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bluewolf
04-11-2004, 01:18 AM
I guess Blackjack's presence back here stimulated some thought about what to me is the ideal mental attitude 'relaxation, confidence, concentration'.

I have seen good players, bad players, in between players fall because they did not have that kind of mental/emotional control. And myself, I know that when I am able to mentally prepare myself and have those three things in tact, I play my best, based on my level of pool skills. When I do not have those things in tact, I play much worse, distractable, nervous, being fed negative messages by my brain and other nasties.

Just curious what others do here to mentally prepare themselves so that they can perform their best. /ccboard/images/graemlins/smirk.gif

Laura

cheesemouse
04-11-2004, 08:52 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote bluewolf:</font><hr> I guess Blackjack's presence back here stimulated some thought about what to me is the ideal mental attitude 'relaxation, confidence, concentration'.

I have seen good players, bad players, in between players fall because they did not have that kind of mental/emotional control. And myself, I know that when I am able to mentally prepare myself and have those three things in tact, I play my best, based on my level of pool skills. When I do not have those things in tact, I play much worse, distractable, nervous, being fed negative messages by my brain and other nasties.

Just curious what others do here to mentally prepare themselves so that they can perform their best. /ccboard/images/graemlins/smirk.gif

Laura <hr /></blockquote>


I begin by giving myself enough time to set up my 'spot' at the table; I think of my spot as my nest...we all make a nest with our stuff. While I am nesting I begin my mantra and begin to take note of my surroundings i.e&gt; the people in the area, wheres the bathroom, who is working, what's on the walls, what is the traffic pattern of this area, and just in general get comfortable in my nest....I like to have a minimum of two minutes for this nesting process.

Once I'm comfortable in the nest I switch to visualizing the pool table as pond of water that has a very thin sheet of ice covering it and the pool balls are ducks on the pond. I pretend I am a hunter sneaking up on this pond and my mission is to get the ducks w/o disturbing them to much and, of course, I certainly don't want to fall thru the ice...LOL...if I am a good hunter and don't step on any sticks or trip over any rocks I will get lots of ducks. when the last duck is gone I move to another pond full of ducks. I pretend I am the best hunter in my village and I want the villagers too sing songs of my hunting prowess...CRAZY HUH????....... /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif

Popcorn
04-11-2004, 09:22 AM
For me, being mentally prepared means, being physically prepared. I don't think it is like taping a picture to the fridg of a Mercedes to help you get rich, or the power of positive thinking, it has to be based on something. Good players don't usually play bad, they play a predictable speed within certain limits most all the time. They don't go to the table every time not knowing what is going to happen and wishing and hoping they play good, they will most likely play good. When players match up, they fully expect to play their speed as do the side bettors. In a tournament match, because of the short duration, there may be some mental preparedness in that, you have to be sure you are ready to play and your thoughts are not somewhere else. You don't want to get behind in the match because it is such sudden death. I know there are self books out there, but nothing can help more then being well practiced and having confidence, (Not false confidence), in what you can do.

I honestly think most of the good players on this board will tell you, they don't have any days where they can't make a ball. Some days are better the others but that is about it. Among professionals you may see a player take a beating and he may appear to not be playing good, but it is more due to the level they are competing at. Any mistake may be a disaster against a top player, even if you are in dead stroke. I just don't think there are any short cuts to good play other then proper practice and competitive experience. I know my last comment may seem contradictory, but it takes competitive play to teach you, you can win. You may have failures in the beginning, even after a lot of practice, but I don't know how you can mentally prepare for competition, other then through experience.

Quote
"Just curious what others do here to mentally prepare themselves so that they can perform their best".

In answer to your last question, I don't have an answer, other then, I expect to perform my best and don't give any thought to it. Worrying about it may become a problem in itself. I don't know, just some quick thoughts.

