Mark Selby Makes His Fourth Career 147! | 2022 Cazoo British Open

A Pinch Of Selt

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It’s all about body fat percentage for Matthew…

Hi everyone

For the last two or three months I have been focussed on improving my fitness. It started when I was at a pro-am in Austria and I was getting changed. When I took my top off, Daniel Wells made a comment along the lines of me being overweight and hiding it well. I weighed myself and I was 14 stone. So I knew I had to do something as I used to be in good shape.

Since then I have been on a fitness regime. I have completely changed my diet because for the previous ten years I had eaten out twice a day. I used to go to Burger King or McDonalds every single day, and eat a lot of bacon rolls and other rubbish. My two previous girlfriends couldn’t believe how much junk I ate and how much money I wasted. So I got some good advice from players like David Morris, Robin Hull and Liam Highfield who are into nutrition.

On a typical day now, I have porridge for breakfast, then salmon and mashed potatoes for lunch, a couple of bananas during the afternoon, then turkey and rice for dinner. And I drink nothing but water. My body fat has gone down from 23% to 15% in three months, and my target is to get to 10% by Christmas. I haven’t found it difficult because I really enjoy eating healthy food. I have a lot more energy and I don’t get lethargic, as I did before. I have never had a good physique before so it is good to see myself changing.

I’m also doing a lot of running and I’ve had some advice from Ronnie O’Sullivan on that side of things. It’s all about getting your heart going and making your body burn the fat. My best time for 10km is 52 minutes and for 5km I’ve done 21 minutes 30 seconds. Liam and Ronnie are the best runners among the players and they are more like 40 minutes for 10km and 19 minutes for 5km. Hopefully I can keep improving my times. I’m also doing sets of ten uphill sprints, each 200m. Afterwards I sometimes feel sick, but it still feels really good.

The benefits of fitness work are massive. My resting heart rate is down to 51. And I have no doubt that it helps with snooker, especially in terms of maintaining concentration throughout a match.

Last week I won my qualifying match for the International Championship, beating Chris Norbury 6-0. I’ve just changed my cue and it was my first match with the new one so I was really pleased to win and play well. I had my previous cue for 13 years but I had felt for the last couple of years that it wasn’t quite right. I went to see John Parris and he made me two cues. John is the man, in terms of craftsmanship he is the best. The one I chose was slightly thinner than my old one and it feels perfect. I was worried about changing because it’s a big step. I spoke to Stephen Hendry and he said just bite the bullet and do it. He said he never would have changed his cue if it hadn’t been broken. But he also said that as soon as I pot my first pressure ball with the new one then I would stop worrying. And in the first frame against Norbury I potted a long red and made 77 so I settled down straight away, and it was the best I have felt for a while. The balance on the cue is different and it allows me to screw back more easily and play shots that I have never played before.

I had lost in the first round of the three previous ranking events so this was a big win for me and takes a bit of pressure off. It has given me some confidence and hopefully it can kick-start my season. The biggest three tournaments of the season are the International, the UK and the World Championship so if I can do well in those three events I’ll be fine.

Things were not great in my personal life earlier in the season, but I have got my head down now. I am practising at the Q Ball club in Chelmsford, using Mark King’s table – he has been a massive help to me.

I’m looking forward to another trip to China and going to Chengdu for the first time. I went to the last Asian Tour event and even though I lost my first match, it was good match practice and it helped me decide to change my cue. I flew to China on my own but I ended up sitting next to a 28-year-old American girl who works for Rolls-Royce. We got on well and she lives in China so I might meet her next time I am there.

I also recently had a game of golf with Hendry and the England footballer John Terry. Stephen knows John so he asked him to meet us for a game at Wisley in Surrey, and he turned up after he’d finished training with Chelsea. It was the day they signed Samuel Eto’o and he was talking about what a good player he is. He was a really nice guy and much bigger than he looks on TV – he had the biggest back I’ve ever seen! Stephen and I played against John and his mate and we lost 2&1 but it was great fun.

All the best until next time.

Matt