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Fasteddy7
08-14-2004, 04:58 PM
I play some sets with a person i play even. Its a good game for both of us. My problem arised after 4 hours in a six hour session. I missed an easy nine-ball while thinking "I havent dogged a nine all night" ....you got it i missed the ball due to the mind chatter. my game and mental attitude took a plunge. Now i know i should have stood up and started my pre-shot routine over but thats easy to say now. What insued was what i call 'being afraid of the balls' when i had an easy out, i tried to focus but I was on tilt so to speak. tried breathing taking a break what have you to no avail. My question is what does one do to avoid this ( i saw it coming but could not get back in the game)and how to get out of this mode. I would run 4 balls and then miss sinking my confidence once again. I am a fairly decent player but this session shook me. i was NEVER down for 6 hrs and ended up a one set loser??? What scares me is that it wasnt due to fundamentals as i have put my time in. If i shot any of the shots i missed 30 times i might miss 1 or 2 times. Frustrated in Iowa
btw i have read pleasures of small motions and the inner game of tennis. Thanks in advance

adc
08-14-2004, 08:10 PM
Call a break
Go and smoke a cigarette if you smoke, or just go to the toilet

Take maybe that 3-5 minutes to just refocus

tateuts
08-14-2004, 09:35 PM
Just forget about it and move on.

It actually helps your game and your mind dealing with tough losses far more than dealing with winning. It's a lot like life. Winning is easy to cope with. Losing is a bitch. How good you eventually become probably counts more on how you deal with defeat than success.

Buddy Hall once said something like this "How bad can I dog it? At the extreme, I can forget how to play...". Well, at least that didn't happen to you.

I would suggest staying in action of some kind, even for just time or drinks or cheap action, at least once a week and to vary your opponents. Basically, in general a player has to learn how to lose first. How to handle it, and how many ways there are to lose. You experienced one way to lose. You ground and ground, ran a little low in the fuel tank, started second guessing yourself (right, huh? we all do!). You lost your faith in your game and lost. It happens to all of us - a lot.

The important thing is to relax, even through bad rolls, mounting losses, missed shots, missed position. Just play and focus. Quit if you don't have your game after giving it a chance. But expect to lose some and play bad - we all do.

The better you get, the more confident you are in your game and yourself, the more experienced you are, the less disappointing a loss like this is. It's just part of the game.

The other thing I would like to add is everyone, no matter how tough, has a breaking point. I saw Bustamante grind himself to a standstill over a $50,000 prize - where he rattled the three balls left - he made them but normally he could have cleared the table blindfolded and instead it looked like he was climbing Mt. Everest.

Chris

Chris Cass
08-15-2004, 02:36 AM
Hi Fasteddy,

What your refering to is what they call self Sabatage. Your mind is telling you that your suppose to win or atleast play even with this opponent. Your suppose to get out and especially an easy shot should be made. It didn't go and you know what should have been done but failed to do it.

Your thinking of the who you are. What you need to think of is what you can be capable of doing. You never missed a shot before? Your suppose to correct the shot in your mind and then, file it. If it was getting up and restart your pre-shot routine? Then, you know that already too.

Don't assumme your going to make run-outs without working for them. There isn't one shot that I can think of as being easy. Each shot requires your undivided attention. 100% on the shot at hand. Nobody knows why one minute your in focus and everything becomes effortless and then the next, your dog meat. It happens. It's called inconsistancy.

Take the guy that runs a 4 pack and the opponent tells him, "Geez, you ran 4 racks and haven't missed a ball." The very next game the guy can't run to save his life. The reasons for this is fairly simple. He was focusing and in the zone. When brought into the present he had switched to the thinking part of the game. He then saw everything as a thought, instead of letting his rhythm flow and get lost in the game.

To get back there he has to strugle for a bit but if the misses happen? They happen. He just can't let everything become so critical. That's done and you can't change that. You should correct it in your mind and move on. Same with matches. Next time this happens to you. Ask yourself, "What makes me a better player than my opponent?" or "What makes me worthy to play with this opponent?" You'll find the answer when you think of all the things that make you special.

Say to yourself, "If Efren misses, it's ok if I do." Stop the Sabatage.

Regards,

C.C.~~just my humble opinion and not to be viewd as the correct answer. /ccboard/images/graemlins/smirk.gif

wantsumrice
08-17-2004, 12:20 AM
I'm finding myself in a rut these days, which is terrible! It's only been a month playing with my new cue, and I'm already in a pothole.

