THE EARLY YEARS
PJ Nolan began his coaching career in his home town of New Ross, Co. Wexford in the Republic Of Ireland in the 1990's and whomever follows in his footsteps in Irish Coaching will have big steps to fill as he has achieved so much in the world of coaching. Some people say he is the main reason Ireland has achieved so much success over the years.
PJ is the only Irish Professional full-time Snooker Coach and he is the Head of European Billiards & Snooker Association Coaching. He is the only Irish Coach to receive a World Snooker Scholarship to become a World Snooker Coach.
PJ has coached and prepared players in IBSF, EBSA, ACBS Snooker Championships. He has coached in the Asian Games along with Gulf, Arab and Home International Championships over the years.
He works full time for (RIBSA) Republic Of Ireland Snooker Association and represents the RIBSA Association in holding Coaching Camps all around the World in India, Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Poland, Portugal, Israel and Netherlands. In his career has been linked to four clubs The Workmans Club in New Ross, The Commercial Club in New Ross, Caesars Palace in New Ross and The Ivy Rooms SC in Carlow and without them all he believes he would not have been a snooker coach.
This is a brief look at what PJ has achieved during his career and memories of some famous victories.
PJ fell in love with the game and was himself coached by a famous Wexford Coach Larry Codd. Watching the players he coached improve was the main reason he kept working hard on his own coaching methods. It was not long until he was guiding players to win national and provincial junior and senior snooker titles.
His brother Michael Nolan was one of the first players he coached and he broke all records in Wexford. He became the youngest player to win the town championship at the age of 12 and also became the youngest player to make a century break (127) at the age of 13. Michael is still the only New Ross player ever to play on Irish Snooker team.
PJ has never been a top player, but he has won several local championships and has beaten many top ranked players in (RIBSA) tournaments over the years. He had no major playing record but I feel this made him work even harder on his own coaching because he had to prove it more to everyone that he was a good coach.
He then started going around Ireland and training players and it was not long until players realized that he was a great coach and a person who motivates, encourages and train them to improve to reach their true potential. He then designed Training booklets and coaching manuals and these routines became the way players all over Ireland trained and prepared for local and national events. This is where PJ first started thinking about starting his own training academy and twenty years later he did and it has been a long journey but he says he would not change anything because it made him into the coach he is today.
In 1997 Terry Griffiths who was the Coaching Director at the time of W.P.B.S.A. (World Professional Billiards & Snooker Association) travelled to Ireland to set up the R.I.B.S.A. (Republic of Ireland Billiards & Snooker Association) Coaching Foundation. World Snooker wanted to help all NGB's develop their Coaching structure and Terry held a coaching course in Carlow and qualified PJ to become the youngest qualified RIBSA Snooker Coach during the World Under 21 Championships. Snooker Coaching in Ireland at the time was something new and not many players were coached or even told anyone they had a lesson from a coach but even the top players like Steve Davis and Stephen Hendry were coached and guided to the success they achieved.
RIBSA were very eager to make coaching more popular and improve the standard of the junior game in Ireland so PJ began to hold Cue Zones at all under age RIBSA Junior events offering free coaching and training in teaching the players the correct fundamentals.
It was here he started to coach the young stars that would develop into today’s top Irish Snooker players like David Morris, Vincent Muldoon, David Hogan, Rodney Goggins, Martin McCrudden and many more. Coaching then became popular in Ireland and this was mainly down to the quality of work done by PJ. The players wanted to train and improve more and more under a qualified coach that was focused on working as hard as them on the table to get more success.
QATAR SNOOKER ASSOCIATION NATIONAL COACH
In 1998 The Qatar Billiards & Snooker Association, in the Middle East contacted the I.B.S.F. (International Billiards & Snooker Federation) looking for a new national coach. PJ applied for the position and he became Qatar National Coach in July 1998. PJ trained and coached the Qatar National team for Gulf, Arab and Asian Snooker Championships which gave him fantastic experience in preparing players to play to their best for major tournaments. The players and Association did everything to make the move to Qatar enjoyable and his role in the Association became more than just a job as PJ fell in love with Qatar.
