When Terry Griffiths announced his freelance coaching stable of six players in the summer, the name of Michael Holt was one that caught the eye.
Former world champion Griffiths has established an excellent reputation for assisting players at first the 110 stable and then with OnQ Promotions on both the mental and technical sides of the game.
Holt, Ding Junhui and Jack Lisowski all instantly looked like players that could benefit from his help, while Mark Allen, Mark Davis and Barry Hawkins had already been under his wing.
Ding, having spent most of the season in China, only hooked up with the 1979 Crucible king for the first time in late November.
But world No26 Holt already insists that he is seeing clear benefits from the relationship in a solid if unspectacular season of results before the Betway UK Championship.
Holt has admitted himself many times that his problems are not of talent or ability, but of temperament – although it can be harder reading or hearing others noting the same thing.
A keep-fit fanatic and healthy eater, there is still time for Holt at 37 to yet make a really big splash in the sport, and better the semi-finals he reached in Shanghai two years ago.
There have also been PTC wins in Prague and Sheffield but the very top players have often been confident of beating Holt in the last 16 or quarter-final of a major event. Winning a few more of those matches could change all that.
Nottingham's Holt said: “I have always got on with Terry, but he was always with a stable that I wasn’t in. But then this season things changed with him going freelance.
“And he got in touch with me. To be honest that was quite flattering and his faith a bit of a boost, because I know he had a lot of takers and people that were interested. But he thought he could help me.
“We get on and work both mental and technical things and I don’t think I have been far away on either this season. There has been a greater consistency which I think can be put down to our work.
“Just having that eye on you, watching you, and suggesting where you might do better is helpful. There is no magic formula or wand, you still have to go out there and win whoever you have in youer corner.
“A lot has been made – well okay, I have also made a lot of it myself – that upstairs my temperament is no good, but I always felt like there were technical things that needed adjusting, and now I am getting that help, and confirmation.
“I spent some time with a former Nottingham rugby player David Jackson a while back, and was happy working with him on the mental side. But as soon as Terry gets involved he can put it into a snooker context.
“Unless someone has been out there, they don’t really know what you are going through. Terry knows that, and as well his experience has done a lot of research, and with the technical know-how it was a package of help I couldn’t turn down.
“I haven’t given up, I still think there is a big one in me and hopefully this is evidence of that. That is where my frustrations come from right or wrong, I have always known I can play.
“I didn’t turn pro to be a journeyman. I hate that phrase anyway, it is used about some people who have been good for a long time. But that’s what I am, I feel I am better than that, but there are a few of us that feel the same about ourselves.
“Shock results are not such big shocks, people are less shocked because more players can play. But as long as you have your eyesight there is no reason you shouldn’t play this game into your 40s. I am not as jaded and negative as some and maybe my best day is to come.
“The ups and downs of snooker, as in life, can be horrible. A French tennis coach once said that the best players are those who are best at forgetting, and you see that in snooker, forget a bad shot or frame, and get don’t let it affect the next one.
“Maybe being too aware or thinking too much about is unhelpful. I don’t think I was as bad as people thought, but I have never given in, always tried, and it always hurts when I lose. But I do feel happy and content, and that working with Terry has been a very positive experience.”