I find that I second guess myself a lot, and I think TOO much... How do I stop this BS?

~ivan

Chris Cass
08-17-2004, 02:36 AM
Hi Rice,

That's a tough one. I think everyone has come across this, one time or another. You just have to stop and just take a chance. You might choose the wrong way to go or the right way. One thing is certain. You won't die if you choose wrong. You can only fail.

I know a guy that plays very well. He's a "C" player for the most part. That's if your pigionholing on what some deem their opinion. To me I see potential. Noone will tell him this as myself either. He's never asked for my help or opinion on his game.

He enters the tourneys and plays the pool leagues and is rather loud and obnoxtiuos.(sp) He draws attention to himself and thrives off the attention. He'll make all the balls and seems to always dog the winning ball most of the time.

He'll put his game down and acts like everything is ok because he missed. He sets the standard for his loss. He lets others join him. He acts like it doesn't bother him and will often say the same about others when they miss. Kind of always cracken a joke about it publically.

At leagues he'll do the same and even with his team mates. He'll even talk smack to them in the middle of a match distracting their attention. He thinks this is just fun. He likes the attention even when it's his friends playing. Kind of trying to keep the limelight on him.

What he's really doing is setting his standards for others to go by too. I know he wants to win. I know he wants others to win also. It's not that he's trying to mess them up. He wants to have fun but the way he's doing this isn't.

What he's really afraid of is winning. He's afraid to put himself out there and just going for it. I've watched him for yrs now and it's always the same thing. Week after week. He stays at the same level and won't improve. He's won before but mostly if someones gaven it to him.

My answer to you is to just put yourself out there. There's nothing that losing in a game of pool that will ruin your life. It's just a game. Nothing more and nothing less. The object is to make the ball your shooting at. It's not a perfect game and we're not perfect human beings. The table isn't perfect, the ball, the rack, the cloth, the rules and this world. Just try to work at what you know and work with what you bring to the table.

Believe me, you don't have to judge yourself. Others will for you. Do they count? Only the ones in your heart. This isn't about second guessing shot patterns. It's about trial and error. In time, you'll know yourself more and more. Don't be afraid of failer. Don't be afraid of success. Don't let others set your standards.

Myself, have 3 weeks to play the most prestiegous event in the world imho, the U.S.Open. I have a spot paid by a generous player unknown to me. That was $500. of his or her hard earned money. Another sponsorship for $250. also unknown sponsor or joint sponsorship, I have no clue.

I also have a contract with another giving soul Dr. D. for work and a special gift. Billiard Workbook is her book. This isn't because I'm so great of a player but out of kindness of her heart. She's already endoresed by Girda a pro as you know and many profession instructors. She didn't need me.

I've had 5 people that have mentally broke me as of today. Friends I thought and some behind my back. All making sure I got their message. Little do they know I know who they are but, that doesn't matter anyway. I'm so stressed and the game that was totally in my mind has gone.

I've lost my direction and faith in my ability to do good. Even enough to make me want to buy out of my commitments. I'm beat before I even started. I'm still not sure whether I'm going. I've even got my plane tickets sitting right here with me. I look at them as the flight to failer.

I think my problems are bigger than your my friend Rice. These select few have broke this horses spirit. I still have time to try to get what I lost but not sure how. Not trying to be rude but just take the above advice and concider it. I really didn't want to answer this question at all. I'm not sure I even want to post.

Regards,

C.C.~~do as I say and not as I do. /ccboard/images/graemlins/frown.gif

stickman
08-17-2004, 08:45 AM
Pleaures of small motions is a great book! I need to read it again, but the ex-wife took it with her. It is difficult when playing people you play often to just play your game and not your opponent. I lost a tournament Saturday because I let myself get caught into playing the player, instead of just playing my game. I was thinking about how I had to beat this guy, and how I should easily beat this guy. I had played great all day until the final match. I was thinking about the wrong think. If I had been concentrating on making my shots instead of clutering my mind with winning, I probably would have been the winner. /ccboard/images/graemlins/crazy.gif

wantsumrice
08-17-2004, 10:36 AM
Hey Chris,

Sorry that I brought up the horrible'ness of it all for you. Even though you're definitely in a worse position, I can sympathize. I think I'll just play it out, and take it less seriously. It's just a game, right? lol

Yet, the question still begs to be answered. How do I get rid of the mental chatter?