AnimalChin
04-11-2004, 09:30 AM
I can definitely relate to the "nesting" process. In the rest of my life, I am pretty spontaneous and can't stand routine. But pool is the glaring exception. I have a pretty strict nesting routine where I get myself a soda, set up my case,open the compartment, get my towel and chalk out, take my cue out, burnish the tip, wipe down the shaft, put it together, and take a drink of my soda. It's almost like I'm a hitman putting his gun together before the hit lol. But I come out of this process with an entirely different mindset. Everything sort of moves slower, my movements (even walking and stuff) become more fluid, and almost nothing bothers me. It's a little unsettling to put it this way, but it's almost like I hypnotize myself with the routine.

bluewolf
04-11-2004, 09:38 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote cheesemouse:</font><hr>
Once I'm comfortable in the nest I switch to visualizing the pool table as pond of water that has a very thin sheet of ice covering it and the pool balls are ducks on the pond. I pretend I am a hunter sneaking up on this pond and my mission is to get the ducks w/o disturbing them to much and, of course, I certainly don't want to fall thru the ice...LOL...if I am a good hunter and don't step on any sticks or trip over any rocks I will get lots of ducks. when the last duck is gone I move to another pond full of ducks. I pretend I am the best hunter in my village and I want the villagers too sing songs of my hunting prowess...CRAZY HUH????....... /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif <hr /></blockquote>

No. This sounds beautiful. To popcorn, I guess I was referring more to the B players, which I guess comparitively I consider to be good players, perhaps not as good as you and other A players, but certainly quite a bit better than me. /ccboard/images/graemlins/smirk.gif

BTW, popcorn, your mental game sounds very good from where I am sitting. I am hearing confidence, concentration and lack of nervousness because you come to the table expecting to win. Anyway, I always thought you were well above the level of player I guess I was talking about.

Laura

Sid_Vicious
04-11-2004, 10:26 AM
Let's throw a wrench in here. Let's say that after your nesting that you draw a bye for the first round, and then your match is not in your nested area but in an entirely different location, one with a big variance of comfort compared to your original spot. Are you now re-nesting, and if so does the repeat actions reestablish your confidence?

I like this theory, I'm as much distracted by what my pool case is doing back on the other side of the PH as I am what I'm going to do with the table. Most all the local events I seem to play in many times make it difficult to nest each set, mainly due to ergonomics and crowd saturation. I am lucky to have one main "port of storm" if that, when I try and settle-in. One-on-one sets are a different matter entirely though, a nest seems like a must, but I've never thought it as such. Thanks. sid

Sid_Vicious
04-11-2004, 10:35 AM
Popcorn..."Anyway, I always thought you were well above the level of player I guess I was talking about."

I believe this to be a true fact as well BW. Ya know though, there has to be a venue that even Popcorn would have to recheck his confidence before matching up, say a national event with all the big boys swinging away. There are very few players who can honestly say that they merely "believe they will win" and then not find themselves getting stuck quickly, at least at some hightened level of competition. It is all relative, and we are all human...well Earl and FL are space aliens but they don't really count...sid

Popcorn
04-11-2004, 10:41 AM
You don't so much expect to win, you just expect a certain performance that you can depend on without worry. This can be the case with most any level of player. I have seen a lot of tough players that were not necessarily all that skilled, but played a dependable game. If they were getting a spot that seemed to be in their favor, you could bet on the outcome. I have also seen a lot of what I felt were good players that although they played well, don't seem to know it. They constantly doubt their ability even though there is plenty of evidence to the contrary. It probably holds true in anything, be it a salesman or what ever.

Chris Cass
04-11-2004, 10:55 AM
/ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif

C.C.

cheesemouse
04-11-2004, 11:00 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Chris Cass:</font><hr> /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif

C.C. <hr /></blockquote>


/ccboard/images/graemlins/tongue.gif /ccboard/images/graemlins/tongue.gif Chris......did we just have a MIND MELD... /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif

Popcorn
04-11-2004, 11:10 AM
You can't play better then you can play and like in a foot race the faster runner will most likely win. "BUT", if you allow this to keep you from even leaving the starting line, suppose the guy falls, you won't even be there to take advantage. In any tournament no matter what the sport most all will lose and most of the time the same players will win the tournament. That is just a fact of sports. Because you will never win the gold medal does not mean you should not play. The best you can do when facing a world class player is to play your game and force them to play theirs, try to be more then just a bump in the road. I went to a tournament and got there late. There was one bye on the board and it was Buddy Hall. I bought the bye and got ready to play. He beat me 11 to 4. He is a world class player and he played that match like a world class player, as I expected him to. I never missed a ball, but he strung racks and that was that, I was happy with my play, I didn't feel like a sucker. If I remember right I ended up in the money in that tournament. In any sport, to compete is why you play, only a very few will be champions, but every player will enjoy small victories along the way. You want to play Hall, Archer, or any of those champions believe me it can be a real thrill not worth missing. I have read about actors that throw up every time before they go out on stage. It is amazing how once you are out there it all seems to change. There seems to be more fear in the anticipation then once you are playing. You just swallow it and play, things will work themselves out once you are out there.

