Mental Game Secrets of the Pros - Managing Expectations, Reducing Judgments

CJ Wiley

ESPN WORLD OPEN CHAMPION
Gold Member
Silver Member
In 2002 I became good friends with Hank Haney (before he was Tiger Woods golf coach), we talked a lot about the similarities between Pocket Billiards and Golf....there are many!

One day Hank was curious and ask me point blank.....

"When did you know For Sure you were a champion pool player, was there a specific experience, process or thought?"
I knew my relationship with Hank was bonded by mutual respect and he was dead serious!.... I answered honestly and immediately without hesitation reaching into a deep filing cabinet of my mind to locate the answer.....

"There was a day that I realized I was making the "hard" shots, but missing the "easy" ones in critical situations.....it was frustrating....
and didn't make since.....
I'd tried several things, failing each time, and was still inconsistent so I "gave up" and made a resolute commitment to no longer judge them as *hard and easy"
....from that moment on I treated them all the same.....there were no more hard or easy shots I Made them virtually the same!
I strived for the same alignment, same tempo, same mental attitude, same aiming, same object ball target, same body positioning, no matter what the shot I treated them all the same with no judgement and no expectations.
Over the course of the next three weeks of competition I performed the same, consistent results, and no longer missed "easy" shots
That moment I knew I had uncovered the perfection of the game by giving up judgement and expectations.
I had become a champion,.not of a Game or Sport, more like an Art Form, a satisfying form of self expression like a master musician or sculpter in a creative zone
THAT was the exact moment, Hank..... make sense concerning the context of your question?"

Hank went into deep thought, carefully processing my words, this is what made him a genius at the art of golf, he ran things through his mind meticulously unraveling the details.

Hank, eyes clear and focused now looked me straight in the eyes....."Yes, bud, that was exactly what I needed to hear!"
I have never seen Hank play a game of pool that he didn't make a written note of who won and something that he learned during the game in a notebook.
That dedication is impressive, if i'd done that (my entire life) the pages would fill a swimming pool with the physics, geometry and plethora of experiments I'd experienced on a pool table!

A few years later he documented what I told him in his book.... he shared the information to coach Tiger who utilized a similar mind set to win the British Open Golf Championship in 2006 (he decided to NOT use his driver).... ironically Tiger was making all the hard shots and missing some easy ones... coincedence?!
If you like pool and/or golf I will encourage you to read Hank's book it's called 'The Big Miss'..... a masterful depiction of how he handled the challenging position coaching one of the greatest athletes/artists that ever lived;

Fast Forward a couple years.....

In 2012 I was the Mosconi Cup Captain,
Johnny Archer
and I would stay up after everyone else was in bed and strategize about the next day (Johnny had an amazing 6/0 performance that year and the last day it was 9/9 before we lost the last match).

A discussion about treating all the shots the same came up and Johnny had actually read Hank's book cover to cover in 3 days, commenting how shocked he was to see a fellow pocket billiard professional in that particular golf book.

There are no coincedences, my friends, the "shots" we take in life are consistently satisfying when we Decide and Commit to make them that way, releasing judgement and expectations...trusting our MasterCreator!.

The Game {of Life} is the Teacher
www.masteringpocketbilliards.com
 

sjm

Sweating it at Derby City
Silver Member
Great story. Thanks for sharing.

Reminds me of a famous Luther Lassiter quote:: ":The day I stopped missing easy shots was the day I concluded that no shot is easy. " Strong words form a player who some suggest was the greatest ever pocketer of the balls.
 

ShootingArts

Smorg is giving St Peter the 7!
Gold Member
Silver Member
My issue was the money ball for awhile. Fairly large bet or a beer, I could miss shots that I should make with both eyes closed. The solution was simple of course, same thing in different words, treat all shots the same. Every other shot I was putting the cue ball in a particular place, money ball I just made sure it wasn't going to scratch. As soon as I started playing shape on the money ball too that slump was gone. I had been guilty of relaxing focus one shot too soon. I lost one pistol match the same way, fired my last shot and relaxed. The shot that I had broken with the sight one inch inside the target line whiffed over it by a hair. I learned that even with high speed lockworks from end to end it is possible to relax enough between the trigger breaking and the bullet leaving the barrel to miss. As already noted, a one time mistake. Got to follow through even with a pistol!