~ivan

9 Ball Girl
08-17-2004, 11:58 AM
Convert your mental chatter to positive mental chatter. I've actually had arguments between my mental chatters i.e. "Oh man here's that shot that I always have problems with", "Shutup, get down and make the ball, you can do it". As corny as that sounds, that's actual dialect from my mental chatter. Does it work? Sometimes but my mental chatter is a work in progress...

kenz54
08-17-2004, 08:22 PM
Sounds like your new cue is working well for you Stickman /ccboard/images/graemlins/smile.gif

stickman
08-17-2004, 10:22 PM
It is, thanks. /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif As long as I keep my head in the game, I do alright. I don't mind losing to a better player, but I hate to beat myself. Having the right mental attitude is just as important as a good stroke. I can pratice my physical game, but maintaining my mental game is difficult.

Jimmy B
08-18-2004, 12:56 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote stickman:</font><hr> I can pratice my physical game, but maintaining my mental game is difficult. <hr /></blockquote>
I think you either have it or you don't. Some people just can't handle the heat. IMO there is only 2 ways to improve the mental game, one is to prepare yourself as best you can, if you are shooting your best and are in stroke you'll be confident in your ability. The second way is to put yourself in pressure situations as much as you can, they do get easier. But one thing I think for certain, if you are thinking about your mental game you already lost. Also I feel that most people just need some excuse to blame as to why the failed, and those are all just excuses and those are for losers. Prepare the best you can and then have fun, the rest will follow, and when you lose don't say you choked or blame the cue or someone sharking just own up that you didn't perform and need more practice. People who hide behind excuses will always be losers in my book.

JB

bluewolf
08-18-2004, 05:12 AM
I like what Chris said about giving each shot 100%. I realized I was having trouble with this when I was missing short shots and making the long more difficult ones, and was told I was taking the short ones for granted. I like what the Monk said about 'being one with the shot'.

What 9ball girl said was good too, IMO, about replacing a negative thought with a positive thought.

When I can walk into the poolhall with a relaxed, focused attitude that I am going to shoot well, my best, with no expectations of winning or losing, but looking forward to the competition, I shoot my best, whatever that is on that particular night. If I can then, approach each shot with equal importance, or 100%, like Chris said, it does seem to take the 'choke' out of the game ball.

To me, I think in time, the skills come so having one's mental game in tact, is a victory even when I do not win the match. I take the focus off of winning or losing, and keep it on my play, for the most part.

Oh well, there is a little more too it, but I am a better psychologist than I am a pool player. /ccboard/images/graemlins/smirk.gif I do think, however than mental skills are very much the same in all sports and there are a few good books out there relating to other sports like 'the inner game of tennis' which addresses getting the thinking part of the brain to shut up when shooting.

There are so many things that can be going on in the brain of an athlete, which is what keeps the sports psychologists in business.

Laura /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif

stickman
08-18-2004, 08:17 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Jimmy B:</font><hr>
I think you either have it or you don't. Some people just can't handle the heat. IMO there is only 2 ways to improve the mental game, one is to prepare yourself as best you can, if you are shooting your best and are in stroke you'll be confident in your ability. <font color="red"> The second way is to put yourself in pressure situations as much as you can, they do get easier.</font color> <font color="blue">We agree on this. I used to get physically ill everytime I played in a tournament. I started playing 2 or more tournaments a week and no longer have a problem with that. </font color> But one thing I think for certain, if you are thinking about your mental game you already lost. Also I feel that <font color="red"> most people </font color> just need some excuse to blame as to why the failed, and those are all just excuses and those are for losers. <font color="blue">I always congratulate the winner. I know when my opponent out played me and when I beat myself. No excuses. </font color> Prepare the best you can and then have fun, the rest will follow, and when you lose don't say you choked or blame the cue or someone sharking just own up that you didn't perform and need more practice. People who hide behind excuses will always be losers in my book.

JB

<font color="blue"> JMHO but I think there is more to the mental game than just practicing , and being in pressure situations. If I'm not focused on the task at hand, the practice won't help me. The brain is a complex thing. Just like when you wish your mind would take a break so you can go to sleep, sometimes you wish it would stop so you can shoot pool. /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif</font color>
<hr /></blockquote>

woody_968
08-18-2004, 09:04 AM
Good post JB, I agree with most of it.

About the only way to learn to deal with pressure is getting out there and doing it, but IMO there are other aspects of the mental game that can be improved. Most notably how we deal with misses and setbacks. We can and do choose how we think, and untill we choose the proper way we will hold ourselves back.

