Tag: Classification

WDBS Classification Guide: Group Six

Today we resume our journey through the World Disability Billiards and Snooker classification system, used to determine which players are eligible to play in each of our events.

This week we look at the Group 6 profile, which includes players who have a learning disability.

Check out our group explanations so far:

WDBS Disability Classification

The WDBS classification system comprises 36 individual profiles, which have then been allocated to eight groups, used to categorise events.

The system has been taken from the English Federation of Disability Sport (EFDS) profile toolkit and revised to suit snooker and billiards.

Group 6 (profile 39)

Profile 39: Intellectual impairment

Group 6 includes players with an intellectual impairment as defined under profile 39 of the classification system.

Under this profile, a learning disability is defined as a Global IQ 75 or someone who may need assistance with some activities of daily living (ADL).

p39At a National level, disability does not usually include specific learning difficulties such as Dyslexia and some forms of Autism. During the early stages of development WDBS has provided competition that is inclusive of Autism and severe Dyslexia alongside those fitting the criteria above. However, it may be necessary to reflect the distinction between learning disabilties and difficulties in future events in order to align group 6 with the usual definition under profile 39 of the classification system. Participants also need to be aware that should they enter external competitions either endorsed or nominated by WDBS they will have to match criteria set by those governing that event.

Player view

To date the WDBS has held two Group 6 events, firstly at the Woking Open in May 2016 where David Barrett defeated Richard Yendle to claim the inaugural title. It would be second time lucky for Yendle however, as he took the gold medal at the Open Disability Snooker Championship in Gloucester with a win against David Mac earlier this month.

During the event, he told us how he first became involved with snooker and how he uses the coaching that he has received from WDBS director Bob Hill not only to improve his own game, but also that of one of his friends:

“I got into snooker by playing with my dad on a Thursday,” said Yendle. “I began playing at the Keynsham Snooker Centre, before moving to Snooker City in Bristol. I find it really enjoyable to play with my dad.

“Bob [Hill] is a good coach and he teaches us all of the skills and techniques that we need to play snooker. Whenever Bob teaches us on a Friday, I meet with my friend afterwards at Snooker City and I try to help him to become better at snooker by practising what I have learned through Bob’s coaching.”14711105_1293975630626834_2948426342146300713_o

Earlier this year we spoke to Hill as part of Learning Disability Week 2016 and he told us that snooker is an ideal sport for players with learning disabilities.

“It involves an intuitive set of ideas, such as potting balls and taking it in turns,” said Hill. “It’s interactive, giving players the chance to socialise while taking part; and it requires focus while not being over-complicated.

“Coaching players with learning disabilities is the best part of the coaching I do because the players involved gain the most rewards from it. It’s not only about improving skill, but about players gaining confidence and social skills. One player in my group barely spoke during his first three sessions, but he has gradually made friends. He recently competed in the Woking Open tournament and thoroughly enjoyed it.”

Later this week we will take a look at the final two WDBS classification groups, including players with visual and hearing disabilities.

WDBS Classification Guide: Group Three

Today we continue our journey through the World Disability Billiards and Snooker classification system, used to determine which players are eligible to play in each WDBS event.

This week we look at the group three profiles, the first group which includes ambulant players who have a physical disability.

WDBS Disability Classification

The WDBS classification system comprises 36 individual profiles, which have then been allocated to eight groups, used to categorise events.

The system has been taken from the English Federation of Disability Sport (EFDS) profile toolkit and revised to suit snooker and billiards.

Group 3 (profiles 12-14, 16, 26, 31-32)

Profile 12: Able to walk, but has severe difficulty controlling all four limbs when performing an activity.

Profile 13: Able to walk, but has poor use of three limbs.

Profile 14: Able to walk, but one side of the body is of little use; usually can only balance unaided on the good leg.

Profile 16: One upper limb is severely impaired.

Profile 26: Able to walk, but has moderate difficulty controlling all four limbs when performing an activity.

Profile 31: Both legs severely impaired, both arms moderately impaired.

Profile 32: Both arms severely impaired, both legs moderately impaired.

Group three is the first of three groups for ambulant players (i.e. players able to walk), who have other physical disabilities. The group is made up of five disability profiles (12-13, 26 & 31-32), plus a further two ‘either/or’ profiles (14 and 16).

Players falling under these two profiles without orthosis/appliances will be assigned to group three, whereas those with orthosis/appliances compete in different groups.

