What it takes to be a success after Q School
With this year's PDC Q School creating a massive buzz, we wanted to uncover what it takes to be successful once a player wins their golden ticket.
There have been many high-profile fairy tales created post Q School with World class players emerging rapidly to fill the much-coveted spaces within the PDC top 32.
However, when you look deep into the numbers and what it takes to even keep your head above water, it's clearly not for the faint-hearted.
This year's Q School with over 600 entries across both UK and European Q School yielded 29 spaces on the main PDC tour, where winning one of these spots puts you against last year's most toughened competitors, including major winners, all out to earn as much money as possible.
World Champion Gerwyn Price, who secured his tour card on the second day of the event back in 2014, relives his first weekend on the proper tour.
The Iceman stated "Getting my tour card was amazing, but I had no idea just how much harder the proper tour was. I remember running into Michael Smith and Robert Thornton on my first weekend and was sent home early.
“However, I knew that I'd not played as well as I could do, I was still confident about surviving my first year, but it was a scary eye-opener as to the real challenge that lay ahead"
Jonny Clayton, who also secured his tour card on his first attempt at Q-school said "The pressure at Q school is immense and you feel so desperate to get through that it can leave your arm feeling tight all week.
“But it’s just the first step really, compared to the pressure and the standard on my first week on the Pro tour it was nothing. It left me understanding in no certain terms that if you didn't bring your A game, you'd be going home penniless and early."
Gezzy and Jonny are fine examples of players that adapted quickly to the brutal standard of the PDC tour, both falling back on different types of experience and both match-hardened in their own ways.
It’s this determination and experience that allows them to compete and win vital matches early on in their PDC careers and then pushes you into the position to qualify for the bigger money events, like the European Tour and TV majors.
This key pathway is what often separates the successful and unsuccessful post Q School, as ultimately if you cannot qualify for the World Championship in the first year, you really are going to struggle to maintain a tour card.
Paul Nicholson knows more than most what it takes to be successful on tour, and what rapidly sees you sliding the wrong way saying, "Looking back it's easy to gloss over the relentless standards that you need to meet week-in week-out on the tour, as two years sounds a long time to find your feet and win some games.
“However, it soon flies by with every first-round exit and no money on the board. Having been around many years, the understanding that a running average of 92, which is exceptional to maintain, can often see you struggling to recoup your investment in a relentless sport"
Naturally, everyone hopes to see more success stories created by the wonderful opportunity that Q-school offers, but it comes with a caveat that Willie O'Connor took time to come to terms with in understanding…many ships are crashed on the rocks of the PDC tour.