PJ worked hard in developing Snooker & Pool in Qatar with official National Ranking events throughout the season that qualified players for International Championships and he was also in charge of arranging training Camps for the national teams all across Europe and Asia. The Association also brought professional players to Qatar from Ireland and the UK to practice with the National team players and this was key in helping the players to play against high quality opponents.
REPUBLIC OF IRELAND BILLIARDS & SNOOKER ASSOCIATION NATIONAL COACH
In 1999 The Republic of Ireland Billiards & Snooker Association offered him a position he could not refuse to become the Republic of Ireland National Snooker Coach and Director of Coaching in Ireland. PJ decided to quit Qatar to come back to Ireland to take up this position and from 1999 – 2003 and he worked as the full time National Snooker Coach of Ireland.
PJ guided and Coached the Ireland team to win two Home International Senior Titles in 2000 and 2001 and helped in the development of a string of new Irish up and coming players like David Morris, Vincent Muldoon, Martin McCrudden who have all gone on to win numerous Irish titles.
In 2001, PJ attended the Irish National Coaching & Training Centre Tutor Course on behalf of RIBSA. This course covered all sports in Ireland and it showed him that a coach in different sports is the same as it is all about helping players enjoy and play the better and more consistent. During the years involved with the NCTC which became later Coaching Ireland, he wrote the RIBSA Introduction Level Course and the Level One coaching syllabus. PJ finally graduated in the NCTC as the first tutor in the sport of snooker in Limerick University in 2002. PJ began to train the RIBSA members into becoming Qualified Coaches on behalf of The Republic of Ireland Snooker Association. This grew the game all around Ireland as these coaches became talent scouts and guided the players within their own clubs.
Qatar Billiards & Snooker Association Head of Coaching
Being the full time National Coach of Ireland was an unpaid position at the time and in 2003 the Qatar Federation again approached him to return to Qatar to become the National Cue Sport Expert. He accepted this role in June 2003 and in 2004 coached Qatar to achieve their first ever gold medal in the Gulf Snooker championships when Ahmed Saif won the Gulf Under 21 Championship in Dubai. In 2006 PJ helped set up the new Qatar Billiards & Snooker Federation training centre in Doha the capital of Qatar with 10 superb match snooker tables and 8 pool tables. This Training Centre was one of the best training venues in the world and the Qatari players improved each season since. PJ developed the Qatar Junior & Senior Academy with ranking events to qualify players for International events. The Qatar snooker and pool national teams trained every day within his training programs.
Despite living in Qatar for almost seven years PJ regularly coached and guided Irish and International players by email. His coaching style is simply to break each point down to get the players to think, play positive and naturally by training on specific routines. I believe this is the secret of his success to date and it has earned him the respect from players to describe him as one of the world’s top coaches. During his career, PJ has worked with some of the most famous snooker coaches in the world with Terry Griffiths, Del Hill, Chris Henry and National Coaches from Thailand, China, Hong Kong and Malaysia. All the coaches have had very successful careers and some have worked with and guided the best players ever to play the game, but they all had their own individual coaching styles. The best advice they ever gave PJ, is to never stop working hard on your own coaching if you want to stay successful in game.
Ever since PJ has worked hard on developing his own style of coaching using the latest technology to enhance each lesson for his students. If it can be done better then PJ will do it. As each player is special in his academy from a complete beginner to the main tour professional player. Almost 50% of the videos on his you tube page is of Juniors and Club players as these are the future of the sport and the more they are encouraged and supported the more they will improve and this is why PJ is regarded so highly in the coaching world nowadays.
