, and have a future, the focus should be on young aspiring players, and not just the British ones.



Michael White has turned the corner … hopefully.

Michael White has been speaking to Phil Haigh about what went wrong for him over the last years and how he hopes to get back into the top 16 in a near future.

Michael White: My game is better than ever, I don’t want to go back down that road

2017 English Open - Day 3
Michael White is on the path to recover former glories (Picture: Getty Images)

Michael White is heading to Q School this week confident that his game is better than ever and he is ready to, not just regain his place on the main tour, but make a fresh assault on the upper echelons of snooker.

The 29-year-old has had a rollercoaster career so far, showing immense promise as a junior and amateur before turning professional at just 15.

A World Championship quarter-final on debut in 2013 was followed by ranking titles at the Indian Open and Paul Hunter Classic, with the Welshman into the world’s top 16 in 2015.

Then things changed as White’s form deserted him in the 2018/19 season to the extent that he fell off the tour last year and was forced to compete as an amateur over the last campaign.

It was a surprise to snooker fans to see one of the brightest talents in the game seemingly ebb away but the man known as ‘Lightning’ has revamped his lifestyle off the table and is ready to bounce back in style.

He is in a better place mentally than he has been for years and believes his game is in the best shape it has ever been, which is a frightening prospect.

‘Better than ever, definitely,’ White told Metro.co.uk of his game at the moment. ‘I’m looking forward to Q School. I strongly believe I can get back into the top 16.

‘I feel like I’m stronger mentally after going through the things I’ve been through. I was quite young getting into the top 16 – 23, 24 – so I’m a lot more experienced now, not just snooker-wise but in the way I conduct myself. I know more things that work for me and against me, I’m more wised-up on that side.’

2018 Welsh Open - Day 2
White has won the Paul Hunter Classic and Indian Open (Picture: Getty Images)

White has been looking for answers on why his game slid away from the peaks he achieved early in his career, when he was viewed as a future world champion at a very young age.

‘I definitely had a lot of pressure on me more than other players would have done,’ he said. ‘The only other player I think had as much pressure as I did at a young age was Judd [Trump].

‘I won the world amateur title at 14 so everyone’s saying I’m going to be world champion by 20, but it’s never going to work out that way, the way the game is. You’re a big fish in a small pond. The standard now is better than it’s ever been, anyone can beat anyone.

‘I sat myself down. Jack [Lisowski] and Kyren [Wilson] are the same age as me, pretty much. They’re in the top 16 and I was definitely as good as them growing up, if not having the edge on them. I sat myself down and thought, “Why are they where they are and I am where I am?”

‘I was going through it: break-building, safety, bang, bang, bang, and it was only one thing, lifestyle. Now that’s in good nick then there’s no reason I can’t get back to where I got to. If not further, but one step at a time.’

White’s major lifestyle change has been to cut out drinking, which he feels has been the main reason behind his slump in form over the last two years.

The Welsh star has spoken about struggling with depression in the past and he got into a downward spiral of hitting the booze to try and feel better, but that only made things worse.

There were some dark days for White over the last couple of years, but he has quit drinking and feels that his life, and his snooker, has turned around completely.

‘I’ve changed my whole lifestyle around basically, obviously from me going from top 16 to coming off the tour, there are reasons behind that,’ he explained.

‘I’ve stopped drinking completely. To be honest I had a bit of a problem with alcohol. It stemmed from a lot of things really, I put a snooker room in my house, which wasn’t a great idea. I wasn’t practicing for events, I was turning up, getting beat, going back and I was a bit depressed as well at the time. I was turning to drink, but I’m 11 weeks sober now.

‘It probably started about two years ago and, to be honest, I turned up to a lot of tournaments where I hadn’t practiced at all. My head wasn’t in a good place at all, I probably should have left snooker and sorted myself out properly. It crossed my mind, it got to the stage where my health was coming into it and my life, to be honest with you. I was drinking four or five days at a time, from morning to night.

