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10-30-2002, 12:42 PM
In chapter 1 of this saga, awhile back, I wrote:

“OK, I am willing to admit it! I have mental problems when it comes to pool, specifically competing. Everything looks/works great in practice, or when I am playing a lesser skilled opponent, but match me against a better player and the wheels fall off--I can even screw up ball in hand with regularity.

I've read the books, watched the tapes, have a BCA instructor, and understand all about playing the table instead of the opponent, but none of that helps when I get to the table.

If you know someone really good that specializes in this type of problem, I would love to know who it is. It is obvious I cannot progress until I master this daemon. ”

I got a bunch of great responses in this forum and by private email, but none seemed to provide the cure I needed. Actually, some of the responses offered advice and resources similar to what is discussed below, but the technique offered here seemed much more tangible and related directly to my pool game.

After a lot of soul-searching, I felt the problem must be psychological and decided to talk with local sports psychologist. I talked with him in person before scheduling an appointment. After hearing my problem, he assured me he could correct the problem in a maximum of 3 visits. He was right, in fact, he did it in one visit!

The cure was a simple technique to learn and one you can use anywhere. In essence it is nothing short of a mind game, but it worked miracles for me--instantly! After struggling for months with embarrassing performances where I moved quickly through the loser’s bracket and then out the door, I went undefeated in a tournament just two days after learning this technique.

Here is the technique:

Step 1: Think back to the to a time when you were playing your very best pool. This is no doubt a game or match in which you were calm, collected, focused, concentrated, and performing like a well oiled machine. Visualize every subtle detail about that event that you can recall; the room, the sounds, the smell, and any mechanical and mental aspects of your play that were important. Everything. Take your time, and when you feel you have a complete detailed mental picture of that great event, go to step 2.

Step 2: Stand in a place with a few feet of vacant floor space in front of you. Think of your favorite color. Now imagine that a bright circle of colored light (your favorite color), about three feet in diameter, is focused right in front of your feet. We will call this the “Power Circle”. In my case, since my favorite color is green, I call it my “Green Power Circle”.

Step 3: While keeping that Power Circle focused at your feet, again visualize that perfect performance in vivid detail. Now step into your Power Circle and let those feelings and that experience wash over you like warm sunshine. This is you! This is the real you! This is the player you can and want to be--all of the time! Don’t be surprised if you find yourself smiling or sense an extreme inner peace.

Repeat this step 3-5 times beginning with the power circle in front of your feet, visualize the perfect performance, then step into the Power Circle.

That’s it! Now you have your own personal “Power Circle”. You can use it whenever needed. I use it before every match or if I find myself slipping into poor performance. Just imagine your Power Circle and step in. You can do it as you are getting out of your chair to start an inning and no one will ever know.

This process, according to my Dr., simply connects your brain with a positive mental image of the task at hand. It’s an instant pep talk for your brain, “Here is the task at hand, we’ve done it all before, now let’s go kick some butt!”

Addendum: I’m not sure how important this is to the process outlined above, but when I was learning and developing my Power Circle with my Dr., each time I stepped into the Power Circle, he placed his hand on my shoulder as I was stepping into the Power Circle. He said it helped the brain feel grounded in the new place. You may want to try this if you have a friend willing to help. You would only do this when learning your Power Circle, not when actually using it during play.

I found it so effective that it almost completely eliminates negative thoughts, distractions, and pressure. I become focused on the simple task at hand, playing my best pool--my game.

There you have it. No promises. No guarantees. And it may not work for everyone, but it costs nothing, has no side affects, and so far as I know it is legal in all 50 states.

May the force be with you!

Cueless Joey
10-30-2002, 01:13 PM
Post deleted by Cueless Joey

10-30-2002, 01:31 PM
You said: "And of course, as the Monk said, don't check the score."

I tried that once but I ended up playing 54 games in a race to 7 before the guy told me I had lost.

A1

Cueless Joey
10-30-2002, 01:40 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote: Anonymous_1:</font><hr> You said: "And of course, as the Monk said, don't check the score."

I tried that once but I ended up playing 54 games in a race to 7 before the guy told me I had lost.

