01-07-2005, 06:23 AM
I have traced most of my pool playing problems back to my inability to concentrate on what I am doing. I get attacked by many many thoughts while I am trying to shoot. Now I know that 4 years of 3 hours straight pool daily would do the trick and teach me how to concentrate but I wonder if I could not help it a bit with some meditation/concentration exercises.
I am currentrly doing a concentration breathing exercise where you focus on the air coming in and out of your nose, trying to block out any thoughts that might come up. Boy this really showed me the mess in my brain, I am not able to inhale and exhale once whithout getting distracted. I guess I really need this.
I wonder if any of you have experience with these types of exercises and can share your knowledge. How does it transfer to pool?
I also do a little breathing exercise when a match begins. I just do this to get the oxygen going to my brain. That's what that puppy operates on, ya know. In any case, during the game, I have a "focus switch" that I can turn on and off. For me it's almost impossible to stay in a state of total concentration for a long race to 11 or 15, so I use this physical switch to fall into that subconcious zone, and when my inning is over, sitting down and reviewing what I did turns it off. I think all players that reach a certain level have a switch of some sort. For some it's chalking the cue, for some it's laying the cue on the rail, for some it's a particular move that begins their preshot routine... it can be anything, I guess. In any case, if you are in a marathon set, I don't think many can mentally survive being in that "special place in their mind" for hours. Or at least I know I can't. I had a head injury in the 70's that requires I take enough barbituates daily to kill a horse, so I can't stay in focus for that long, maybe some can, but not me. It just wears me down. It's much easier and I feel like you'll have much more endurance if you just learn how to get into that creative side of your brain just for the time that you are at the table. Get your inning at the table finished, and then relax and enjoy everything else that's going on around you. Personally, I don't pay much attention to everything else, I just relax and stare at the foot spot on the table while I'm in the chair. I don't "concentrate" on what the other player is doing, because I figure I'm playing the lay of the balls, not the opponent, so I just sit there and think of pretty much nothing until my opponent misses, then I get out of my chair, look over the table then turn on my switch, which for me is a "hip lock". When I lock my grip hand against my hip with the shaft in my bridge hand, the entire world changes for me.
01-07-2005, 09:32 AM
I suggest that you read Bob Fancher's "Pleasures of Small Motions". He points out that you should not ignore the thoughts that come to mind while you are playing, on the contrary, you should deal with them accordingly. Cultivate a reasoned mind and control it. The book has fantastic advice about the mental game and how to approach it. I HIGHLY recommend it.
01-07-2005, 02:17 PM
I get in trouble when I don't even think how the balls react after collision. So, I try to focus on that. Makes everything else fall into places for me.
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