Mental Game Help

BeiberLvr

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I am starting to realize more and more how bad my mental game is at this point.

I am able to stay very composed regardless of the situation, and that's something people compliment me on a lot. However, what they don't know, is that sometimes I might be steaming on the inside.

Hoping to get some advice other than play more tournaments or match up more, because I've been doing a ton of both, and the issues are still there. Some specific examples of things that make me play bad

1. Opponent getting good rolls. Sometimes all it takes is one lucked safety for me to start having those negative thoughts in my head. "Oh, he's so lucky." "Now I have to kick again, and if I miss, he's going to run out."

2. Playing the wrong shots. If I shoot at a tough shot and miss, the first thing that comes to mind is, "Man, I should have played safe."
 

Neil

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
You just have to change your thinking about it all. See how these help you:

1. THERE IS NO ROOM FOR NEGATIVE. When you start to think negative, your actions will reflect that thinking and you will not perform to your best. Always think positively, and your actions will reflect that.

2. IT'S A LUCKY GAME by nature. Accept that fact. Don't let it get you down. Just pretend that you are playing an elite player. Playing them, you will be kicking most of the time you get to the table. Just look at it as training for moving on up in the ranks.

3. THERE ARE NO EASY PLAYERS, nor are there hard players. There is only you when you are at the table. What are YOU going to do with your opportunities?

4. NO ONE wins all the time. Everyone loses from time to time. You are no exception. There are games you will lose, there are matches you will lose. Accept it, and learn from them.

5. THE BALLS HAVE TO OBEY. The balls WILL react every single time exactly like you hit them. Have confidence in that fact. Learn how they react. Then, when shooting, be very careful to hit the cb exactly where you want to, on the line you want to, at the speed you want to. If you do that, the ball has to go into the pocket, and you have to get your position if you chose correctly. Have confidence in the facts of the game. It goes a long ways. Forget about "I hope this happens", replace it with "I know this will happen".

6. EVERYONE MISSES. Accept that. But don't fear that. Let it be a surprise when you miss, a shock to you. Then chuckle about it, look at why it happened, and then forget about it. Never get upset about a miss.

6. PRACTICE being very precise in what you do. That is where you get the confidence that things will happen precisely as you planned them to happen. Precision is the root of KNOWING the balls will react a certain way. KNOWING is confidence. CONFIDENCE allows your body to react the way you trained it to. TRAINING allows you to make the correct choices on what to do.

7. OBSERVE what happens. Don't judge what happens. Forget about "I must win this game or match". That type of thinking only adds pressure and forces you to tighten up and not perform correctly. Just choose what to do, do it, and observe the results. It's by observing that we improve. We must know what does what if we ever expect to be able to change to something better. Pool is a journey, enjoy the journey, and you will play better. Get frustrated with the journey, and you will not be able to improve.
 

Ratta

Hearing the balls.....
Silver Member
"Psyched to win" by R. Nideffer

"Thinking body, Dancing Mind" by Chungliang AL Huang and J. Lynch"

lg
Ingo
 

FranCrimi

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I am starting to realize more and more how bad my mental game is at this point.

I am able to stay very composed regardless of the situation, and that's something people compliment me on a lot. However, what they don't know, is that sometimes I might be steaming on the inside.

Hoping to get some advice other than play more tournaments or match up more, because I've been doing a ton of both, and the issues are still there. Some specific examples of things that make me play bad

1. Opponent getting good rolls. Sometimes all it takes is one lucked safety for me to start having those negative thoughts in my head. "Oh, he's so lucky." "Now I have to kick again, and if I miss, he's going to run out."

2. Playing the wrong shots. If I shoot at a tough shot and miss, the first thing that comes to mind is, "Man, I should have played safe."

You are experiencing unconscious responses to certain triggers. You have trained your unconscious mind to react that way without realizing it.

First you have to recognize the triggers. You mentioned two here. That's a good start. Make a list of as many triggers as possible. Then you have to reprogram your responses to those triggers.

As soon as you experience a trigger, recite your planned response to override your unconscious response. Eventually, your conscious response will become your unconscious response.

If you don't reprogram your responses to those triggers, you will continue to experience them.
 

(((Satori)))

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I am starting to realize more and more how bad my mental game is at this point.

I am able to stay very composed regardless of the situation, and that's something people compliment me on a lot. However, what they don't know, is that sometimes I might be steaming on the inside.

