PDA

View Full Version : Choking - Why we do this


MuchoBurrito
07-28-2016, 09:06 AM
I am a chronic choker.

Last night at league for example I followed the cue ball straight into the side pocket after the 8. I have no words for this, there's nothing to learn or even practice here, I will execute the shot correctly 100% of the time if I practice it (similar things like this have happened before, where I go to practice a shot missed during a tourney or league, and I execute it correctly 50/50 or 60/60 times in practice afterwards.)

I'm seriously considering stopping playing league pool entirely, because I can't handle watching myself do things like this.

For some reason, my play when I'm on a team is garbage. Playing individually even for money is different, I can play just fine for money. But throw me on a team and I turn into a completely different player. I miss easy pots, can't see patterns, and just make continuously really bad choices at the table.

Anybody else have any choking stories?

... Or better yet, ideas/suggestions on why we do this, and how to overcome it?

drv4
07-28-2016, 09:13 AM
It's hard to hold the cue and play when your hands are around your neck.

Really got nothing for you. I'm competitive, I don't need money to play well. I just love to win, absolutely hate losing. Whether it's a league, tourney, gambling match, I play the same.

JAMSGOLF
07-28-2016, 09:16 AM
I am a chronic choker.

Last night at league for example I followed the cue ball straight into the side pocket after the 8. I have no words for this, there's nothing to learn or even practice here, I will execute the shot correctly 100% of the time if I practice it (similar things like this have happened before, where I go to practice a shot missed during a tourney or league, and I execute it correctly 50/50 or 60/60 times in practice afterwards.)

I'm seriously considering stopping playing league pool entirely, because I can't handle watching myself do things like this.

For some reason, my play when I'm on a team is garbage. Playing individually even for money is different, I can play just fine for money. But throw me on a team and I turn into a completely different player. I miss easy pots, can't see patterns, and just make it so continuously really bad choices at the table.

Anybody else have any choking stories?

... Or better yet, ideas/suggestions on why we do this, and how to overcome it?


My thoughts would be to put money on the line. I know in most leagues you're not supposed to gamble. However, you can force yourself into a donation situation should you lose. Meaning, tell yourself that if you lose the match you're going to donate $XX to the team...or a charity of your choice. Make it enough that you don't want to lose it...

MuchoBurrito
07-28-2016, 09:17 AM
It's hard to hold the cue and play when your hands are around your neck.

Yeah, this is a good point. I'm working on not beating myself up during matches.


Really got nothing for you. I'm competitive, I don't need money to play well. I just love to win, absolutely hate losing. Whether it's a league, tourney, gambling match, I play the same.

My problem is that I'm super competitive too. I play to win, I make notes of the shots I miss and my weaknesses and the I practice those specific things, etc etc. I've been putting in serious hours lately, and while I'm watching my skill level go up and up, my level of play in team-competition hasn't changed one iota.

justadub
07-28-2016, 09:18 AM
Its a mental thing, certainly. I've struggled with it often.

Just trying to keep your thoughts where they belong, and not wandering is a challenge. Let alone thinking about how "this shot wins the game" or worse "don't miss this one or he'll get out" or any such stuff...

I've been trying to really focus on the shot, and trying to visualize it going into the pocket.

octy81
07-28-2016, 09:21 AM
It happens to all of us , we put this pressure on our selves. Example you could be a high skill level playing a lower skill level and you know you should be running through that person but everything is going bad for you your teams looking at you like what the hell , you shouldn't be losing . We put that added stress on ourselves , so now you start second guessing yourself what was once an easy shot is like 10 times harder and now you become anxious. Just take your time set up and if it doesn't feel right stand back up and readjust. Remember to breath and follow through every shot hope that helps

justadub
07-28-2016, 09:24 AM
Making sure you don't catch yourself subconsciously gripping the cue too tightly, as well....

bdorman
07-28-2016, 09:32 AM
It sounds like league pressure is causing you to lose concentration.

One thing you might try is to get up-and-down on the shot a couple of times. Even if, after you're down on the shot and it looks good, get back up and start over. The extra time and effort might help you focus on the game/shot and minimize the distractions.

Watch Dennis Orcullo; he's up-and-down at least twice (and often times, three or four times) on nearly every shot. It's not just a physical thing of "does the shot feel right?" It's also a mental focusing of the job at hand.

poolguy4u
07-28-2016, 09:36 AM
I am a chronic choker.

Last night at league for example I followed the cue ball straight into the side pocket after the 8. I have no words for this, there's nothing to learn or even practice here, I will execute the shot correctly 100% of the time if I practice it (similar things like this have happened before, where I go to practice a shot missed during a tourney or league, and I execute it correctly 50/50 or 60/60 times in practice afterwards.)

I'm seriously considering stopping playing league pool entirely, because I can't handle watching myself do things like this.

For some reason, my play when I'm on a team is garbage. Playing individually even for money is different, I can play just fine for money. But throw me on a team and I turn into a completely different player. I miss easy pots, can't see patterns, and just make continuously really bad choices at the table.

Anybody else have any choking stories?

... Or better yet, ideas/suggestions on why we do this, and how to overcome it?



:wink:

It's all in your head....

Pool is such an easy game. The same shots come up all the time. It's nothing but memory and repetition.

The pockets are twice as big as the balls and they don't move...they just sit there like sitting ducks. There is a ledge in the pockets---when a ball gets too close to the ledge it drops in because of gravity.

Don't try and miss close. Try and make the balls drop in the hole. The more to the center of the pocket, the better chance you have.

Simple game with round balls and sticks. This game has been around for a long time and not much ever changes.

And when shooting, there is only one place to hit on the object ball to make it. Just hit that spot so the path of the ball goes into the hole. Six hole to shoot in so there is always a choice.

So your eyes glaze over and your body tightens up and you go blind. Just remember shooting the eight ball or nine ball is just another ball and easy shot.

Don't make the game into something tuff. It's an easy game.

The balls only go where you hit them. It's you against the table. No one is stopping you from making balls when it's your turn at the table.

