June 30, 2022

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Tragedy for Sanderson Lamm puts snooker in perspective as he returns with new mindset

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Sanderson came through Lam Q School Event 2 and was back on tour (Picture: WST)

Sanderson Lamm fought his way through cue school last week, but after experiencing a far worse than grueling tournament, he’s keeping the game firmly in perspective.

Lam is back on tour for the second time after making an impressive run through Event Two in Sheffield, when things were looking dangerous at least a couple of times.

Finding himself behind in the final frame of the final round against Steven Hollworth, he took a 4–3 win over Kurt Maflin 3–1 in the last 16 to make a break of only 60 to win the match.

The Yorkshireman has developed calmness under pressure, controlling his emotions and taking the pressure off himself.

Lam said, ‘I knew I was hitting the ball well, but it was just controlling your thoughts, especially in cue school because it’s so hard. Metro.co.uk,

‘I lost to Sohail in the first event too’ [Vahedi] And I didn’t think I would play so badly and lose 4-1. I was really disappointed, but just said to myself, “I haven’t done anything wrong, don’t be hard on yourself and move on.” Then it just clicked in the second event. I played well, took some rest.

The immense sadness of a personal tragedy has really helped Lam keep his emotions in check, After dealing with the death of one of his best friends, Jake Nicholson, almost a year ago.

Jake tragically died at the age of 28 due to cancer, and the death of the talented player hit many people on the snooker circuit really hard.

Lam was hurt as much as anyone, but it has unexpectedly helped his game as he now accepts that snooker is insignificant compared to other things.

‘I was thinking that, although I would love to move on, there are a lot of things in life that are more important. It’s not the end of the world,’ he said.

‘I lost a good friend of mine, Jake Nicholson, he was very close to me, one of my best friends. It is now approaching the one year anniversary.

‘Jake was my age. He only wanted to play snooker. If you think about losing a snooker match because your life is over, think about Jake.

‘It definitely helps to find some perspective, with my mindset. Just go out there, give it your all and if I don’t win, I don’t win. But I was really happy that I put myself together in the last two matches and throughout the tournament.

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Lam’s best run in the ranking event was the last 16 at the 2017 Gibraltar Open (Picture: Vicki)

He added: ‘I’m really happy with how I did it, going down 3-1 against one of the favourites, to make a really good break in the decider to move on. It shows I’ve got it and hopefully I can kick off.

‘The key is, for me, I controlled my emotions from above. As long as I can keep them in their place, stay positive, give myself the best I can.

‘In the last 24 months I feel that in control of my emotions, I have really improved. If I had been in that situation in the past I would not have come. Before that, 3-1 down I will give up.’

It is impressive that Lam can put snooker in perspective because it is a sport to which he has dedicated his life, and whether amateur or professional, he is thoroughly engaged.

‘If I didn’t get I would still have played all amateur comps, the amateur circuit is really good now,’ he said. ‘I work part time shifts at the bar at the club and do some coaching as well.

‘It gets things out of my mind. I can do this on my own terms, which is good, depending on what comps you have. I coach amateur, beginners, decent players, that’s cool.

‘It’s a great feeling to see them doing well. It is good to see them improve and impart their skills and watch them get better.

The club in question is the prestigious North Snooker Center in Leeds, which is also home to Peter and Oliver Lines, David Grace and many top amateurs.

However, these people are not the only practice partners, and it is a family environment with Peter and Oliver’s real family.

“We all play in the same club but me and Oliver are the closest,” Sanderson said. ‘We have known each other for 20 years.

“When we were growing up, we used to do coaching for juniors on Saturday mornings. That’s where Mary and Oliver met. His father and another coach were running the classes.

‘There are so many memories from there. I probably spent more time there than in my house. If I am not at home I play there, work, sometimes have a few drinks.

‘It’s not just professionals – so me, David, Oliver, Peter – but a lot of good amateurs – Kuldesh Johel, Dan Vommersley, Liam Pullen who are getting there right now, it’s really cool. I wouldn’t be surprised if he does well in the next few years.’

Oliver Lines is making impressive progress on the main tour (Picture: Getty Images)

Lam is back on tour for the first time since 2019, when he worked four times as a pro and believes he is coming back mentally stronger and ready to show That’s what he can actually do at the table.

‘I watched a lot of videos on sports psychology, on the mind and how the brain works. It really helped me,’ he said.

‘I’m going to work on my mindset more. I know I can play, but I need to play with more freedom, and get into the rhythm.

‘Before I used to think more when I was at the table. I used to do things on the match table which I don’t do in practice. I need to enjoy it, I deserve to be there, so let’s see what the next two years bring.

‘I think going into your shell is the worst thing you can do, you need to get into the rhythm. I wasn’t playing my natural game, I was a 29-second shot and that’s not me. Surely.

‘You don’t think you’re going so slow, but you slip back into your shell. If you can just play snooker, don’t be fooled and play your natural game, that’s the best way.

More : ‘I didn’t touch my cue for a year’ – Adam Duffy back on tour from the brink of quitting snooker

MORE: Ryan Thomson’s epic quest to become a snooker professional through Melbourne, home of a blacksmith and Neil Robertson

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