Snookerbility is on cue to help all abilities

IMAGINE being unemployed and struggling to put food on your table.

Snooker-mad Tim Squires had to resort to selling many of his personal belongings, but not necessarily to fund his own welfare.

Having been made redundant in 2010, he was dealt a further blow when he developed carpal tunnel syndrome, which affected the nerves in his wrist and threatened his very participation playing his favourite sport.

But when in Addenbrooke Hospital, waiting for his operation, Tim became determined to return to the sport he loved in some capacity.

Post-operation, and without a job, the 49-year-old decided to sell off some belongings to fund his place at the Terry Griffiths Academy in Wales and further his snooker playing and coaching skills.

He never had delusions of grandeur that he was suddenly going to be playing in the intimate setting of The Crucible, but he was insistent he could help others.

Almost two years later, and back in employment, Tim now dedicates one day a week to 20 members of his TJS Snookerbility Club, based at Haverhill Ex-Servicemen’s Club, in which he coaches people with a range of physical and mental disabilities in both the techniques and the history of the game.

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He describes the progress of the last 20 months as “fantastic” and earned recognition at the St Edmunsdbury Sports Awards when he won the ‘Contribution to Disability Sport Award’.

He was also commended at the recent Suffolk Sports Awards.

“I wanted everyone to be given the opportunity learn how to play and enjoy the game of snooker like I do,” explained Tim, who received his relevant coaching badge at the academy.

“As this area did not have a coach, I thought the chances of anyone coaching people with special needs would be out of the question, so that’s how my club started.

“These people are human and I treat them like that.”

The process of gaining the relevant qualifications was not an easy one however for Tim, with the sessions at Welsh legend Griffiths’ academy teaching him far more than just how to hit a ball.

“It was a struggle at first because the standard of players he normally teaches are streets ahead of myself,” said Tim.

“I was there being coached by a man who had won the World Championship and I had never had any tuition.

“The process was mentally tough as I was learning all the tactical and psychological aspects of the game.

“You could never pick up what Terry taught me by just watching a game on the TV, there is some unbelievable psychology that goes into it and I had a five-hour tutorial before I even hit a ball.

“For instance, I was taught the right way to approach the table from my chair. About 99 per cent of the shot is planned before you even get to the table.

“He taught me how to help other people and I can now understand other people when they get frustrated as they have not been taught the basics.”

As well as teaching snooker, Tim has also picked up other complex skills that prove vital in certain people’s lives.

“I had some pupils who did not communicate verbally so I had to learn sign-language,” he explained.

“Some of the players could not even tell me if they were left or right-handed so that was a challenge in itself.

“But we are coming up for two years now and the progress the club has made has been phenomenal. The players are playing on match tables and learning such things as self-discipline.

“I am really pleased with how it is developing.”

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