View Full Version : The Art Of The Choke - Book Version (Long)

12-15-2004, 05:37 PM
[i]The following is an excerpt from Lessons In 9 Ball. A shortened version of this section appears on many websites, but this is the actual book version, minus the picture...if you want the picture, I'll send it to you...anyway...its a lot of reading, (EXTREMELY LONG)but good stuff.... hope you put it to good use!!![i]

[b]The Art of the Choke[b]

Copyright 2003 Blackjack David Sapolis

Not all of us have graced the winner’s circle, nor have all of us enjoyed the accomplishment of achieving our ultimate goal. There is one thing that we all have in common though…. We have all missed shots we should have made. We have all experienced the “shot that got away.“ Read through this example, a scenario we have all been through. We are playing the local hot shot. We have lost to him 9 weeks in a row, and the weeks we haven’t lost to him we’ve stayed home in fear of the usual outcome. This week is going to be different. We’ve kept up with him and met him at the hill. You run the rack down to the eight ball. You see that you have two dead easy shots to make and you will win the match. You see what you need to do on the 8 ball and bend over to shoot the shot. You have wanted to beat this guy for a long time and now you have your chance! You bend over and address the cue ball, and then something happens. You can hear your heart beating in you ears. You feel your chest pounding. You look from the cue ball to the eight ball, and it now looks as if it is fifty yards away. The pocket has shrunk, and your shooting arm starts to shake and quiver. You abbreviate your pre-shot routine and quickly send the cue ball in the direction of the eight ball. You stand up quickly and watch as the cue seems to develop a mind of it’s own. The cue ball contacts the eight ball and sends it just wide of the corner pocket. The eight ball travels up table and sits about four inches from the top corner pocket. Ray Charles can handle this out. You sit down and experience a myriad of emotions. You say horrible things to yourself. You sit in the chair and beat yourself up as your opponent shoots his way to victory. You shake his hand, unscrew your cue and start to give yourself what is commonly known as a mental battering.

“I shoulda done this…”

“I coulda done that…”

“I woulda if I coulda…”

“Ooooh why I oughtta…”

That gets us nowhere, and in fact, increases the odds of it happening again. What happened? You choked. Happens to everybody. Grill Archer or Reyes long enough and they’ll admit to having it happen to them as well. Choking is part of our development. If we don’t experience it from time to time, we are not human. What causes it? A majority of things. Usually choking is caused by what is known as negative internal immersion. This is usually caused when you lose your temper, but it is also caused when you are over stimulated by the surroundings or the situation. When you are in dead stroke, everything is working out for you. The balls are dropping and you are getting the cue ball to what you want it to. Everything is going according to plan and you tell yourself that you can continue on autopilot, or unconsciously. Choking occurs when you become internally immersed in task-irrelevant issues, or cues. Internal immersion is not always negative, and external immersion is not always positive. It depends on whether the issues or cues you are focusing on are task relevant or not. Understand that when you miss shots or miss position, it is essential that you keep your focus external, therefore avoiding the mental battering. If you lose your temper due to a foul, something your opponent says, etc, it would be wise to shift you focus internally.

Just as “playing in the zone” is an altered state of consciousness, so is choking! When we choke, we lose control of our thoughts, our behavior and the whole situation. Choking occurs when we become so focused on internal cues (thoughts and feelings) that you cannot attend to external task-relevant cues. Our mind starts to focus on what we should not be doing, instead of what we are doing. This is what will make your cue shake from side to side when you are lining up the match winning 9 ball. Your breathing will become erratic, your cue will get a little heavier, and you will probably start to feel your heart beat in your ears. After a while, your heart is pounding so fast that it feels as if your head is throbbing. If this seems familiar to you, read on.

