There’s only two certified snooker coaches in New Zealand – and one lives right here in the Bay of Plenty.
Arthur King has been a snooker coach for the last 35 years, sharing his extensive know-how to keen cue-wielding players around the country.
The 79-year-old first started playing snooker 57 years, aged 22. “I’d just got married and my wife worked shift work. My brother-in-law said: ‘Come and have a game of snooker’ and I said: ‘What’s that?’ And that was the beginning of it – and I haven’t stopped since.”
Arthur loved the game straight away. “Once you start playing the game and you like it, you get hooked, and you just keep playing. I’m a competitive bugger so I like to excel in whatever I try and do.”
He admits he’s won a few tournaments.
“My grandkids will say I have 135 trophies around my wall at home. They are mainly club tournaments, and a couple of national titles.”
Naturally, Arthur progressed into coaching others on how to step up their snooker game.
“As I got the knowledge, I wanted to pass it onto to people starting that didn’t quite know how to play the game.”
It’s like any sport...if you’re interested in it and you want to pass the information for it, you’re only happy to do it.”
To become a certified snooker coach Arthur sat a five-day exam in the UK, to become under the World Professional Billiard and Snooker Association.
He’s also certified under the International Billiards and Snooker Federation. “There’s only one other certified snooker coach in NZ and he’s based in Wellington.”
From eight to 80
So what’s Arthur’s coaching highlight? “Probably coaching the young fella Rogan Beedle through to win the NZ Under-21s. We took him to China [in 2012] to see him compete against the world players, which is another class again. I’ve coached kids from eight years old to men of 80, and as long as I see improvement I’m happy.”
Nearly 80, Arthur has backed off a bit from competing but is still going strong with coaching. “I’ve had different people come to me and they don’t know what to do. I say: ‘If you’ve got the attitude I can show you how to achieve it’. There’s no point in me saying: ‘Oh no you can’t do it’ – you can! We can achieve anything in this world – all we’ve got to do is apply ourselves.”