Learning to Win

DelaWho???

Banger McCue
Silver Member
Well my shot at a trip to Vegas is over. It went down to the last shot of the last rack in the last match.

It should have never got that far. While I played decent pool, I couldn't finish the job. I was the 3rd match, and I gave away 3 of the 4 racks my opponent won. I could make excuses here, but the fact is I blew it. No amount of practice in my garage pool room is going to prepare me for pressure situations, and there just aren't that many opportunities to put myself in those types of situations, not alot of tourney action or action in general where I live. I don't want to travel for hrs on a weekend to compete, and the occasional tourney that is relatively close isn't going to do it.

How does one develope that winning attitude and mental toughness when there isn't really an opportunity to hone that blade???

:cool:
 

greyghost

Coast to Coast
Silver Member
Well my shot at a trip to Vegas is over. It went down to the last shot of the last rack in the last match.

It should have never got that far. While I played decent pool, I couldn't finish the job. I was the 3rd match, and I gave away 3 of the 4 racks my opponent won. I could make excuses here, but the fact is I blew it. No amount of practice in my garage pool room is going to prepare me for pressure situations, and there just aren't that many opportunities to put myself in those types of situations, not alot of tourney action or action in general where I live. I don't want to travel for hrs on a weekend to compete, and the occasional tourney that is relatively close isn't going to do it.

How does one develope that winning attitude and mental toughness when there isn't really an opportunity to hone that blade???

:cool:


put yourself in pressure situations at home. If you stomp the ghost race to 10, then make it a point to beat him 10-5, then 10-4, 10-3....or give him games on the wire. Pratice end game difficult run outs that must be run out. Make shooting off the rail your favorite place to be etc....
 

j2pac

Marital Slow Learner.
Gold Member
Silver Member
Well my shot at a trip to Vegas is over. It went down to the last shot of the last rack in the last match.

It should have never got that far. While I played decent pool, I couldn't finish the job. I was the 3rd match, and I gave away 3 of the 4 racks my opponent won. I could make excuses here, but the fact is I blew it. No amount of practice in my garage pool room is going to prepare me for pressure situations, and there just aren't that many opportunities to put myself in those types of situations, not alot of tourney action or action in general where I live. I don't want to travel for hrs on a weekend to compete, and the occasional tourney that is relatively close isn't going to do it.

How does one develope that winning attitude and mental toughness when there isn't really an opportunity to hone that blade???

:cool:

You have to convince yourself that you belong.........self belief is key. Seek out better players, and learn from them. Study their attitudes, approach to the game, etc. When you're in these situations, relax, control your breathing, your thought processes, etc. Focus on the basics, keep your emotions in check, and control your stroke. The rest, unfortunately is generally practice, and game situation experience. If you are confident in your ability, eventually you'll breakthrough, and wind up in the winners circle. When it comes to losses, learn something from them, then quickly shed the emotional baggage. JMHO. Hope this helps.
 

pooltchr

Prof. Billiard Instructor
Silver Member
Learning to win requires some honest self evaluation, which is probably the most difficult thing humans can do. You have to understand why you play. Is it to win? Why? Do you want to elevate your status among other players? Do you want others to admire your skill? Does winning stroke your ego? What is it that motivates you to even play?

Understanding your self is critical to understanding what it takes for you to be a winner.

If you think back to when you first started playing, you probably got hooked by the beauty and simplicity/complexity of the game. Pull from those images, and incorporate that into your game. Get back to playing for yourself, for the pure enjoyment of playing. Once you can accomplish that, winning is just a matter of time. Forget about your own ego. Forget about what other people think about you. Enjoy the game.

Steve
 

DelaWho???

Banger McCue
Silver Member
Thanks for all of the good responses. I have thought about most all of these things and I believe I am honest with myself in my appraisal of my capabilities. I have and do willingly put myself into situations where I know I am the weakest player in the room, and in those situations I try to set realistic goals for myself. In general when I put myself in those situations I play my best pool, but don't always achieve my goal. What pisses me off is when I am in those situations and I fail to show up.

Last night was a league night, I am the captain of the team and while I played an ok game, I didn't show up to what I feel is my potential. I had beaten the opponent I played before in league play, and last year led the team to Vegas for the first time. I think part of it is that I am putting the weight of the team on my cue and trying to do more than perhaps I am currently mentally capable of. It was one of those nights where little errors added up to a loss and it was very frustrating to me.

I was game the whole way through and never gave up. I am very competative.

When I practice solo, I usually do the Hopkins skill challenge. My best is a 636, which is about 100 points better than a year ago. I know I am getting better and am driven to improve my game. I don't like to lose, but can accept it if I played my best and was outplayed. It's when I don't play up to my potential that losing is bitter.

It isn't about winning money or glory, it is about pitting my skill against the table and my opponent. I just need to learn to bring my best game to the table every time I play.

Incidently Niel, the only action in these parts is generally guys playing scotch doubles 9 ball race to 5 for $20, which is really hard to do because you aren't solely at the table withan opportunity to get a stroke going. Ironically this is the format for my biggest tournament win to date.

I guess I'm going to have to start going farther afield to get into more competative situations. I'm not afraid to put a wager on the light, but those opportunities don't present themselves very often, it is more the weekly $5 tourney in a bar on a barbox, short race (2) where luck can and often does win out over skill.