Hoping to get some advice other than play more tournaments or match up more, because I've been doing a ton of both, and the issues are still there. Some specific examples of things that make me play bad

1. Opponent getting good rolls. Sometimes all it takes is one lucked safety for me to start having those negative thoughts in my head. "Oh, he's so lucky." "Now I have to kick again, and if I miss, he's going to run out."

2. Playing the wrong shots. If I shoot at a tough shot and miss, the first thing that comes to mind is, "Man, I should have played safe."
1) Your attitude is a big part in determining your performance level. If you become negative your game suffers. The rolls are something you can not control so why sweat them? Why allow them to get you down and effect your performance... letting them control you? Realize it only hurts you to get upset about that.

When you get bad rolls you might need to tell yourself that the rolls will sometimes go your way and sometimes they will go against you and it is natural for that to happen your job right now is to play it where it lies with confidence, or at least optimism.

If you absolutely can not control your emotion and temporarily get mad try to use the energy to make your resolve to win stronger.



2) Study videos, watch better players, and practice more and your confidence in your shot selections will improve.



3) Realize that Justin Bieber is not a good role model and he only acts mentally tough.:smile:
 
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RWOJO

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Mental Game

I've noticed a big leap in my game due to Mental Game improvement. I've always had people say my fundamentals were strong.

Stay in the present moment. Don't think about past shots or games. Don't think about the score or who you might play next if you win or lose.

Focus on what you have control over. Pick the right shot. Setup correctly. Deliver the best stroke you can for that one shot. Stay down and follow through. That's all we have control over. Seems so simple right. The rest happens no matter what.

I no longer dwell on the rolls because then I'm focusing on the wrong thing and start playing even worse. Have you ever noticed how someone always complaining about the rolls almost always gets more and more bad rolls? I'm willing to bet if they weren't complaining about the rolls they wouldn't be nearly as many 'bad rolls'.

Turn everything around so it is positive. A positive mine will always accomplish more than a negative mind will. Example: I was in a match (race to 6) and I am down 3 to 1 early. I was shooting a little off but instead of focusing on that, I stayed positive and told myself 'I'm going to start shooting great and take the next 5 games'. I did pull my game together and it wasn't 5 games in a row, more like 3 for me, 1 for him, 2 for me. But I pulled my focus and playing together because of being positive.
 

scottjen26

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I have a slightly different issue. I'm almost never bothered by opponent's good rolls, safeties, lucky shots, etc. Nothing I can do about it, and even if they keep missing and leaving me safe on accident, I consider it a challenge to make a good kick and turn the tables.

However, I am VERY hard on myself. Until somewhat recently, I never really felt I "belonged" with some of the very best players in town. Only after playing in some tournaments - more in the last few months than I've done in years - and winning most of them, have I started to feel better about my game. I've also gotten some very nice compliments from some of the older regime here in town which has felt good as well.

But I can't stand to miss. Not hard shots, exact positions, etc., I take those in stride and frankly am not shooting them that much anyway. It's the 2 or 3 feet away, 10 degree cut with a stop shot type of misses that drive me nuts. It's almost always not being in the moment, cutting out my PSR, trying to "help" the ball in, etc. It happens in practice along with competition, so it's not just a competitive anxiety thing, it just stings more in competition since I can't set the shot up again and rectify the mistake.

I know everyone misses, plays poor position with the correct position was easily attainable, makes mental or planning errors, etc. How do you just walk away and smile and not let it seethe inside of you? (That's the part that's similar to what Jon asked).

Also, how do you find that happy medium between concentration and letting things flow, where we all play our best? I haven't hit true dead stroke in a long time, always working very consciously on things, but I'm much more consistent now and feel I'm on the cusp of really being able to control the table for quite a while. Anytime I get in that mode though, I seem to let down a little, lose a little concentration, etc. Have a feeling time and more tournaments will help, as will continuing to practice and drill so it becomes effortless and repeatable in a match. Long, hard process though, and frustrating...

Scott


PS, Jon we have to get together one of these days...
 

CJ Wiley

ESPN WORLD OPEN CHAMPION
Gold Member
Silver Member
Realize that Justin Bieber is not a good role model and he only acts mentally tough.

1) Your attitude is a big part in determining your performance level. If you become negative your game suffers. The rolls are something you can not control so why sweat them? Why allow them to get you down and effect your performance... letting them control you? Realize it only hurts you to get upset about that.