PJ set up the Qatar Billiards & Snookers Schools project with the Qatar Federation putting tables into the schools in Qatar. The Federation then sent PJ into the Schools in Qatar to train the next generation of young Qatari Schoolboys in both Pool and Snooker. PJ believes the Qatar Federation have juniors to keep the development of the game in Qatar going for the next 10 years to make Qatar one of the strongest Arab Countries. It was a difficult decision to leave Qatar but he felt the time was right to return and attempt to develop new up and coming Irish and International players in his 147 academy who can compete on the world stage. PJ is one of only a few snooker coaches in the world who has coached players and teams in Asian, Gulf, Arab, European, Home Internationals and IBSF World Snooker Championships. He has also coached players in the Asian Games and Asian Indoor Games and on the main tour.
In December 2008 PJ announced he was stepping down as the Qatar coach to return to Ireland and to set up his own training academy in Ireland. After his 7 years in Qatar, he believed Qatar had a bright future. His coaching and the developments of coaching in the schools in Qatar is beginning to pay off in Qatar to produce top players like 14 year old Qatari Ali Al Obaidly and over the next few seasons to push Qatar to be number 1 in the Gulf. 14 year old Ali Al Obaidly had qualified and played in the 2006 & 2007 Asian Senior Championships, World Under 21’s & Asian Under 21’s and IBSF World Mens Championships. In 2006, he played in the Asian Games along with his brother Khamis Al Obaidly (19yrs) and Mohanna Al Obaidly (17yrs) and in 2007 Khamis Al Obaidly became the youngest winner of the Qatar National Championship.
Republic Of Ireland National Snooker Coach
In January 2009 PJ was offered the position of full time paid Irish National Coach and Development Officer for the Republic of Ireland Billiards & Snooker Association. PJ is still believed to be the only snooker coach in Europe that is paid full time by the National Association. PJ worked all around Ireland in developing the stars of the Irish game and coaches all the top players in Ireland. Since his appointment RIBSA have had performed excellent in major International events like when David Hogan won the EBSA European Snooker championship beating Mario Fernandez in the Final. Vincent Muldoon and Brendan O Donoghue have also both reached the EBSA European Snooker Final.
Jason Devaney created Irish Snooker History when he won the WSA Junior Pot Black in the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield and Colm Gilcrest reached the Final of the IBSF World Amateur Championship. Rodney Goggins created his own piece of Irish snooker history when he made a 147 break and won a bronze medal in the World Amateur championships. Brendan O Donoghue, David Hogan and Martin McCrudden won the European Men’s Team Snooker Championship.
The Irish Junior team won the Celtic Junior Snooker Challenge and Mark Tuite and Anthony Bonnar won the European Master Team Championships. The Irish Senior team won the 2012 Home International Prince Of Wales Shield when they beat Wales, England, Scotland and Northern Ireland to win the title.
PJ Introduced Professional Training Camps to prepare the Irish teams for all International Events. The players feel this is key in preparing them for the major Championships. All the players practice Long Potting, Safety, Match-Play and Break Building routines during the training camps. PJ videos the players and works on their mind fitness with sports psychology in order to play with more confidence.
Each player receives a DVD of his action and sports psychology booklet and audio to help them with their mind fitness to study at home. He also holds training tournaments and all the training camps are held in the Ivy Rooms Snooker Club in Carlow which is an official RIBSA and EBSA centre of excellence containing 11 Championship Shender Snooker Tables.
RIBSA sends PJ with the Irish players to all the International Championships to help the players to prepare before their games with practice, motivation and guidance during the match with tactics and feedback on how the match went. PJ also updates the RIBSA web site on the players results which keeps their family and friends at home informed and this is another factor in motivating the players to play their best in the Championship.
EBSA Head of Coaching
PJ was Appointed Head of EBSA Coaching by the European Billiards & Snooker Association. In his role he trains all the coaches from all over Europe in becoming Official EBSA Coaches. He also holds Cue Coaching Zones at all EBSA International Events. In July 2013 PJ held Cue Zones at the World Snooker Academy in Beijing in China.
