2024 World Snooker Championship: Ronnie O’Sullivan Reveals Why Snooker Lacks a ‘Luke Littler’ Breaking into the Sport

Ronnie O'Sullivan discusses hurdles for young snooker players compared to darts, emphasising complexity, experience, mental pressure, and Luke Littler's impact, highlighting the scarcity of teenage breakthrough stars.

Louis Hobbs
Louis Hobbs

Last Updated: 2024-04-29

Naim Rosinski

5 minutes read

Analysing the Hurdles for Snooker’s Next Generation

Ronnie O'Sullivan showcased his enduring class and prowess on the green baize, securing a commanding 13-7 victory over Ryan Day in the last-16 tie at the 2024 World Snooker Championship

The match unfolded in three gripping sessions, each punctuated with moments of brilliance from both players, but ultimately, it was the legendary O'Sullivan who prevailed with his trademark flair and precision.

In the aftermath of his victory, O'Sullivan provided insights into the unique challenges young players face in breaking through in the world of snooker, drawing comparisons to other sports, notably darts, and highlighting the exceptional rise of Luke Littler in the realm of darts.

Comparing the Complexity of Snooker and Darts

O'Sullivan pointed out the stark differences in complexity between snooker and darts, emphasising the intricate nature of snooker shots compared to the relative simplicity of throwing a dart. 

"With snooker, there's so many in-between shots, there's so much to learn, there's so much safety," O'Sullivan told "In darts, once you get the action right, it should in theory go where you want." This fundamental contrast underscores the immense skill required to excel in snooker, making breakthroughs more challenging for young talents.


Image credit: WST

The Role of Experience in Snooker

Experience emerged as a crucial factor in O'Sullivan's analysis of snooker's difficulty. Reflecting on his own journey, he highlighted the mental fortitude and strategic prowess demanded by the sport. "Steve Peters [his psychiatrist] taught me to have a better head.  There’s so much to this game that young players need to learn," O'Sullivan stated. He underscored the endurance required, highlighting the gruelling nature of snooker matches compared to other sports like darts. 

"If you make it to the final here, you’re playing one match for maybe around 10 hours. Whereas in darts, you’re only playing for maybe an hour to two hours. It’s really different," O'Sullivan explained, shedding light on the mental and physical challenges unique to snooker.

Mental Pressure and Tactical Mastery

Delving into the psychological aspect of snooker, the solitary nature of the sport and the mental pressure it entails become apparent. Unlike in darts, where players have immediate opportunities to respond, snooker demands players to sit back on their own, watching their opponent clear up the table. 

A single mistake in snooker can result in conceding a frame, significantly amplifying the mental strain on players. This highlights the need for young snooker players to develop not only technical proficiency but also mental resilience to be able to fight your own thoughts, as well as your opponent. 


Image credit: WST

The Impact of Luke Littler and the Absence of Teenage Breakthrough Stars in Snooker

The meteoric rise of Luke Littler in darts has drawn attention, contrasting sharply with the scarcity of teenage breakthrough stars in snooker. Littler's success, marked by his youthful tactics and confidence, illuminates the differing dynamics between the two sports. His ability to navigate his inexperience with poise and dominate the competition underscores the challenges young snooker players encounter in making a significant impact in the sport.

Whereas in snooker, we witness Ronnie O'Sullivan, still at the peak of his powers at 48 years old. Also, the youngest player remaining in the tournament, Jak Jones, is 30 years old, highlighting the daunting challenge of breaking into the sport even in one's twenties. 

To keep up to date with the latter stages of the 2024 World Snooker Championship, including instant match reports, and exclusive interviews, stay connected with  

Louis Hobbs
Louis HobbsLead Journalist

Meet Louis Hobbs, our esteemed authority on all matters sports-related. With a wealth of knowledge and experience, Louis effortlessly emerges as our go-to expert. His particular expertise in the realms of darts and snooker sets him apart and brings a level of insight that goes beyond the ordinary. Louis also holds a deep affection for all things related to US sports, with a special emphasis on basketball and American football, which stand out as his particular favorites. His content may not resonate with you, if you don't consider Lamar Jackson the most skilled player in the NFL.