“Success is the product of daily habits not once-in-a-lifetime transformation.”
It’s the famous quote from James Clear’s best-selling book Atomic Habits, a bible to many sportsmen and women.
Look on the bookshelves of Olympians and world champions around the world and you will probably find a copy of Atomic Habits.
That’s certainly the case in the Harrogate home of snooker player Sanderson Lam.
The 29-year-old first turned professional in 2015, fell off the World Snooker Tour four years later, before returning to the main circuit.
And the world No 68 is enjoying arguably the best form of his career. Lam is currently in China having qualified for the International Championship – he plays his opening match tomorrow against Marco Fu – fresh from battling back from 3-1 down to beat former European Masters champion Fan Zhengyi 4-3 last Monday to qualify for next month’s Scottish Open.
He reached the last 32 of the English Open – beating former world champion Neil Robertson in the process – the same stage at the British Open, and the last 64 of the European Masters.
Changes away from the snooker table – Lam and girlfriend Aimee moved from Leeds to Harrogate 18 months ago – have certainly paid dividends in his game.
“I have been practicing hard, but more quality rather than quantity,” Lam told The Yorkshire Post. “Working on my weaknesses. Try not to put too much pressure on myself.
“I have been doing a bit of reading too. Before I kept doing the same things over and over again, and expecting different results.
“I thought I needed to change something. I read Atomic Habits by James Clear. I don’t really read, to be fair, but that book really helped my mindset. You come to realise there’s more to life than snooker.
“Snooker is everything, but I felt I was putting everything on myself,” explained Lam, with almost hints of deep-thinking Ronnie O’Sullivan, the seven-time world champion.
“I wish I could play like Ronnie, never mind sound like him,” Lam joked.
Atomic Habits looks at how making small changes in your lifestyle and routine can translate into success. “Tiny changes, remarkable results” is the tagline. It’s certainly working for Lam.
The Yorkshireman is one of several professional players, including father-and-son Peter and Oliver Lines, and David Grace, who are based at Northern Snooker Centre in Leeds.
Lam’s move away from his training base has helped him put in clear boundaries – both in terms of miles and mental approach – between work and home.
“I have been trying to enjoy things outside of snooker, which kind of helps,” he said.
“Recently I have moved to Harrogate with my girlfriend. Before I used to live quite close to the club, where now I have a 35-minute commute. I can do my practice, work at the club, then go home.
“I find Harrogate quite peaceful, really nice. It’s nice to be away (from snooker) then when I come back into the club, I am back at work.
“I am not spending all my time at the club, putting pressure on myself. So when I do get home, I can spend quality time with my girlfriend. We do some nice walks, enjoy Harrogate.
“That has helped me, to enjoy life outside of the game.
“When I do get to the table, I know I am back at work.”
And there’ plenty of work before Christmas for Lam.
When he returns from China, he has the UK Championship qualifiers – hoping for a return to the York Barbican at the end of the month – before the Shoot Out and Scottish Open in December.
Joining Lam at the International Championship are fellow Leeds potters Grace and Oliver Lines. Both have been given tough opening games, against John Higgins and Mark Allen respectively.
York teenager Liam Pullen – who beat Graeme Dott in the qualifying round – faces Noppon Saengkham, while Lam opens up against veteran Marco Fu in Tianjin tomorrow.
“I don’t play until Sunday afternoon,” said Lam, who jetted out to China on Thursday.
“I played in Wuhan this year, losing to Barry Hawkins.
“I enjoy it in China. When you go there you get looked after properly, it makes you feel like you are a proper snooker player.
“You land at the airport, you get picked up. They literally do everything for you.
“When you go to these competitions in Europe, it’s just not the same. China is where all the money is.”
Yorkshire well represented in Scotland
Sanderson Lam is not the only player flying the Yorkshire flag in next month's BetVictor Scottish Open.
Lam will be joined in Edinburgh by Oliver Lines and Ashley Carty. Lines, 28, beat John Astley 4-0, while Rotherham's Carty, 28, overcame Andres Petrov 4-2
But Halifax teenager Stan Moody just missed out on a trip to Edinburgh. Despite battling back from 3-0 down, the 17-year-old lost 4-3 to James Cahill.
York's 18-year-old Liam Pullen lost 4-1 to Zak Surety, Sheffield's Adam Duffy was beaten 4-2 by Jordan Brown, while York's Ashley Hugill was edged out 4-3 by Scott Donaldson.
Veteran Jimmy White has reached the Scottish Open (Dec 11-17) after beating Duane Jones in the qualifiers.2023-11-04T06:06:41Z dg43tfdfdgfd