It's your table and you don't want to share or let anyone else play on your table. Just run out and don't let other people play.

It's all in your head....



:thumbup:



.

Chopdoc
07-28-2016, 09:44 AM
My problem is that I'm super competitive too. I play to win, I make notes of the shots I miss and my weaknesses and the I practice those specific things,


Performance anxiety.


I have choked. Most of us know the feeling. But it can be chronic.


I deal with this all the time in medical students. Super high performance, ultra-competitive individuals. They obsessively study and practice, usually over-study and over-practice.

I love their faces when I force them to put the notebooks away, I don't allow them. And they only get very limited use of textbooks. That terrifies them. If they won't stop using them I confiscate them.


Fun stuff. For me.


.

one stroke
07-28-2016, 09:46 AM
It's hard to hold the cue and play when your hands are around your neck.

Really got nothing for you. I'm competitive, I don't need money to play well. I just love to win, absolutely hate losing. Whether it's a league, tourney, gambling match, I play the same.

So you have never missed a easy shot for the cheese ,,


1

Tramp Steamer
07-28-2016, 09:47 AM
Well, when your old lady is ragging you about spending so much time at the pool hall, what are you going to do. I mean come on, there's just so much shit a guy can......what? You meant choking as in missing a critical shot?
My bad. Carry on. :)

GoldCrown
07-28-2016, 10:18 AM
Anybody else have any choking stories?


:grin::grin::grin::grin::grin: oh yeah

erhino41
07-28-2016, 10:21 AM
I struggled with this massively when I was teenager. Only in tournament play though. I progressed far faster than my peers and should have won every tournament I played given the competition I was facing. I would unexplainably butcher shots for zero apparent reason. I don't know if the assumption that I should win played into it out of I just was not used to the pressure.

Some good things to try:

Don't rush the shot. Many players will try to play faster to keep out the negative instead of finding a way to defeat the negative. Keep the same pace and pre shot routine for SSL shots regardless of difficulty and situation.

Keep that back hand loose. The hands will naturally tense up when you are faced with a pressure situation. This effect will get worse the more you miss. Pay attention to grip pressure all the time when you play. Even if you make it part of your pre shot routine to tell yourself to loosen your hand on every shot.

Try breathing and counting exercises. The part of the brain that is responsible for breath control and counting is the same part of the brain that causes the "mental" misses. Just by counting to three while inhaling and counting to three while exhaling will completely distract this portion of your brain, leaving the rest to do what it should do, calculate and execute.

Do some mental conditioning. Learn how your brain responds to the pressure and try to find ways to control or even reverse this. The breath control exercise may help with this as well as meditation amongst other things. Maybe try some music, stimulate the alpha brain waves. Also try some relaxation techniques before you go to the pool hall. Not too relaxing as you want your brain to be alert.

Stay away from caffeine, nicotine and other stimulants. They will stimulate the brain into more of a beta state, which is a normal thing, however too much and the fight or flight mentality kicks in. Some people thrive off of this, which is why some people don't ever want to play without money on the line. In some people this makes it harder to perform finite tasks with the accuracy needed. I cannot under any circumstances shoot pool while I am caffeinated.

Try alcohol. There is a reason some people really do improve when they have a couple of drinks in them. The effects alcohol has on the brain serve to suppress beta waves in the brain, leaving you in a more alpha dominant state, which is typically a more relaxed waking state. Too much alcohol and you will suppress this activity to much and lose cognitive function which is imperative to play pool.

Try music or ear plugs while you shoot. Not having the distractions can keep you in a better more relaxed state of mind for shooting. Knowing that other people are relying on you to shoot well makes pool a very different thing. Wondering what others think of of us is a perfectly natural and human thing, however it can blur our judgment and make it difficult to play our own game. Even if you don't actively do it, your mind will listen and react to the sound your teammates make. These sounds even when positive can take you out of a relaxed state of mind making finite focus harder and harder.

Remember pool really is ninety percent mental. To have to learn alot about human nature and your own mental makeup in order to be truly successful. Good luck.

Mr. C
07-28-2016, 10:38 AM
Sometimes playing for a team is more difficult that individual play because we never want to feel like we've let the team down. It's a different kind of pressure.

justadub
07-28-2016, 10:48 AM
Sometimes playing for a team is more difficult that individual play because we never want to feel like we've let the team down. It's a different kind of pressure.

I've maintained that this is true quite often, especially in threads where a certain element here on AZB insists that unless you have money on a match, you never feel any pressure and as such will never learn to play better.....letting one's teammates down is a big concern for many folks.

Ak Guy
07-28-2016, 10:59 AM
Pool is unlike any other game in my opinion. Unless you love the game and understand it and what it takes to be above average it must be as boring to watch as golf, bowling and cars going in circles at high speed.

Knowing any shot can be missed and wanting to win creates pressure. If the stakes are high it is magnified. Embrace the "pressure" and shoot through it. It is one of the things that proves the game is off interest to you.

I think running scenarios through your head and visualizing a "pressure shot" and situation helps. Tell your self over and over again to stay calm and make the shot.

I was taught to do "mental preparation" many years ago in some combat hand gun courses and I believe it applies to many situations we may face in life.

If pressure ever goes away in your game you may become bored with pool, so embrace it!

MuchoBurrito
07-28-2016, 12:44 PM
I struggle on teams because I play more conservatively when others are depending on my success. Playing only for myself, I'll take those tough shots, be more aggressively offensive, and generally it pays off. Playing for a team, I'll question whether the tough shot is the best choice which can lead to missing it or choosing an ill-advised safety after convincing myself it's the smart move. I play under my level during team play as a result.

This rings a bell.

I second guess myself a lot in team play. I play safe when I should play aggressive. And I find myself thinking of my teammates when I should be thinking about the table.

lfigueroa
07-28-2016, 01:07 PM
I am a chronic choker.

Last night at league for example I followed the cue ball straight into the side pocket after the 8. I have no words for this, there's nothing to learn or even practice here, I will execute the shot correctly 100% of the time if I practice it (similar things like this have happened before, where I go to practice a shot missed during a tourney or league, and I execute it correctly 50/50 or 60/60 times in practice afterwards.)

