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Nostalgia
02-24-2005, 09:38 AM
So I was playing pool at lunch yesterday. I was playing a friend who I consider to be just under my level of pool. We usually play 8-ball, but yesterday we shot 9-ball.

He beat me flat the first 4 games in a row. I just couldn't seem to do anything right. The next game he left me a 3 ball runout, which I did.

I then broke. After a few minutes, I shot the nine in, and he congratulated me on running the table. I said, "I did?" I was so in The Zone that I had no idea I just ran out from the break.

I won the next game, then went on to lose 3 in a row. Few things are more frustrating to shoot that well for 2 games then not be able to do anything right for the next 3.

So how do you get and stay in The Zone? I've tried visualization, meditation, breathing exercises, concentration exercises...I'm running out of ideas.

-Joe

cheese_ball
02-24-2005, 09:45 AM
Do you like music? Good pool is a lot like good music... That is to say that depending on what mood you are in, different types of music (or different artists), and different tempos will be more appealing to you. Pool players, just like a good song, have the proper tempo and cadence for their stroke. You have to find your rhythm, and learn to identify when you are "off-beat." Watch a good player sometime... see if you can find their rhythm.... Watch them walk around the table, stretch, line-up, and shoot. They will always be in a certain rhythm when they're on. It's like they're performing a dance routine that they've done a million times over... So what's YOUR favorite song?

Popcorn
02-24-2005, 10:15 AM
You can't make a career out of trying to get in the zone or hoping to play over your head. Learn to play a good solid game you can depend on and play it with confidence. When you match up to gamble, you have a certain expectation of how you will play and it is not bases on wishing and hoping.

Nostalgia
02-24-2005, 11:42 AM
cheese: THat's a cool analogy. I went down today and felt my rhythm...I only lost one game.

popcorn: It has nothing to do with wishing and hoping. It's mentally trying to stay in that place where my game is solid and I'm able to apply my full concentration to the game. I tend to get distracted and miss shots that I shouldn't. I know it happens to everyone, but I'm trying to get my game to a point where it doesn't happen quite as often /ccboard/images/graemlins/smile.gif

-Joe

cheese_ball
02-24-2005, 12:20 PM
Nost.-

I'm glad that worked for you... just like everything in life, explaining any function is about relating it to something that everyone can understand. Now that you "feel" the rhythm, the next step is to be CONSISTENT. Come up with a pre-shot routine that you follow EVERY TIME. Eventually, this routine gets so beaten into your skull that when you stop thinking and start feeling, that pattern comes to you as naturally as breathing.
It may sound funny, but in the end, the key to having focus all the time is to ease your way into playing instinctually. Use your practice time as "thinking time," and just play (just don't forget your pre-shot routine) when it's time to face an opponent.

Popcorn
02-24-2005, 02:58 PM
You have to develop a game where you put the cue together and play and know you will play your speed. Not searching for some perfect mind set that can't be depended on that comes and goes totally beyond your control and can be easily upset by the slightest distraction. Those kinds of players are easy to beat, solid players aren't. Have good practice habits and put in the time. I think the samplings you are judging your play by are kind of small. Play a few 8 hour session with the guy and you will have a sense of where you are with your game. You can't live and die with winning three games in a row or losing three in a row it doesn't mean anything. having said that I understand what you are saying and It takes work.