[b]Satellite Interference[b]

Many of us become more focused on the outcome rather than the process. If we focus on the process of our pre-shot routine, chances are we will remain focused on the task at hand. If we eliminate our pre-shot routine, by either forgetting (due to the excitement of the situation) or by rushing into our stance, we run the risk of rushing the shot as well. This is due to a communication breakdown between your mind, and … your mind. Your mind becomes unable to effectively process the incoming information (images, emotions, feelings,) and it is also unable to effectively process the outgoing information to the shooting arm, your eyes, and your entire body. Your muscle- memory recall fails, as your body receives a distorted signal, or static. It loses the channel it was listening to because the Satellite that was sending the signals is being blocked by something larger, or it has had a system meltdown. Your choice is to either reestablish communication, or to panic. I compare this to driving a car with no windshield or windows. You don’t know where you are going, but you’re getting there fast; and sooner or later you’re going to crash into something, you just don’t know when or where. So what do we do? First of all, understand that our brain works as the antenna. It picks up signals, and we can point our antenna in any direction we want, and pick up signals. Not all signals provide us with positive thought. Sometimes all we hear is static.

[b]Re-establishing Communication[b]

Always remember that we need to focus on what we should be doing as opposed to focusing on what we shouldn’t be doing. This means that we have to find a way around the blockers (doubt, negative thought patterns) or find an alternate way of reception to the positive thoughts. Remember we only have one antenna, and it will receive and accept whatever you focus it on. If you focus on your last bad shot, it will remind you of it until you redirect your focus on something else. Ultimately, you have the power to filter what you let in, and what you do not allow in. You also have the power to direct your attention positively or negatively. You can direct your attention on damaging words in the could-a-would-a-should-a file; or you can direct your attention towards positive cues such as “follow through”, “Focus”, “Breathe”, and “Smooth.” These are what I call “soothing words”, as opposed to the words most of us mumble when everything is going wrong with the world. This process is called Self Communication.


Remember that every thought you think, and every word you say in the 5-10 minutes before competition can have a major effect upon the results. Your results will be based on the quality and contents of your thoughts. If you think negatively before your match, chances are that you will perform negatively. Think positively, and your chances of winning increase - ALWAYS!

You must develop positive interaction with your inner coach. You inner coach is that little voice that tells you what to do, how to do it, and he/she also evaluates and critiques your results. Right now, you are reading this, and your inner voice is reading the text out loud to you. This inner voice serves as coach, critic, motivator, and can provide you with encouragement or discouragement. Remember this movie line?

“Use the force, Luke. Use the force.”

That is a good example of inner coaching. Luke’s inner coach was a positive influence on his life. Many pool players hire the wrong kind of inner coach. How would Star Wars have ended if Luke Skywalker’s inner voice said, “No, no, no! Go to the left, you stupid idiot! Not that left! You’re other left!!!”

That might sound funny, but many of us have hired that type of inner coach, or one that sounds similar. Doubtful the movie would have ended the same way if Luke listened to that guy.

The best self-talk is simple soothing words. Earlier I gave examples of soothing words. There are also motivational statements you can use, such “I win!” Anything positive that can get your mind focused on a positive outcome is recommended. I know there are some players out there that do not believe in affirmations. Let me explain the “garbage in - garbage out” theory. If you let garbage in to your thought patterns during competition, then after a while the garbage will start to pile up. If you do not “take out the trash” every so often, you end up with a mess. Remember, we’re talking about your mind, not your garage. A mind that is blocked with garbage and clutter will not perform well under any circumstances. If you plan on winning at pool, I suggest writing down a few self-motivating affirmations. These affirmations are not meant to be “rah-rah” motivation. These affirmations are merely thoughts you can use to clear out the negative thoughts, or, take out the garbage in your mind during competition. Everybody has their bad days at the table, so this applies to everybody.

We all participate in negative thought breeding at varying degrees. Many of us trudge through the muck of negativity without a clue of how to get into the positive. It starts here. Negativity breeds negativity, positivity breeds positivity. Many players place playing consistently as a goal, yet thinking consistently is just as elusive. This is evident when you miss an easy shot that you believe was well within your capabilities. If you allow it to bother you, you will lose your mental focus and concentration. The consistent use of positive affirmations during your time at the table can prevent this from happening. The champions in pool leave mistakes in the past. They forget the mistakes quickly and move on. They remain focused on what is in front of them. They do not remain wrapped up in judgment and anger from the shot they missed five minutes ago. They move on and remain focused on winning the match. Positive thoughts strengthen the energy system and increase the power of your mind and your body. Negative thinking drains your physical energy and impairs your performance.