I'm seriously considering stopping playing league pool entirely, because I can't handle watching myself do things like this.

For some reason, my play when I'm on a team is garbage. Playing individually even for money is different, I can play just fine for money. But throw me on a team and I turn into a completely different player. I miss easy pots, can't see patterns, and just make continuously really bad choices at the table.

Anybody else have any choking stories?

... Or better yet, ideas/suggestions on why we do this, and how to overcome it?


Wrote this a long time ago. Some of it may strike a cord...or not.

#####
If you're playing in a league, or a tournament, or for money, or maybe just playing someone you'd REALLY like to beat, chances are you're going to experience the pounding heart and sweaty shaking hands syndrome -- that's just normal. (You may also cease to mentally function and just experience brain lock :-) The solution is really pretty simple: repeatedly put yourself in the same situation until the unusual becomes normal. Eventually, you'll walk up to the table to shoot the money ball just as relaxed as you would take a stroll through the park. A good thing to do is to understand the psychological side of playing pool and for this I recommend Dr. Faucher's "Pleasures of Small Motions."



The second part of what's going on revolves around unrealistic expectations. This boils down to simply believing that it is within your ability to make shots that you cannot. The problem for most of us is that we watch the pros in person, or on television, or perhaps on an Accu-Stats tape, and we see the good players at our local room and they make it look so easy. They make it look *so* easy we lose sight of how crushingly difficult the game actually is and we become disappointed in ourselves when we can't do this simple thing. I recall watching Willie Mosconi run a 100 and I literally rushed to my pool hall thinking, "Well, that's so easy -- anyone should be able to do that!" Of course when I got there and couldn't run more than 10 balls.



And then in practice, in the absence of pressure or distractions, we set up our easiest and favoritest shots, on our preferred table, and fall into a selective memory trap, remembering the shots we whip in (with BIH) and forgetting how many times me missed it or blew the position. From this stems a totally unrealistic set of personal expectations. The next time you think you're "running racks," pay closer attention. Are you really breaking and running out? Or are you just spreading the balls around the table with no clusters, or balls on the rail? Are you starting with an easy BIH? Are you really doing it repeatedly. After all, think of all the shots you'd have to have mastered to do it repeatedly. It's one thing to break them, sinking a bunch of balls, having a wide open spread, and being perfect for your first shot. It's another for the balls to bunch up, with several on the rail, and a long thin cut to start off with...



A few days ago I gave a lesson to a guy who was beating himself up saying, "I can't make a ball today." I had been watching him play and told him that one thing every good pool player has is good probability and risk assessment skills. Setting up a moderately difficult cut shot he had missed in a match, I asked him if he thought he should be able to make it. He said, "Of course." I told him that I guessed he was actually something like one in five for the shot AND if he tried shooting it with the position that he had attempted during the match, he was more like one in 12. He looked at me like I was nuts and I told him to go ahead and shoot it without position -- to just cinch the ball.



One in six.



The third part of the breakdown is getting into a pressure situation and just trying too hard -- unconsciously changing our pre-shot routine and stroke mechanics. In trying to be more careful and precise in our execution, we change the way we shoot -- often times, the changes are subtle, but significant enough to throw off our alignment and stroke. I believe everything from the pre-shot routine to finally pulling the trigger :-) is an organic whole. In other words, you can't just say I'm going to use a certain bridge, a certain grip, with a certain stance and head position. It's also the movements you employ to get into your stance and the motion you employ during your pre-shot routine that impact the final outcome. When we slow down and try to be more careful, everything gets altered. The answer here is to pay attention to the motions and rhythms that work best for you in practice and try as best you can to stick with them in actual play.



Lastly, as we're mid-match and we realize "the wheels are coming off" and we watch them go spinning merrily down the road, we start to think negatively. The mind becomes filled with questions: "Man, why am I playing so bad?" "What am I doing wrong?!" "Why me?!" Of course every bad roll we get (and every good roll our opponent gets) contributes to the toxic sludge that starts coming out our ears. The real problem here is that in thinking about these things, we stop thinking about the shots and our execution. Instead of thinking, "I need to be careful about hitting this shot too hard and may have to apply a bit more english to compensate coming off the rail" we're still thinking about the last shot we blew. Think about the bad stuff after the match, not during.



So here's the thing: playing good pool is hard. Real hard. Playing good pool under pressure is even harder. To compete successfully in the arena you have to step into the arena as often as you can until it becomes your second home. And, you need to have a realistic set of expectations about yourself and your game. Playing good pool demands perfect, consistent precision -- not just once or twice, but on every shot. And to do that, you must have developed a body of knowledge and muscle memory that takes years of play to achieve. It's hard work, concentration, study, experimentation, and hitting thousands upon thousands of balls. And lastly, you have to have your head on straight and a clear thinking mind.
#####



Lou Figueroa

measureman
07-28-2016, 01:18 PM
As a last resort you can try and get your Doctor to prescribe Atavan. The generic is Lorazapam.
Its a mild anti anxiety drug when taken as proscribed.
Calms the nerves down with out putting you in a fog as long as you don't gulp them down.

Bank it
07-28-2016, 01:36 PM
1. Being result oriented instead of process oriented.

Do any of the following apply to you?
A. Play better in practice than in competition.
B. Get distracted & play worse when being watched by others.
C. Nervous or scared in competition.

If you answered yes to any of the aforementioned issues you have a lack of mental toughness which is a lack of focus. This being a direct result of being results oriented versus process oriented.

Ak147
07-28-2016, 08:37 PM
It's not just a physical thing of "does the shot feel right?" It's also a mental focusing of the job at hand.

Very good point. I never considered getting up when my mind was wandering while shooting.

philly
07-29-2016, 03:42 AM
A good steady repeatable PSR is the only cure for this that I know of.

DOA
07-29-2016, 06:21 AM
A friend went to a golf instructor who uses brain censors to show why people choke on short putts. He could tell when you're using your left side of your brain or right. When people choke they are using the left side. So the resetting of your stance etc. could also reset your brain thought process. You're not thinking of the proper aspect, most likely of what happens if you miss etc.