A1 <hr></blockquote>
lol.
Let me expound Monk's words, he said play it one ball at a time and don't think of the outcome/result of the match.

stickman
10-30-2002, 01:52 PM
Cuebald, Thanks for sharing. I may have to give it a try. A while back I got Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Nervousness can cause me to get quite sick. I'm taking medicine for it and it is much better, but I still can have sickness at times from it. At times I would get sick playing league and not be able to finish my match. I read Pleasures of Small Motions and although some don't find it to be useful material for them, it helped me. I learned to concentrate on what it was that lead me to begin playing in the first place. (The Pleasures of Small Motions) In other words the enjoyment I got from performing the small motions necessary to execute a shot correctly. When my focus shifted from whether I was winning or losing, or was I ahead or behind, to seeking pleasure from executing each shot correctly, my nervousness went away, I played better, and had more fun. If I miss, I figure I'm supposed to miss sometimes, and continue to focus on the positive. (I made six balls before I missed, etc.) I don't know if I wasn't using what I know effectively, or it just wasn't working, but at regional playoffs, I got sick. Not so sick I couldn't continue, but I played in a LOT of pain. I might have to try stepping into my power circle. Thanks, Jim

Chris Cass
10-30-2002, 02:09 PM
Hi Cuebald,

Man, do we have things incommon. I think I might be suffering from the same thing and never thought about it. Self hypnosis is good and anything I now can see can put you in need of this stuff.

I shoot fairly consistant. I know the table inside out and see all the lines since 15yrs. old. One day you have it and the next, your basically peeing in the wind. I need to remember what it takes to keep the mind in perspective and my goals on track. I've had slumps before but never like this. I'm putting way to much thought in the game and way too much emphisis on how I'm expected to perform. I need to just play for the basic reasons I took up the game from the beginning. "Because, I love the game."

Jimmy Reid also has a method simular to the advice that is working for you. He says that when your playing your best pool that day. Remember the way you felt, the smell of the room, the rhythm your in, the attitude you have, and the atmosphere you were in. Then, after thinking of all these things touch your thumb and index finger togather and anchor it. Then, when your in tournament or a pressure situation? Touch your thumb and index finger togather and recall that moment in time. It should relax you and increase your performance.

Great stuff and if Jimmy Reid talks about it? It's worth listening to.

Regards,

C.C.~~in trasition to becoming a broke but happy camper.

dave
10-30-2002, 02:19 PM
The process you are both describing ( in various forms) is , in fact, called creating an "anchor".

Chris Cass
10-30-2002, 02:28 PM
Ahh,

Thanks Dave. I don't get the gitters when playing but my head was in left field before. LOL Yes, I knew it was the process of creating an anchor to use when times call for it. I'd be interested to hear if you have any thoughts or experienced anything that would help get through these awkward times.

Funny, how the mind works. Ya think it would be easy to get past all the crap, because of the complexity on the mind and the power it has over the body. Weird.

Regards,

C.C.~~mooching off Dave...

dave
10-30-2002, 02:51 PM
Another common variation on the exercise is to visualize a place that you associate with being peaceful and relaxing: maybe your favorite fishing spot or some other ideal location (real or imagined). Then, as you suggested, create some small physical gesture such as squeezing your thumb and forefinger together ( I personally will form a bridge with my fingers). You need to repeat the visualization of the image with the gesture until you associate them together. Then, when you are feeling nervous or unconfident during a match, you make the gesture (the anchor). This should be bring the comforting image and positive feelings of quite back to mind and thereby help you in creating a more relaxed performance. But then, you already know this. :-)

Jay M
10-30-2002, 03:03 PM
The anchor described is purely mental. You can use other types of anchors as well. The example of the hand on the shoulder is a physical anchor. You're building an association between that series of thoughts or the physical touch on the shoulder and success.

One of my first jobs when I got out of the army was a tele-sales job, not really telemarketing, but real sales that just happened to be conducted over the phone. Whenever someone would make a sale, they would ring a bell. The idea was to associate the sound of the bell with a sale so that whenever someone else rang the bell, you would be placed into the state of mind where you last made a sale yourself.

You can do the same thing in pool by deliberately performing an unlikely action whenever you execute a particularly good shot. Don't use something commonplace, but rather, use something that you wouldn't ordinarily do. It doesn't matter what it is, just do it. Then after you have ingrained that habit into yourself, conciously perform that same action whenever you have one of those "must make" shots. You'll find that your percentages will go up. At least that is the theory.

BTW, the psychology behind this is all based on the Pavlovian dogs.

Anyhow, there's your pop psychology for the day. I don't use it in my game, but I know the theories from my sales days.

