Article Courtesy of Metro
David Gilbert has credited his coach, Steve Feeney, for the stunning improvement in his career that has led him to a World Championship semi-final.
The 37-year-old first turned professional in 2002 but had never been beyond the second round at the Crucible until this year.
He had also managed just one ranking event final in his career before this season, but now he has been to three after runs to the showpiece contest at the World Open and German Masters.
Gilbert began working with Feeney and his ‘SightRight’ system last year and the improvements are there for all to see.
Feeney has become an influential force in snooker, having worked with world champions Mark Williams, Ronnie O’Sullivan and Stuart Bingham in recent years and Gilbert has also felt the benefits.
‘It’s definitely been my best year by an absolute mile,’ Gilbert told Metro.co.uk. ‘It’s a bit of everything, the end of last year I was a bit fed up with the game. Putting a lot of effort in but playing terrible and the results showed that.
David Gilbert is enjoying a career resurgence (Picture: VCG via Getty Images)
‘I started working with Steve Feeney in the summer, he’s shown me one or two things and that’s helped me a lot over the season and I’m playing a lot more like I play in practice now.
‘I still miss shots, I’m still a work in progress, but I’m getting there. I’m practicing harder now, seeing what I was doing wrong and tweaking the errors.’
SightRight is Feeney’s coaching technique to help players line shots up more accurately, using their eyes rather than their body.
The technical term is a ‘parallax error’ and it is something that Feeney believes 99% of snooker players suffer from.
‘It’s all to do with sighting,’ continued Gilbert. ‘But Steve’s explained to me why I was hitting bad shots that I didn’t understand.
‘I was hitting shots before that felt good that were missing and I couldn’t understand why, which spun me out. But I understand the sense of the game now a bit more, so if I struggle now I understand and can go and work on it rather than just bang my head against a brick wall.
‘It’s the way you sight the ball and the way everyone sights the ball is slightly different. I’m not saying it helps everybody. It could be pure fluke this season, but it’s definitely helped me.
‘He gets a bit of banter on Twitter, but he helps me and I believe in what he tells me. It might be a placebo effect, who knows? But it helps me.’