Direct yourself towards the positive without arguing with yourself about the mistakes you’ve made. Breathing techniques, and “centering” are key tools to combat the onset of choking. Think of your concentration as a signal center or communication satellite that that serves as an information-processing center for your mind and body. Your concentration uses your focus like a radio dial to pick up certain channels. Your focus fixes on the situation at hand and searches for the right channel. The satellite receives the correct messages to feed back to the brain, which gives the correct messages to the muscles involved in the motor functions required to complete the task. Choking occurs when focus fails to receive messages, or picks up nothing but static when it attempts to tune in to the proper channel. The reception path is blocking the signals and a communication breakdown occurs. Doubt is the number one blocker of positive thought. The player then enters the altered state of consciousness, called “choking”. This means that brain starts receiving static communication entirely, or incomplete messages. The focus continues to search for the channels, but the reception has been blocked by either negative thinking, or a meltdown of the nervous system (nerves). After a while, the entire system crashes, and this leads to choking, anger, frustration, and bitterness.


Centering will help you in reestablishing communication with that satellite (your focus) and your techniques will assist you in removing whatever was blocking or interfering with the satellite’s communication. Centering techniques are simple, easily affordable, and yet priceless in competition. Remaining calm is of the utmost importance. Many players get angry, upset, and disappointed when they lose communication between the mind and body. This is evident in facial expressions, body language, and the overall balance of the player when he or she is in their stance. The first thing to change is the breathing. The second thing that goes is balance (or stature; sulking shoulders, head drooping forward, looking down to the floor). These things “lead” to a loss of focus or concentration, they are not the result. The results are the emotions, the missed shot, coming up short or long on position, losing the game or match, etc. Understanding this is very important. Many players try to reapply their focus towards the results, and not what caused the results. It reminds me of the story of the old cowboy that shot a hole in his water bucket. The water is coming out of the hole, and the cowboy turns to his buddy and says, “What am I going to do about this?”

To which the other cowboy responds “Stick a bullet in the hole. That’ll keep the water from pouring out.”

The cowboy’s eyes lit up like a Christmas tree. “You’re right! I’ll try that.”

The other cowboy says, “Here, want one of my bullets?”

“No, I have my own.” He thanks his buddy, places the bucket of water on the ground, draws his gun, and shoots another bullet into the bucket.

This might seem silly, but we have all done this while playing pool. We have the right idea, the right tools, but lack the good sense to get the job done right.

[b]The Center of Mass[b]

Your center of mass exists about an inch or two below and behind your navel. There are several different ways to locate it, but the following is the easiest. You can find your Center of Mass by imagining two lines being drawn through your body; one vertical and one horizontal. The lines intersect at your midpoint, or your Center of Mass.

Your weight is being pulled (or pressing downward) towards the floor. Shift yourself slightly in the chair and you will feel your Center of Mass shift as well. With your feet still flat on the floor, slowly rotate your torso in a circular motion. Slowly inch forward to remove your back from the chair. You will feel the point of center mass keeping your torso upright. Remember what this feels like, and where it is located as we will work with this location from here on forward. This is the point in your body that will work directly with your equilibrium. Any off shift of weight, poor balance, or inattention to your center of mass will be translated in your actions at the table. The Center of Mass is the point that you momentarily and consciously attend to in order to ***CENTER*** yourself. When you are ***CENTERED*** it is much easier to achieve "Dead Stroke", and here’s why:

Sit in a chair and with your back straight, and your feet placed shoulder width apart and flat upon the floor. As you are sitting in the chair, you should feel most of your weight when you are CENTERED, your muscles will loosen up and breathing will be steady and slightly deeper and slower than usual. This will bring about a feeling of relaxation and balance. Any negative change in your Center of Mass will result in a loss of that feeling (remember that) and you lose your ability to move equally in any direction, while at the same time being balanced.

