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JJFSTAR
04-15-2008, 08:32 AM
Maybe this isn't a new question but has anyone or everyone heard about a psychological phenomenon that is a sort of self hypnosis that happens with pool players and it is most often called "dead stroke" it has been speculated that in this state a good pool player virtually doesn't miss.

I am not asking how to turn this on like a light switch but how I might best set up the situation for a possibility of having it "kick in".

I have tried thinking about the commonality of the few situations that I believe it to have happened in. There is no common ground; they were all completely different situations and some times years apart in incidence.

JoeW you’re a doctor of psychiatry how about a little help for us here /forums/images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/wink.gif

To those of you who might consider that this post is a good opportunity to make fun of, take a poke at or otherwise reveal immaturity; don't bother I will simply skip over your replies.

Scott Lee
04-16-2008, 11:29 AM
JJFSTAR...Dead stroke is a real phenomenon. It is an unconscious state, where the balls drop in the pockets at will, and the CB rolls into favorable positions, to continue play. There is no way to predict when, or where this phenomenon will happen, or or how long it will last. There have been a couple of pro players who have been in 'dead stroke' for an entire match, but never for an entire tournament. One thing we teach, is that with extreme confidence and trust in your stroke (which comes from BUILDING an accurate, repeatable set-up and delivery process...mentally and physically), you give your mind and body the best opportunity to "fall into" this subconscious routine, more frequently.

Scott Lee

dg-in-centralpa
04-17-2008, 08:27 AM
For me, I've had Deadstroke maybe 4-5 times throughout this league season, if I remember correctly. Although it didn't last for all my games. For me it usually starts after I pocket a few balls and get the right position, then it keeps going where I don't hear or see anything else around the table. Kind of like being in a fog. I wish I could do this more often, but I'll take it whenever I can.

DG

Fran Crimi
04-17-2008, 10:38 AM
Yes, there have been studies done on this. The one I found most interesting was by the Russians who found a correlation between alpha waves and the reaching the zone. They found that athletes who were placed in alpha states - relaxed or meditative states - just prior to competition, seemed to have a higher frequency of reaching the zone, or in pool, that would be dead stroke.

The conclusion ---- Just before you compete, relax, meditate, generate some alpha brain waves and you could increase your percentages of reaching the zone during competition.

Fran

BigRigTom
04-17-2008, 11:12 AM
Everyone gets in the zone a little bit differently and uniquely in my opinion.
Some like the pressure that comes from being in a close match, some like the freedom from pressure that comes from have a commanding lead.
Some people need a drink to relax and focus and some people need a shot of caffiene to get the gears meshing.
Some like a big crowd of fans cheering them on while others want dead silence so they can concentrate.

Some want a fast and furious pace while others want a slow stedy contemplative pace with plenty of time to think before each shot.

You have to find you own best route to the zone and then after coming out of the zone be sure to reflect on what just happened to you. Try to remember all the details of the events that led upto that point where you just zoned out and became one with the game. Chances are if you do that a few times you'll start to see a pattern of repeatable thing that will improve your chances of finding the zone more often.

New2Pool
04-17-2008, 11:43 AM
In psychology it is called "Flow" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flow_(psychology)) and the researcher most credited with introducing it to the West is Mihály Csíkszentmihályi.

JoeW
04-17-2008, 02:33 PM
Fran is right, Alpha waves are produced in meditation and could be used as a precursor to the “Zone.” Here is a URL where you can buy a biofeedback machine $90.00 or so. It can be used to quickly learn to emit Alpha waves without getting too far into Yoga or other esoteric practices. I did not read the technical details but I would want to be sure it displayed Alpha as a read out before buying it. There are lots of places to get these things that can be used at home to train your self.

http://www.iproducts.ws/thoughtstream.htm

Incidentally, if you read up on “Flow” you will find it is similar but not the same as what we try to describe as “In the zone.”

The zone that most people try to describe is a state of altered consciousness more commonly known as self hypnosis in which the person is intensely focused, unaware of the environment and relaxed. For the most part they are thoroughly immersed in the topic and are non-judgmental. It is generally a very positive state in which the subconscious is directing most of the behavior.

You have been hypnotized many times. When you “get lost” in a good TV show or a good book. Someone calls your name and you don’t answer. They call your name again, louder and you say, “Sorry, I heard you but I wasn’t listening.” This is self hypnosis or the zone. A rose by any other name …

Contrary to some comments, intelligent, creative people are good subjects for hypnosis. Once learned, or over learned, the person can drop into or out of the state at will. Usually a triggering mechanism such as tapping one’s non-dominant foot can be used as a trigger.

Watch Reyes or Duell (sp?) when they are in a match. Notice that each man is extremely loose and seems to be nonchalant as they walk around the table. This looseness is indicative of a person who is “lost” in the moment. Some might call it a form of the zone – lite zone if you will.