When you get bad rolls you might need to tell yourself that the rolls will sometimes go your way and sometimes they will go against you and it is natural for that to happen your job right now is to play it where it lies with confidence, or at least optimism.

If you absolutely can not control your emotion and temporarily get mad try to use the energy to make your resolve to win stronger.



2) Study videos, watch better players, and practice more and your confidence in your shot selections will improve.



3) Realize that Justin Bieber is not a good role model and he only acts mentally tough.:smile:

Ditto.......
 

Danimal

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
If you are going to play a tournament or a big match, you have to mentally prepare yourself prior to the event.

I have had desultory results as a tournament player, sometimes going rather deep and then having stretches were I would be going two-and-out for weeks. In all that time, I never once mentally prepared for a tournament.

If you show up on game day just hoping that it's going to be a good day, you will not stand a chance.

A respectable player told me to start utilizing positive visualization (picturing yourself playing well in a detailed fashion) the day before tournaments.

I also began using positive affirmations. I read about them previously in The Pro Book and thought it was a corny idea, but decided to give it a try. I made a voice recording on my phone (using the ones right out of the book). I use this recording while warming up for the tournament, and sometimes will listen to it during a match if my game is starting to lag. Ever since I added this step in my pre-match preparation, I have been starting tournaments strong and going deep each time.

Everyone responds in varying levels to different types of stimuli. I found better results with the latter example over the former, but for others visualization may be more helpful. Experiment with different methods and see what works to keep you focused and positive.
 

Big C

Deep in the heart of TX.
Silver Member
I think we play best when we are relaxed and comfortable..

I have a slightly different issue. I'm almost never bothered by opponent's good rolls, safeties, lucky shots, etc. Nothing I can do about it, and even if they keep missing and leaving me safe on accident, I consider it a challenge to make a good kick and turn the tables.

However, I am VERY hard on myself. Until somewhat recently, I never really felt I "belonged" with some of the very best players in town. Only after playing in some tournaments - more in the last few months than I've done in years - and winning most of them, have I started to feel better about my game. I've also gotten some very nice compliments from some of the older regime here in town which has felt good as well.

But I can't stand to miss. Not hard shots, exact positions, etc., I take those in stride and frankly am not shooting them that much anyway. It's the 2 or 3 feet away, 10 degree cut with a stop shot type of misses that drive me nuts. It's almost always not being in the moment, cutting out my PSR, trying to "help" the ball in, etc. It happens in practice along with competition, so it's not just a competitive anxiety thing, it just stings more in competition since I can't set the shot up again and rectify the mistake.

I know everyone misses, plays poor position with the correct position was easily attainable, makes mental or planning errors, etc. How do you just walk away and smile and not let it seethe inside of you? (That's the part that's similar to what Jon asked).

Also, how do you find that happy medium between concentration and letting things flow, where we all play our best? I haven't hit true dead stroke in a long time, always working very consciously on things, but I'm much more consistent now and feel I'm on the cusp of really being able to control the table for quite a while. Anytime I get in that mode though, I seem to let down a little, lose a little concentration, etc. Have a feeling time and more tournaments will help, as will continuing to practice and drill so it becomes effortless and repeatable in a match. Long, hard process though, and frustrating...

Scott


PS, Jon we have to get together one of these days...
Missing easy shots happens to all of us. It usually means that you saw it as an easy shot and did not stick with your normal routine. Keeping the same sequence of events is what helps keep your mind stay focused and your emotions from bouncing around. When you break your pattern, even a little bit, the timing your brain is used to gets thrown off which leads to misses. Simply trying to focus is just forcing it and artificial. Some things to key on are your breathing, the sounds of chalking the cue and the clicking of the balls. Paying close attention to these things at the table allow you to zone out and not be distracted by outside influences. When the mind is calm the body is free and flowing. While you are away from the table, work on your breathing and stretch your body while reflecting on a match in which you played well.
 

(((Satori)))

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Each shot is a new play that requires it's own attention.

I have a slightly different issue. I'm almost never bothered by opponent's good rolls, safeties, lucky shots, etc. Nothing I can do about it, and even if they keep missing and leaving me safe on accident, I consider it a challenge to make a good kick and turn the tables.

However, I am VERY hard on myself. Until somewhat recently, I never really felt I "belonged" with some of the very best players in town. Only after playing in some tournaments - more in the last few months than I've done in years - and winning most of them, have I started to feel better about my game. I've also gotten some very nice compliments from some of the older regime here in town which has felt good as well.