So what does this have to do with your stance???

EVERYTHING!!!! Every error that you have ever committed has been due to a miscalculation or an error in judgment. When you are faced with any shot, physically getting the ball into the pocket starts with the way that you get down into your shooting

stance. Your stroke is relying on you to at least balance yourself properly. If you body is not balanced properly, your stroke WILL suffer. Let’s look at our Factors of Stance Mechanics.

1) The head

2) The ears

3) The neck

4) The shoulders

5) The bridge arm

6) The spine

7) The center of mass ***

8) The hips

9) The legs

10) The feet

From top to bottom, all need to be in line with your Center of Mass. If they are not, your balanced is flawed. The flaw may be detectable, or non-detectable, but still there remains a flaw that can be corrected. Try this next exercise while you are preparing to get in your stance. This starts from the top of your head and works its way down to the toes.

Exercise: I see the shot before me. I have gone through the mental planning stages as to how I am going to shoot this shot. I will now get down in my stance.

a) My ears are in line and directly above my shoulders (Head not dropping down)

b) My shoulders are square and even with my Center of Mass

c) Though bent at the waist, my spine keeps a straight line

d) My bridge shoulder is comfortable, and not supporting my entire weight

e) My knees are loose, bent slightly, not locked tightly

f) My feet are a comfortable distance apart acting as a base for my entire stance

That is my 6 point checklist. Now if I find a deficiency, I DO NOT make adjustments while down in my stance. I stand up straight and begin my pre-shot routine all over again. Why is this? Because I am not down there to adjust my stance. I am down there to shoot the shot. Anything that distracts me from shooting the shot is dealt with immediately and appropriately. As you can see, it is vital to a proper stance. You must be rock solid, yet comfortable. While you are down in your stance, I should not be able to push you off balance. You should be locked in your stance, not crouched or slumped over the table lazily. Remember that Relaxed does not mean Lazy! A lazy, weak stance is mainly caused by a lack of confidence or carelessness. The shoulders droop, the neck tilts, the head drops down in discouragement. The spine hunches over and becomes tense, as do the shoulders, which are the base for you shooting and your bridge arm. (If your shoulders are tense, so is your shooting arm). We eventually bunch ourselves in a ball like a bundle of nerves. Having a strong, solid stance will enable you to master Centering techniques much more easily. Master the centering techniques that I will show you can and will enable you to achieve "Dead Stroke" much more easily and with amazing frequency.

Centering not only keeps you focused while you are at the table, it can keep you focused while you are away from the table as well.


Nothing can cause your stroke to tighten up more than erratic breathing. Earlier, when discussing the Center of Mass, I referred to what is known as CENTERING. So what is it, and is it fatal? Centering is a breathing technique designed to produce physical balance and mental focus. "Centered" is a confident state that you can achieve immediately before and during competition that lets you know with certainty that you are mentally and physically ready to perform your task. So how does one become "centered"? Achieving "Dead Stroke" means that you are literally playing "out of your head". This means that you have shifted your focus to the external task of pocketing the balls on the table. The internal is in perfect harmony with the external. Shooting the balls into the pockets is an external task, and when you’re in Dead Punch, it stays external.

When we make a position error, or if we make a blunder such as a miscue, we have an internal reaction. This reaction is either anger, frustration, regret, or any combination of the three. When we internalize the task, we tend to cross the wires. Once we have located our Center of Mass, we will notice a change in our breathing pattern as we become balanced. Shooting pool requires that we perform Weight Transfers periodically. . No two shots are the same, but if we concentrate on our center of mass, or become conscious of our center of mass, we can FEEL THE SAME WAY for every shot.