To some extent the zone is made out to be nearly a mystical state that is sought but unobtainable with intent. This is not true and you can see a light zone in these two players if you watch closely when they are on about the third ball in a run.

The trick, if there is one, is that to get in the zone one must be non-judgmental (about self) and yet have the ability to analyze a table and then allow the body / subconscious to make the shot. For most people this means coming in and out of the zone as each shot is analyzed. This can be done but requires some effort.

It is better to over learn table analysis and then allow the subconscious to conduct the analysis and never leave the zone while playing. This takes a considerable amount of “trust” in one’s self and is therefore difficult.

If you watch the pros mentioned you will also see that they usually sit quietly on the side lines waiting for their next turn. In essence they are not doing anything that will pull them from the edge of this altered state of consciousness that is so helpful to excellent play. They are not robots but are using a different way to be aware of the world.

BTW, for those who think the sub-conscious is bunk, explain how your conscious mind calculates the cue ball return. I submit that you cannot tell me what you tell your muscles to get the X power to move a ball Y distance after it hits a rail with Z amount of side spin. These calculations are made by your subconscious. Simply put, you do not know how that side of you does it, but it can do it amazing well for a part of the mind that does not use language.

Deeman3
04-17-2008, 02:59 PM
Joe,

What I have always heard is that people who are totally rational are hard or impossible to hypotize. Now, I know total rationality is probably not possible but in some ways, it would seem, to a lay person, that the ones who most think they can't be hypnotized are probably the best subjects, their irrational "I can't be hypnotized" being an irrational belief in itself. Yes/No?

I just try to relax and hit the balls smoothly. That calm where I "see" the nap or grain in the cloth and "feel" the ball cleanly hitting the ball and rail and "notice" to a high degree every turn of the ball, is both rare and fleeting. Often I am near the end of that cycle and, perhaps, even the regognition of the state is enough to make it go "puff, I'm gone."

I can recall maybe 20 instances of this in over 45 years of play.

Tom_In_Cincy
04-17-2008, 03:40 PM
Getting to the table and having nothing more difficult than your easiest practice drill shots and nailing them all for the win... is this close to 'dead stroke'?

Performing at your expected skill from practice and drills, IMO is playing up to your potential.

Or, 'dead stroke' is a glimpse of how you would play if you practiced more.

JoeW
04-17-2008, 03:46 PM
It is not so much rationality as it is rigidity. The rational person, if I am using the term as you intend, listens and understands the concepts and their own experience. The rigid person has limited perception of the world and cannot (for any of several reasons) see the world from a different perspective. Thus they have chosen to not believe that there is such a thing as an altered state of consciousness. Generally speaking these people think they are always in control and have a fear of letting go of preconceived notions.

Your ability to see the nap of the cloth and feel the hit of the ball is what leads into that highly focused state of mind that will facilitate your play. I would suggest that you attempt to use this technique intentionally to heighten your concentration. However, do not expect that it will last as you shift your focus when leaving the table. If you do not expect too much of yourself you may be pleasantly surprised by the results.

DSAPOLIS
04-17-2008, 04:17 PM
If you send me an e-mail to

blkjackds12@yahoo.com

I will send you some material on "Dead Stroke"

If you do a search on the following (David Sapolis + Dead Stroke) you will find some articles I have written displayed on several web sites. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to get with me.

My education is in psychology and I use it to assist pool players to play better pool.

Fran Crimi
04-17-2008, 04:26 PM
I'm not so sure about that, Tom. I think the zone is more of a chemical formula in our brains that allows us to do everything in exactly the right order with minimal conscious interference.

I think what you're referring to are psyching techinques which I would venture to guess don't trigger the zone, but rather help the player to perform better consciously.

Fran

BigRigTom
04-17-2008, 05:21 PM
I have 9 ball tonight and I will try to be non-judgemental (about self) and unconscious of my actions and try to trust my intution and see what happens.

I'll let you all know tomorrow how it works out. /forums/images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/cool.gif

JoeW
04-17-2008, 05:51 PM
I was out playing awhile ago and it occurred to me (partially based on the conversation here) that I often have something like a verbal dialog in my head when I think through a shot or series of shots. I guess that some people would call it “thinking” about a shot. I decided to try and stop “thinking” at least in words and just look at the shot and the next two balls (in a 9-Ball game) then shoot.

This technique seems to help with positional play. The subconscious seemed to have more control over the process. Now I wonder if some elements of playing in the zone or in dead stroke use this non-thinking cognitive process to play.

I suspect that it is worth a try for any who are interested. Try to just look at the table and the shot with no verbal dialog in your head. I do not have a good way to describe the process. It is something like being an observer of your own actions. I was surprised, first by the better than expected position on the next shot and next by the idea that twice (in about 20 shots) I played well to a position on the table that I would not normally play.

