Everyone agrees that the game needs new blood – new snooker players that can carry the game forward. The question is: how do you get the youngsters to start playing and more importantly keep on playing?
Barry Hearn has made some great efforts to bring the game to a wider audience and thus might interest people to try it at the local club. I also noticed he’s come up with something called “Snooker Week” where everyone can play for free at the local club for a week. The key to this event is that there will be a snooker instructor at every club who can assist the newcomers. That brings me to the next point: the game is so hard to learn; you need the stance, the bridge hand, the cue action (technique), the aim and so on. It doesn’t really help them that the pockets are minimal and the tables are being huge. An instructor can only teach so much in a session, but hopefully people will keep coming back for refining their game.
The problem (or may I say hinder) is that people without experience in billiard sports got nothing to gain from playing snooker. The chance of fluking is minimal and thus the new players have less chance to get the sense of achievement (which is crucial to keep interest). It’s not like in football where you kick the ball and boom you got the idea already. At least pool players will have some foundation to build on, but they too will struggle mastering the game enough to make breaks above 10.
I suppose Barry got the idea: appeal the game to a wider audience – make interest, give newcomers the opportunity to try the game (snooker week) and so on. Basically let the people come to snooker and give snooker to the people!
An idea could be some sort of cooperation with the pool world, first let people play pool and make them interested in billiards (easier to learn and make them keep on playing) then introduce them to snooker.