Ever just lost your game all of a sudden???

BasementDweller

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I just don't understand why anybody would want to pretend that something that matters to them doesn't matter. Isn't this the whole point of competing? If you like experiencing the thrill of victory, you have to put yourself in a place where you just might experience the agony of defeat instead.

I think one needs to dig a little deeper psychologically than just pretending. How about visualizing the absolute worst case scenario? You fail miserably. You dog ball after ball. What would your life look like afterwards? Your loved ones will still care about you. Your friends will still be there although they may not want you on their team in the future. Your dog won't care at all. Maybe there will be rumblimgs behind your back about how bad you dogged it. Realizing the worst case scenario isn't the end of the world can remove some of this self-imposed pressure and maybe it will help you (all of us) be a little less judgmental about the play of others.

The other thing about competition is it helps us identify our true skill level. Many of us aren't as good as we think we are. The missed shots that we shrugg off in practice and think "Oh I could have made that easy one", their true difficultly is revealed during battle. Being an 80 percent favorite to make a shot in practice is not good enough in competition. This is often learned the hard way.


●●●Thanks Neil for the congrats●●●
 
Last edited:

BasementDweller

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Maybe it's just how I'm wired. I guess I'm just a glutton for punishment because as much as I fight with my nerves, at the same time I desire the rush of overcoming them.
 

SpiderWebComm

HelpImBeingOppressed
Silver Member
Maybe it's just how I'm wired. I guess I'm just a glutton for punishment because as much as I fight with my nerves, at the same time I desire the rush of overcoming them.

I think it proves good things can happen to those who get out of the "basement" and out of the house to the Roman Colosseum where lions and tigers are trying to eat you. You might have to change your screen name. :thumbup:

Agreed about pretending. Well trained and constantly trained police officers work on simulators as well as other officers to prepare for life threatening shoot outs.

But it's also well documented when bullets start flying within milliseconds of an attack as the adrenaline takes over and the heart rate hitting 175+, pi$$ing their pants is not at all uncommon as well as being very inaccurate with their own shots. That is fact!

Congratulations on the win.
 

Neil

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I just don't understand why anybody would want to pretend that something that matters to them doesn't matter. Isn't this the whole point of competing? If you like experiencing the thrill of victory, you have to put yourself in a place where you just might experience the agony of defeat instead.

I think one needs to dig a little deeper psychologically than just pretending. How about visualizing the absolute worst case scenario? You fail miserably. You dog ball after ball. What would your life look like afterwards? Your loved ones will still care about you. Your friends will still be there although they may not want you on their team in the future. Your dog won't care at all. Maybe there will be rumblimgs behind your back about how bad you dogged it. Realizing the worst case scenario isn't the end of the world can remove some of this self-imposed pressure and maybe it will help you (all of us) be a little less judgmental about the play of others.

The other thing about competition is it helps us identify our true skill level. Many of us aren't as good as we think we are. The missed shots that we shrugg off in practice and think "Oh I could have made that easy one", their true difficultly is revealed during battle. Being an 80 percent favorite to make a shot in practice is not good enough in competition. This is often learned the hard way.


●●●Thanks Neil for the congrats●●●

Good post. Years ago, I learned a valuable lesson, and freed myself forever of contendorosis. That lesson was simply to see the bigger picture. No matter how this match turns out, the sun is still going to come up tomorrow.

And, in an amazingly short amount of time, nobody but my opponent and myself is likely to remember who won. So don't make a bigger deal out of it than it really is. Just play your game to the best of your ability, and see where you stand with it. That's all we really can ask of ourselves.

That said, now use your win as proof that you can do it. A real confidence builder. And that belief will greatly lessen any future anxiety.
 

BC21

Poolology
Gold Member
Silver Member
Maybe it's just how I'm wired. I guess I'm just a glutton for punishment because as much as I fight with my nerves, at the same time I desire the rush of overcoming them.

I like when I get nervous, when my hands begin to shake a little and my heart feels like it's pounding to get out. This usually helps me slow down. A few deep breaths help regain a sense of control over the situation. I say "usually" because last weekend I ignored my nerves and tried to push forward so I wouldn't appear nervous. My opponent hooked me on the 7, playing 9ball, and I baby masséd around the 8 to pocket the 7. Now I'm straight on the 8, long shot but straight in. Shoot and stop and I'm dead on the 9. I wasn't nervous at all until I got down on that 8. Then I thought, 'make this then break and run two racks and you win this thing.' Instead of acknowledging my nerves and standing back up to deal with it, I shot the 8 and rattled it. 2nd place was good money, but I failed to give myself a chance at 1st.

Overcoming our own egos is one of the toughest things to to do. It's ok to admit you're nervous as hell, as long as you cope with it and don't ignore it.

Congrats on your big win!
 

nobcitypool

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Psychologically, I think it is similar to courage. Courage isn't the lack of fear. Courage is the ability to act when afraid. Everyone has nerves, people just handle their nerves differently. I don't think anyone is invulnerable from nerves affecting performance. And it can pop up and affect the best occasionally.
 

BC21

Poolology
Gold Member
Silver Member
Psychologically, I think it is similar to courage. Courage isn't the lack of fear. Courage is the ability to act when afraid. Everyone has nerves, people just handle their nerves differently. I don't think anyone is invulnerable from nerves affecting performance. And it can pop up and affect the best occasionally.