I also noted that the subconscious is better at deciding cue tip placement than my thoughts on the matter. I am too picky about the exact spot. The subconscious seems to be more aware of muscle control and tip placement as a unified concept. If I just let it happen the position was better. The subconscious also seems to be better able to compensate for squirt and throw. I did notice that my eyes tend to look more at the table and track where the cue ball will go. Perhaps this is where the “see the nap” idea comes from. When I “think,” I seem to be more focused on the lines and the angles.

In 30 minutes I have stumbled on a way to play that seems to be quite a bit better than my usual way. Of course any new technique produces an immediate good effect. This is known as the Hawthorn Effect for those who may remember from Intro to Psych class. None-the-less, the non-thinking routine does seem to enhance my game and may be a precursor to the zone.

From what I know about hypnosis, letting go of verbal dialog is definitely part of the process so it should help to set up or maybe even induce some sort of flow or zone like behavior.

BigRigTom
04-18-2008, 12:03 AM
Joe and Fran and everyone else who is interested in this experiment!

I just got home from my APA 9 ball league. I am a 7 and I played a 5 (55 to 38 race), we played on a Diamond 7' table which the house just installed last week. (My 1st ever playing on a Diamond table) It took me about 3 racks to start to lock in on the table (pocket shape, speed, cloth, rails and cushions) but I kept just trying to go with the flow and not think too much about the process. I would line up my shot, shoot it and then observe the results. The results were scary at the beginning. After the 4th rack the score was 22 for me and 19 for him.

Then it sort of kicked in for me!
I broke and ran 2 consecutive racks ...a first for me in league play!
On my 3rd break I came up dry but there were probably 4 balls that almost dropped on that break.

I went on to win with a 15 to 5 match score and I forgot to look at the number of balls my opponent had. It did not occur to me and it was not important.

It felt great!
The experiment will continue and I'll let you all know how it works out next week after my next 9 ball match next Thursday night.

Going to bed now.
Thanks to all of you for the tips. I love this game!

av84fun
04-18-2008, 01:05 AM
Joe, I don't know how intelligent or creative I might be but I certainly am an advanced skeptic and didn't think it was possible for me to become hypnotized.

But I became close friends with a psych professer who told me he thought I'd be a good subject as long as I didn't openly resist.

So I told him to go for it and we went through the process...that I don't recall now...but do remember him suggesting that I was on a down escalator and he kept suggesting that I was going DOWN...DOWN...DOWN and that I was becoming more relaxed as I kept going DOWN....DOWN... (-:

Anyway, after a while I still felt quite alert and conscious of everything he was saying so I thought I was not in a hypnotic state. Then he suggested that he had tied a large helium balloon to my wrist and at the count of 3, he was going to release the string.

Well...when he said "three" my damn arm raised STRAIGHT UP...utterly involuntarily, which surprised the hell out of me and made me laugh out loud which kicked me out of the hypnotic state....which he said was not at all unusual for first time subjects and that with repeated episodes, I would fall into deeper and deeper states...which turned out to be exactly correct.

This all has nothing to do with pool but I just thought you'd enjoy this "story from the field." (-:

Regards,
Jim

JoeW
04-18-2008, 01:23 AM
That is a standard induction your friend used. Your reaction is the expected one. Most people think that a hypnotic state must in some way be strange or different. However it need not be and often does not seem to be any different than normal consciousness. The helium balloon task is one way of helping you learn that you are indeed in an altered state of consciousness. I was surprised to learn (when I first tried it) that it can also be done with self hypnosis.

BTW some of the better research in this area has demonstrated that anything that can be done with hypnosis can be done without hypnosis through various other methods. It seems that hypnosis is but a word like zone, dead stroke, or lost in some thing of interest. In reality we don’t know what is going on. We only know that some techniques can produce amazing results when the mind is accessed in different ways.

I think that what all this means to the pool player is that there are many ways to use your mind when playing pool and that experimentation with some of these techniques are worthy of study.

Fran Crimi
04-18-2008, 05:20 AM
Joe, I think you captured the essence of the big debate between playing by 'feel' as opposed to using aiming systems.

Playing in the zone is a sort of 'letting go' process --- putting trust in something we don't consciously control 100% of the time. Many people with control issues would have a problem with this. I can tell just by my students' personalities, which ones would be willing to let the process happen and which ones will fight themselves for conscious control.

I think aiming systems can be helpful in teaching us to create good habits and to help us correct ourselves when we find ourselves going astray in the game. But the ultimate zone playing or dead stroke doesn't include that much consious calculation.

Fran

Qtec
04-18-2008, 07:09 AM
I know a guy who can miss 100 shots and still be convinced he will make the next ball! If he had ANY talent at all I could have made him a champion.

For most players, confidence depends on present form. It doesn't have to be that way.

Put it this way.
Every time a player perfects a shot he is programing his brain. In practice the player must be aware and fully conscious to receive the information coming from his cue and the results of the shot.
Once the shot is programed, when faced with the same shot all the player has to do is let the brain take over[ let go] and allow him/herslf to make the shot. [ top players in the zone can't remember the shots they played after the match ].