Tramp Steamer
07-29-2016, 06:38 AM
Alright, I usually don't do this, but I'm going to be serious for a moment, and pass a long a tip given to me by my great-grandfather Jeremiah Steamer, who got it from Bartholomew Lassiter. Bartholomew Lassiter was the great-great-grandfather of Luther Lassiter, and was the man responsible for teaching young Luther everything he knew about pool.
Bartholomew said that choking up on a shot, or 'freezing', as he called it, was due to nothing more than tension that had built up in the head, shoulders, and arms.
The cure to the problem, he said, was simple. All you do when you bend over the table to take the shot is, smile. Or, at least, shoot with your mouth open.
He explained that with an open mouth, tension melts away and so does buck fever.
So there you go. A helpful hint from days gone by. :smile:

Tramp Steamer
07-29-2016, 08:03 AM
Alright, I usually don't do this, but I'm going to be serious for a moment, and pass a long a tip given to me by my great-grandfather Jeremiah Steamer, who got it from Bartholomew Lassiter. Bartholomew Lassiter was the great-great-grandfather of Luther Lassiter, and was the man responsible for teaching young Luther everything he knew about pool.
Bartholomew said that choking up on a shot, or 'freezing', as he called it, was due to nothing more than tension that had built up in the head, shoulders, and arms.
The cure to the problem, he said, was simple. All you do when you bend over the table to take the shot is, smile. Or, at least, shoot with your mouth open.
He explained that with an open mouth, tension melts away and so does buck fever.
So there you go. A helpful hint from days gone by. :smile:


I might add that Bartholomew also believed that excess gas in the lower intestines was also responsible for 'choked' shots. He advocated deep-knee bends for immediate relief, and high-colonics if the problem was more severe.
Bartholomew was often seen shooting, farting, and smiling, all at the same time. :grin:

wincardona
07-29-2016, 08:19 AM
There are a lot of suggestions that one can give to another to get them back on track, which most of us already know, but the one single most important fact to get across is...IT'S JUST A GAME.... and nothing else. What ever happens you will always be able to come back tomorrow or next week and play again. With this mindset you will eventually settle in.

Bill Incardona

poolguy4u
07-29-2016, 08:36 AM
A good steady repeatable PSR is the only cure for this that I know of.

:killingme:


:speechless:



:shocked2:



ummmm.....no.



.

bazkook
07-29-2016, 09:13 AM
Sometimes playing for a team is more difficult that individual play because we never want to feel like we've let the team down. It's a different kind of pressure.

I agree. I put more pressure on myself when other people are depending on me and I play more conservatively during doubles or team play and more aggressively during singles play. I usually play in a local doubles snooker tournament and I have not been doing well because I am constantly thinking about what my partner will think about me if I screw up. However when I gamble one-on-one after the tournament I play much more loose and with less pressure. I guess the key is playing your game regardless of whether it is teamplay or singles.

Gorramjayne
07-29-2016, 12:02 PM
People respond to stress differently. Your first option is to try to embrace the stress and harness it to will yourself to play better and enhance your focus. Even if that doesn't work, the embarrassment of choking should drive you to practice harder. You'll get even better, and choke even harder for a little while. Then you'll get used to shooting under pressure and your true game will start to show up.

Playing a lot of team sports I was used to harnessing pre-game jitters to will myself to play better than in practice. For pool, I remember my first several matches playing league went like that, boosting my performance, but then I had some bad chokes trying to keep up that level of performance. It turns out, pool is a little different than other sports, you have too much time to psych yourself out. After a match I shouldn't have lost, I'd stay up shooting until 4 am. You need a little self doubt so you strive to get better but not so much you fall into a pattern of not being able to overcome it when you need to.

You'll adjust and get used to the pressure. It may not be this season. Or even the next. But it will come. If it's also physiological symptoms, you can try taking a supplement like Rhodiola Rosea or Phenibut to help manage stress. To increase mental focus, while Cheqio is trendy in the pool scene, I find Brain Toniq works even better (keep it on hand for work as well.) Get in good shape. Try taking some sort of choline and B vitamins. If you really want to pull out the big guns you can take something like Noopept or Phenylpiracetam.

One Pocket John
07-29-2016, 04:02 PM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W02NfaMnT6I

John

7forlife
07-29-2016, 08:42 PM
You probably got your answer already and there must have been some good replies within these 3 pages, but i didn't read them all so here is what i think and discovered over time.

For those that just don't have the skill then nerves affect fundaments, for those with a bit more skill experience in said situation falls into play but for a select few the problem is settling.
What i mean by that is the individual who may play other shots up to that point better but then fail in the end tends to "settle" for just making the ball. See during the rack one knew that they "had" to do "this" in order to run or stay in the game but when came to the last ball it became "all i have to do is make this so i'll just ________", and there in lies the problem. You let up on the stroke, anticipate the hit and so many other this resulting in The Choke.
There will be times when "just making the ball" will be fine, both during the rack and at the end but during the rack you are still shooting at a goal rather than just "making the ball", maybe you're avoiding being straight or on the rail so you tend to stroke or focus accordingly but not on that game ball, so you play to hit it with draw not taking into account the distance or conditions and end up having the draw run out and turn into roll, you scratch and walk off to go break your cue (at the butt, not just the shaft) and sell you break cue cause F@$& THIS GAME.

Like most advice we've heard it before say that "we know" then for some reason fail to do, so here it is once more.
Stay focused up, play for an imaginary ball if possible, play for a certain part (not spot) of the table i.e. break the table in to 9 squares and play to land in one of them (take that corner shot as an example adn you'll see that almost never to a pro "just make the ball" they play it with outside and go like 2-3 rails just so that the hit the ball firm or "let the stroke out", or you can do what i do sometimes, play it just like one of the countless shots i've hit in practice and treat it just the same, that shot has to look like one of the many i've set up and played to get to X so then that's what i do.