This can be achieved by becoming conscious of your breathing. Become conscious of how the air comes in and goes out of your body. Become conscious as to how far you direct the air into your body, and become conscious of the speed of the air. There are several breathing techniques out there, but I will concentrate on this technique that transfers beautifully to pool. Go back to the chair and once again guide yourself through the process of locating your center of mass. Once you have located it, become conscious of the air entering and exiting your body. Knowing that air is brought into the body by inhaling, we must also realize that once the air is brought into the lungs, oxygen is sent through the bloodstream. The oxygen is carried through the bloodstream and eventually the brain is supplied with that oxygen. Shallow tense breathing supplies limited oxygen to the bloodstream and a limited amount to the brain. Marathon runners experience what is called a "runner’s high", which is primarily caused by the oxygen that is being transferred through the bloodstream and eventually the brain (creating a euphoric state caused by the production of endorphins). Common sense would tell us that quite simply, more oxygen = less tension. More oxygen = better thinking. Less oxygen = more tension and horrible thinking. So let’s find a way to transfer this Runner’s high to the pool table.

As I said before, I could spend pages explaining different breathing techniques, which would be helpful and quite informative, but I’m sure you’d skip it and move on to something else. What I will do though is tell you how to link together three links in the chain. By that I mean linking together your Center of Mass and your Breathing to achieve Centering. Your Center of Mass should be the point that we direct our breathing. Scratching your head yet? It’s a rather simple procedure. Get down in your stance and become aware of your center of mass. When that is accomplished, become aware of your breathing as well. Upon inhaling, inhale until you can feel the air in your center of mass. Exhale slowly and evenly (naturally) and feel the air leaving your center of mass. DO NOT FORCE THE AIR IN AND OUT OF YOUR BODY. Very slow, deep breaths will suffice. Allow the air to come in through your nose, and out through your nose. Practice this while you are at the table, and practice this while you are away from the table. This IS the key to playing in "The Zone". This is what you can concentrate in while the other guy is shooting (and you’re in the chair). Many of us just sit helplessly watching the other guy clear the table, as we cringe and slump further in our seat with the pocketing of every ball. We usually sit there and think bad thoughts. WE can eliminate that from your game starting today. We can now sit in the chair concentrating on our breathing, knowing that we will be ready when we get back behind the cue ball. (Many of us beat the hell out of ourselves while the other guy is shooting, then after serving up a self inflicted mental bashing, head back out to the table to continue our disaster). Utilizing this method serves a dual purpose: while sitting in the chair and being aware of our center of mass and our breathing, we tend to sit with good posture, therefore eliminating slouching. I strongly suggest that from this day forward, you become acutely aware of the position of your ears in relation to your shoulders. Body language is a funny thing. If I see a pool player with his head drooping and his shoulders sagging, I bet he’s losing, or well on his way to getting there. When the ears are in line with level shoulders, the body becomes erect and the neck straightens out. This loosens up the tension that the drooping head had placed upon the muscles of the neck. The oxygen in the blood is flowing freely (not blocked off by tension) allowing more of it to be sent to the brain, which is where we need it most. This will assist your game in areas such as clear thinking, free body movement, fluidity of stroke, concentration/focus. The main thing is that you do not "look" like a loser. If you stand like a winner, you’ll feel like a winner, and I bet that you will end up a winner!

[b]Using Centering to Deal With Past Failures[b]

Centering can also be used to reprogram your mind on how it views past failures. Think back to the last big mistake you made at the table. Lie down on a couch and close your eyes and recall this incident as it happened. Perhaps the score was 8-8 in a race to 9, and you were shooting the six ball. You made the six, but came up short on your position for the seven ball, and you have no shot. Your best and only prayer is to kick two rails just to make contact. You feel your breathing tighten up, and you start to experience the onslaught of negative emotions that go with making such an error. Your situation may be different, but I want you feel the entire situation unfold. Feel the emotions, feel your breathing, your anxiousness, and feel all of it. When you are right in the middle of the situation and the emotions, I want you to start directing your breathing towards your center of mass. Do this in the same way you would perform this as you were centering yourself at the table. When you feel yourself entering the “centering zone” I want you to replay the experience in your head while you are in your centered state. Replay the experience over and imagine yourself dealing with the situation calmly and effectively. Perhaps you kicked two rails and made the shot. Perhaps you visualized yourself performing the perfect safety. No matter what you decide, change the outcome for the positive. Experience the positive emotions that come with making the shot or playing the perfect safety. Do this over and over, until the positive outcome image becomes clearer and clearer.