Players in the zone are always thinking about the next shot.
Players not in the zone are always thinking about the shot they are playing.

Al

Fran Crimi
04-18-2008, 07:43 AM
That's great, Tom. Keep us posted on your experiment and how things go as you progress.

Fran

eb_in_nc
04-18-2008, 07:57 AM
Case in point, I had two 8-ball matches last night, the first one against a SL6, the second against a 5... The first match came early in the evening, I had just eaten so my mental energy was high. I went into the game not even thinking about winning or what kind of strategies I was intending to employ against this opponent. I just felt relaxed and calm in my conscious state. I took him 5 games to zip making shots with precision and ease, walking around the table and like Joe mentioned, allowing my subconscious to take care of setting up the shot and not over-thinking it, but without shooting careless. My ball speed and position were to die for during this match. In retrospect, my opponent was somewhat unnerved by my calm and nonchalant style of play which made him shoot below his normal game only adding to the disparity in the match score.

Then I sat and basked in my own light for a while during watching others play until my second match was ready to be played, which did not come until about 2 hours later. Let's just say that wherever I was earlier in the evening was foreign and distant to me during this match. I lost this match 0 to 4, having scratched on the 8-ball twice and not being able to keep my ball speed under control. The more I attempted to fix it, the worse it got as I tried to intellectualize my way back into the match. I had no doubt fallen out of the zone and could not find my way back.

What I just described here is not uncommon to many of us in our own situations, it just exemplifies what this discussion is all about and how we are influenced by the variables that are in front of us before each and every match. The questions that comes to my mind is how to facilitate the "zone shift" such that we can use it to our own advantage. Was it because I had just creamed a 6 earlier, and now I was playing a 5, and I lost the mental edge to put myself back in the zone? Could self hypnosis/meditation/generating alpha waves have put me back to where I was previously in the evening? I wish I knew, because I loved being there, and I hated leaving it for certain.

New2Pool
04-18-2008, 08:49 AM
I am very analytical and tend to over-think things. I love to read and I have bought several books on pool which I am working my way through. I am a big fan of deliberate practice and I set up drills and run them repeatedly (subject to the time available for pool during the week, like everyone else).

I know that my approach has paid off to a certain extent because the players I initially started playing with seldom beat me anymore. One thing I have wondered about though is if my heavy reliance of "book knowledge" helps, hurts, or is neutral to long term development of intuition. Is it possible that by consciously analyzing so much that I lose some of the transference of the feedback into the unconscious?

JoeW
04-18-2008, 10:25 AM
Fear of subconscious control: A length reply

I think that Fran’s experience teaching players is common across many disciplines that require mind-body coordination. I have taught and used hypnosis for many years as one of several tools and it seems that to some extent the world can be sorted on a continuum of people with a willingness to be open to altered states of consciousness. When I have met fearful people who need to use altered states to resolve some issue I stop using the word hypnosis and call it by some other name. The zone is a good word, so is getting lost in the process. Letting go is indeed difficult for many people and so it must be approached from another way.

New2Pool described my approach to playing only too well and eb_in_nc describes my league experiences all too often. Since I retired I have been practicing almost everyday. Only recently have I realized the importance of subconscious control

Can one be too analytical? I do not think this is true. Highly creative people such as Einstein, Picasso, Edison were first well educated in their respective specialties. They continuously studied all that was currently available on their topics. After much research and monumental efforts to consciously learn everything available they had the ability to let it all go and “flow” with the creativity. In moments of relaxation and in their dreams they created new approaches. It seems the well tutored mind is the one most likely to have creative solutions.

I am impressed by Corey Duell as one example. While I have never met or corresponded with him I get the sense that he has spent a considerable amount of time learning the sport and that he has mastered his approach to it.

What I am learning about pool playing is that the more confidence I develop in my knowledge of what happens on the table the more I can let it all go and allow the subconscious part of the mind use this information.

I have learned that I must alter my approach and trust in the idea that the subconscious mind takes in the results of my trial and error efforts. That is my reading and thinking about the topic are ideas to test and prove to my subconscious that these ideas do work. Knowledge is one thing, reality is another and the subconscious works best with reality and experience.

The subconscious is usually in the background and is usually listening. If I bring a new idea to practice (based on reading, videos, etc) and try these new things the subconscious learns from the results. If it is useful, it is incorporated in my repertoire. In this sense the more I learn and expose myself to new ideas the more my game improves. However, and I think there is a big however, I must give these ideas a serious test before the subconscious will use them. Some new ideas are simple and immediately incorporated. Some ideas are subtle and take much practice before they are incorporated.

Some habits are difficult to change and my conscious mind and my subconscious mind know that many repetitions will be required. I think that I have learned that the subconscious recognizes a good idea but that it already has a reaction pattern that does not include that element and finds it difficult to include this new element without much practice.