Best of luck in defeating that demon that we've all ran across

dwalding
07-29-2016, 11:00 PM
I think it is easy to to forget the path of the cueball, when you are on the game winning 8Ball, 9Ball, or 10Ball, because you don't have a final position you are needing the cueball to come to rest.
The solution is easy, play the shot with the intent to position the cueball in a specific place, just like you would with any other shot. I suggest playing the cueball into one of the middle diamonds on the rail when ever possible, always pay attention to cueball speed.
PROBLEM SOLVED

BmoreMoney
07-30-2016, 12:04 AM
If you play good for the chez , you sound like you might be like myself. If I'm not playing for money I lose interest VERY quickly. So leagues, practice , even tourneys I lose interest which in turn causes lost concentration and ultimately results in just beating balls around and not caring whatsoever and in fact playing turns into a chore and wishing I wasn't doing it. Now if in action, for a decent amount, I can stay focused for up to 12 hours or even more. Not saying this is for sure what's going on but kinda sounds like it if you can play well for money but dog it in other situations.

tonythetiger583
07-30-2016, 12:16 AM
1. Being result oriented instead of process oriented.

Do any of the following apply to you?
A. Play better in practice than in competition.
B. Get distracted & play worse when being watched by others.
C. Nervous or scared in competition.

If you answered yes to any of the aforementioned issues you have a lack of mental toughness which is a lack of focus. This being a direct result of being results oriented versus process oriented.


Sounds just like me.

tonythetiger583
07-30-2016, 12:27 AM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W02NfaMnT6I

John

Wow, my focus is like 2 seconds, shit...2 seconds. dammit...3 seconds...crud...

So pretty much every time I exhale, I lose focus. That can't be good.

MuchoBurrito
07-30-2016, 11:15 PM
1. Being result oriented instead of process oriented.

Do any of the following apply to you?
A. Play better in practice than in competition.
B. Get distracted & play worse when being watched by others.
C. Nervous or scared in competition.

If you answered yes to any of the aforementioned issues you have a lack of mental toughness which is a lack of focus. This being a direct result of being results oriented versus process oriented.

Very true.

This is helpful thanks.

MuchoBurrito
07-30-2016, 11:17 PM
Wow, my focus is like 2 seconds, shit...2 seconds. dammit...3 seconds...crud...

So pretty much every time I exhale, I lose focus. That can't be good.

The ironic thing is that I've been doing this exercise (mindfulness meditation) regularly for years. :)

Johnnyt
07-31-2016, 12:01 AM
Most choke because they play for more $ than they can afford. Some people will choke for just about any amount of $.

I had a 20 yo that played in my poolroom that ran a 100 + almost every day for NO money. I took him a few towns over to another poolroom and put about $200 (1960's) on him and he couldn't run 5 balls. Johnnyt

Bank it
07-31-2016, 03:24 AM
Very true.

This is helpful thanks.



Well I see in another post you stated you practice mindfulness meditation & that's what it's all about, being in the moment.

SilverCue
07-31-2016, 04:43 AM
Develop a rigid PSR (Pre Shot Routine ) and follow it in practice and play. The more detailed the PSR the better.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-N910A using Tapatalk

tommypabs
07-31-2016, 08:27 AM
I suggest I Came To Win - The Monk
Book helped me a lot

Skratch
08-01-2016, 07:53 AM
My advice to you is to simplify your game. Not just PSR, but thinking about ANYTHING else. Just focus on the task at hand. If you miss, you're not a Pro. Forgive yourself and move on to the next opportunity at the table. If something doesn't feel right, stop, re-center yourself, re-focus on the task at hand, and execute. Sometimes people choke on the game ball. I tell them that the game ball doesnt exist. All of them are the same. Every shot, even the hard ones. And above all, enjoy the game. If you aren't having fun, then what are you playing for?

philly
08-01-2016, 08:08 AM
:killingme:


:speechless:



:shocked2:



ummmm.....no.



.

Your suggestion oh wise one?

poolguy4u
08-01-2016, 09:56 AM
Your suggestion oh wise one?

:wave:



See post number #9. No matter what you do though,

it's hard to stop the eyes from glazing over and feeling frightened that you might miss a ball and lose a game.


We used to unbutton the top button on our shirts to stop choking but that didn't help either.

That's why in the Pottstown area, all the leagues are partners. That way you might
get lucky and your partner will be shooting the eight ball.



:lmao:



.

philly
08-01-2016, 10:15 AM
:wave:



See post number #9. No matter what you do though,

it's hard to stop the eyes from glazing over and feeling frightened that you might miss a ball and lose a game.


We used to unbutton the top button on our shirts to stop choking but that didn't help either.

That's why in the Pottstown area, all the leagues are partners. That way you might
get lucky and your partner will be shooting the eight ball.



:lmao:



.

You live in Pottstown? Your info says MD. I live not far from Pottstown but don't play team. You seem a little stuck on yourself oh omniscient one. Enjoy your distasteful self. Creep.

FranCrimi
08-01-2016, 02:08 PM
Being a champion often means overcoming reality.

I can't remember which professional athlete said that but that saying above always sticks with me. Choking happens when you realize the magnitude of the situation and aren't sure if you can rise to the occasion.

The only way to overcome that is to believe in yourself, in spite of the odds of your succeeding and regardless of the reality of the magnitude of the situation.

SilverDevil
02-15-2017, 07:51 AM
I am a chronic choker.

Last night at league for example I followed the cue ball straight into the side pocket after the 8. I have no words for this, there's nothing to learn or even practice here, I will execute the shot correctly 100% of the time if I practice it (similar things like this have happened before, where I go to practice a shot missed during a tourney or league, and I execute it correctly 50/50 or 60/60 times in practice afterwards.)

I'm seriously considering stopping playing league pool entirely, because I can't handle watching myself do things like this.

For some reason, my play when I'm on a team is garbage. Playing individually even for money is different, I can play just fine for money. But throw me on a team and I turn into a completely different player. I miss easy pots, can't see patterns, and just make continuously really bad choices at the table.

Anybody else have any choking stories?

