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Nic Barrow in the WC 2010 Qualifiers

Postby Monique

Nic Barrow, a well known coach who helped Ronnie last season, will participate to the WC qualifiers that start tomorrow.
WPBSA devotes him an interesting article.

bold here added by me but the whole piece is really worth the reading. ... tm?tid=153
New Dawn For Barrow
After ten years of coaching, Nic Barrow is ready to practise what he preaches in the World Snooker Championship qualifiers.

The 39-year-old Milton Keynes-based cueman faces Bill Oliver on Friday in what will be his first competitive match since 1999. Prior to that, Barrow was a professional for eight years, scoring wins over the likes of Dave Harold, Fergal O’Brien, Doug Mountjoy and Paul Hunter.

But, unable to meet his ambitions as a player, he poured his energy into coaching. He spent eight years in the Middle East, working into 20 different countries and helping four players to national titles. Since his return to the UK in 2007, Barrow has coached Ronnie O’Sullivan (there’s a testimonial from the Rocket on his website) and was in Alfie Burden’s corner when the Londoner won last year’s World Amateur title.

However, he does not expect to match the success of his pupils in the qualifiers at the English Institute of Sport – Sheffield. In fact, his new outlook on snooker means having very few expectations at all.

“The only reason I used to play was to be World Champion and World No 1,” Barrow explains. “I lost a lot, including having a family and close relationships, by keeping my nose too close to the ground and trying too hard to achieve those goals. I was pulled like a windsock by those goals and I was always comparing myself to other players on the ranking list. I didn’t breathe the joy of life, in fact I was quite miserable.

“This time, I made a pact with myself that I won’t be obsessively devoted to the future vision. I love the experience of playing snooker so I just want to enjoy that and play in the moment,
in the way that monks enjoy meditation or yogis enjoy their yogi moves. I have been practising and I feel so good at the table. I realised that I’ve been telling other people how to play snooker for the last ten years, so maybe I should try a taste of my own medicine! I’m just going there for a game of snooker. I don’t want to be dominated by targets.

“Of course the objective is to win, but that is not the reason for playing. If the only thing I get out of entering is to lose the two stone I have shed to get back into my waistcoat, then it will be worth it – so overall I have already achieved my objective.”

Barrow believes that many snooker players get caught up in the same trap he fell into – putting too much thought into the technical side of the game, rather than trusting in their own natural ability.

“I used to be renowned as a slow and methodical player, even though I usually played better when I just went for the first shot I saw,” he admits.

“I’ve seen players who get into the top 20 in the world just on their own natural ability, then they decide to do the technical side, and do something completely different to what got them there in the first place. I’ve done a lot of research into others sports and seen the same pattern. It was interesting what (Formula One driver) Michael Schumacher said to Sebastien Vettel: ‘You can’t win the world title driving like me. But you can win it driving like you.’ Certain snooker players tend to try to play like others they admire, rather than using their own style.

“Although I only played him once, I loved watching Paul Hunter, it was obvious even then how fluent his game was. He went into every game with the intention to take it by the scruff of the neck.

“And it was interesting what Ali Carter said when he won the Welsh Open last season. At 5-2 down in the final he was trying too hard to win. Then he just went back to playing snooker and ended up winning 9-5.

“You have to have a way of dealing with pressure – but pressure builds up a lot more if you take ten minutes to make an 80 break, rather than four or five minutes. If you compare the time a player is at a tournament to the time he is actually at the table – there’s an awful lot of time to think!”

One method Barrow once used to pass the time when his opponent was at the table has gone down in snooker folklore. “I was playing Robby Foldvari,” he recalls. “I brought a book by Tony Robbins called Unlimited Power, and I was reading it every time Robby was at the table. The referee, Stuart Bennett, warned me, so I put the book down on the table. Then he warned me again so I put it away.”

Assuming he doesn’t shoot his way up the ranking list, Barrow is happy to continue his coaching work. He is currently training a 20-year-old player from Serbia. “He’s very enthusiastic,” said Barrow. “His dad is going to open the first snooker club in Serbia, so that will be another door opening for snooker.”