For instance I recently learned from a snooker coach’s video that allowing the back hand to finish the stroke by hitting the chest is an excellent way to have a straight (straighter) stroke. However it almost requires a snooker stance and many repetitions. A part of me knows that this will remove many unnecessary movements from the stroke and that it is an improvement in my stroking. However, it is not yet a part of my normal routine. I am consciously working on it and I know that eventually it will become part of my subconscious routine.

I think that one element of playing pool at a high level involves learning to turn all of this information over to the subconscious and then to trust in its abilities to use it as needed. This is an element of the game that needs to be learned as a topic for most people. I suspect that without this ability to go on auto pilot, get in a light zone, or achieve dead stroke, one will not be able to play well. The fine motor coordination is simply too demanding to be under conscious control. Learning to use thoughtful (wordless?) analysis with subconscious control of the game is an art in itself that uses all knowledge available to the player. We simply have to learn that our conscious mind gets in the way because we tend to think that only our conscious mind remembers all that knowledge.

The interaction between the conscious and subconscious mind is easier for me than for most people because I have worked with these concepts for many years and have proven to myself that these different ways of accessing the mind are the way that life should be lived. The subconscious mind is always with us and stands back as an observer in most things. It kicks in its contributions without coming to the fore. One example is picking up a baseball bat and simply hitting the ball – this is a highly complex task that is not under conscious control.

When playing pool we need to learn to let the subconscious process come to the front and the conscious mind step back. We need to learn to trust that process and this can only be learned through doing it. In the practice of psychology I have learned that some people have never made these distinctions and when they are shown how to let the subconscious come forward it is frightening and they have little or no trust in that side of their mind. Something like a kid on a new bike. It can be a terrifying process to have your feet four inches off the ground until you learn to relax.

JJFSTAR
04-18-2008, 01:20 PM
Wow I never expected this many replies. This is all good stuff. Team drunk pool night is Saturday, team practice is Sunday and the West Penn Pool Leagues play-off's next round is Monday I am going to try this "let go let God and meditate/ultra relax with high concentration, high trust with complete enjoyment of the game thing" I will let you know if I drop into "Dead Stroke" or "The Zone" or any other different from normal cognitive state.

Thanks for all the good info everyone. My game has really turned the corner over the past year and is definitely into new high ground. This board is a big part of that; again thank you everyone.

wolfdancer
04-18-2008, 05:07 PM
Joe, thanks for the link...hypnosis has always been interesting
to me, and I've had a little experience with it....but only with golf.
Don't know if I was in the zone during our recent playoffs...but I missed by one ball of having 5 first inning table runs, and had 6 of 9 during the matches. (just playing on 8 ft'rs though) A tip I picked up from a Mike Paige video, really helped.
But it's been "regression to the means" lately.....can't seem to avoid a key scratch, that ends up costing me the match...

Paul_Mon
04-19-2008, 04:33 PM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Fran Crimi</div><div class="ubbcode-body">

I think aiming systems can be helpful in teaching us to create good habits and to help us correct ourselves when we find ourselves going astray in the game. But the ultimate zone playing or dead stroke doesn't include that much consious calculation.

Fran </div></div>

Well put Fran. I've had a hard time explaining to people that on occasion (dead stroke) I see the shot perfectly, know that I will pocket the ball and get perfect shape. I'm not talking about simple shots and easy position either. For me it may last for a few games and then hesistancy creeps back in. The last time I was in the zone the guy playing against me quit, saying "now your just showing off". In regards to the Alpha waves. Wasn't it Butch #### who said that Alpha waves were triggered by Classical music? Or was it a certain beat? I suffer from CRS (can't remember $hit)

Paul Mon

Deeman3
04-21-2008, 08:24 AM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: wolfdancer</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Don't know if I was in the zone during our recent playoffs...but I missed by one ball of having 5 first inning table runs, and had 6 of 9 during the matches. (just playing on 8 ft'rs though) A tip I picked up from a Mike Paige video, really helped.
But it's been "regression to the means" lately.....can't seem to avoid a key scratch, that ends up costing me the match... </div></div>

Nice one Wolfdancer. I won't relate the ugly details of my Florida golf trip this weekend! My dead stroke died! /forums/images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/smile.gif

Eric.
04-21-2008, 09:31 AM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Fran Crimi</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Joe, I think you captured the essence of the big debate between playing by 'feel' as opposed to using aiming systems.

Playing in the zone is a sort of 'letting go' process --- putting trust in something we don't consciously control 100% of the time. Many people with control issues would have a problem with this. I can tell just by my students' personalities, which ones would be willing to let the process happen and which ones will fight themselves for conscious control.

I think aiming systems can be helpful in teaching us to create good habits and to help us correct ourselves when we find ourselves going astray in the game. But the ultimate zone playing or dead stroke doesn't include that much consious calculation.