I improved my mental game while working on golf, I read "Golf is not a game of perfect" and learned to concentrate on what I need to do, not what I had just done. Many times people get hung up on a shot they just missed and by the time they get over it the set can be over. I think it deserves to be repeated - <font color="red"> WE CAN AND DO CHOOSE HOW WE THINK. </font color>

I totally agree that excuses are the sign of a loser, and untill they choose to take responsability for the outcome they will continue to lose. If everytime they miss a shot or dont get out when they should they blame something else then they dont have any desire to practice to get better. Why should they if they never make a mistake that is their fault? We have a local that seems to look for distractions in critical times so he will have a reason for missing, it has hurt his game ever since I have known him.

There are times when we all get distracted, but winners will say "I let myself get distracted and Im not going to do it again" losers say "Its someone elses fault they distracted me", there is a BIG difference.

bluewolf
08-18-2004, 09:10 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote stickman:</font><hr>
<font color="blue"> JMHO but I think there is more to the mental game than just practicing , and being in pressure situations. If I'm not focused on the task at hand, the practice won't help me. The brain is a complex thing. Just like when you wish your mind would take a break so you can go to sleep, sometimes you wish it would stop so you can shoot pool. /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif</font color>
<hr /></blockquote>

WTG. The brain is very complex, ur right about that and most of us use about 10% of it, so no telling what that thing between our ears is capable of. /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif

It is also true that there are different kinds of 'brains'. From what I have seen in various sports, some can get that left-right switch that randy g and others teach more easily than others. For some, all you gotta do is teach them that it needs to happen, and that they gotta 'be one with the shot' and they have got it to a high degree. For others, with different kinds of brains, ie, the way they process, it is a real struggle and very difficult for them. For those people not only telling them where it needs to happen is needed, but they need to be told how, which can be a somewhat lengthy process. And in that, there is a degree of truth to that 'some have it and some do not' because for the do nots, it is so difficult for them to learn how.

Laura

Eric.
08-18-2004, 09:18 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote 9 Ball Girl:</font><hr> Convert your mental chatter to positive mental chatter. I've actually had arguments between my mental chatters <hr /></blockquote>

Hopefully, it's not between your various personalities, Sybil /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif


Eric &gt;I'm schizophrenic, and so am I

GStrong
08-18-2004, 09:21 AM
This may be a silly answer to a complex question, but, when I can't shut my mind up, I start to whistle or hum. Just find a good song that goes along with your particular rythm, relax, and do what you have practiced for 1000's of hours.

stickman
08-18-2004, 08:52 PM
I must have one of those different kind of brains. LOL /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif

For the record, I practice nearly daily with rare exception. I played in a in-house league Tuesday night. It is an unskilled race to 5. I was put up first and the opposing team captain chose to play me. It just happened to be the guy that won the tournament Saturday. I was mentally prepared to not make the same mistake I made Saturday. I kept my mind to my business, and handly beat him. I didn't think about winning, or how easy it should be, I only thought about making my shots. Simple, huh? It should be, but I let myself get distracted sometimes. I figure it's just normal to sometimes become distracted. I could be wrong though. /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif

ras314
08-18-2004, 09:15 PM
Sometimes it helps just to have fun. Forget all the worrying about what might happen if you dog a ball and just let your stroke out. Won a little 9 ball bar tournament the other night with just that attitude. One of the very few times I've won over a very good player here. Usually the only way to beat this guy is never to let him get to the table so I tend make too much work out of the game.

It's when you are having fun, not worrying about anything, and still focusing on the shots that things go good. At least for me.

stickman
08-18-2004, 09:22 PM
I've seen that too. I seen times when I didn't have a conscious thought in my mind, and played great. Like being on auto pilot. That's the state I'd like to retreve on command. /ccboard/images/graemlins/smile.gif

wantsumrice
08-18-2004, 11:20 PM
Same here, and I love the feeling! It's so nonchalant...but then again, gotta be careful about actually trying to make the shots /ccboard/images/graemlins/wink.gif

~ivan

wolfdancer
08-19-2004, 12:10 AM
Eric, it may be...did you notice one of them was male?
"Oh, man, here's that shot....."

CarolNYC
08-19-2004, 03:41 AM
[ QUOTE ]
Sometimes it helps just to have fun. Forget all the worrying about what might happen if you dog a ball and just let your stroke out <hr /></blockquote>

Tap!Tap-a-tapping!