Hu
 

CJ Wiley

ESPN WORLD OPEN CHAMPION
Gold Member
Silver Member
Whenever a player has trouble with the 7, 8 or 9 playing 9-Ball it's usually a mental fear that somehow got programmed into them (it doesn't matter how or why, it just needs to be resolved).

To De-Program this behavior I suggest players practice 9-Ball running ALL the balls Backwards! That means contact the 9-Ball first on the break and rack the 1-Ball in the middle. Proceed to shoot the 9, then the 8, then the 7, until you make the last. ball which is the 1- Ball.

This may not seem effective, but try it for an hour (on the pool table) it before jumping to any premature conclusions.

Even if you aren't having trouble with any certain ball this drill will force you to treat all the balls equally and you'll have to think a lot more because, at first it will be very awkward. After one hour straight you'll probably have some interesting things happen, please share if possible.

The Game is the Teacher
 

ShootingArts

Smorg is giving St Peter the 7!
Gold Member
Silver Member
Whenever a player has trouble with the 7, 8 or 9 playing 9-Ball it's usually a mental fear that somehow got programmed into them (it doesn't matter how or why, it just needs to be resolved).

To De-Program this behavior I suggest players practice 9-Ball running ALL the balls Backwards! That means contact the 9-Ball first on the break and rack the 1-Ball in the middle. Proceed to shoot the 9, then the 8, then the 7, until you make the last. ball which is the 1- Ball.

This may not seem effective, but try it for an hour (on the pool table) it before jumping to any premature conclusions.

Even if you aren't having trouble with any certain ball this drill will force you to treat all the balls equally and you'll have to think a lot more because, at first it will be very awkward. After one hour straight you'll probably have some interesting things happen, please share if possible.

The Game is the Teacher


CJ, thanks for the assistance! This was a problem long ago, about fifty years. I am playing with the Dynasphere Tungsten balls now. With the odd colors they have much the same effect, got to think how the pattern goes.

I think I'll run a few racks bass ackwards as you suggest next time I hit some balls. Might be a few days, company on Sunday and doctor's visits next week. Just routine tests and such I have been putting off because of covid, no big deal. Out of town so it burns up a full day though.

Hu
 

Poolmanis

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Pretty nice post again CJ.
To really get benefit from your advice. I think player need to high enough level to do hard shots with good success rate though.
Or have method to aim same way all shots. No matter what cut he have. That what i have been working last years and it is paying off nicely lately.
 

CJ Wiley

ESPN WORLD OPEN CHAMPION
Gold Member
Silver Member
Pretty nice post again CJ.
To really get benefit from your advice. I think player need to high enough level to do hard shots with good success rate though.
Or have method to aim same way all shots. No matter what cut he have. That what i have been working last years and it is paying off nicely lately.
Yes, to actually be able to treat every shot the same takes specific knowledge that's for sure. I learned it from a variety of champions like Vernon Elliot, Omaha John, and Billy Johnson (Wade Crane) - I'll give you a suggestion that will help you on the shots you find more challenging.

Most players set up to the shots according to the angle they need, or the contact point of the object ball. This seems like an intelligent way to play, BUT it doesn't allow the player to treat all the shots the same.....because most of the shots will be different.

Try aligning to each and every shot the same at first, when you're above the shot (before deciding what to do with the cueball)......I recommend aligning each shot like they are straight in (Center to Center) until the angle is a "half ball hit" or more and with these shots align Center to Edge.....then, from that starting position adjust your visual perception to create the angle you need.

This is the beginning of what MUST be done to get into the zone of shooting all the shots like they are exactly the same. I'll let you know what's next when you see how this works for you on the pool table.

Play Well, the Game is the Teacher
 

marikian

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
C.J. I have been doing the aligning like you are talking about and it is making the game play much easier.
 

CJ Wiley

ESPN WORLD OPEN CHAMPION
Gold Member
Silver Member
C.J. I have been doing the aligning like you are talking about and it is making the game play much easier.
Yes, it's one of the most closely guarded secrets.....when I learned the technique my game reached a consistency I'd never experienced and never would have standing how I naturally did for the first part of my career.

