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04-16-2002, 07:47 AM
Nearly every tournament I play in, I lose my first match of the day. I play just terribly -- only about 25% of my best game. After that match, which I almost always lose, I play much better, Im more relaxed and focused...

typical tournaments for me go like this... I lose my first match, win the next 4 or 5, come back for the 2nd day and lose my first match -- finishing around 9th.

If I were to play better in these first matches, I would be winning tournaments..... My poor performance doesn't have anything to do with warm up time, I usually arrive quite early to practice... come match time though.. I freak out.. can't sit still.. .shoot too fast, make dumb mental mistakes. After that first match of the day though, as I said, Im MUCH better....

Anyone have advice on how to remedy this problem?

rackmup
04-16-2002, 07:56 AM
PROZAC!

Just kidding. When this used to happen to me, I would simply remind myself "the first match is NO different than the many that will follow."

Having a strong practice session always helps. I do drills first, then a few "ghost" games and finishing with a few games against someone. If that goes well, I typically do well in the first, and subsequent matches.

I also chew gum. It seems to "calm my nerves" a little.

I also talk a lot while playing...congratulating my opponent on good shots, talking to myself (aloud) about my own mental errors, etc. This "talking" isn't intended to "shark" my opponent although it does bother them sometimes. If they ask me to "be quiet", I honor that request.

Lastly, it's all "just for fun." I don't count the prize money until it leaves the TD's hands and enters my wallet.

Works for me! You'll get plenty of good advice from all of the regulars here at the CCB on this one. Pay attention!

Good luck,

Ken

Jay M
04-16-2002, 08:07 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote: JasonG NYC:</font><hr> Nearly every tournament I play in, I lose my first match of the day. I play just terribly -- only about 25% of my best game. After that match, which I almost always lose, I play much better, Im more relaxed and focused...

typical tournaments for me go like this... I lose my first match, win the next 4 or 5, come back for the 2nd day and lose my first match -- finishing around 9th.

If I were to play better in these first matches, I would be winning tournaments..... My poor performance doesn't have anything to do with warm up time, I usually arrive quite early to practice... come match time though.. I freak out.. can't sit still.. .shoot too fast, make dumb mental mistakes. After that first match of the day though, as I said, Im MUCH better....

Anyone have advice on how to remedy this problem? <hr></blockquote>


That used to happen to me quite often in the local tourneys I played. I would invariably lose my first match and then fight my way through the loser's bracket to end up playing in the finals. The answer for me was to play more tournaments and higher level ones. After about two or three weeks of playing every tournament in the area (you can play a tournament every day of the week here and two or three on saturdays and sundays), it stopped happening. It was just a matter of paying my dues. It's a wonderful thing when you get past that hurdle, not to mention that the tournaments get easier because you have less matches to play.

Jay M

cheesemouse
04-16-2002, 08:44 AM
Jason,
This could be a form of performance anxiety...you spend so much time anticipating that first match, shot or game that it is hard to stay in the moment ( as Fran Crimi so correctly points out ) where we play our best. Even if you are in the here and now what you see doesn't match what you foresaw over and over while you were anticipating the event. In pool there isn't much we can cause to happen in advance so just relax and wait for the balls to quit rolling so you can get down and kick some royal butt...here's a suggestion: <font color=red>make your first shot of the 't' one that is unmissable even if it's a safety</font color=red>.
Jason, welcome to the ccb. I see this is your first post.

cueball1950
04-16-2002, 09:05 AM
i once had a friend who passed away a couple of years ago that used to loosen up by doing stretching exercises before his matches started. Anyone who knew him knew of this regimen. He told me one day when i asked him why he exercised so much, he simply stated that it loosened him up and relaxed him. His name was Nick Vlahos out of Massachusetts. Maybe it will work for you.........mike

04-16-2002, 09:14 AM
thanks to everyone that has responded already.. and thanks for the greeting cheesemouse...

Has anyone tried beta blockers by the way.....

I've tried the beer thing... it's slippery slope and doesn't seem to work... /ccboard/images/icons/smile.gif

04-16-2002, 09:49 AM
I recommend losing all your money playing Quick Draw BEFORE the tournament, thereby giving you a financial incentive to win all your matches.

Oh, wait, we already tried that.

- Steve

04-16-2002, 10:01 AM
i really like the advice from jay m to play in every tourney in sight. hard to stay excited and nervous.

another couple of things to think about.

i've noticed several of the best shooters around here will not take the cue out of the case till the match starts. in talking to a couple, the theme is that they just feel that it's too late to practice and that shootin for fun, practice, warmup or whatever does not have "pressure" wrecks their game.

another idea might be to play a money set or 2 before the tourney so burn off the jitters.

still, i think jay has the best idea. shoot your way out of it.

dan

04-16-2002, 10:25 AM
30,40,60,20,1,4,79

They CAN'T miss!