Fran </div></div>

Hey Fran,

Here's my thoughts on aiming systems and the zone; I feel that aiming systems can be a good tool for getting into the zone when practiced enough to become second nature.

What I'm saying is that if using an aiming system can instantly let you know the proper alignment/aim, then there is less mental chatter and all you need to focus on is executing the shot.

Any thoughts?


Eric

JoeW
04-21-2008, 11:19 AM
Hi Fran:

Perhaps we could all use a better term than playing by “feel.” This term seems to be emotionally loaded for many people. In addition, I wonder if that is what one actually does. My suggestion is not relative to your use of the word but the general use of the word as a style of play.

It seems to me that we call it “feel” because it is wordless and one does not verbally recall or state where to hit a particular shot (a form of "dead stroke"). I suspect that those who use aiming systems might be better advised to realize that there comes a time when they are able to simply recognize a particular shot and then allow themselves to compensate as needed for the particular conditions present. In this “advanced” scenario words are avoided, one is using all prior knowledge, and one compensates as needed. This should (?) be the final result of any particular aiming system. I think that some people who advocate particular systems do suggest something similar to this line of thinking. Joe Tucker might be one of them.

Some people call this final aspect of the aiming system shooting by "feel" and that can be avoided by re-naming the process to “advanced recognition.”

On a side note, at one time I gave workshops for colleagues in psychology and initially named these workshops, “An Introduction to …” No one showed up as all licensed psychologists already knew the basics of everything in the discipline – or so they thought! They had no need to attend an “Introduction” to any psych related matter. Later I titled the same workshop, “Advances in …” and had many participants. Of course I always began with an introduction to the topic. Funny how words and our use of words affects perceptions.

Deeman3
04-21-2008, 12:46 PM
I'll just keep using the word "feel". If most of us uttered the words "Advanced Recogniton System" in the places we play, someone would blow beer out their nose.

I just advanced regognition systemed the bar maid's lag.

Naw, won't work. /forums/images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/smile.gif

JJFSTAR
04-21-2008, 01:21 PM
Deeman3 I haven’t laughed that hard yet this year, thank you. I think JoeW is more thinking of using that term with students probably in a private tutelage situation. But it is the funniest reply I have ever read.

New2Pool
04-21-2008, 01:25 PM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Deeman3</div><div class="ubbcode-body">I'll just keep using the word "feel". If most of us uttered the words "Advanced Recogniton System" in the places we play, someone would blow beer out their nose.

I just advanced regognition systemed the bar maid's lag.

Naw, won't work. /forums/images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/smile.gif </div></div>

You know you are too into pool when you unconsciously substitute "lag" for "leg".

Deeman3
04-21-2008, 03:04 PM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: New2Pool[/quote</div><div class="ubbcode-body">

You know you are too into pool when you unconsciously substitute "lag" for "leg". </div></div>


You guys have me dead to rights there. /forums/images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/smile.gif

It was a freudean slip...

JoeW
04-21-2008, 06:34 PM
Well if we called it Advanced Recognition System Evaluation then one could say, "I just play out of my arse." Seems to fit my game more often than not.


I don't know what to do about the Barmaid's freudian slip on that lag, but did you see the guy she's married to?

Deeman3
04-22-2008, 09:00 AM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: JoeW</div><div class="ubbcode-body">
I don't know what to do about the Barmaid's freudian slip on that lag, but did you see the guy she's married to?
</div></div>


/forums/images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/smile.gif

SKennedy
04-22-2008, 02:27 PM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Fran Crimi</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Yes, there have been studies done on this. The one I found most interesting was by the Russians who found a correlation between alpha waves and the reaching the zone. They found that athletes who were placed in alpha states - relaxed or meditative states - just prior to competition, seemed to have a higher frequency of reaching the zone, or in pool, that would be dead stroke.

The conclusion ---- Just before you compete, relax, meditate, generate some alpha brain waves and you could increase your percentages of reaching the zone during competition.

Fran </div></div>

Tried that once Fran prior to a baseball game. If it helped me any at all, it was an indication of how bad of an athlete I really am!

JJFSTAR
04-22-2008, 03:26 PM
Well my report on relaxation, total emersion, letting it all go, and playing instinctively has won me a 5-0 match (that’s the max games you can play in a night in the west penn pool league)I am charged now; it seems that I am now a break and run player. Hope this continues. This is the greatest board out there Thank you, Thank you and Thank you.

Sincerely, John Fischer Pittsburgh PA

BigRigTom
04-22-2008, 03:50 PM
Congratulations John Fischer in Pittsburgh, Pa!
I too have benefitted greatly from this board!

Welcome to the run out player group!
I am one too.

JoeW
04-22-2008, 04:05 PM
JJFSTAR and BigRigTom could you drop me a PM and tell me exactly what you did and what happened. In all seriousness I am writing a book about optimizing a player's mental game and I would like to quote your experiences if that is OK with you.

