Well, it has been some time since I last blogged and, as ever, I’ve been kept busy.
It didn’t really feel like the last season had ended and we were under way again. It’s always busy for me but I was actually due to have some time off this month and didn’t have any work in the diary for the month.
But World Snooker asked me to help with the training of some new referees, so I attended a big seminar last week which was organised in Beijing to speak to them.
It’s something I hadn’t really done before, so I was looking forward to it. When I left World Snooker back in 2005 they asked me to do some assessing on referees. That was more about giving feedback, rather than working directly with the refs, so this was something different.
And, of course, as I’m in Beijing, I said I might as well stay out here and go on to the Shanghai Masters, which started today.
As far as working with the referees went, they were not completely new to it. There were guys who have already done quite a bit and just needed a bit of guidance and tutoring to help get them to the ranking event standard.
Referees all watch each other and are happy to share information if any little mistakes creep in, as it keeps the standard of officiating high.
As I said earlier, it has been another busy schedule so far for everyone involved in the game.
For the players, I think most of them have just carried on from last season. No-one really had more than two or three weeks off.
I think they are all treating it much more like a job now, especially with the new format of everyone having to qualify for events.
It’s a little bit strange to see the likes of Mark Selby and Ronnie O’Sullivan turning up at qualifiers, but they all know they have to get on with it and everything I’ve heard from the players so far has been positive.
The standard is as high as ever, as you can tell from the number of different winners in the tour events so far.
For me, I’ve got a bit of time off when I get back from Shanghai and then I’ll be doing the Champion of Champions, in Coventry, which has kind of replaced the Premier League.
It will be nice to have a bit of time to relax when I’m back. I tend to try to not get out of bed the first day I’m back from being away for a while! Then it’s all about spending time with the family, enjoying some nice meals together and having a normal life.
I’ll be in touch again when I’m back from China to let you know how the training has gone.
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