... Or better yet, ideas/suggestions on why we do this, and how to overcome it?

I agree. I have felt this many times in league. I am having a year like that right now. I went from being a masters player in South Dakota where I think the quality of pool is unusually high to losing APA matches against a six when I only need 2 games to his 5. Last week I missed 3 eightballs and three times I made excellent breakouts to open the table up and miss an easy shot or make bad shape on an easy ball. Makes me want to quit. It also makes me hit the practice sessions harder. Since then I have run a lot of stroke drills (back to the basics) and I am now running 3/5 tables on my home table but it is still not translating to league.

Ak Guy
02-15-2017, 08:32 AM
Under extreme stress us humans loose fine motor skills, but can usually still perform gross motor skills. I was taught this long ago in some hand gun training.

We were taught that it was easier to rack a slide when moving and being shot at then it was to use your thumb to hit the slide release.

It is easy to grab a hammer when excited and beat some thing with it. It is hard to run around the block and stop and thread a needle in a hurry with every one watching you and adoration and money and self satisfaction is your waiting reward.

Pool is unlike any thing else and requires fine motor skills for many shots, especially as the difficulty of the shot increases. Which is what happens when we are stressed by the importance of the shot. I can think of no other sport where an 1/8 of an inch can cost one a shot, game, a match, a title. There are many more world class football, basket ball, etc. players then world class pool players. Which is one of the reasons there is no money in it compared to other sports.

I believe mental conditioning can help one to over come some of this. Picture making important shots under pressure and always picture your stroke and the ball going in the pocket, picture the shot over and over, telling your self what you will do.

Mental conditioning has been taught to police and combat troops for many years and is a proven tool. But, I do not believe it can cover up poor basic skills. In other words, it won't turn an average shooter into a great shooter. But, it will help one to maintain their shooting skill level when the pressure is on.

GoldenFlash
02-15-2017, 09:15 AM
There is one thing 99% of all players do differently from what they've been doing in running balls...when they get to the money ball.
And it is not a 'fear' thing either.
They do not play position for another ball, as they have been doing...since there are no more balls remaining. This, in itself, breaks up the rhythm that has been established and contributes greatly to fouling up on the money ball.
So, an aid, not a magic cure, for the problem is to merely play simple, easy, position on an imaginary ball (that isn't there) when shooting the money ball.
That comes from no less an authority than Billy Johnson...(you guys would remember him as Wade Crane). NOT from me.

Black-Balled
02-15-2017, 09:20 AM
.nothing to learn?! Say whuuuut!?!?!

Icon of Sin
02-15-2017, 09:21 AM
Spoke to a local pro caliber player on Saturday that I am friends with. I asked him, how do you stop making the stupid little mistakes... the errant miss... bad shape on an easy shot... the idiotic shot selection that did not do anything remotely like you thought it would.

His replay... play better players more often and always play for something. He said it doesnt have to be any crazy amount or anything like that. Dont play for fun anymore. If you are going to play, then play by yourself. If you play someone, make it for something and make sure they are better then you. You dont have to donate. You can get weight to make it fair.

He plays incredible and I trust his advice...

Koop
02-15-2017, 09:22 AM
For me it's usually a lack of confidence, concentration, or both.

Ekojasiloop
02-15-2017, 10:21 AM
Leagues are the worst thing for anyone's game.

Thinking too much leads to choking I think. Just concentrate on the task and shoot balls in.

lorider
02-15-2017, 11:27 AM
I agree. I have felt this many times in league. I am having a year like that right now. I went from being a masters player in South Dakota where I think the quality of pool is unusually high to losing APA matches against a six when I only need 2 games to his 5. Last week I missed 3 eightballs and three times I made excellent breakouts to open the table up and miss an easy shot or make bad shape on an easy ball. Makes me want to quit. It also makes me hit the practice sessions harder. Since then I have run a lot of stroke drills (back to the basics) and I am now running 3/5 tables on my home table but it is still not translating to league.

Say what ? ? How in the heck do you go from a masters rating in whatever league or rating system you were in to an apa 3 ?

fastone371
02-15-2017, 11:41 AM
Say what ? ? How in the heck do you go from a masters rating in whatever league or rating system you were in to an apa 3 ?

I was kinda wondering the same thing myself. Someone already beat me to it but make sure to play position on the money ball. The other thing that has really helped me is actually pointing to a specific spot where you want the cue ball to land, especially getting a good look at it from your shooting line. Just thinking "over there" is not accurate enough, it seems to really help when you pinpoint a spot. One more thing, it does no good to pinpoint that spot after your shot and you find you are hooked, I seem to see so many people do that. Its kinda like "no shit, you wanted the cue ball there and not locked up to that other ball, huh"?

MOJOE
02-15-2017, 11:53 AM
Leagues are the worst thing for anyone's game.

Thinking too much leads to choking I think. Just concentrate on the task and shoot balls in.

This statement about "Leagues being the worst thing for anyone's game." is ridiculous. It gives the average player (the vast majority) a chance to compete. Overthinking is just one of many things that can contribute to choking.
It really boils down to not having confidence in your ability when it counts. Nothing more. Many enjoy leagues for the comradery, sportsmanship, and challenge of the game.

us820
02-15-2017, 11:54 AM
"Golf is not a Game of Perfect" Rottella author.You are welcome.

MOJOE
02-15-2017, 11:54 AM
Say what ? ? How in the heck do you go from a masters rating in whatever league or rating system you were in to an apa 3 ?

I'm crying BS here too.. No way you can go from a Masters level player to an APA 3 unless you lose body parts or suffer from a serious accident. Don't see any validity here but YMMV.

fastone371
02-16-2017, 01:49 PM
This statement about "Leagues being the worst thing for anyone's game." is ridiculous. It gives the average player (the vast majority) a chance to compete.