But I can't stand to miss. Not hard shots, exact positions, etc., I take those in stride and frankly am not shooting them that much anyway. It's the 2 or 3 feet away, 10 degree cut with a stop shot type of misses that drive me nuts. It's almost always not being in the moment, cutting out my PSR, trying to "help" the ball in, etc. It happens in practice along with competition, so it's not just a competitive anxiety thing, it just stings more in competition since I can't set the shot up again and rectify the mistake.

I know everyone misses, plays poor position with the correct position was easily attainable, makes mental or planning errors, etc. How do you just walk away and smile and not let it seethe inside of you? (That's the part that's similar to what Jon asked).

Also, how do you find that happy medium between concentration and letting things flow, where we all play our best? I haven't hit true dead stroke in a long time, always working very consciously on things, but I'm much more consistent now and feel I'm on the cusp of really being able to control the table for quite a while. Anytime I get in that mode though, I seem to let down a little, lose a little concentration, etc. Have a feeling time and more tournaments will help, as will continuing to practice and drill so it becomes effortless and repeatable in a match. Long, hard process though, and frustrating...

Scott


PS, Jon we have to get together one of these days...

Pool is similar to American football in this way.

In football you have a coach who analyzes the situation considers the strategy and calls the play. Then the player plays the play with total concentration on that play. The player can't be thinking about the last play and what happened or the crowd or anything other than that play that moment or he will not perform well.

Now in pool you play the role of the coach and the player. Every shot is a new play that needs your attention. First you play the role of the coach and in this role you chose the play by analyzing the situation. This might have you thinking ahead to how you are going to deal with clusters etc. But once you call the play it is time to move into the role of the player and execute. Just like in football, as the player you need to play the shot that was called with total focus on what you need to do on that one play without regard for anything else. What happened on the play before doesnt matter anymore what you will do next is of no concern, the task at hand is all that matters right now and your job is to play this play. After you execute this shot you then let this shot go and move onto the next no matter whether it was performed good or bad you turn your attention onto the next shot, you call another play and you execute... analyzing during the decision process like the coach then focusing to execute like the player.
 
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Colonel

Living The Dream
Silver Member
I think the mental game is the most neglected aspect amongst pool players. First you have to develop a game which is only done through practice, continuous rote repetition creating muscle memory. Once that is achieved how do you get to the next level? That's where I believe your mental state can bring a quantum leap to your game. A solid pre shot routine that does not waver no matter the circumstance where your conscious mind evaluates the situation and makes a conscious decision on your course of action before getting down on the shot. Then for me the last step before getting down is once I've made this conscious decision I visualize the end result, literally seeing it in my mind, at this point there has to be a disconnect where you switch off your conscious mind and allow your subconscious mind to take over and execute what you visualize understanding that all of this is the formulation of a rock solid pre shot routine that must never waver in its consistency. Getting your conscious and unconscious mind to work in concert with each other, each knowing its part and place. Understanding you do not control lucky rolls your opponent gets or really anything that he does with the exception of how he reacts to the situation you leave him in, IE safeties. Focusing on what you can't control only detracts from your ability to focus on what you can control. Lastly and most important to me and what I think is the most critical to anyone is what people call pressure. No one can apply pressure to you except you. Match circumstances, IE, you're behind, hooked, shooting the case ball, the $, the crowd etc do not make whatever shot you have in front of you any different than the first shot in the match or any shot you take while practicing alone, no matter the circumstance it's just a shot, there is no pressure, just a shot to be executed and to look at it any other way only detracts from your ability to execute it. Fear is not a tangible entity, neither is pressure, the only place that fear or pressure exists is in your mind and whether you choose to feel them or not feel them is a choice you make, no one can make you feel it, only you can. You can choose not to feel it. When you realize this it will set you free.


Why am I the Colonel? Because I always get the chicken
 
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FranCrimi

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Look guys, you can attack this two ways: You can take it all the way back to your potty training issues and figure out where your life went wrong, or you can reprogram your brain to have the responses you want it to have. I vote for choice number two.

You don't need to keep re-convincing yourself of the things you already know. How many times have you told yourself you shouldn't let things get to you? Yet, things continue to get to you. You need to reprogram your automatic responses or you will continue to have them.

Didn't Pavlov's dog teach you anything?
 
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