All this inner chimp theory would have you hopping mad around snooker table

The inner chimp can pop up anywhere, even at a penalty shootout in Brazil

Now look . . . I’ll take the first . . . then we can go from there.

Now look . . . I’ll take the first . . . then we can go from there.

Mon, May 5, 2014, 06:00

So, what kind of inner chimp have you? Rowdy or calm? Confident or fearful? Combative or timid? In Ronnie O’Sullivan’s case, his probably has a bit of all six traits, as well as being ambidextrous, while Brian Cody’s was briefly rowdy yesterday during that visit to the Tipp dug-out, before his team’s collective chimp proved triumphant.

And then there’s Jose Mourinho’s chimp which, after the week he endured, probably wishes it was an ostrich.

Now, not all of us might be convinced by psychiatrist Steve Peters’ inner chimp theory, but seeing as he’s worked with Ronnie, Chris Hoy and Victoria Pendleton, amongst others, you have to concede the results have been a bit convincing.

“The theory is that inside all our brains a human and a chimp vie for control and if the emotional chimp takes over it can be very destructive,” Kirsty Wark told us on Newsnight last week, the kind of item that might explain why Jeremy Paxman has called it a Newsnightie day, him never striking you as a man who lies awake at night thinking about, say, Ronnie’s inner chimp, nor believing it deserves time on his show.

Still, you’d have loved to have seen him chat with Ian Wrightie Wright about England’s spotkick woes, “the walk from the halfway line to the penalty spot, that’s when your inner chimp is doing his worst work, man”, he revealed.

And Peters’ latest clients are, indeed, the English football team, Kirsty telling us that he is urging the players “to tame their inner chimp”, so that should they face a penalty shoot-out in Brazil, they’ll deprive us all of a hearty chuckle by actually converting their efforts.

Liverpool, we were told, have “embraced the inner chimp philosophy like no other”, but you can always tell when a report has been updated by the slightly different sound quality in the added-in bit, the reporter noting, having suggested that their inner chimp had been so spectacularly tamed they were marching towards inevitable league glory, that after losing to Chelsea last week, the chimp might be acting up again.

It’s been acting up on occasion for Ronnie, too, at the World Championships, but with Peters on hand, watching from the audience, he’s been able to conquer all and progress to the final, taking a 3-0 lead against Mark Selby yesterday. The concern about this was that Steve Davis had promised tickets to today’s final session to Tony and Hilda from New Zealand, Ronnie’s rocketing suggesting there might be no final session at all.

Selby fought back, though, we have ourselves a game, so Tony and Hilda might not be reduced to wandering around Sheffield’s tourist sites this evening.

That’ll be a relief for Steve, and he needed all the relief he could get yesterday after his attempt to demonstrate how the game has changed, players like Ronnie and Mark now sticking their back arms heavenwards when they’re doing their potting, when, in Steve’s day, the advice was “to keep the cue as parallel as possible”.

So, Steve tried to show us how Ronnie and Mark do it, but he miscued and the ball hopped and skipped across the table, like a roundy version of Michael Flatley. “Perhaps I should have put some chalk on,” he blushed, forgetting that he had just put some chalk on.

Maybe it’s an age thing, although you’d never have thought snooker was ageist.

Still, snooker players have powers like few others, “he made a path straight through those reds, just like the Sea of Galilee,” as Willie Thorne observed while on commentating duty, a way more impressive feat than Ian Dowie credited Mesut Özil with yesterday: “He drifts past people that aren’t there.”

As Özil’s inner chimp might say, “easy peasy”.

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