LUCA Brecel has attempted to address a slightly stalled career after a much-hyped arrival on the tour scene by re-hiring former coach Chris Henry.

Henry, a former snooker professional, is probably best known in recent months for helping transform the career of Shaun Murphy.

Though also qualified to help players with technical adjustments, as has been the case with Murphy, Henry is acknowledged for his expertise in coping successfully with the extreme mental demands of elite sport.

Stephen Hendry and Peter Ebdon, two more former world champion clients bringing his tally to three, have also worked with Henry so young Belgian prospect Brecel would appear to be in good hands once again.

Brecel and Henry, who have been back in tandem for a couple of months, spent two full days at work earlier this week at the Luca Brecel Snooker Academy in Dilsen-Stokkem in the east of Belgium.

Though the world No66 has seen his progress slow down somewhat the main tour is a tough school and there is certainly no sense of a crisis. At 19 Brecel does have plenty of time, but he does need to be on the right track.

The expectations and attention were considerable after his exploits in the junior and amateur ranks, not least because Belgium and mainland Europe as a whole are crying out for a real contender, and all before he had actually achieved anything of note at the very top level.

Though some of his mental coaching and personal development techniques are harnessed by Henry to train staff, management and executives at companies and for other groups such as school governors, snooker remains his highest-profile area of involvement.

And it could be just what Brecel needs, because the youngster hailed some years ago as the ‘next big thing’ has found the going tough of late.

There has been speculation surrounding Brecel, who turned pro back in 2011 at just 16, that he may not have always shown the correct level of dedication in the past couple of years and some focus has been lacking.

Whatever the truth of that, there has been plenty of evidence of a special talent in many of his outings even as an amateur in various tournaments, and in qualifying for the World Championships at the age of just 17 in 2012.

And of course later that year he came so close to a UK Championship semi-final place, losing 6-5 to Murphy in York after spurning great late chances on the pink to secure a biggest career victory.

Brecel did show great fortitude in fighting back from 3-1 down on Thursday in the Indian Open qualifiers in Barnsley to beat Lu Ning 4-3, with breaks of 83 and 81 to seal victory.

You don’t do that unless you are a very good player, it secured a spot on the plane to Mumbai in March and can perhaps act as a springboard for the rest of the season for him.


Photograph courtesy of World Snooker