Mum, Dad and “The Johnson System”

Growing up in Liverpool, I was the youngest of four siblings and would definitely consider myself very lucky with how happy my childhood was. And although I played a lot of different sports, I was particularly fanatical about football, and I would certainly never have envisaged that any other sport would come along to take priority over that.

This all changed from 12 years of age, and the day I spotted a little four-foot long snooker table in the window of our local newsagents. It had no legs but the plastic pockets doubled up as a platform that could either be stood up onto a floor, or in this case, positioned on top of our dining room table. The balls were tiny and the cues more resembled chopsticks than snooker cues, but I was hooked from the start.

My newfound obsession continued to the extent that one year later my Mum and Dad gave up their bedroom so I could have enough space for a larger six-foot table. They even had a big florescent light fitted to the ceiling for me.

Those levels of sacrifice continued throughout my time as a player, even though they would never once come remotely close to being pushy parents. All I ever knew was love, support and encouragement.

And although as the years went on they would recognise more and more that a life on the pro tour wasn’t going to be for me, it still must have proved to be something of a shock to them when I  made the decision to stop playing competitively in my mid 20’s to become a coach instead. I had been chasing a very particular dream to become a top snooker player for well over a decade, but I now had a new dream. Again, they couldn’t have been any more supportive than they were. All they ever really wanted for me was to be happy.

I have gone on to develop what is now known as “The Johnson System”. A unique, independent set of principles for the modern game that are exclusive to my teaching practice, and I am very proud, not to mention extremely protective of these techniques. Not only do they represent half a lifetime of my dedication to the sport, but are also testament to the unwavering efforts of my parents. I could never come close to repaying them but the least I could do was to express my gratitude in the most appropriate way I could. Thank you, Mo and Bobby Johnson, my Mum and Dad.