Sid_Vicious
04-11-2004, 11:23 AM
You are definitely in another class from my game, but I'd really like to have the chance to play ya, same as the ones you mentioned, "Hall, Archer, or any of those champions", just for the experience. I feel it would make me a lot less afraid of most everybody I usually become nervous around now.

This brings up something else, that being drawing the biggest gun in a tournament. Many people I know simply won't toss in their money if certain players are playing, saying "I'm not donating my money to HIM!" Heck, let me draw the guy in the first round, at least I know I'll get my chance to play the guy cheap. Funny that many people think just the opposite...sid

Popcorn
04-11-2004, 11:45 AM
quote

"I feel it would make me a lot less afraid of most everybody I usually become nervous around now."

Believe me that is big. There are so many small tours like the Joss tour around now, that everyday players get to play champions. It is not long before you see a difference in their games back at the pool room. It is like," I went hill hill with Archer last weekend, Who the hell are you". They get over that intimidation factor and get on with playing their game. I am sure many here have seen this themselves. I know the players know it. They used to be able to depend on locals just falling dead because of who they were, and this is just not the case anymore. Those guys get knocked off by locals all the time now, once they have a little experience under their belt.

quote
Many people I know simply won't toss in their money if certain players are playing, saying "I'm not donating my money to HIM!"

They are cheating themselves out of the thrill of competing and a lifetime of stories and memories. First of all, most of the players in, will not finish in the money anyway. If everybody had that attitude there would be no tournament. What they are really saying is, they are afraid to play. Go to any tournament and the stands are full of them, guys that should be playing but sit on the sidelines. It is their choice but they are missing out.

AnimalChin
04-11-2004, 11:54 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Sid_Vicious:</font><hr> Let's throw a wrench in here. Let's say that after your nesting that you draw a bye for the first round, and then your match is not in your nested area but in an entirely different location, one with a big variance of comfort compared to your original spot. Are you now re-nesting, and if so does the repeat actions reestablish your confidence?
<hr /></blockquote>

It's hard to explain, Sid. I think for me it isn't so much the nest itself as the routine of building one lol. Once I do it though, I can go to a different table with ease, and just put my case under the new table (I don't like to leave it either =)). The frame of mind the initial routine puts me in does not wear off easily, even long after I've gone home. Everyone I know can tell if I've been playing pool that day...its kinda weird lol.

stickman
04-11-2004, 12:23 PM
My mental preparation wasn't even existent for Saturday's tournament. I was preoccupied with personal problems. My skill level was raised and I wasn't up to the task. I went two and out. /ccboard/images/graemlins/frown.gif Next week will be another day. /ccboard/images/graemlins/wink.gif

Jim

bluewolf
04-11-2004, 10:31 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote stickman:</font><hr> My mental preparation wasn't even existent for Saturday's tournament. I was preoccupied with personal problems. My skill level was raised and I wasn't up to the task. I went two and out. /ccboard/images/graemlins/frown.gif Next week will be another day. /ccboard/images/graemlins/wink.gif

Jim <hr /></blockquote>

There are several things I have noticed. If i walk into the pool hall beleiving that I will win, there are no self doubts and no negative messages floating around in my head. And in that state, I am not tense at all because I believe that I am going to win and I have almost perfect focus and drive while being relaxed at the same time. It seems that whether I win or not, i play my best when I walk in in that mental state. Unfortunately, I have not gotten to the point where I can achieve this at a high percent.

Then there are times that I walk in with some thoughts of who am I going to play, worried about winning or losing etc and when I play, even if I win, I am playing nervous, almost fighting to keep that negative self talk at bay, and that makes it a rough match and not particularly enjoyable, and my play and my concentration are not nearly as good as in the first state.

