JOE Perry has urged World Snooker to help more young players get onto the professional circuit.
The 2022 Welsh Open champion reckons losing for two years can be a great – albeit painful – apprenticeship for a long and successful green-baize career.
Perry was speaking during the Cuestars Under-21 Championship day at Jesters Snooker Club, Swindon.
As well as presenting the trophies, the world number 26 worked his socks off all afternoon. He earned himself a shedload of new admirers by getting through a staggering 19 exhibition frames against the youngsters and making three centuries plus 11 other breaks of more than 50.
Standing in the entrance hall of the club during a well-deserved break in proceedings, Perry revealed his thoughts about Q School, had some wise words for the young players who have sampled life on the professional circuit and paid tribute to the Cuestars organisation.
The 47-year-old said: “I’m a big fan of Q School. It’s a fantastic safety net for relegated pros, a chance to bounce straight back.
“(But) I don’t think it’s the best course of action for wannabe junior snooker players with ambition. It’s way too tough. OK, they can get experience from it but I don’t think it’s the best way for them.
“I’d encourage them to play in it but don’t be disheartened if you don’t get through. It’s a huge step up from what they are playing at the moment.
“I’d like to see another possible route for them, perhaps a Q School that is completely void of pros and ex-pros so we do see some new faces on the tour.
“They might not be ready, they’ll get on, they’ll get beat for two years but – in the long run – it will do them good.
“I think World Snooker could do a little bit more just to push them on and give them that little bit of extra help they need.”
Why do most young players struggle during their first two years?
Perry explained: “They go onto the pro tour on the back of lots of wins at their junior or amateur level. They go in full of confidence and then reality hits them.
“There’s no getting away from it, professional snooker is a massive, massive step up from any standard they’ve being playing in.”
Perry, who has completed 30 years as a professional snooker player, added: “I turned pro in 1992. I got my first decent cheque in 1995 or 1996. I was still (ranked) 300 in the world after two years and I haven’t done too bad.
“You can’t expect to jump in there and start messing around with these big guys. Only a few players have ever done that and they are the very best the game has ever seen. For most of us, it’s a long road and you have to take a few hits along the way.
“People like Neil Robertson and Ding Junhui, they didn’t stay on the tour – first time they got on – and it didn’t do them any harm.
“There’s no experience like being on the tour and getting those hits and coming back stronger a few years later.”
Turning to Cuestars, Perry said: “I think it’s a fantastic scheme. It’s wonderful for the kids.
“It’s seven years since I’ve been here. I know a few of the ones I played last time have done well, played pro matches or been on the tour.
“I love seeing the ten and 11-year-olds. They’re all so enthusiastic and smartly dressed in their waistcoats. It’s absolutely brilliant.
“Things like this are so important. I played in junior events but nothing like this. This is one of the best things around for junior snooker. Long may it continue.”
Picture: Joe Perry (left) with some of the Cuestars players on the steps of Jesters Snooker Club.