‘The turning point for me was when I left my mother’s house four years ago, I went and bought my house on my own and I had so much time on my hands. Before you know it, it catches up with you. I’m looking back and I think: “There’s no wonder that I am where I am now.” But I didn’t see it at the time.

2017 Welsh Open - Day 2
White is looking to regain his place on tour at Q School, starting this week (Picture: Getty Images)

‘But I’ve only had two or three days off snooker since the World Championships, not drinking at all and I’m in a better place now than I ever have been. Q School this week and I’m looking at the bigger picture. I think my game’s in better nick now than it ever has been.’

White’s recovery off the table is an impressive one and his snooker is certain to feel the benefit as he is relishing practicing again and cannot wait to compete.

‘I’m just more disciplined now in everything I’m doing,’ he said. ‘I’m enjoying practice which I haven’t done for two or three years. I’m playing five hours and it seems like half an hour, I’m really enjoying it.

‘I’m playing really well at the moment. I’ve got a different outlook on snooker now, from where I’ve been at, being depressed, I’m looking at snooker like more of an escape or a relief. More like a hobby like it was when I was a kid, rather than, “God, I’ve got to win!”

‘I’ve got no reasons to go back there [to drinking]. When I look at any positives coming out of it, there aren’t any. In the end there was no enjoyment, it was self-medicating, I was escaping from life in general, having a drink and I’ve got nothing to escape from now so there’s no reason for it.

‘It never ends well for me, I can’t guarantee when I’d stop. Most people can go out and have two beers, I probably could do that, but I can’t guarantee I’d stop there. Then everything goes out the window: discipline, plans the next day, even the day after that. Then it multiplies, the anxiety, depression and I don’t want to go back down that road.

‘When I went a month of stopping completely, then I started to really see the bigger picture and I feel good about everything.’

Q School gets underway on Thursday 27 May with 14 tour cards up for grabs and White very confident of claiming one.

This comes as no surprise at all to me. The signs were there for all to see: the weight gain, the complexion, the demeanour. Also the problem started well earlier than 3-4 years ago. It was already budding when I was around the circuit around 2013/14/15. Unfortunately there is a strong drinking “culture” in the UK and if you don’t drink you are seen as asocial. What Michael describes, the inability to stop once he starts drinking, is the true mark of acoholic addiction and it never goes. The body instead of sending the signal “you had enough” sends ” you want more… and more … and more”.  There is only one answer to that: going teetotal. I do hope for Michael’s sake that people around him, on and off the tour, will respect his efforts and help him to stay abstinent. The last thing he needs is being surrounded by persons who bait him into drinking.

I’m wishing Michael the very best at the Q-school and beyond.

Judd Trump may be the only player in Michael’s generation that had as much expectations on him as he did, but the phenomenon is nothing new.

The young Ronnie certainly had enormous expectations on his shoulders even before he turned pro, and when left on his own devices, when his father and mother were sent to jail, he got off the rails completely and has been battling addictions and depression for years. It’s a fight that’s never definitely won.

Alex Higgins and Jimmy White also  to cope with very high expectations. Both could and should have won more. They probably would have if it wasn’t for alcohol, drugs and gambling. Jimmy has turned the corner, but Alex has self-destructed and caused a lot of harm around him because of his addictions. And it’s NOT because nobody helped him: many tried and he spat in their face, acting dishonestly and diverting whatever help he received to feed his habits of drinking and gambling.


Stephane Ochoiski coach – l’interview

La Q-School est à nos portes. Parmi les aspirants professionnels se trouve un jeune Français, Brian Ochoiski, qui a impressionné plus d’un cette saison alors qu’il jouait comme “top-up”.

En ce momemt même Brian s’entraîne ferme, à la “Ding Academy”, et reçoit les conseils éclairés de Nigel Bond, un joueur expérimenté s’il en est!

Son papa, Stéphane, a représenté la France dans de nombreuses compétitions internationales au cours des 30 dernières années mais se concentre maintenant sur le coaching et le développement du sport qu’il aime avec passion dans son pays. Dans cette interview, nous parlons snooker, coaching et promotion/développement du sport en France et en Belgique Francophone.