Appointed a World Snooker Coach
PJ is an official W.P.B.S.A Snooker Coach after he received a scholarship by the WPBSA. He was invited to the England Institute of Sport in Sheffield to attend a coaching course and was presented with his certificate from Steve Davis and Terry Griffiths. PJ became the first World Snooker Coach from the Republic Of Ireland and he has travelled around the world hold Coaching camps in India, Iran, Israel, Belgium, Italy, Poland, Czech Republic, UAE, Malta and Austria. PJ has also been the lead coach at the WSA Cue Zone at the World Championship in Sheffield in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015.
Coaching Camps all around the World
PJ has been invited by players and Federations all around the world to coach and their National train players. PJ has held successful Coaching Camps in Israel, Italy, Poland, Serbia, Belgium, Austria, India, Iran, UAE, and Czech Republic. The Austrian Association appointed PJ as their National Coach and they hold around six Training camps weekends each season and the players are beginning to achieve some good results in the International events.
Another player with a bright future is Shachar Ruberg from Israel and since joining the Academy he has achieved some International titles. He also coaches some new exciting juniors from all around Europe and Asia whom he believes can be the future stars of the game. They have the skill and the talent to achieve great results over the new few years as their dedication at such a young age and with experience they can reach their goals and dreams.
Appointed National Coaching roles in Poland & Austria.
PJ has also been appointed National Coach by the Polish Billiards & Snooker Association and the Austrian Billiards & Snooker Association to help guide their players for major Championships. PJ holds training camps during the season to prepare the players and he feels it a honour to be in these key positions in Poland and Austria.
Each season countries within Europe are improving to compete against the top countries and PJ believe this is down to EBSA setting up coaching courses to help promote and guide countries like The Netherlands, Czech Republic, Portugal, France, Bulgaria and Poland who are now producing great up and coming stars of the future which goes well to grow the game all around Europe.
Over my coaching years PJ has been invited to hold Coaching Days for The IPA Irish Pool Association and train some of the best Senior, Ladies and juniors in Irish Pool players but PJ was amazed to see so many top Pool players have no set pool training program. PJ then designed the IPA pool training program and the program is the official IPA training program for all their members. You can now download his Pool Training PDF's.
The future Of the 147 Academy
PJ has developed his 147 Academy to be regarded now as one of the world's best academies and he coaches all over the world. This is something PJ is very proud of as this was the aim to offer the best training program anywhere to prepare players and teams for major competitions. Players can book camps in Ireland or Camps in their own country and all the sessions are recorded. The players get DVD's of each session to monitor at home and PJ feels this is very important in the development of each player.
His 147 academy web site contains his PDF training programs, and they are available on-line to download to help players of all levels from a junior player to the player on the main tour improve his or her training sessions. PJ's Web Site, Facebook and You Tube channel is becoming one of the most popular Coaching outlets anywhere on the web. It is easy to notice his academy players on the circuit because they wear his 147 Academy logo on their waistcoat and on their cue case.
PJ is now developing young players in Ireland and all over the world within his Academy with junior players who will become the new stars of the future. His Job within RIBSA sees him travelling the world with the Irish team to guide them to success and to prepare players like Professional Fergal O Brien, Irish Amateurs David Hogan, Rodney Goggins, Jason Devaney, Josh Boileau, Brendan O Donoghue, Greg Casey, David Cassidy and Ryan Cronin to be ready to play their best to fly the Irish flag high in the major championships.
The Academy Base
The home base of the PJ Nolan's 147acadeny is the Ivy Rooms Snooker Club, Carlow in the Republic of Ireland. Carlow is a small Town around 1 hour 30 minutes from Dublin Airport, Rosslare Harbour and Dun Laoghaire Harbour. The club contains 11 Shender Championship Tables and 1 Riley Professional Silver leg Match Table. The Academy is situated across the road from the 4 star Talbot Hotel Carlow. This Hotel has a swimming pool and gym and is regarded as one of the best hotels in the area and is the perfect base for any camp.
Hopefully we will see the next chapter of his story in helping the players achieve their goals and dreams. Whatever happens PJ promises all his players’ 100% commitment in helping them improve their game more.
and the story goes on.....................................