I really wanted to give my team another shot at the trip to Vegas and I didn't come through in the end. It was a bitter end to a good session.


:cool:
 

jblaze2201

Registered
First, clear your mind of the pressure. You have to start each match the same. You came to win. The opponent, race, etc doesnt matter. You will get all the rolls and take advantage of them.

Second, See the shot, know the stroke, shoot the shot. Dont worry about how hard it is or what may happen. You will always get one of 2 results. You will either make it or miss it. Therefore the only thing you think about is the shot at hand. So determine what stroke to play your shot and get position for your next ball. After that focus on executing that stroke.

Pick up any of the following books. I Came to Win, Point the Way, or Focus on Winning by the monk. Read them then read again and see how your game changes.
 

greyghost

Coast to Coast
Silver Member
JBLAZE brings up a good point

you have to clear your mind of the pressure....when I play I'm not in the mindset that I'm trying to "Win" for some reason "Winning" seems to suggest a component of luck, or sometimes just getting the spoils that the "Loser" lost.

I prefer to reference it as a "Good Job" or "Task acomplished".....i look at the pattern and plan and execute the correct moves to complete the assigned task at hand....

at least for me it takes some bad pressure off my back, the "oh I gotta chinch this" or whatever we say in our heads, and replaces it with a less critical pressure of just having this job to do....

its works perfect in 8 ball b/c in that game you have to be able to "move the furniture" so thats your job....your not playing pool no more your moving furniture. The couch goes here, move the chair there then POOF the room is complete and you can walk again....just the ducks left as the 8 ball awaits to be made.

tho I'm no psychologist I'm sure things like that work by diversion or substitution of the thought process, giving the issue a completely differient description so as not to trigger certain emotional/mental/physical reactions.

I guess you could use all sorts of terms and "task" "work" "job" are just how I've always preferred to say it, but i figured some of you would find this an interesting technique.


If anyone remembers, I had read something about when Alex Pag was either on his way to winning the US Open or World Championships how he figured how many balls he would have to pocket to win the match, so he would count them trying to get to his goal 1 by 1 and he won the tournament.

its a neat idea,
-Grey Ghost-
 

DelaWho???

Banger McCue
Silver Member
Thanks GG that's food for thought, and I actually apply this sort of thought process when I am shooting the skills challenge, keeping track of the ball count to set up for playing the last 5 in rotation. I kind of approach that like a road rally, check point.

I'll try applying it to 8 ball and see how it works.

:cool:
 

JoeW

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
It seems to me that you don’t go to play with a “winning attitude” you go to play your best game. When I was younger I won many competitions as a one and three meter diver. Playing pool I have won and lost in various tournaments and when I compare the differences between all the winning when I was younger and the few wins when I was playing pool a few things stand out.

I do not go to a competition to “win.” I go to play my best. Winning is dependent on many factors over which I have no control. Playing my best depends on me, my preparation, my concentration, my ability to maintain a good attitude.

I think the difference when playing at home versus playing in a tournament is the comfort factor. Obviously I am comfortable at home and can create difficult situations to challenge my current ability. At a tournament there are other factors which people may or may not be willing to consider. I don’t want to be a dork. I do want to be accepted by other players as one who at least has some heart when playing the game.

I think that these social factors need to be addressed. When I get to a tournament the first thing I do is look around and try to reach some level of comfort. I need to feel that I belong there or at least that I am acceptable to the others at the tournament. This may take a little “meet and greet” effort so I don’t feel uncomfortable. If I feel like an outsider it is going to affect my game.

When I get to the table the first thing I look for are the similarities to my own equipment. Yep it is similar with a few quirks here and there. The guys who are playing are similar to the guys at home and I do know my way around this equipment. Now, can I make it work like my own equipment?

Once the comfort factor has been addressed then when I hit the table everything goes away. It is just me and the table. When I have an opponent I assess what I think are his weaknesses and use them for creating a strategy. Other than that, there is no one at the table but me when it is my turn to play.

When I was a kid I remember that on more than one occasion my coach would stop me after a swim meet was over to tell me that I had won the diving competition. Seems that at that time I did not even know I had won. It was not about winning back then it was about doing the best that I knew how. As I remember I was winning by a hundred or more points and I did not even know it. It was all about the challenge to do the best I could.

I think that a winning attitude is not about winning it is about feeling you belong there and then playing your best. When winning is in the forefront of your mind you lose sight of the real goal – playing your best.
 
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cfrandy

AKA: The Road Runner
Silver Member
A winning attitude comes from confidence in your own abilities! I recommend you read the book, "Pleasures of Small Motions" by Bob Francher.
 

pooltchr

Prof. Billiard Instructor
Silver Member
A winning attitude comes from confidence in your own abilities! I recommend you read the book, "Pleasures of Small Motions" by Bob Francher.

Fancher also points out that an honest self evaluation of your own abilities is critical. It's hard to get where you want to go, if you don't know where you are.

Great book!

Steve
 

alex917

Registered
the best thing for that is just get really confident its not that you cant make it or that it wont go or work out its just that your not mentally confident enough to make that shot.
 

DelaWho???

Banger McCue
Silver Member
Well we're back at it again. Team play started on Tuesday. The team took 4/5 matches so we're off to a good start. I didn't play. I'll be playing next week, and we'll see how it goes.

:cool:
 
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