The Q-School is upon us and, amongst the hopefull there is one young French lad, Brian Ochoiski, who has impressed playing as a top-up in various events this season.

At the time of writing, Brian is practicing had at Ding’s academy, and seeking advice from the vastly experienced Nigel Bond

His father Stéphane, represented France in various competitions over the last 30 years, but now mainly devotes himself to coaching and developping the sport he loves in his country. We have been talking about his hopes, his approach to coaching and how to promote snooker in France and in the French-speaking part of Belgium


La version originale en francais …

Bonjour Stéphane et merci d’avoir bien voulu répondre à ces quelques questions. Avant d’entrer dans le vif du sujet, peux-tu te présenter brièvement ?

Bonjour Monique, je suis Stéphane Ochoiski. En octobre 2021 j’aurais 50 ans, je vis en couple avec Céline depuis 15 ans et j’ai deux fils : Brian 22 ans et Mateo 12 ans. Les deux jouent au snooker depuis leur plus jeune âge.
Ma mère tenait une affaire où il y avait un billard américain, au Nord-est de la France à Saint-Avold. C’est là que j’ai découvert le billard : le billard américain d’abord, d’autres disciplines ensuite. J’ai commencé le snooker en 1990 après l’avoir découvert à la télévision sur Canal+.
Je fus un joueur amateur de bon niveau ; j’ai remporté de nombreux titres en France – j’ai été champion de France à six reprises – et j’ai représenté mon pays 39 fois dans les compétitions internationales. Mon meilleur résultat est une 5ème place aux championnats d’Europe.
Je suis président bénévole d’un club associatif depuis 1990. J’ai occupé différentes fonctions de dirigeant aux niveaux régional et en national. Et en 1995, j’ai créé la première école de snooker en France. J’ai initié et entrainé de très nombreuses personnes au billard et au snooker : surement plus d’1 millier durant ces trente années. J’ai aussi été consultant/commentateur sur Eurosport.
Je suis avant tout ça un passionné de billard et en particulier de snooker. Depuis de nombreuses années je mets en place des actions de promotion pour mon sport.

Comment/pourquoi as-tu évolué de joueur à coach?

J’ai évolué très rapidement, car j’ai toujours aimé transmettre mes connaissances. J’étais tout d’abord un joueur qui donnait des conseils dans mon club, ensuite je me suis formé spécifiquement au coaching.
Je pense que le coaching a un peu ralenti ma carrière personnelle de joueur mais si je devais recommencer je ne changerais rien.
De plus, je n’ai commencé à jouer au snooker qu’à l’âge de 19 ans ce qui est très tard, mais j’ai quand même été à deux matches de passer pro dans un tournoi qualificatif en Europe. Je pense toutefois que je suis meilleur coach que je ne fus joueur.

As-tu suivi une formation de coach?

Oui, j’ai suivi plusieurs formations, tout d’abord pour perfectionner mon niveau de jeu, ensuite pour devenir coach.

J’ai 3 diplômes :

  • Le brevet d’état d’éducateur sportif (diplôme officiel en France remis par le ministère des sports)
  • Le diplôme de coach européen – EBSA coach – passé avec Wayne et Terry Griffith
  • Le diplôme de coach mondial WPBSA niveau 2 passé avec Chris Lovell, Andrew Highfield et Steve Davis

Quelle est ta méthode de travail? Comment approches-tu le coaching en fonction du profil du joueur ?

