Lee Walker believes ‘without any shadow of a doubt’ that Jack Lisowski will win the title he has been searching for, after Jackpot joined the coach’s growing list of clients.
The 47-year-old has long been known as coach of Mark Williams and of teenage Welsh talents Liam Davies and Riley Powell, but he is adding to his stable of players, with Lisowski coming on board late in 2023.
The six-time ranking event finalist is still hunting down his first title and Walker was delighted to get the call to try and help Lisowski win an elusive piece of silverware.
‘Jack phoned me two or three months ago looking for a coach to help him on the technical side of things,’ Walker told Metro.co.uk. ‘I think he asked Mark first, then he gave me a ring and we started working together.
‘We haven’t seen each other that much yet because we’ve both been busy, but we did our first session about two months ago.
‘I’ve always liked Jack. I can remember playing him when his dad took him to a Pro-Am and I had to give him 21 start, so that was a while back. I’ve always got on well with Jack and his father. When someone of that quality phones and asks you to help, it’s a no-brainer.’
In their limited time together, has Walker seen enough to believe Lisowski can fulfil his immense potential?
‘Yeah, without any shadow of a doubt,’ he said.
‘On the bits we have done together, you can see the talent that he has is incredible. Everybody knows that anyway, but when you see the way he can play close up, he really is a super, super talented player.’
Lisowski has put a team together to try and give himself the best chance of success, with the 32-year-old still working with former world champion Peter Ebdon on the mental side of the game.
‘He’s still with Peter as well,’ Walker explained. ‘He’s got two people trying to help him, so hopefully a bit on the table with me and a bit of what Peter is telling him, hopefully we can get him that first tournament win.’
Walker was not ready to give away any trade secrets, but says there is no set way to work with world class players and he works on strengthening whatever weakness they may have.
‘It’s different to every player,’ he said. ‘Every player has got certain things that they do really well and other things they don’t do so well. You think that these guys are perfect in every department because they’re incredible players, but some of them are still a bit out on certain things.
‘You’d think they’d be perfect but they’re a bit out and just find a way of getting the ball in the pocket. Everyone is an individual.’
The former World Seniors champion was previously working with SightRight inventor Steve Feeney, and had been limited to just coaching Williams in the pro ranks.
He has now branched out on his own, allowing him to start work with Lisowski and 12-times women’s world champ Reanne Evans, with more professionals set to come on board too.
‘It’s exciting at the minute, with Jack, obviously Mark and I’ve just taken on Reanne Evans as well,’ said Walker. ‘Touch wood, it’s going really good. I think there’s going to be a couple more pros coming on board soon as well, because I’m free for the first time to coach who I want. It’s quite busy, it’s good.
‘Basically I was always coaching with the SightRight system, with Steve I could only coach Mark and not any other pros. And up till last year I was playing myself. I was asked for help by quite a few pros, but I didn’t want to commit to other professionals because I was playing myself and I didn’t want to turn people down because I was at tournaments. I thought it was the right time to go my own way and I’m doing things on my own now.’
Things are definitely going well with Williams, with the three-time world champ recently labelling Walker ‘the best coach in the world’.
‘Yeah, I’m sure that will cost me somewhere down the line,’ laughed Walker. ‘But it is nice for him to say that.
‘There are other good coaches out there, Chris Henry, Steve Feeney, lots of other good ones. But I’m really enjoying it at the moment, it’s going well, having a nice couple of players come to me for coaching.’
Walker and Williams have known each other since they were children and the coach reckons there is still every chance of more glory to come for the 48-year-old.
‘He’s still at the business end of a lot of tournaments,’ Walker said. ‘He’s not putting in anything like he was years ago, he used to live on the table, but he’s practicing enough. Two or three hours now, with the odd day off, but at his age that’s more than enough.
‘The one thing I’ll always say about Mark, if he’s in a final with a chance of winning, nine times out of 10 he’s winning it because he certainly doesn’t worry about getting over the line or winning tournaments as he’s proved so many times in the past.’
Williams will be hoping to have a chance of winning The Masters in the coming days as he gets his campaign underway against Ali Carter on Monday evening.
Lisowski is in the opening match of the tournament against Luca Brecel on Sunday 7 January at 1pm.
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