Recently I have had this other odd thing happen. I am not in that first, 'zen like' thing, but have those worries about looking bad, etc, and do not do well the first game. But, sometimes, in the middle of the match, it is like a switch gets clicked and I am just going to beat this person and at that point become very focussed, even though I began the match nervous. When this happens, there is something on the line, and it is like I am fueled by a bit of anger, not extreme, just enough.

A few weeks ago I played a guy who when I first began playing was my captain and looked down on me as a beginning two and acted like I was going to play cruddy forever. This time, he was still above me in rank, but I had this little anger which threw me into this super determined state and I became for lack of better words, a person without conscience. It was war, and i did not care what I had to do (within the rules), all i cared about was beating this guy, no matter what it took. Then the next week, I played this person, who was obviously ranked wrong, both by his play and his winning percentage, and when I saw how good he was, his play nearly two ranks above mine, yet was ranked on the same level as me, this edge of anger again threw me into that 'it is war, kill or be killed' attitude. So I understand the zen thing, but this type of thing I am not so sure of what that is.

So, I guess I brought it up because I know that I am inconsistent about where I am mentally and dont like that.

Laura

Popcorn
04-12-2004, 07:26 AM
I have to say, when I read all this stuff it just sounds like such a bunch of, I don't know what to call it. I believe you should feel confident, but all that dependence on the careful regulation of every thought and feeling just sounds like a lot of extra baggage. What is wrong with just walking in and playing your game? It sounds like you are playing a bunch head games with yourself." I won because I was feeling positive, I lost because I had a negative feeling when a cat crossed my path". The best thing you can do is just clear your head of distracting thoughts and pay attention to the task at hand. If you are pushing a piece of wood through a table saw, you don't need positive thoughts, you need to pay attention and understand what you are doing, to not shove your hand into the blade. All that stuff you are describing, and this is just my opinion, I am not a doctor and I don't even play one on TV, will just become a crutch or an excuse, when it probably in reality, has little to do with what actually happens. It is like the rooster who thinks the sun came up because he crows. I Don't like surrendering my life to rituals, whether in pool or what ever. In the long, long, long, run, it is not good. Just my opinion. It seems like I am picking on you, but you bring up stuff now and then that get my interest, so I apologize, I am not.

stickman
04-12-2004, 08:31 AM
I'll do fine. This week I plan to work hard on my stroke exerciser, I will use my thera-band daily to exercise my break muscles, and I'll get at least an hour practice every day. Mentally, I just have to learn that there are some problems that I can do nothing about. If I could do something about them, I should do it, and be done with them. Let God deal with the other ones and don't torment myself worrying about the ones I can do nothing about. Next week I'll see if I can't smoke them all! /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif

I just need to bring my full concentration to the game next week.

bluewolf
04-12-2004, 08:01 PM
Well Popcorn, you can say just about anything to me and get away with it. /ccboard/images/graemlins/tongue.gif
That is because I know that you are sincere in your opinions, and thanks for responding, there sounds to be merit in what you say.

Laura

superstroke
04-12-2004, 09:56 PM
For me, I'm mentally ready to play as soon as the coin is tossed in the air. After that happens I lose all consciousness of anything else around me, even if I had a bad day, as soon as I walk into any pool room my mind is erased of anything else other then pool. /ccboard/images/graemlins/cool.gif

#### leonard
04-13-2004, 06:00 PM
I always played my best pool after a pasta dinner,a glass of Red Wine and a near full stomach. I would take fast,short breaths thru my nose. I could always get into my head and usually ran out.
It is just hard having pasta for breakfast. ####

recoveryjones
04-13-2004, 11:10 PM
I think the best mental preparation for tournaments and money games is done days and weeks before, doing countless drills on the practice table.The more you know and the less you have to think during a match, the better you'll play.Playing on instinct is a lot better than having to think real hard during a match.Thinking too hard can be stressful.

Many players think things like: keep your head down,don't twist, follow through etc etc. as they tend to keep their mechanics in line.This stuff should all be sorted out on the practice table and shouldn't (in my opinion)have to be done during a match.The only thing that needs to be done (in most situations) is to visulize the shot and pull the trigger.

The more you know , the less the stress.Having said that, I VIRTUALLY KNOW DICK ALL so I'll continue to work hard during practice.RJ

ps. I can't stress the importance of a good pre-shot routine.(once again worked out and ingrained during practice sessions)It can be very relaxing.