Je coaché à différents niveaux: amateur dilettante, joueur de ligue, jeune avec des ambitions professionnelles.
Avec les années j’ai beaucoup amélioré ma méthode de travail.
Tout d’abord, j’analyse complètement les besoins de mes élèves grâce à une interview orale, des test techniques et des documents d’analyses divers. C’est très important de bien connaitre ses élèves et leurs objectifs. L’aspect psychologique est essentiel dans le coaching.
En fonction de leur niveau et de leurs attentes j’ai différentes formules tarifaires. Je préfère les formules où je fais un suivi sur plusieurs mois, saisons… Il faut du temps pour améliorer son niveau de jeu, au snooker particulièrement. Après chaque séance mes élèves reçoivent un rapport écrit et/ou une vidéo, ainsi qu’un un programme d’entrainement suggérant des routines adaptées à leurs niveaux et objectifs.
Je m’occupe aussi de joueurs de pool anglais et de billard américain. J’ai de très vastes connaissance techniques et tactiques dans ces différentes disciplines de billard, mais je suis essentiellement un spécialiste de snooker.
Je me suis aussi beaucoup formé et spécialisé dans le domaine de la préparation mentale. J’ai des outils adaptés au billard que j’ai utilisé moi-même en compétition de haut niveau : la visualisation mentale (sophrologie) et la programmation neuro linguistique par exemple.
Pendant ces trente années, j’ai emmagasiné beaucoup d’expérience et j’ai suivi de nombreux joueurs en compétitions régionales, nationales et internationales. Aucune théorie ou vidéo YouTube ne peuvent remplacer l’expérience sur le terrain.

Comment évalues-tu les progrès, en collaboration avec l’élève?

Au début d’une nouvelle collaboration, on se fixe ensemble, de commun accord, des objectifs à atteindre à court, moyen et long terme. Ces objectifs sont consignés dans mon rapport initial.
Ensuite j’ai créé des documents de suivi et d’analyse tant pour les entrainements que pour les compétitions, mais, en fin de compte, les résultats de mes élèves sont le meilleur baromètre.

Penses-tu qu’une approche différente est nécessaire afin d’encourager plus de jeunes filles/femmes à jouer au snooker? Si oui laquelle ?

Non pas vraiment : j’évalue à 20 pourcents le nombre d’élèves féminines que j’ai formées en tout.
Evidemment, il faut parfois, utiliser d’autres techniques je m’adapte aux différentes morphologies. J’ai remarqué une chose importante par contre : souvent la lecture des trajectoires pose un réel problème au début de l’apprentissage chez les filles.
Travaillant beaucoup en milieu scolaire et avec des enfants je peux affirmer que les filles adorent le billard, mais l’histoire nous induit à penser que le billard est un jeu de café pratiqué essentiellement par les hommes. Il faut se débarrasser de ces préjugés.
Comme coach, Je suis vraiment pour l’augmentation du nombre de joueuses féminines au billard et au snooker. J’ai été ravi d’appendre que les deux meilleures joueuses du circuit féminin recevront désormais des cartes sur le « Main Tour ».

Collabores-tu avec d’autres coaches? Lesquels, comment, pourquoi?

Oui je collabore avec d’autres coaches.

Tout d’abord avec la WPBSA : ils nous offrent un relai, et ils nous envoient régulièrement des informations. Avant la crise, on était tous conviés à venir dans les tournois pros et tenir le stand de coaching dans la « cue zone » .
Je viens de participer au premier séminaire à distance de la WPBSA, il y a quelques jours. L’objectif de cette réunion était une présentation de Wayne et Terry Griffiths concernant un nouveau site où un système sur handicap équivalent au golf a été étudié et mis en place. Je trouve que c’est un travail fabuleux et je vais surement m’affilier à ce dispositif. Je m’entends très bien avec Wayne et ce depuis que j’ai passé mon examen européen au Pays de Galle.
Durant ce meeting on a aussi eu droit de poser des questions à Chris Henry qui a placé deux de ces joueurs en finale des derniers championnats du monde.Je suis en relation très étroite avec Chris depuis plus de 20 ans, on s’appelle souvent et j’utilise certains de ses procédés dans mes cours comme l’outil d’entrainement révolutionnaire « the balls ».
J’observe et je collabore avec mes collègues tout simplement pour m’informer et m’améliorer, je ne veux copier personne, j’ai pris ce que j’estime bon chez certains et j’ai adapté et créé ma propre méthode en m’inspirant de tous les coachs que j’ai pu croiser au cours de ma carrière de joueur et de formateur.
J’ai aussi organisé des camps de préparation par équipe pour préparer les joueurs français aux compétitions internationales avec la Belgique et la Pologne.
Voici dans l’ordre les coachs avec qui j’ai collaboré et appris : Alan Stocker, Paul Coldric, Chris Henry, Pj Nolan, Garry Baldrey, Del Hill, Wayne et Terry Griffith, Nic Barrow, Alan Trigg, Barry Starck, Mukech Parmar, Dany Moermans, Bratislav Krasev (Brando), Villius Schulte et Tom Limor. J’espère que je n’ai oublié personne…. et je les remercie tous.