The book outline is done and I have written a few chapters so comments by you guys and anyone else who cares to comment would be appreciated.

BTW the PQ Test is faltering, not many respondents. I am done teaching in a few weeks and will probably go to some pool halls and ask people to complete the test. Any suggestions for getting people to participate would be welcome.


Thanks,
JoeW

wolfdancer
04-23-2008, 12:24 AM
Dee, thanks for the kind words. What I meant to write though was freezing up to my last ball, cost me five TRs in a row....not bad for someone that used to play an entire season and have two, or three total. But just an anomaly perhaps...what's that saying about the blind squirrel?
I am seeing the table, and shots a little better and give credit for that to some tips that I have picked up from the various pool boards.

Hope that you didn't have to pawn the bike and take the Greyhound back to Ala????
Fl

av84fun
04-23-2008, 01:29 AM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Fran Crimi</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Joe, I think you captured the essence of the big debate between playing by 'feel' as opposed to using aiming systems.

Playing in the zone is a sort of 'letting go' process --- putting trust in something we don't consciously control 100% of the time. Many people with control issues would have a problem with this. I can tell just by my students' personalities, which ones would be willing to let the process happen and which ones will fight themselves for conscious control.

I think aiming systems can be helpful in teaching us to create good habits and to help us correct ourselves when we find ourselves going astray in the game. But the ultimate zone playing or dead stroke doesn't include that much consious calculation.
Fran </div></div>

Fran, I especially agree with the portion of your comments in bold above.

But I hold to my view that to the extent that "feel" or "dead stroke" is defined as an absence of "aiming", it is wrong.

People with myopic vision...like me...can see that balls but just not sharply. And if we weren't aiming at SOMETHING, that would make no difference...but since we are aiming at something, poor vision does make a difference...a huge difference.

I think that the truth is that the mind can process information at blinding speeds. I often use as an example, the seemingly simple decision to proceed through an amber traffic light or to stop.

In a second or two, the mind calculates whether the car can be stopped before it enters the intersection and if so, how much pressure must be applied to the brake pedal...and if not whether at the current closing rate, more acceleration will be required and if so, how much.

All that in just a second or two.

In my opinion, the same thing happens when pool shots are assessed...and we most often take MUCH more than a second or two to decide that path along which we must send the CB because that decision is largely made before we ever bend down over the shot...a process that is PART of the aiming method.

There are many aiming methods and some players use more than one depending on the shot in question...but SOME method is used.

We don't just randomly fire the CB and hope for the best. Rather, a specifically calculated CB path, speed and english( or none) decision is determined and just because when we get in "the zone" we can accomplish that calculation with blinding speed does not mean that no calculation is made.

In these threads, the issue of "instinctive" players has been discussed but never in the history of pool has anyone ever been able to play at a championship level by "instinct" which, by definition, means that the capability was inborn.

Certainly, there are those with inborn APTITUDES for pool and other disciplines but APTITUDE and ACCOMPLISHMENT are two entirely different things.

The "natural" pool player was born with the APTITUDE for the game but only reaches championship levels after thousands of hours of practice during which time SOME aiming system is adopted.

If aiming was not systematic, then balls would be pocketed by guessing....there is no other scenario. Champions don't guess...they aim.

Regards,
Jim

Qtec
04-23-2008, 07:42 AM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">If aiming was not systematic, then balls would be pocketed by guessing....there is no other scenario. Champions don't guess...they aim.

Regards,
Jim </div></div>

Aiming for pro's and good players is not systematic. They are beyond that.

When you lay on for a ball you aim for the target that you think is right.
Now you just have to hit what you are aiming at.

How do you make a ball in a blind pocket? Choose a target and try and hit it with the QB.

Q

JoeW
04-23-2008, 08:31 AM
An attempt to reconcile the Aim versus Feel discussion.

Aiming is a systematic attempt to point at an object. When learning a new system the person attempts to intentionally coordinate the parts. The level of fine motor coordination needed to strike a cue ball or for that matter a tennis ball with a consistently high level of accuracy requires the person to include mental and physiological processes beyond conscious control.

When we initially attempt to develop a system to aim a bicycle to accurately stay in the middle of the sidewalk we use conscious control and the process is awkward and not consistent. While one may have some intentional systematic approach to control the motion, it is soon learned that one must relax and not intentionally control what the person aims to accomplish.

So too with the tennis player who quickly learns to simply play and not think. For instance a rapidly returning tennis ball is in the correct position that will allow the player to swing hard, graze the top of the ball above center ball and thus return a blistering ball with much top spin. The player is using a known system to aim and place the correct spin on the ball without thinking about it.

In this sense advanced human aiming systems that are highly consistent and accurate learn to exclude conscious decision making. The shot making is undoubtedly based on prior learning and knowledge. When it has reached the point that conscious control is no longer needed some people name it shooting by feel as differentiated from a consciously control mechanical system.