At the WDBS events held so far, group three players have competed together exclusively in competitions. Of the three ambulant groups, players classified as group three are the most affected by their disability when playing across all groups

Player view

We have a number of regular group three players at WDBS events, none more so than Kal Mattu and Daniel Blunn who have attended each of our three events so far, either in a playing or support capacity.

Blunn, who hails from Sutton Coldfield and has cerebral palsy, was a winner at the inaugural Open Disability Snooker Championship in Gloucester last year and also made the final of the group three competition at the Manchester Open.

He was only four years old when he first came across snooker, before he began to play on a full-size table at the age of 10:

“I went to the Tamworth Snooker Centre and started to play a number of junior players at the time,” said Blunn. “I really enjoyed it and it went from there. I played Jimmy White when I was 11 in an exhibition as the most improved junior (managed to beat him on the black actually), and I’ve played in a number of tournaments since.”

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A real student of the game who has in the past worked with SightRight’s Steve Feeney and more recently enjoyed coaching from qualified WPBSA World Snooker coaches at WDBS events, Blunn still loves snooker as much as he ever has.

“The most positive aspect of playing snooker for me is that first of all it is an enjoyable sport. There is plenty of scope for improvement and where you can progress in the game. There is something in it for everybody. I’m privileged to be able to play in these tournaments.

“It is also a great way for me to be able to shut off from work. It gives me enjoyment and targets to see where I can progress to. It’s like a bit of me time, it gives me a life away from work.”

BlunnMattu

Blunn has been competing in tournaments for a number of years, but has welcomed the launch of the WDBS and the events that have been held during its first year. He has also been a part of related activities including visits to the World and UK Championship and was also able to complete the WPBSA’s level one coaching course earlier this year.

“I think the events so far have been excellent,” added Blunn. “The great thing about them is how competitive they are. At the first one at Gloucester for example, you could just see the intensity on everybody’s faces.

“You could also see how well-run the event was and just what a great venue it was. You could see that it was the start of something big. Everybody is competitive but there is also space for us to get along, there is no bad blood anywhere or animosity between anyone.

“I think that the WDBS has also got me involved in other things which have been really nice. I got to go to the Crucible for a day, to complete my level one coaching course and have watched professional snooker in the arena. All of this has come from the WDBS, especially with the TV feature early on in Gloucester which has really put us on the map.”

Blunn

And now Blunn is looking forward to the defence of his title in Gloucester when the WDBS returns for the 2016 Open Disability Snooker Championship in October:

“It is going to be great to see if I can defend my title in Gloucester. Whatever happens I’ve won it so I’ve got that one in the history books, but defending it would be nice. Let’s see what I can do, it’s certainly going to be an interesting one!”

You can learn more about the English Federation of Disability Sport and their recently launched #TogetherWeWill campaign to help encourage disabled people to become more active.

Next week we look at our group four classification, the second of the three ambulant groups.

WDBS Classification Guide: Group Two

Last week we started our look at the World Disability Billiards and Snooker events classification system, used to determine which players are eligible to play in each WDBS event.

This week we explain the group two profiles, the second group available to wheelchair players.

WDBS Disability Classification

The WDBS classification system comprises 36 individual profiles, which have then been allocated to eight groups, used to categorise events.

The system has been taken from the English Federation of Disability Sport (EFDS) profile toolkit and revised to suit snooker and billiards.

Group 2 (profiles 7-11)

Wheelchair profiles

Profile 07: A wheelchair user with good use in one arm, may use a power wheelchair or manual Wheelchair.

Profile 08: A wheelchair user with good control of trunk and slightly weak hands.

Profile 09: A wheelchair user with good use in arms, but with poor trunk control.

Profile 10: A wheelchair user with good use of trunk and arms but unable to use the hips to assist trunk movement.

Profile 11: A wheelchair user with good control of trunk and hips.

Group two is the second of two classifications (as well as group one) for wheelchair users.

The group is made up of four disability profiles (8-11), in addition to profile seven which can fall under group two when the player can make a bridge with their leading hand.

As explained last week, both groups one and two have to date competed together in events for wheelchair users. Of the two wheelchair groups, players who fall under group two are the least affected by their disability when playing across all groups, for example having good trunk control but with slightly weak hands, or visa versa. These players do not therefore receive a points start when competing across groups.

Player’s view

We have had a number of entries from players falling under group two so far, with Newport’s Craig Welsh claiming victory in the combined group 1-2 event in Manchester.