Quels sont tes espoirs ? Tes ambitions ?

Mon meilleur élève reste mon fils Brian. Ce n’est pas facile tous les jours de coacher ses propres enfants mais je pense avoir réussi à transmettre ma passion à mes deux fils. J’espère sincèrement voir Brian réussir dans ce sport, et voir son frère aussi plus tard, s’il le désire bien entendu.

Désormais je ne joue quasiment plus donc je suis vraiment concentré sur mon job de coach. Je suis très volontaire et toujours passionné ; je veux partager mes connaissances.
Un de mes grand projet est de mettre en place des outils écrits et/ou en vidéo, en langue française, afin d’ aider les gens intéressés à mieux comprendre le billard et le snooker. Tout ceci est en cours de réalisation, je vous réserve de belles surprises très bientôt
Ma grande ambition aussi serait de coacher des amateurs de haut niveau et des joueurs professionnels et de les aider à s’améliorer et remporter des titres. Je voudrais devenir un coach plus reconnu au niveau international et participer ainsi au développement de ma passion, le snooker.

As-tu souffert de la crise sanitaire « covid » ?

Avant la crise sanitaire, j’avais décidé de me consacrer à mon activité de coach à plein temps et ça commençait très bien pour moi. Mais la fermeture des clubs et l’arrêt des compétitions a mis un coup de frein à mes ambitions de vivre sereinement et pleinement de cette activité. Je travaille actuellement à l’usine pour gagner ma vie.

Quel avenir vois-tu pour le snooker en France et en Belgique francophone ? Actions concrètes à entreprendre, promotion ?

L’avenir pour le snooker en France s’annonce très compliqué selon moi tant qu’on sera sous la tutelle d’une fédération théoriquement multi-discipline mais décidément pro-carambole dans les faits et je pèse mes mots. Je connais bien le problème, je lutte depuis des années pour la promotion du snooker en France et je suis très déçu par cette situation.
Il faudrait aussi que les commentaires sur Eurosport France soient confiés à des spécialistes : c’est un peu ridicule de mettre des gens qui ne connaissent même pas les règles sur un sport aussi complexe et difficile à comprendre de prime abord.
Mais, surtout, il faudrait plus de tables, plus de licenciés, un centre de formation, des stages d’initiation (avec mini-snooker pour les plus jeunes) et du travail de détection de nouveaux talents en milieu scolaire, une meilleure communication, des tournois dignes de ce nom, des évènements internationaux et un tournoi ranking professionnel en France. Il faudrait aussi qu’en France le snooker soit reconnu comme sport de haut niveau comme le sont le trois-bandes et la carambole. Si un ou plusieurs joueurs français parvenaient à devenir professionnels et visibles, cela pourrait changer bien des choses.
Pour la Belgique je vois plus d’avenir qu’en France : le pays a plus la « culture snooker » et je pense sincèrement que Julien Leclerc va beaucoup apporter au snooker francophone en Belgique.

Un message pour conclure …

Je vais tout faire pour continuer à promouvoir mon sport et ma passion au travers de toutes mes actions comme je le fais depuis 30 ans. J’écris aussi des articles sur ma page Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/stephane.ochoiski
Dès que possible, je vais recommencer à me déplacer partout en France et dans le monde pour aider les joueurs passionnés à mieux comprendre le jeu.
Je te remercie beaucoup, Monique, pour tout ce que tu apportes au snooker aussi.