The purpose of this exercise is to link the mistake with a positive outcome. The goal is to trigger the positive emotions with the situation. This way, when faced with the same error in the future, you will pause, concentrate on your breathing techniques to remain centered, and move forward towards the positive outcome. It works a lot better than crapping your pants and slamming your cue - and it gets easier to do if you use it on a daily basis. This is a version of what I call burning the leaves, or taking out the trash. We recognize the error, and take steps to ensure that we deal with the situation differently in the future. We do this at the expense of ditching the negativity related to the situation.


If there is one area of everybody’s game that can use work, it is in the area of adaptability. By adaptability, I mean the ability to adapt your game to your surroundings, the atmosphere, and the equipment. When adaptability is mentioned to most players, they immediately think of adapting to their opponent’s style of play. While this is necessary to some extent, I am more leaning towards the play of the table, and how the balls are reacting. This is where YOU need to adapt YOUR game and put it into action.

You can focus and utilize breathing techniques to get centered, but if you cannot perform when it is your turn at the table, none of that will matter. Many players get discouraged when the balls don’t roll their way, or if they are having trouble pocketing balls, or judging the cloth speed. I wish I had a dime for every time an opponent talked himself out of a match because he gave up instead of adapting his game to the conditions of the table. So how do you do it?

Many believe that that prior to the match, you should stroke the cue ball around the table a few times to judge rail and cloth speed. Perhaps you can pocket a few balls to judge the pocket speed as well. For the most part, this is a smart move if you want to loosen up, but doesn’t do a thing for adapting you to your surroundings. I say this because: As soon as the game or match begins, your surroundings and your environment will be completely different. Your senses will react differently during competition than in practice. Your senses will process information differently. Your breathing will change, and your perception of your surroundings will be slightly altered. I have seen many fine players look deadly during their warm up, only to watch them enter the sixth dimension, a dimension I call Drained-Brain. They know what to do. They know how to do it, but something inside is making them do it all wrong, and they feel that there is nothing they can do about it.

There is something you can do about it, and I could care less what the table conditions are. Focus and concentration are very powerful tools. What makes some opponents so deadly, are not there physical skills, but what goes on behind their eyes. It is how different players deal with different situations that set them apart from each other. A camera flash would send Earl Strickland into a tirade, yet Efren Reyes might not even acknowledge the occurrence. You might have trouble pocketing the balls cleanly for whatever reason. It is what you do in response to your environment that will measure your adaptability to the situation. In the camera flash example, I gave the probable reactions of two different players. Neither response is wrong for either player, as each response serves a positive purpose for each player. They have a different way of reacting and adapting their playing styles to the same situation. When faced with situations that challenge your adaptability, ask yourself these questions:

[b]What is the problem?

What is causing the problem?

What is making it worse?

What can I do to make this work for me?[b]

[b]What IS THE PROBLEM?[b]

Identifying what the problem is EXACTLY is very important. Saying there is something wrong with the table, when it is possible that you are experiencing problems with your stroke, can be devastatingly frustrating when your remedy solves nothing. This question is easily answered when you are familiar with your game. Many players are unfamiliar with their game because they neglect to take proper inventory of weaknesses and strengths. In the training section of this book, I give an inventory sheet, along with examples of training cycles that are designed to familiarize you with your strengths and weaknesses. When you know these things about your game (as well as your tendencies), this question becomes easier to answer.

[b]What is causing the problem?[b]

This needs to be known so that we can plan our attack against the problem. If there is something that is wrong with our stroke, we need to identify what it is and correct the problem immediately. If the problem is with the equipment, or the table speed, we need to identify what changes need to be made, and evaluate the results of our adjustment. We must learn to attack the symptoms of the problems. An erratic stroke can be the end result of a poor technique in breathing. Adjusting our follow through or our back-swing does nothing to remedy the case of the problem. All problems are cause and effect, and should be dealt with as such.