A person can systematically learn to drive an automobile in a few weeks. Later they find the skills learned will rapidly transfer (generalize) to something they have never done before such as learning to fly an airplane in one day. So too with playing pool, once a person has mastered some aiming system, the mind can generalize from one type of shot making to a different situation. When this generalized systematic approach is learned and used out of conscious awareness it is sometimes referred to as shooting by feel.

I suspect that many people cannot tell us how they use their finger to point at a distant object. There is a system of internal controls used to coordinate the mind body interactions that are required to accomplish this task. None-the-less most of us say, “just do it. Your body knows how.” Once the person has learned a general technique they no longer need to think about it or they aim by feel.

eb_in_nc
04-23-2008, 09:24 AM
Well said Joe.

How many times have we found ourselves to have driven somewhere only to not have remembered any of the details as our conscious minds were consumed by other more pressing activities and events. Our subconscious mind did a fine job using the pre-learned driving skills needing very little input from the conscious mind (besides consciousness). If we can only let our pool games take the same direction, it would be a more "intuitive" approach towards making shots and running out the table.

But I submit that there is more at play behind the mental game of pool which challenges most of us to "let go" to the level that we can benefit from this type of play transformation. I've tried to do this intellectually, and for me it does not work. You just cannot will a subconscious response into action. Perhaps meditation, having a few drinks, doing whatever one does to put them in a more relaxed state is the key, it's hard to say. Personally, I have seen some people who just cannot play pool until they have had at least a few drinks and then their game really opens and loosens up. In any event, for me, the real challenge is finding what gets me to that subconscious state of pool playing, and then once getting there, how to stay there.

JoeW
04-23-2008, 09:38 AM
eb_in_nc I am currently working on a "system" that can be learned to place the player on the edge of the zone. It will be in my new book. So without telling all, as that would affect sales, it would appear that a part of the process is learning not to use words (in one's head) while at the table and to learn to stay "loose" while waiting for the next turn. There is more, much more, in the new work that should be ready in a few monhs.

dr_dave
04-23-2008, 09:46 AM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Qtec</div><div class="ubbcode-body"> <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">If aiming was not systematic, then balls would be pocketed by guessing....there is no other scenario. Champions don't guess...they aim.</div></div>

Aiming for pro's and good players is not systematic. They are beyond that.

When you lay on for a ball you aim for the target that you think is right. Now you just have to hit what you are aiming at.

How do you make a ball in a blind pocket? Choose a target and try and hit it with the QB.</div></div>This debate has been beaten to death many times over on this board. FYI, I have some good summary statements from me and others here:
http://billiards.colostate.edu/threads/mental.html

Also, people might be interested in the info and articles (especially the article about how pros aim) here:
http://billiards.colostate.edu/threads/aiming.html#aiming

Regards,
Dave (a believer in both knowledge and experience)

eb_in_nc
04-23-2008, 10:26 AM
Joe, excellent, looking forward to your book as I am sure all of us are. Keep us updated.

Eric B.

wolfdancer
04-23-2008, 10:38 AM
Joe, piano playing, typing, batting, returning serve... comes to mind as things done so rapidly, that conscious thought can not keep up with it.
In an earlier post someone mentioned that analytical people are hard to hypnotize...I'd guess it's because they try not to give up conscious control.
I read somewhere that you should learn the mechanics of a sport...then "forget" them. Or, as Chuck Hogan said "internalize" them.
As for aiming by a set method...there's an old saying "show me a systems player, and I'll send a cab for him if he plays for money"

Deeman3
04-23-2008, 12:24 PM
Wasn't Chuck Hogan, Hulk Hogans mom?

Eric.
04-23-2008, 12:31 PM
Dee, You are not well.


Eric

Deeman3
04-23-2008, 12:53 PM
Yes, Eric, but we both are on the same wavelength! /forums/images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/smile.gif

wolfdancer
04-24-2008, 12:17 PM
I had you pegged as a Hulkamaniac......
This is off point maybe for dead stroke...but we used to be the last ones off the golf course, and played in semi darkness...also played the course "backwards" often..IE...playing the 15th fairway from the green to another green...no distance markers, and couldn't follow the flight of the ball...but I'd know by the sound and the feel that it was a good or bad shot.
Another thing we would do was to take the "wrong" club for the distance...say an 8 iron for 190 yds (that was before Tiger came along and used a 9 for the same distance)....I picked up extra yardage on my irons doing that, almost two club lengths...it was almost like my belief system had limited my distances before.

Qtec
04-25-2008, 09:45 AM
In pool, you have ALL the time time you need to consider the correct shot. In tennis, you react.
Qtec...........golf and pool....they are alike. Tennis and poll,...........nah.

Qtec
04-25-2008, 09:48 AM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">So too with the tennis player who quickly learns to simply play and not think. </div></div>
What do you mean by 'play'?
In all sports, a player actually only begins to 'play the game" when they have achieved a certain technical efficiency.
Qtec