Mon site : https://stephaneochoiski.com/
Mon profil WPBSA: https://wpbsa.com/coaches/stephane-ochoiski/

… and a translation in English …

Hello Stéphane and thank you for answering these few questions. Before getting to the heart of the matter, can you briefly introduce yourself?

Hello Monique, I am Stéphane Ochoiski. In October 2021 I will turn 50, I have been living as a couple with Céline for 15 years and I have two sons: Brian 22 years old and Mateo 12 years old. Both have been playing snooker from a young age.
My mother ran a business where there was an American billiard table, in the North-East of France in Saint-Avold. It was there that I discovered billiards: American billiards first, then other disciplines. I became interested in snooker in 1990 after discovering it on the Canal + television channel.
I was a good amateur player; I have won many titles in France – I have been French National champion six times – and I have represented my country 39 times in international competitions. My best result is a 5th place at the European Championships.
I have been the benevolent president of an associative club since 1990. I have held various leadership positions at regional and national levels. Also, in 1995, I created the first snooker school in France. I have introduced and trained many people to billiards and snooker: probably more than a thousand during these thirty years. I was also a consultant / commentator on Eurosport.
Above all, I am passionate about billiards and snooker in particular. For many years I have been actively promoting my sport.

How / why did you evolve from player to coach?

I evolved very quickly because I have always been keen to pass on my knowledge. At firts, I was a player giving advice in my club, then I trained specifically in coaching.
I think coaching came in the way of my personal playing career a bit, but if I had to start over again I wouldn’t change a thing.
Also, I only started snooker at the age of 19 which is very late, but I was still only  two games away from gaining pro status in a qualifying tournament in Europe. However, I think I am a better coach than I was a player.

Have you taken a coaching training?

Yes, I have taken several courses, first to improve my level of play, then to become a coach.

I have 3 certificates:

  • The sports educator’s state certificate (official diploma in France awarded by the Ministry of Sports)
  • The European coach certificate – EBSA coach – passed with Wayne and Terry Griffith
  • The WPBSA Level 2 World Coaching certificate passed with Chris Lovell, Andrew Highfield and Steve Davis

What is your working method? How do you approach coaching based on the player’s profile?

I coach at different levels: amateur, league player, young person with professional ambitions.
Over the years I have improved my working method a lot.
First, I fully analyze the needs of my students through an oral interview, technical tests and various analysis documents. It is very important to know your students and their goals. The psychological aspect is essential in coaching.
Depending on their level and their expectations, I have different pricing formulas. I prefer formulas where I follow the student’s progresses over several months, seasons … It takes time to improve your level of play, especially in snooker. After each session my students receive a written report and / or a video, as well as a training program suggesting routines adapted to their levels and goals.
I also deal with English pool players and American billiards. I have a very broad technical and tactical knowledge in these different billiards disciplines, but I am mainly a snooker specialist.
I also trained a lot and specialized in the field of mental preparation. I have tools adapted to billiards that I have used myself in high level competition: mental visualization (sophrology) and neuro linguistic programming for example.
During these thirty years, I have accumulated a lot of experience and I have followed many players in regional, national and international competitions. No theory or YouTube video can replace field experience.

How do you assess progress, in collaboration with the students?

At the start of a new collaboration, we jointly set goals to be achieved in the short, medium and long term. These objectives are documented in my initial report.
Then I create monitoring and analysis documents for both training and competition, but in the end my students’ results are the best barometer.

Do you think a different approach is needed in order to encourage more young girls / women to play snooker? If so which one ?

Not really: I estimate the number of female students I have trained at 20 percent of the overall total.

Obviously, sometimes you have to use different techniques, I adapt to different body types. I noticed one important thing, however: often reading trajectories is a real problem at the start of learning for girls.

Working a lot in schools and with children, I can say that girls love billiards, but history has led us to think that billiards is a pub game played mainly by men. We must get rid of these prejudices.

As a coach, I am very much in favor of increasing the number of female players in pool and snooker. I was delighted to hear that the top two  women’s tour players  will now receive “Main Tour” cards.

Do you collaborate with other coaches? Who, how, why?