Jay M

bluewolf
10-30-2002, 03:16 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote: dave:</font><hr> Another common variation on the exercise is to visualize a place that you associate with being peaceful and relaxing: maybe your favorite fishing spot or some other ideal location (real or imagined). Then, as you suggested, create some small physical gesture such as squeezing your thumb and forefinger together ( I personally will form a bridge with my fingers). You need to repeat the visualization of the image with the gesture until you associate them together. Then, when you are feeling nervous or unconfident during a match, you make the gesture (the anchor). This should be bring the comforting image and positive feelings of quite back to mind and thereby help you in creating a more relaxed performance. But then, you already know this. :-) <hr></blockquote>

Here is mine. i have walked through a path in the woods and come to an open space fronting a beautiful stream, with small waterfalls on two sides. It is very relaxing to go there and listen to the water on the rocks and watch the water going downstream, carrying with it, all my anxieties, doubts any negative past feelings.

This, I have called sanctuary, and have gone their many times over the last 10-15 years.

For some reason, lucky I guess, but if I am in any position other than prone,go directly into a meditative state upon closing my eyes.

So now my sanctuary has a pool table. It is a brunswick gold crown 9 foot and has brunswick centennial balls. I am shooting pool,enjoying stroking the balls in that peaceful place, without a care in the world.

bw

dave
10-30-2002, 03:39 PM
Here's a couple of other thoughts:

1. Often I think I'm having mechanical problems because of mental problems (such as lack of focus or concentration). When in fact, the opposite is true and that my lack of concentration etc. is the result of a technical problem that has appeared that I haven't become aware of and identified yet. If I correct the mechanical problem, the mental problem takes care of itself.

2. Sometimes the problem isn't actually my pool game at all! The lack of focus etc. MIGHT be the result of something else going on in my life. When I play, I like to forget about all the stuff going on in my life and block it out for awhile. But that's not always possible; the stuff is still tucked away just below the surface in the unconscious. Maybe I have a problem at work that needs to be resolved, maybe I need to have that discussion with my wife that I've been avoiding, maybe I need to pay the bills; whatever! All this stuff is interrelated. If my game is going well, my life seems to be going good. If my life is on an even keel, my game seems to go well. The opposite is true too. If my game sucks, it seems to carry over into the rest of my day/life. Anyway, sometimes fixing my game means correcting or working on something that has nothing to do with pool at all. That's where I start when I've examined my fundamentals and can't find a problem there and the slump seems to continue.

dave~~~~~amateur therapist

dave
10-30-2002, 03:53 PM
Here's another one:

Most everyone knows that slow, deep breathing slows your heart rate, calms you and relieves tension. When I compete I don't watch the opponent but rather focus my field of vision on some small area such as a spot on the wall or the tip of my cue. While focusing on that point I'll consciously work on regulating my deep breathing; associating the two, so that one act becomes connected with the other. Then when I'm shooting again and aiming once again, focusing on a small point (such as the contact point);I've been physically training my self to combine the act of focusing with regulated breathing to automatically calm myself without having to think about it during the game.

Chris Cass
10-30-2002, 03:58 PM

10-30-2002, 04:23 PM
bw please go to that special place and pass gas then shut your blow hole.

<blockquote><font class="small">Quote: bluewolf:</font><hr> &lt;blockquote&gt;&lt;font class="small"&gt;Quote: dave:&lt;/font&gt;&lt;hr&gt; Another common variation on the exercise is to visualize a place that you associate with being peaceful and relaxing: maybe your favorite fishing spot or some other ideal location (real or imagined). Then, as you suggested, create some small physical gesture such as squeezing your thumb and forefinger together ( I personally will form a bridge with my fingers). You need to repeat the visualization of the image with the gesture until you associate them together. Then, when you are feeling nervous or unconfident during a match, you make the gesture (the anchor). This should be bring the comforting image and positive feelings of quite back to mind and thereby help you in creating a more relaxed performance. But then, you already know this. :-) &lt;hr&gt;&lt;/blockquote&gt;

Here is mine. i have walked through a path in the woods and come to an open space fronting a beautiful stream, with small waterfalls on two sides. It is very relaxing to go there and listen to the water on the rocks and watch the water going downstream, carrying with it, all my anxieties, doubts any negative past feelings.

This, I have called sanctuary, and have gone their many times over the last 10-15 years.

For some reason, lucky I guess, but if I am in any position other than prone,go directly into a meditative state upon closing my eyes.

So now my sanctuary has a pool table. It is a brunswick gold crown 9 foot and has brunswick centennial balls. I am shooting pool,enjoying stroking the balls in that peaceful place, without a care in the world.

bw <hr></blockquote>

Voodoo Daddy
10-31-2002, 02:26 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote: CueBald:</font><hr> Step 1: Think back to the to a time when you were playing your very best pool. This is no doubt a game or match in which you were calm, collected, focused, concentrated, and performing like a well oiled machine. Visualize every subtle detail about that event that you can recall; the room, the sounds, the smell, and any mechanical and mental aspects of your play that were important. Everything. Take your time, and when you feel you have a complete detailed mental picture of that great event, go to step 2.

