Snooker was one of the most popular sports in the 80’s and 90’s but since then it has been slowly going downhill.
It’s surprising to know that the 1985 world snooker championship final was watched by 18.5 million people on TV, when you look at the state of the game today.
I was big fan of snooker growing up and I still am today. Fun fact, my parents named me after the snooker player Jimmy White!
But more recently I don’t watch as much as I used to and now just watch my favourite players like Ronnie O’Sullivan or bits and pieces on the TV.
Let’s face it, the game has become boring to watch. Even when Barry Hearn took over in 2010 and tried to revitalise game, not much has really changed except for more tournaments and prize money which the players wanted.
Here are my thoughts on what’s wrong with the game and ideas to improve snooker.
1. A Shot Clock for All Tournaments
The game is just too slow. Some players take way too much time in deciding a shot especially when it is obvious, earlier this week even Graeme Dott criticised Peter Ebdon for his slow play during their match.
There is a shot clock in Premier League snooker and I think this works well and giving players a limited number of time outs, where they can take as long as they like.
You may argue that you would lose the tense tactical battles but I think it would add to the tension, and create more pressure situations if a player had to take a shot with 3 seconds left to avoid a time penalty. So therefore it would make it more exciting.
2. More Variety of Tournaments
Snooker tournaments are essentially the same every country. I think there should be more team based events like the Davis Cup in tennis and even have doubles in snooker, where the pairs alternate after every shot between them.
Ultimately it just needs more variety. Another idea would be to have a legends event with old fan favourites or maybe even mix the legends with current players.
3. More Personalities
Everyone is just too nice with the “He thinks I’m a good player, I think he’s a good player”. How boring is that?
I’m not saying turn it into boxing with trash talking and literally going head to head with your opponent, but most of the players are quite dull.
Judd Trump is supposed to be the next Ronnie and although his game is exciting, he is just so boring. Have you listened to an interview with him?
That’s why players like Ronnie will be missed from the game when he retires. A bit of excitement and unpredictability.
4. Reward Attacking Snooker
Give money to whoever makes the most centuries in a season or give a large amount for every 147 they make.
A money incentive will definitely motivate players to risk trying for a 147 if the prize money is similar to what they receive for reaching later rounds of tournaments.
Viewers would also benefit with a shot clock as well because they would see quick attacking snooker.
5. Make Snooker a Younger Game
Snooker needs to promote itself to the younger generation to help grow the game for the future.
So why not have a competition for the young players to earn a spot to play at a major tournament. It would be an X Factor style where anyone can enter plus existing junior players.
This would help gain interests from youngsters and maybe we could slowly get rid of the boring old slow players.
I think it’s difficult for more casual people to gain an interest in the game and viewing figures will never reach the heights of 18.5 million. However snooker will always remain for the hardcore fans.
I think the main issue is the speed of the game. It needs to get fast as people do not want to see players walking around the table for a few minutes every shot.
That’s why I think the shot clock is the most necessary addition needed at the moment to improve the game.
Let me know what you think in the comments about what needs to be improved.
- Snooker champ Graeme Dott tells Peter Ebdon your slow play is killing the game (dailyrecord.co.uk)
- Graeme Dott wants shot-clock introduced to snooker after claiming pedestrian potters are slowly killing the game (dailyrecord.co.uk)
- Thai snooker player succumbs to rare snooker rule (metronews.ca)