Yes, I collaborate with other coaches.

First with the WPBSA: they keep us uo-to-date, and they regularly send us information. Before the crisis, we were all regularly invited to come to pro tournaments and to run the coaching in the “cue zone”.
I only recently attended the first WPBSA remote seminar a few days ago. The objective of this meeting was a presentation by Wayne and Terry Griffiths regarding a new site where a golf equivalent handicap system has been conceived and implemented. I think it’s a fabulous job and I will definitely join this scheme. I get along very well with Wayne since I took my European certificate in Wales.

During this meeting we also had the opportunity to ask questions to Chris Henry who h two of these players in the final of the last world championships. I have been in a very close relationship with Chris for more than 20 years, we often call each other and I use some of its methods in my lessons like the revolutionary training tool “the balls”.

I stay in touch and collaborate with my colleagues quite simply stay in the loop and improve myself, I do not want to copy anyone, I have taken what I think is good from some and I have adapted and created my own method  taking inspiration from all the coaches I have met during my career as a player and trainer.

I also organized team training camps to prepare French players for international competitions with Belgium and Poland.

Here are in order the coaches with whom I collaborated and learned: Alan Stocker, Paul Coldric, Chris Henry, Pj Nolan, Garry Baldrey, Del Hill, Wayne and Terry Griffith, Nic Barrow, Alan Trigg, Barry Starck, Mukech Parmar , Dany Moermans, Bratislav Krasev (Brando), Villius Schulte and Tom Limor. I hope I haven’t forgotten anyone…. and I thank them all.

What are your hopes? Your ambitions ?

My best student remains my son Brian. It’s not easy  to coach your own children but I think I managed to pass my passion on to my two sons. I sincerely hope to see Brian succeed in the sport, and to see his brother doing the same later too, if of course he wishes.

Now I hardly play anymore so I am really focused on my job as a coach. I am very strong-willed and always passionate; i want to share my knowledge.
One of my major projects is to put in place written and / or video tools, in French, to help people interested in better understanding billiards and snooker. All this is in progress, I have some nice surprises in store for you very soon

My main ambition would be to coach top amateurs and professional players and help them to improve and win titles. I would like to become a more internationally recognized coach and thus participate in the development of my passion, snooker.

Have you suffered from the “covid” health crisis?

Before the health crisis, I had decided to devote myself full-time to my  coaching activity and it was starting very well for me. But the closure of clubs and the end of competitions put the brakes on my ambitions to live serenely and fully from this activity. I currently work at the factory for a living.

What future do you see for snooker in France and in the French-speaking part of Belgium? Actions to be taken, promotion?

The future for snooker in France looks very complicated in my opinion as long as we are under the ruling of a theoretically multi-discipline federation but actually decidedly pro-carom and I am mean my words. I know the problem well, I have been fighting for years to promote snooker in France and I am very disappointed with the situation.

The commentary on Eurosport France should also be entrusted to specialists: it is a bit ridiculous to put people who do not even know the rules to commentate on a sport as complex and difficult to understand as snooker is for new viewers.

But, above all, we need more tables, more players, more training facilities, introductory courses (using mini-snooker for the younger children) and ways to identify new talents in schools, better communication, worthy tournaments, international events and a professional ranking tournament in France. Snooker should also be recognized as a top-level sport in France, like three-cushions and carom are. If one or more French players managed to become professional and gain visibility, it could/would change a lot of things.

For Belgium I’m more optimistic about the future than in France: the country has more of a “snooker culture” and I sincerely believe that Julien Leclerc will bring a lot to snooker in the French-speaking parts Belgium.

A message to conclude …

I will do everything in my powerto continue to promote my sport and my passion through all my actions as I have done for 30 years. I also write articles on my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/stephane.ochoiski

As soon as possible, I will start traveling all over France and around the world again to help keen players to get a better understanding of the game.

Thank you very much, Monique, for everything you bring to snooker too.
My site: https://stephaneochoiski.com/
My profile at WPBSA: https://wpbsa.com/coaches/stephane-ochoiski/