Once you know how the foundation (stance) is connected to the rest of the body you'll be able to gauge another player's ability within 5 minutes. Even if they are playing intentionally under their speed few players know how to disguise their stance.......I'm sure you have this "second sight" now if you've figured it out, I show this process step by step on my website.

Play Well, the Game is the Teacher
 

marikian

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I have been working on my stance through your website for a little while now and i do like the way you explain the game.
 

tableroll

Rolling Thunder
Silver Member
In 2002 I became good friends with Hank Haney (before he was Tiger Woods golf coach), we talked a lot about the similarities between Pocket Billiards and Golf....there are many!

One day Hank was curious and ask me point blank.....

"When did you know For Sure you were a champion pool player, was there a specific experience, process or thought?"
I knew my relationship with Hank was bonded by mutual respect and he was dead serious!.... I answered honestly and immediately without hesitation reaching into a deep filing cabinet of my mind to locate the answer.....

"There was a day that I realized I was making the "hard" shots, but missing the "easy" ones in critical situations.....it was frustrating....
and didn't make since.....
I'd tried several things, failing each time, and was still inconsistent so I "gave up" and made a resolute commitment to no longer judge them as *hard and easy"
....from that moment on I treated them all the same.....there were no more hard or easy shots I Made them virtually the same!
I strived for the same alignment, same tempo, same mental attitude, same aiming, same object ball target, same body positioning, no matter what the shot I treated them all the same with no judgement and no expectations.
Over the course of the next three weeks of competition I performed the same, consistent results, and no longer missed "easy" shots
That moment I knew I had uncovered the perfection of the game by giving up judgement and expectations.
I had become a champion,.not of a Game or Sport, more like an Art Form, a satisfying form of self expression like a master musician or sculpter in a creative zone
THAT was the exact moment, Hank..... make sense concerning the context of your question?"

Hank went into deep thought, carefully processing my words, this is what made him a genius at the art of golf, he ran things through his mind meticulously unraveling the details.

Hank, eyes clear and focused now looked me straight in the eyes....."Yes, bud, that was exactly what I needed to hear!"
I have never seen Hank play a game of pool that he didn't make a written note of who won and something that he learned during the game in a notebook.
That dedication is impressive, if i'd done that (my entire life) the pages would fill a swimming pool with the physics, geometry and plethora of experiments I'd experienced on a pool table!

A few years later he documented what I told him in his book.... he shared the information to coach Tiger who utilized a similar mind set to win the British Open Golf Championship in 2006 (he decided to NOT use his driver).... ironically Tiger was making all the hard shots and missing some easy ones... coincedence?!
If you like pool and/or golf I will encourage you to read Hank's book it's called 'The Big Miss'..... a masterful depiction of how he handled the challenging position coaching one of the greatest athletes/artists that ever lived;

Fast Forward a couple years.....

In 2012 I was the Mosconi Cup Captain,
Johnny Archer
and I would stay up after everyone else was in bed and strategize about the next day (Johnny had an amazing 6/0 performance that year and the last day it was 9/9 before we lost the last match).

A discussion about treating all the shots the same came up and Johnny had actually read Hank's book cover to cover in 3 days, commenting how shocked he was to see a fellow pocket billiard professional in that particular golf book.

There are no coincedences, my friends, the "shots" we take in life are consistently satisfying when we Decide and Commit to make them that way, releasing judgement and expectations...trusting our MasterCreator!.

The Game {of Life} is the Teacher
www.masteringpocketbilliards.com
Great stuff
 

CJ Wiley

ESPN WORLD OPEN CHAMPION
Gold Member
Silver Member
I have been working on my stance through your website for a little while now and i do like the way you explain the game.
Thank you, it's been my goal to figure out how the game all connects so it's easier for players to learn what the champions actually do, it's much different than what is commonly taught.

I should be at a place to make some more videos in a couple days, I have learned some really cool things in the last 3 weeks playing with Dennis Orcollo, Roberto Gomez, and Jeffery DeLuna. Also watching the match between Dennis and Shane V. was awesome in OK City, Shane does everything I teach to perfection, the level he was playing was amazing and, of course, Dennis came with the THUNDER to beat him in the last game 120\119.

Keep working on your game and I'd highly recommend doing the drills in the "Precision Pool Drills" section, they will speed up your progress!

Play Well, the Game is the Teacher
 
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