There apparently are not many average players here. From many replies one would ascertain they all play pretty even with SVB. Well maybe not quite, they would probably ask for 1 on the wire in a race to 12 with SVB.

book collector
02-17-2017, 01:46 AM
I don't care whether someone gambles or not .
But there are so many people out there that say you have to play for money with better players to get better or to stop choking or whatever and the last thing on earth you will ever catch them doing is "Gambling".
They will play for whatever they can muster up when they have the nuts but you will never ever see them playing a better player, even with a spot.
Not long ago I was out, and there was a pretty good player in the room telling everyone that to get better you needed to "stretch " yourself, a guy that played a little better than him came in and offered him a fair game, he ran out the door so fast it made me want to puke.
I have seen this guy around for 15 years and never seen him in a tough game.
The next time you get this type of advice , ask yourself if you have ever seen the person giving it, stretch himself?
If they do, good for them, they practice what they preach , I can respect that.
If they don't, ask them why you should take their advice when they don't follow it themselves.

Mikkes
02-17-2017, 02:43 AM
Mental training, preshot routine, stay focused....all good advises but most of the time there are easier things that can help you: Don´t think tooo much, relax and have fun while you are playing....it´s just a game and the game you love to play...so relax and smile.

Kickin' Chicken
02-17-2017, 08:14 AM
is someone named "Muchoburrito" really asking why he chokes so much? :grin-square: :p :grin-square:

but seriously folks, I think we've all had those periods where we choke. I didn't read all of the responses in this thread yet so maybe someone already mentioned it but I think this is comparable to what they call getting "The Yips" putting in golf. Seems to be a psychological / confidence thing.

Very frustrating to have a nice run only to finish it off with a dogged shot. :mad:

What's the solution? For me, I try triple hard to concentrate on my basic fundamental and mechanics while foccusing heavily on the shot.

At the end of the day I think I need to have a lot of confidence and no fear - lots of practice certainly helps. It feels like I need more though, sometimes. :embarrassed2:

Get those bad Wizard of Oz monkeys out of your head! :thumbup:

best,
brian kc

Flatfoot
02-17-2017, 09:50 AM
Here is an article that was written many years ago for golfers but, it is addressing human nature. So it can be applied to pool players as well.


STAYING TENSION FREE DURING A ROUND OF GOLF


Ever been out on the links playing great and suddenly, without warning…you felt like you couldn’t hit the side of a barn with a handful of oats? Or, you hit the ball fantastic on the range, so that your expectations were soaring when you stepped up on the first tee.

From then on, it was a disaster. You couldn’t understand why you hit so well on the range, but now on the golf course…you are having to one putt just to save bogeys. You then start experimenting with different swing thoughts to try and get back in the mode you were in on the range. You can’t understand how this can be happening.

If this type of thing happens enough, you’ll begin to feel like you will never be able to play under pressure. The average person can stand only so many experiences like these before they begin to take their toll. It is very easy for someone going through this type of situation to wear down emotionally, intellectually and yes…even physically.

You’ve probably heard of the disease, ”Paralysis by Analysis”! It will happen to everybody at some time or another during their golfing experiences. It basically has its roots in trying to perform under pressure while the brain is barking out orders to the body of how to sequence certain physical movements. Such as: take it back low, keep the left wrist flat at the top, start down with the hips, keep the upper arms close to the body and so on. Actually, these are all generally good things to do.

However, trying to get the brain to tell the muscles to do these things in such a short period of time (a second and a half or two) while there is a price to pay if we are not successful…is far more than we are able to do on any kind of a consistent basis.

Now as long as we are not too concerned about the outcome of the ball, (at the range) we might be able to do it with at least some success. This would not be optimal though because being concerned with the outcome of the ball can serve to help us focus more intently.

You see the problem is not that you would be concerned with the outcome of the ball. It would be more along the lines of being too concerned that you may not make the correct movements to effect the outcome of the ball in a positive way.

This is why repetition at home is so important. By consistent repetition every day or at least a few times a week, we program the neuro-pathways to make certain movements that become instinctive.

Ever swat a fly with a fly swatter? Did you concentrate on how you would flip your wrists or turn your torso or lead with the elbow? Probably not! You might have gauged how far you were from the fly and then gave it a swat but…it would be safe to say that you didn’t try to sequence movements of certain parts of your anatomy in order to dispatch with it. Whether consciously or subconsciously…you probably visualized the swat before you actually sent that fella into oblivion. Then you responded to that visualization by just swinging the fly swatter.

We perform better when we are relaxed and let our muscles move by instinct. In other words, below the conscious level and without the use of reason or through contrivance.

We actually play our best golf when we visualize a shot in a positive manner and respond to that visualization. If you already set the club correctly at the top, you don’t need to think about it…right? You see, since it is something that you do by instinct, you don’t need to think about it to do it. When we have to swing in a sequence that our brain is trying to get our muscles to perform, even though they are not used to whatever movement it might be while playing golf…we only serve to create tension. This kind of tension would destroy even the best of swings.

However, when we operate by instinct we are virtually tension free. This is where we allow ourselves to slip into “The Zone”. As long as we can stay free of tension, we can remain in “The Zone”. If we start to think that we don’t belong in “The Zone”, we destine ourselves to be thrown from it. Ever been in “The Zone”?

What a feeling it was! Almost like someone else with far more talent was playing for you. Things seemed to be happening in slow motion and you were focused in the present. Free of doubt, fear, anxiety, tension and other thoughts that would tell you that you don’t have the talent to be playing this well.

For most people, their time spent in “The Zone” is short lived, maybe only a couple of holes or so. Each time we get into “The Zone”, we learn more and more to stay out of our own way, so that we can stay in this exciting place where we seem to perform at a level far greater than our experience would tell us that we are able. After several visits to “The Zone”, we develop the calmness to stay in it for longer periods of time.

Eventually, we can get to the point that we are in “The Zone” during every round, for at least part of the round. We begin to learn that being in “The Zone” is something that is within our control and not just something that happens by chance once a year or so. There are many good players that can get into “The Zone”, maybe slip from it for a hole or two because of some distraction and then know how to get right back into it.