04-16-2002, 10:37 AM
Something I do while warming up for a tournament is to really let my stroke out. When I first get to the tournament site and take a table to practice, I don't let myself concentrate too hard. I throw out some balls, hit them smoothly and firmly, and practice shots with a lot of inside and outside english. But I'm not really focusing on aiming. I just want to get the feel of the balls and the cue. It doesn't bother me at all if I'm not running out during the warmup, because that's not my goal. I'm just trying to get in stroke.

Concentrating too much during warmup, in my opinion, is not a good thing. If the tournament goes well, you'll be taxing your brain all day... no need to start before the tournament - by the middle of the first match you'll feel worn out.

- Steve

Q-guy
04-16-2002, 11:47 AM
Post deleted by Q-guy

Rod
04-16-2002, 12:03 PM
Mike I do stretching exercises at home before I play. It will make you loose and feel relaxed. The upper body, arms neck, back and shoulders are IMO the most important, but should include lower back and the legs. This isn't an aerobic work out, just stretching. I do believe however that one should elevate their heart rate at least for a short peirod of time. When the heart starts pumping in that first match, it won't meet the resistance of tight veins and body!

I like to eat a light breakfast, No caffeine for me, the excercise woke me up. I used that coffee excuse to wake up to many years, plus it makes me nervous.

I go along the same line as Steve L mentioned, warm up by letting the stroke out. This is usually done at another room before I go to the tournament. I will shoot some finesse shots with side english to see if the stroke is in tune. I may hit a few balls at the tournament just for a feel of the table.

Other than that, getting well prepared the week before is necessary. As Q-guy mentioned in another thread, because if your not, it will either be a short day, 2 and out, or a long day playing from the looser's side. Knowing how we all hate that, I'd suggest doing something about it.
We all have to remember the other player is in the same situation, first game jitters are natural. The difference is YOU be prepared!
There is a lot more to this game than showing up early and hitting balls.

BillPorter
04-16-2002, 12:35 PM
Jason, others have said something similar, but my advice is to find a relaxation technique that works for you and use it about half an hour before your first match. It could be a mediation technique, progressive muscle relaxation, a breathing technique, or something else. You might check the Internet and do a search with Google.com for "relaxation tecniques." Good luck!

Rod
04-16-2002, 12:36 PM
I was going to write more of this in my post, but I kept it short. You did the typing for me Q-guy, and I agree with everything! If I know my match time, you'll never see me in the room, sitting around watching matches and getting stiff. I like to leave and come back with a clear mind.

Doctor_D
04-16-2002, 01:50 PM
Good afternoon:

Depending on how your system responds to it, keep the caffeine to a minimum. Coffee, Tea, Sodas and even chocolates are loaded with instant jitters.

Dr. D.

Tom_In_Cincy
04-16-2002, 01:55 PM
Another trick to overcoming the Jitters is to pause and look around the room and imagine everyone naked. I mean totally nude. Each person.. (you might want to focus on any waitresses 1st) and this will at least fill your mind with something else and hopefully push the jitters out of your thoughts. Its worked for me on many occations, especially in public speaking (large meetings and such)

Doctor_D
04-16-2002, 02:02 PM
Good afternoon Tom:

That recommendation was offered up tome when I started to do public speaking back in 1986. All it did was make me laugh, the thought of a room full of naked middle aged men was just too much to bear, so I had to come up with a better idea.

I just place the image of any particular pain in my ass on the object ball and then I shoot. Works every time.


Dr. D.

Cuemage
04-16-2002, 07:48 PM
Just to add to Jay's thought...u have to pay ur dues at each level (local, regional, national). At least I have experienced this phenomenon.
When time permits, I watch a favorite Accu-Stats match just prior to going to the site. This prepares my mind for what rhythm I want to play. I follow this up by practicing rhythm during my warm ups (like you, not focusing on running out). I feel this lets me begin with the best possible stroke in the 1st match (&amp; the 1st game).

Tha Cuemage

CarolNYC
04-17-2002, 04:19 AM
Hey Jason,
Power up on Carbs and protein the night before your match-as Dr. D stated,stay away from caffeine the day of match-eat natural sweets like fruits and cereals in the morning-if your a smoker,take ginsana-smoking depletes oxygen in brain-take a power bar with you-dont watch an opponent practice-play your game-your playing the table-you can only beat yourself-I do it all the time-Good luck!
Carol

Doctor_D
04-17-2002, 04:36 AM
Good morning:

On an additional note, Confidence is key! Know your shots, know your position play and your confidence will build. Drills, as boring as they might prove to be, are essential. I am still devoting 20 hours per week to drills!

Dr. D.

Rich R.
04-17-2002, 04:47 AM
Jason, you have received a lot of good advice from a number of people. As you can see, there are many ways to deal with the situation. You have to find what works for you.
Don't overlook a simple, brisk, walk out in the fresh air. It will work wonders. Rich R.