Yes sir. Spot on. The trick is to be able to juggle ability, nerves, and courage appropriately when called needed. That's where seasoning comes into play.
 

lfigueroa

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I think I originally wrote this back on RSB. In any case here it is.

#####
If it's one of the first times 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, during 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
 

BC21

Poolology
Gold Member
Silver Member
Good stuff, Lou. :thumbup:

Pleasures of Small Motions is excellent.
 

BC21

Poolology
Gold Member
Silver Member
.......Choking only happens when someone KNOWS deep down inside theyre not fully prepared to do the task at hand (a quote from Pepper Rodgers)...it has little to do with hitting a million balls or gambling the house rent.
.......

The notion that choking can be blamed solely on unpreparedness is simply not true. It might be a fine excuse for a football team that fumbles the ball or fails to get the winning touchdown in the last few seconds, but it's only an excuse to make the team feel like they need to practice more in order to keep it from happening again. Unless they plan on practicing in front of a few thousand screaming fans everytime, stress-related errors remain likely as each team member steps into the light of public performance and skill-dampening anxiety.

Choking happens when your nerves become more of a determining factor than your skills. You can have superb skills and exceptional knowledge of what you are doing, but when you are faced with anxiety, resulting from the pressure of being publicly scrutinized or judged, your body counters the anxiety by releasing stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol, which affects how your muscles function. Feeling the stress, your brain begins second guessing everything, psychologically undermining your fundamentally solid thought process, making it very difficult to execute what you KNOW is the right thing to do.

Lou and Spider both nailed the solution. The more often you can put yourself into stressful situations, the better you'll become at coping with the effects of increased anxiety. So hitting a million balls won't fix it. Gambling the house rent won't fix it. But hitting a few thousand balls under stressful conditions, whether gambling or playing tournaments or leagues, will eventually train your brain to handle stress that would otherwise displace your skills.
 

BC21

Poolology
Gold Member
Silver Member
As usual, you don't know what you're preaching about.
And the worst part is you don't even know that you don't know.

Just stating the facts. Situational pressure, like playing in the finals of a tournament, facing an opportunity to win the big prize, can be very stressful. It doesn't matter how good you are, how solid your fundamentals are, or how prepared you were going into the match. Stress can still creep in, sabotaging your physical and mental skills, along with any preparations you may have had. if you aren't seasoned to deal with it, the stress causes anxiety, and you find yourself worrying about making a mistake, afraid you're gonna miss or get hooked or do something stupid that will make you look like an idiot to your opponent and to anyone else that's watching. A seasoned player doesn't care if anyone is watching, doesn't care what the opponent is thinking.

Stress hormones affect us physically and mentally. This is the body's automatic reaction to pressure-related stress. Reducing or channeling the effects of stress, our emotional and physical responses, is what determines whether or not we allow anxiety to come strolling in to wreck our game. This is the essence of sports psychology, to control the emotional and physical responses brought about by stress/pressure. If we can do this, we can remain calm and in control, executing our skills free of any fear-driven anxiety.

Or....you can just fall apart under pressure (choke) and simply tell yourself you weren't prepared to win. Then you can practice harder, longer, and try again. But the pressure will be there again, and that good ol stress will step in and nothing will be any different than the time before, unless you learn how to cope with it.
 
Last edited:

Mkindsv

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I have no knowledge issues, or stroke issues, or vision issues. I will shoot lights out for months at a time, then one day, all of a sudden I will go a few weeks without being able to make four consecutive balls. This last time it was two weeks of trying to figure it out. I like Bert Kinnister's material and have watched his videos many times, but for God's sake...listening to that man talk is like having a phone call with my ex wife (praying for it to end from the time it starts).

For example, last few weeks, couldn't make two consecutive shots six trips to the pool hall. Went today and had four consecutive 8 ball break and runs, then switched to 9 ball, after about 20 minutes had 3 consecutive break and runs. Yesterday I beat a regular at the hall that makes pretty good money gambling one pocket four straight sets (best of 3 for 25$ a set). But tomorrow, who knows...

I know a lot of my issues stem from lack of sleep, since I work nights, and some from concentration issues or getting in a hurry. I am working on all of these issues.

I appreciate your post and will revisit the Kinnister video...with the sound way down of course...ding dong daddy.
 

BC21

Poolology
Gold Member
Silver Member
I do believe Lowenstein is on to something about the sleep and your work schedule. I'm on call every night, and if I go out to play having only 3 or 4 hours of sleep the night before, I don't play very well. It'll be an inconsistent night. When I was young it seemed like no problem to play all day, all night, then all day again, grabbing a bite to eat a couple of times between sets and not even thinking about sleep. My feet and back are too old for sleepless nights. But my heart isn't, so I grab my cue and go, ignoring any lack of sleep.

Family illness or other personal stresses make for bad nights also. Last Saturday I hit em great, won a lot of cash. Then bad news followed me into Thursday night league and I lost 3 out of 5 games. The harder I tried to keep my head in the game the more mistakes I made. I missed 4 shots in 5 games, which is a lot for me, and I don't know how I missed them, I just did. The misses were as automatic as the balls I didn't miss. We can pretend to have control of our emotional and physical well being, but our performance reveals the truth.
 
Top