&gt;I never remember any of that, I'm too busy blanking out the world, going into a state of "Nothing-ness".&lt;


Step 2: Stand in a place with a few feet of vacant floor space in front of you. Think of your favorite color. Now imagine that a bright circle of colored light (your favorite color), about three feet in diameter, is focused right in front of your feet. We will call this the “Power Circle”. In my case, since my favorite color is green, I call it my “Green Power Circle”.

&gt;Again, sounds like too much running through your mind.&lt;


Step 3: While keeping that Power Circle focused at your feet, again visualize that perfect performance in vivid detail. Now step into your Power Circle and let those feelings and that experience wash over you like warm sunshine. This is you! This is the real you! This is the player you can and want to be--all of the time! Don’t be surprised if you find yourself smiling or sense an extreme inner peace.

&gt;"Inner Peace" starts way before reaching "nothing-ness".&lt;


Repeat this step 3-5 times beginning with the power circle in front of your feet, visualize the perfect performance, then step into the Power Circle.

That’s it! Now you have your own personal “Power Circle”. You can use it whenever needed. I use it before every match or if I find myself slipping into poor performance. Just imagine your Power Circle and step in. You can do it as you are getting out of your chair to start an inning and no one will ever know.

&gt;Why would you try to trick your second nature skills with all of that?&lt;

This process, according to my Dr., simply connects your brain with a positive mental image of the task at hand. It’s an instant pep talk for your brain, “Here is the task at hand, we’ve done it all before, now let’s go kick some butt!”

&gt;&gt;Not that I'm smarter than your Dr {I would say I'm the 3 dumbest human that posts here} and that all sounds good in theory but wont work for anyone with real live people problems. Its a different outlook for sure but it seems to me that is too many things going through your mind. I'm from the less is more school of thought...taking all those pictures your creating and tossing them down the stairs. But, I really hope it works for you and I commend you for sharing it with us. Agree to disagree?&lt;&lt;

bluewolf
10-31-2002, 05:15 AM
It sounds like cueball'technique is one of many meditative techniques used to achieve that relazed, focussed state before going down on the ball. At least, that is my take on it. I would use my meditation while I am sitting waiting for my match and as I walk up to the table to play.

The idea of being in the center of an energy field that protects and relaxes you works and that can be any color a person desires. It only takes thinking when creating it. As with any habit, in my experience, becomes automatic once practiced.

Just one here who thinks meditation is a great tool for calming and focus. If one masters it, I believe that once playing, the person is in what Ram Dass, in The Meditator's Guidebook, refers to as 'active meditation'.For me, this would mean that while playing in a match, nothing exists but the moment I am in.

just my .02

=k=
10-31-2002, 07:03 AM
cuebald sure glad it works for you!! last night i stepped into my green circle and the other guy snowed all over it.. hmmmm thinking of changing colors... k

10-31-2002, 09:38 AM
I am not sure we need to agree to disagree so much as to accept the notion "to each his own".

I know players who have each used nothingness, "Taming Your Gremlins", and "Pleasures of Small Motions", among others, with great success. In my case it was the Power Circle that did the trick.

I hope I did not give the impression that I found THE solution, only a solution that worked for me. I assume it might work for others.

Thanks for the reply,

CB

bluewolf
10-31-2002, 10:00 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote: CueBald:</font><hr> I am not sure we need to agree to disagree so much as to accept the notion "to each his own".

I know players who have each used nothingness, "Taming Your Gremlins", and "Pleasures of Small Motions", among others, with great success. In my case it was the Power Circle that did the trick.

I hope I did not give the impression that I found THE solution, only a solution that worked for me. I assume it might work for others.

Thanks for the reply,

CB <hr></blockquote>

you did not come across as 'ive discovered the only way'.you came across to me as someone who was given an gift and wanted to share how it helped you with your ccb friends.

i have enjoyed this thread. thanks.

bw

Voodoo Daddy
10-31-2002, 02:43 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote: CueBald:</font><hr>
I hope I did not give the impression that I found THE solution, only a solution that worked for me. I assume it might work for others.<hr></blockquote>

Not at all. In fact, I should really watch what I say so late in the night. It might of came off like I was bashing a little. No blood, no foul!!

Rod
10-31-2002, 03:23 PM
CB it's not legal out here in AZ. They don't allow power circles! LOL Just kidding but like Voodoo way too much thought for me. I don't want to be thinking anything. If it works for you or anyone that's great. We all have a different approach. I'd say anyone looking for answers to help there mental approach, you never know unless you try.