What can you do to help improve your snooker club?
Well having discussed this topic at length recently I’ve decided to put some of my thoughts on paper which might help snooker committee’s and organisers when looking for ideas to help them improve their snooker club.
It’s not easy to come up with new ideas and I’m no expert so I’m sure if we share our experiences we can build a decent list that is a good read for any club.
I don’t know about yourselves but some people are certainly quick to tell you what won’t work and very slow to give you a hand or an idea of something that might! Unfortunately people are very busy nowadays so it’s become a very difficult task to find energetic doers that will help make something better; so, I’ve compiled a list that may at least give those energetic souls a good head start.
Now I’m sure some of the following might be obvious and I can already hear the, “We’ve tried that and it doesn’t work” brigade but sometimes it’s just timing and worth another stab. These examples are working in various clubs so certainly worth a mention and it may prompt some thoughts for when you want to try something different.
Accepting the fact that it depends on whether you go to a large or small club i.e. 2 tables or 20 tables, some may not be suitable for both.
There’s a fair bit of information on the page so if you’re in a rush, probably best to read the lists on the right hand side of each picture. If you have any more examples that you think I’ve missed then please feel free to send them via the contact page and hopefully some of them will help…
Improve Your Snooker Club – Regular Competitions
Now you may have a job to run all these in a small club as it may not leave any time for the social snooker player but there are examples of all of the above working in various clubs. I have personally seen a ‘3’ reds competition started in the early 1970’s to raise money for a new cloth that still runs today some 40 years later, now that was a successful idea which could improve your snooker club! I like the idea of a high break peg board drives the competitive players as they want their name on it and the lesser players will be proud just to get to the bottom of it. Saturday / Sunday snooker competitions seem to be very popular in the large clubs when run by a snooker coach as it gets the players the chance to practice their recent coaching in regular matches. Just trying the above with energy will create some successes but make sure you know how to market and draw the players in as these are designed to keep them there once you’ve got them through the door.
Improve Your Snooker Club – Snooker High Break Board
Improve Your Snooker Club – Snooker Equipment
If you’re a person who is responsible for the upkeep of a snooker table/s, then you know how snooker players like to voice their opinion of how better you can do your job. Regular brushing, ironing and napping of your tables are a minimum requirement for a snooker table or there will be problems; good players will always look for another club if this starts to deteriorate. I tend to use the napping block between league frames and you cannot believe the difference it makes to the look and run of the ball for 30 seconds worth of work. Another pet hate is when a club has gone to the expense of changing a cloth, has gone for a hard wearing one and placed it on a table with old billiard or tight pockets; good players like a faster cloth and social players generally prefer a generous pocket. We had some of the rubber taken off one of our tables when it was recovered so the table was more generous whilst the other table has match standard pockets. Having access to a selection of cues is nice as the members get to hold a snooker cue prior to purchase but the re-tipping service is a must and it’s not always advertised!
Improve Your Snooker Club – Snooker Coaching
- Players have access to a snooker coach
- Available practice routine posters
- Free beginners coaching days
- Regular junior sessions
- Half term coaching sessions
- Advertise in the local paper
- Use a ‘qualified’ coach
- Regular competitions to practice skills
- Experienced coaches will bring ideas!
Using an experienced qualified coach will pay dividends in any club. The focus is how to get people into the game and when you have them there, how to keep them and provide them with the right information to enjoy and improve their game of snooker. If you can provide this and then the arena to compete then you will probably have cracked it. To get juniors into the game you will certainly need to have a plan and be a good organiser as well as a good coach so it’s nice to have help if that’s available. As an example, within the WPBSA qualification, a lot of this information is provided on the level 2 course and will provide help on how to engage schools and juniors into the game and keep their interest. When I talk to players about what they do to practice, most just play or do the line up; why not provide some practice routines to make things a little more varied and enjoyable whilst improving their game. There are lots of really successful coaches running junior sessions through clubs so why not take a look on the internet, there are some great examples.
Improve Your Snooker Club – When Your Playing Snooker
- Nice temperature in the room
- Non dusty if possible
- Lose the idiots
- No mobile phones
- Background music
- Match in progress
- Air-conditioning if you’re lucky!
- Somewhere to sit
- Coffee machine (when bar’s shut)
You need to decide what type of club you have. If it’s a private members snooker club where you can hear a pin drop then you don’t want mobile phones going off with loud music people stumbling past every 2 minutes. If you have a large club with many tables, you might want to set the club up as different types of areas so the serious matches don’t get disturbed. Both will require a comfortable temperature and thermostatic radiator valves will not only save money but help to keep it that way and avoid sweaty hands and sticky cues. When a small club is packed, each person gives off around half a kilo-watt in heat and if you have a standard system, you’ll get hot! When cleaning the tables prior to a match it’s a good idea to have an extractor fan so you don’t start the match focusing on the amount of duct in the air. I guess the trick is how to get the player just focusing on the game rather than what can be complained about…
Improve Your Snooker Club – When Your Not Playing Snooker
- Simple food or people will leave to get it!
- Real ales are very popular in smaller clubs
- Friendly staff
- A great bar person
- Background music
- Dining area with TV
- Pool tables
- Darts and digital score board
- Cable and big screen if possible
Now of course we understand that smaller clubs cannot tick every box but it’s surprising what affect a choice of real ales can make on the bar takings. If people are going to have to wait for a table they will need something to do and unless there’s food available you won’t see people for any length of time over the dinner hour. If there are sports on a large screen (as seen in many of the larger clubs) you should attract fans that will watch it; some will just drink and watch the game which means you don’t have to have them on the snooker tables but some may still use them. One thing I’ve noticed going round the clubs is the difference is between the quantity of people in the club when there’s a great character behind the bar. Some establishments just serve the beer where others really try and make sure the punters have a giggle as well and take time to chat. If you’re waiting between frames for a game and there’s no music or tv, no real relationship with the bar person then I’d definitely vote with my feet before I get bored to death! For those people who can’t sit still whilst waiting for a table, a pool table and darts board are often seen being used.
Improve Your Snooker Club – Going The Extra Mile
- Share all successes in the local paper
- You must have a good website
- You must use social media – Facebook
- Video recording to capture high breaks
- Poker facilities
- Later closing on league nights
- Introduce darts and pool teams
- 4 or 8 hour discount rates
- Oap and junior rates
- Professional exhibition matches
Obviously any plans you may have need to be completed in a certain order as each has to be funded but some ‘going the extra mile’ items just cost nothing more than time. Why not send an updated league table from your league website to the local newspaper each week with a brief update on your club team/s so people know you even exist; they may consider joining. Social media is a must nowadays and you can see by this link that the junior section is thriving with the aid of qualified snooker coach Tim Dunkley at Chandlers Ford. Do you have a club website? Well this club has a constant flow of new members from the website and the club only has a door in the wall with noting else resembling a club entrance! I recently heard of a snooker club near to me that I didn’t even know about and it’s been there 40 years! Professional exhibition nights are also a good opportunity to raise awareness of your league and clubs. Selling raffle tickets, admittance tickets, programme sponsorship, a free hall from the club who will gain from bar sales and best league player play the pro rewards all help to make it a successful, profitable evening.