Another event winner is Mark Parsons from Bristol who competes as a profile 11 player and competed in the 2015 Open Disability Snooker Championship, defeating Steve Packer to win the single-frame plate event.

He also attended the Woking Open in both a coaching and support role, as well as representing the WDBS at Gloucester’s Big Health Check Day back in May.

wdbsprofile11

“I have my dad to blame for passing on the snooker bug to me as a nipper, when I was still walking,” said Parsons.

“After a bit of trial and error, I’ve adapted my game so I can play comfortably at the table, using rests to avoid over-stretching.

“Concentrating on snooker distracts me from my pain. I’ve found WDBS events to be well organised and friendly, raising the profile and level of the game as an inclusive sport.”

You can learn more about the English Federation of Disability Sport and their recently launched #TogetherWeWill campaign to help encourage disabled people to become more active.

Next week we move on to our group three classification, the first of the WDBS ambulant profiles…

WDBS Classification Guide: Group One

World Disability Billiards and Snooker events are open to players with a wide range of disabilities, but how do we decide which players will play in each event and who they will play?

To explain, starting from this week we take a look at the WDBS classification system and hear from some of the players who have played in our events so far about their snooker experiences.

WDBS Disability Classification

The WDBS classification system comprises 36 individual profiles, which have then been allocated to eight groups, used to categorise events.

The system has been taken from the English Federation of Disability Sport (EFDS) profile toolkit and revised to suit snooker and billiards.

Group One (profiles 1-7)

Wheelchair profiles

Profile 01: Almost no use in four limbs. Need to use a power wheelchair, or a manual wheelchair.

Profile 02: Almost no use in four limbs, but can bend elbows. May use a power wheelchair or a manual wheelchair.

Profile 03: Wheelchair user with very poor balance and inability to grip and release objects.

Profile 04: A person with almost no use in all four limbs, but with good trunk control. Able to push a wheelchair in some way.

Profile 05: A wheelchair user who has difficulty controlling their limbs when trying to perform any activity.

Profile 06: A wheelchair user with poor trunk control and slightly weak hands, or difficulty in controlling arms.

Profile 07: A wheelchair user with good use in one arm, may use a power wheelchair or manual Wheelchair.

Group one is the first of two classifications (as well as group two) for wheelchair users, either power or manual.

The group is made up of six disability profiles (1-6), in addition to a seventh which can fall under either group one or two depending on whether the player can make a bridge with their leading hand.

At the WDBS events held to date, both groups one and two have competed together in events for wheelchair users. Of the two wheelchair groups, players who fall under group one are the most affected by their disability when playing across all groups and have therefore received a 14 point start when playing against players from group two.

Player’s view

Surrey’s Graham Bonnell has competed in WDBS events as a group one player, winning the group one/two event at the inaugural WDBS Open Disability Snooker Championship last November in Gloucester.

From Oxted, Bonnell was involved in a motorcycle accident in 1983 when he was just 18, in which he suffered a broken neck. A few years later he was invited to play snooker at the local British Legion and has since gone on to captain a team in his local league.

Bonnell competes in WDBS events as a profile six player (and therefore group one), as a result of his incomplete quadriplegia.

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“My bridge hand is of a group one player, but the grip in my back hand which holds the cue is not of group one or not strong enough for group two,” explained Bonnell.

“I can usually get down on the shot quite well, nearly as well as an able-bodied player.”

As well as playing the game for enjoyment, Bonnell has also found that snooker has become a key part of his everyday life from a physical perspective:

Bonnell1

“I have been playing snooker for over 20 years and do now find that it helps with my day to day living,” said Bonnell. “For example leaning over the table to play the shots helps with spasm and to keep my body trunk more supple.

“I usually play four times per week, but when I don’t play for a week or two, I know all about it! It becomes so much harder to play.”

And with the 2016 Open Disability Snooker Championship around the corner this October, Bonnell is looking forward to defending his title and catching up with the WDBS team:

“So far I have only played in one event (Gloucester 2015), which went well as I won!” continued Bonnell.

“I also enjoyed visiting Sheffield for this year’s Disability Day and getting to meet more people, as was the case at the Friday Open Day at the Woking Open in May.

“It has also been good getting to know the WDBS team and I am looking forward to seeing everyone again in Gloucester this year.”

You can learn more about the English Federation of Disability Sport and their recently launched #TogetherWeWill campaign to help encourage disabled people to become more active.

Come back next week to read more about our classification system as we turn to Group Two players…