Carol

bluewolf
08-19-2004, 04:10 AM
I have this book called the 'pro pool book' where it talks about different strategies mentally when playing a player you perceive as better vs one you have consistently beaten.

Here are a couple of lessons I have learned in regards to that. In both situations, mental chatter was a problem.

When playing a weaker player, the tendency was to be 'overconfident', thinking 'it was in the bag' and then either struggled to beat some of these players or even got beaten by them.

When I played a much better player like the sl6 I played as an sl2 and the sl7 I played as an sl3, I thought that I was not supposed to win and defeated myself by the way that I was thinking. In both cases, the players were having an off night and I could have beaten them, considering I had a huge handicap advantage. It does not mean that I would have necessarily won, but if I had then believed what I do now, that anyone can be beaten, the higher player can be having a bad night and the lower player a good night, it meant that I would have performed better.

The saying of 'playing the table not the player', then, took on a new meaning for me.

Another lesson I learned was in regards to bringing my emotions to the table, resulting from obsessive mental chatter. I had had upsetting things happen to me two times, two weeks in a row. I brought those thoughts to the table, and my game went into the toilet. I was really mad at myself and was determined to find a way to turn that stuff off when I was playing. So, I started looking into ways to give myself, what I call self-hypnotic commands, to turn that stuff off before I entered the poolhall. I was successful to a large degree but if it is so bad that I cannot do it, I try not to play that night.

The reason for that is that in the same way that 'nothing succeeds like success', repeated failures can result in a losing streak, because then one's brain(IMO) is saying sabotaging things to them, expecting to lose again.

Don't know if that helps anyone because there is a reason for mental chatter and often only the player knows what their brain is doing to them, in the case of a player who has in the past been able to stop the chatter and play loose and free.

JMHO

Laura

Eric.
08-19-2004, 08:52 AM
Just havin fun /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif


Eric

9 Ball Girl
08-19-2004, 09:10 AM
You guys are killing me! LOL Hey, as long as I don't start arguing with myself then it's cool. I think. Anyway, these are some of the things that go through my head when I'm playing that screws me up some times:

"Oh man there's the shot I never practice"
"Yeah, I got this one"
"I'm being watched so I have to make this look good"
"Did I leave the iron on?" /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif

We think too much, no, we second guess ourselves too much which is what I believe is what takes us out of that "zone". When I'm in that "zone", I'm not thinking at all. Think about it. When I was about 17, I was a hell of a shot maker. I never thought about positioning, and this and that english and draw and tangent lines--nothing! As soon as I started to think about speed and half tips of this and that, it was a whole new world that gets better with experience.

During the Big Apple tourney, Tony "Flaco" Rodriguez had brought along his son one night. His son is now about 5 years old and he had his own cue. The kid was playing on one of the practice tables in the back and I couldn't believe what I was seeing. He was cutting in balls, drawing the rock, positioning for the next--I was in awe (I had first met Little Flaco when he was about 2). At one point, after watching him for a while, I walked over to him and for the hell of it asked him, "So what English do you put on that last shot?" just to see what he would show me, and he replied, "What's that?" I'm sure his Dad has an influence on him but still. Maybe it's because the little tyke is getting tennis lessons too. Who knows.

Wendy~~~still wishing that at 17 I knew who I know now... /ccboard/images/graemlins/crazy.gif

Rich R.
08-19-2004, 09:33 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote 9 Ball Girl:</font><hr> Hey, as long as I don't start arguing with myself then it's cool. I think. <hr /></blockquote>
Wendy, arguing with yourself is still cool.
It's not cool, when you lose the argument. /ccboard/images/graemlins/tongue.gif /ccboard/images/graemlins/confused.gif /ccboard/images/graemlins/blush.gif

CarolNYC
08-19-2004, 03:33 PM
[ QUOTE ]
Just find a good song that goes along with your particular rythm, relax, and do what you have practiced for 1000's of hours. <hr /></blockquote>

ABSOLUTELY!!!!!!!!!!!!!

"Look,if you had ONE SHOT,one opportunity,to seize everything you ever wanted-One moment
Would you capture it or just let it slip?"

"You only get ONE shot,do not miss your chance to blow
this opportunity comes once in a lifetime-YO!"

Carol~Eminem "Lose Yourself" My brainsong! /ccboard/images/graemlins/wink.gif