It not only comes down to swinging the club in response to visualization but there are other factors that help us to stay in “The Zone” for longer periods of time. Staying in the present is of the utmost importance. Worrying about past shots that were a little wayward or…maybe a missed putt a couple of holes back, only serve to keep us from the present. Or, maybe a thought of a tough hole that is coming up that has been your nemesis in days gone by. You’ll not find “The Zone” by dwelling on thoughts of the future or thoughts of the past. Additionally, you’ll be thrown from “The Zone” even if you have found it, by dwelling on such thoughts.

Imagine…being able to have much more control than you’ve ever had before…of being able to get into and stay in “The Zone”. Wishful thinking? You might be surprised. It is definitely a process that is made clearer by experience. The more you get into “The Zone”, the more you’ll learn from*your experiences there. You’ll learn more and more how to stay out of your own way by keeping tension to a minimum.

If you are tension free, does it mean that you are in “The Zone”? Not necessarily. If you are in “The Zone”, does it mean that you are tension free? For all practical purposes…yes! Remember, tension free does not mean that you don’t have butterflies in your stomach. It just means that you are letting your muscles respond to positive visualization and operating by instinct, rather than letting your brain control your muscles through contrivance.

Can you play good golf if the brain has to tell the muscles to move in a certain sequence? Yes…but not as consistently and certainly not to your potential. You might have enough success playing golf with tension, that you actually feel uncomfortable without any tension. Since we are usually content while in our comfort zone, we usually choose to not stray from it.

We will still have the occasional victory but…not to the extent that we are capable of. It is often very difficult to get someone to “TRUST” himself or herself if they are not in the habit of doing so. Once they can experience enough little victories by trusting themselves though, they get to the point that “TRUST” becomes habitual.

When a person habitually trusts their muscles to move in the correct sequence through visualization, they set themselves up to play far above the standard that they are used to. Remember, in all but maybe a few isolated cases, it is a process that comes through little victories, which lead to greater victories and then finally becomes a habit. Those little victories are what give us the impetus to trust more and more so that we can experience greater victories and then finally, through experience…we learn that we are successful when we “TRUST” rather than “DOUBT”!

“TRUST leads to relaxation! ”DOUBT” leads to “FEAR”, “FEAR” leads to “ANXIETY” and “ANXIETY” leads to “TENSION”! TENSION will cause the arms and hands to lose synchronization with the body. In simple terms that means; the person will start trying to guide the club through impact which always leads to disaster!

It would be nice if we could just understand these things and then go make it so. I don’t mean to sound like former president George Bush, but…”Not gonna happen, not gonna happen”! If you were a child, it would come much more naturally because you wouldn’t have a library full of undesirable outcomes of the past. As adults, we have to learn again what it is like to play without fear and stay in the present. We have to get rid of all of those memories of unsuccessful outcomes that have led us to our present condition.

This is one of the reasons why touring professionals putting strokes tend to get shorter as they progress through their careers. The average person can only stand so many negative outcomes before their mind starts to become fearful and makes adjustments to lessen the chance of a bad outcome. You might hear Peter Alliss say every now and then “Ahhh…to have the nerves of a twenty year old!" Another way to say it might be, “Ahhh…to have the reckless abandon of a young golfer who hasn’t had to file thirty years of undesirable shots into his library”!

Are you relegated to the wreckage pile just because you’ve known many defeats in the past? Not at all. However, you will need to have some kind of vehicle to remove those memories or at least be able to put them out of your mind and focus on the here and now. If I may give you a suggestion that I feel is beneficial. Learn to enjoy the moment. Relish the fact that you even have an opportunity to be in this pressure packed situation in the first place.

Whether it is the pressure of the Club Championship or just the pressure of making the ball carry over water for a hundred and fifty yards or so. You will begin to let yourself win little victories that will lead to greater victories and thereby start to fill you with more and more confidence. You will start filling your library with positive experiences, which will play through your mind when facing future shots.

Would you like to be effective at being able to visualize? Here’s a tip that should help. The next time you hit a shot that you are proud of…hold your finish and feel its balance, look around at the beautiful green grass on the fairway. Smell the fresh air or recently mown grass. Listen for whatever sounds you might hear; maybe birds chirping or just the wind blowing through the trees. Enjoy the feeling of pulling off a shot that might have been under much pressure. The point is, involve as many senses in this experience as you can. Make it as vivid as you are able to and enjoy the moment.

By doing these things, that particular shot will become a memory that you will enjoy playing over and over again. Take advantage of as many good shots as possible by getting into the habit of enjoying the moment. Would you like to play much closer to or…at the level of your potential? Just have a library full of good shots that you can recall and watch the magic begin. This isn’t some new mystical way of playing better golf. It is actually the same type of thing that most of the players on the PGA Tour do habitually.

Keep in mind though, it is extremely difficult to stay focused non-stop for four hours or so. You will find it much easier to visualize when the time comes, if you’ll relax between shots and enjoy the beauty of the golf course, chatting with you playing partners, enjoying the weather or whatever you feel comfortable thinking about. Try to make it something that does not get you keyed up but relaxed.

Remember:

¨ When you hit a good shot, put it into your library as vividly as possible by* incorporating as many senses as you can to remember the moment.

¨ When faced with a similar shot in the future…relive the shot placed in*your library. Try to recall every sense that you used to remember it. Remember the feeling of satisfaction that you had. Think about how your swing felt.

¨ Now visualize the shape of the shot you are now trying to hit. Picture the*ball coming to rest precisely where it was aimed.

¨ Whether you take a practice swing or not is up to you but when you are*actually getting ready to make the shot, trust your muscles to make the necessary movements in response to your visualization…to create the shot that you visualized over again. Relax and let your instincts take over.

Hey…there’s another shot that you can put into your library.
Good golfing!

garczar
02-17-2017, 11:08 AM
Two things: 1. Have a consistent, repeating pre-shot routine. This is BIG. It makes you treat all shots the same. Not hard, not easy. Just shots. 2. Do not dwell on outcome. Being process oriented is critical. That's why the PSR is so important: it takes you away from the dwelling on the outcome and allows your right-brain to just do what it knows how to do. Try to find a copy of "Inner Tennis". One of the best mental-approach books ever written. Methods in this book apply to ANY sporting activity.