[b]What is making it worse?[b]

Almost always, little problems breed other small problems. After a while these little problems become bigger problems. Many situations have sub-factors that make the situation worse. It could be another physical flaw besides your stroke (head popping up) or it could be your attitude. Whatever it is, find a solution to the problem and put the solution to work immediately. Impatience is the number one reason players fail to deal with problems effectively during competition. Impatience usually leads to frustration, which is the end result of your abilities not meeting your expectations. Find out what areas of your game are costing you matches. Find out why. Try to find a pattern in your thinking that might be making the situation worse, not better.

[b]What can I do to make this work for me?[b]

There are many “problems” that are like this. A fast, unpredictable table cloth is just as much a hindrance to my opponent as it is to me. Getting angry with the table solves absolutely nothing. The table is not doing it to you on purpose, the table just is. Also, the table will not adapt to you, you must adapt to the table. You must be able to master the speed of the cloth and rails, and judge pocket speed. You must also adapt to your surroundings. Perhaps you are playing in unfamiliar surroundings. Perhaps the stares of the railbirds are making you nervous. Find out what makes you comfortable. For me, I keep my eyes focused with the six rails of the table. I try to become consumed by the playing surface of the table. That may or may not work for you. For me, that is how I have developed my focus and concentration. I keep my eyes focused on the playing surface of the table when I am at the table and when I am in the chair. I concentrate on my breathing exercises and attempt to stay centered. This keeps me fresh mentally.

12-16-2004, 04:44 PM
BlackJack, I guess choking is like the Shanks in Golf, no one wants to talk about for fear of developing the disease.####

Keith Talent
12-17-2004, 11:07 PM
Amen, Dick. And thanks for posting that, Blackjack. The stuff on breathing, especially, seems useful to me.

I think everybody gets tight sometimes, starts coming up short, or maybe even long ... but if you don't realize it, accept it and deal with it ... well, you've got a better chance of pulling off a full-fledged, Yankee-style, blowing-an-0-3-lead apple job.

12-19-2004, 09:26 AM
Thanks for posting this Black Jack...

The part I relate the most with is the mental battering. This is defenitely me, as an exemple, a week ago I was in a tourny. I wasn't playing very good, but I was still playing good enough.

Many times, after a bad position play, I had to pull one out of my A$$ to keep going. When onlooker were saying it was a nice shot, I replied: "Well, with such a good position game, I'm gonna need more of these shots!"

How silly of me, I shoulda looked at the positive and appreciate the tough shot I just played, but no. I kept batterning myself all the way to the finals where I had no emotional energy to continu.

All that was missing was a small arguement over the score, did I put this point or not, and that was it for me. I missed and easy 9, and conceded the match to an opponent that I should have for breakfast every morning.

From now on, positive will be my thinking and I won't let negative bring my game down...

Thanks Black Jack...

12-19-2004, 09:05 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Keith Talent:</font><hr> Amen, Dick. And thanks for posting that, Blackjack. The stuff on breathing, especially, seems useful to me.

I think everybody gets tight sometimes, starts coming up short, or maybe even long ... but if you don't realize it, accept it and deal with it ... well, you've got a better chance of pulling off a full-fledged, Yankee-style, blowing-an-0-3-lead apple job.
<hr /></blockquote>

You have to want it.....when i played basketball in the last play of a close game i wanted to take the last shot. Didn't always make it now mind you lol. But every single time i wanted that shot. I expected it, i anticipated it, when it came i was ready. In pool, you get ready by building your confidence and poise on all the shots leading up to the 8. The idea (for me anyway) is to get more relaxed, looser, confident with each ball down. By the time i'm at the key ball or 8 ball i'm right in stroke. This is in contrast to the tendency to get tighter, and more anxious the farther along you get. St