PDA

View Full Version : The Art of the Choke



DSAPOLIS
11-18-2002, 03:00 PM
The Art of the Choke
By
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 experience 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, there fore 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.

Many of us become more focused on the outcome rather than the process. We need to focus on what we should be doing as opposed to focusing on what we shouldn’t be doing. Direct your attention towards positive cues such as “follow through”, “Focus”, “Breathe”, and “Smooth.” You direct yourself towards the positive without arguing with yourself about the mistakes you’ve made. Make sure your goals are reasonable. The more pressure you place on yourself the more negative interference you can expect. If your goal is to beat this guy next week, ensure that you set sub-goals leading up to the match. You might have to get to finals to beat this guy next week. Make sure you get there. If you focus only on beating one opponent, you will find it hard to get your motivation up during other matches. This can be avoided by having a coach or a mentor to assist you and remind you to remain focused on your newly established goals. By staying focused on the task at hand and not the outcome, you relieve yourself of the pressure associated with thoughts of a negative outcome. When you are able to do this, winning will take care of itself.

Remember that every time you take a shot, you run the risk of having things go well. Realize that every so often we are going to be placed in situations that will make us nervous. The way we process the stimulation will determine the outcome. The next time you are in a tough match or faced with a tough shot, remind yourself that matches are won one shot at a time, and one thought at a time. We don’t want to shoot bad shots, and we definitely don’t want to think bad thoughts. It not so much the choking that we need to control, but the factors that lead to it. Above all else, always give yourself the chance to win!!!

11-19-2002, 06:29 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote DSAPOLIS:</font><hr> The Art of the Choke
By
Blackjack David Sapolis

Not all of us have graced the winner&amp;#8217;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&amp;#8230;. We have all missed shots we should have made. We have all experience the &amp;#8220;shot that got away.&amp;#8220; 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&amp;#8217;t lost to him we&amp;#8217;ve stayed home in fear of the usual outcome. This week is going to be different. We&amp;#8217;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&amp;#8217;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.

&amp;#8220;I shoulda done this&amp;#8230;&amp;#8221;
&amp;#8220;I coulda done that&amp;#8230;&amp;#8221;
&amp;#8220;I woulda if I coulda&amp;#8230;&amp;#8221;
&amp;#8220;Ooooh why I oughtta&amp;#8230;&amp;#8221;

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&amp;#8217;ll admit to having it happen to them as well. Choking is part of our development. If we don&amp;#8217;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, there fore 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 &amp;#8220;playing in the zone&amp;#8221; 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.

Many of us become more focused on the outcome rather than the process. We need to focus on what we should be doing as opposed to focusing on what we shouldn&amp;#8217;t be doing. Direct your attention towards positive cues such as &amp;#8220;follow through&amp;#8221;, &amp;#8220;Focus&amp;#8221;, &amp;#8220;Breathe&amp;#8221;, and &amp;#8220;Smooth.&amp;#8221; You direct yourself towards the positive without arguing with yourself about the mistakes you&amp;#8217;ve made. Make sure your goals are reasonable. The more pressure you place on yourself the more negative interference you can expect. If your goal is to beat this guy next week, ensure that you set sub-goals leading up to the match. You might have to get to finals to beat this guy next week. Make sure you get there. If you focus only on beating one opponent, you will find it hard to get your motivation up during other matches. This can be avoided by having a coach or a mentor to assist you and remind you to remain focused on your newly established goals. By staying focused on the task at hand and not the outcome, you relieve yourself of the pressure associated with thoughts of a negative outcome. When you are able to do this, winning will take care of itself.

Remember that every time you take a shot, you run the risk of having things go well. Realize that every so often we are going to be placed in situations that will make us nervous. The way we process the stimulation will determine the outcome. The next time you are in a tough match or faced with a tough shot, remind yourself that matches are won one shot at a time, and one thought at a time. We don&amp;#8217;t want to shoot bad shots, and we definitely don&amp;#8217;t want to think bad thoughts. It not so much the choking that we need to control, but the factors that lead to it. Above all else, always give yourself the chance to win!!!
<hr /></blockquote>


Yet another great post!

In my practice routine I do every day, I spend a certain amount of time shooting difficult shots and I spend some time working on fluidity, stroke, and mental relaxation.. especially on hard shots, or shots that I know I CAN do, but don't always make.

If you can make most all of the hard shots, and all the easy ones, stay focused, and confident.. I think it'll be the other way around.. YOU'LL be the hotshot, and people will choke when they are playing you. /ccboard/images/graemlins/smile.gif