Snooker a sport for the mind

Tom Ford

Tom Ford

SNOOKER is not your average sport.

It's unclear how long a game will last until it's over - anything from one hour to four.

Players don't have to be in peak physical condition because the game is at least 80 per cent mental. 

To the average Australian, brought up on active team sports with noisy parents and friends screaming at the sidelines, the sedentary, quiet game with sticks and a table could easily seem a tad boring.

And yet it's a worldwide professional game, which attracts fanatics and adoring followers just like any other sport.

English players Robert Milkins and Tom Ford are in Bendigo for the Australian Snooker Goldfields Open. 

Fergal O'Brien

Fergal O'Brien

Video by Leigh Sharp

Ford agrees about the boring factor.

"I hate watching it," he said. 

Milkins differs. 

"I like watching snooker, I can sit there and watch it for quite a few hours," he said.

"I suppose it's a bit like cricket, you either love it or you hate it."

They agreed the game was mostly mental.

"I've always struggled with the mental side of the game and that's probably held me back quite a lot," Milkins said.

"When the chips are down a lot of the players can turn it around a lot easier than other players."

Both men are career snooker players. They were introduced to snooker as children and now travel the world playing in an increasing number of global tournaments.

SKILL: Matthew Stevens in his match against Fergal O'Brien. Picture: JIM ALDERSEY

SKILL: Matthew Stevens in his match against Fergal O'Brien. Picture: JIM ALDERSEY

Milkins has a young family back in England, which places extra strain on him during travel.

"Virtually we're away all the time, it's really difficult. I've got two young kids at home and I haven't seen them for three weeks," he said.

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