View Full Version : Focus: How do you get there and stay there?

02-11-2003, 04:05 PM
I have a real problem staying focused at the table. I mean the music playing in the background can really start affecting my game...and it shouldn't. How can I "get in the zone", and stay there?

02-11-2003, 04:27 PM
Sounds like me! I am getting a little better focus but get so nervous on the eight that sometimes I shake. And if someone walks by, well forget that concentration stuff. My lack of concentration is my public pool enemy #1!


02-11-2003, 04:35 PM
Focus: Remove as many "goals" from your game and the distractions will shrink as well. DO NOT try to win the match, run rack or win the game. Simply try to perform the perfect shot you are on in the smoothest form you can, moving from shot to shot with no outcome in mind. When I'm absorbed in only making beautiful stop, draw and follow shots . . . the wins come by themselves. You have to tell yourself "This is going to be an awesome stop shot." The score and the surroundings have nothing to do with that shot, just your perfect mechanics.

02-11-2003, 05:07 PM
Believe it or not, you can practice on how to focus. Hopefully one of the more knowledgeable/teacher types posting on this board can help explain this. (A-hem!! Anyone out there step in at any ti-ime!)

But this is how I sometimes get myself into focus. I perceive the situation like an onion and start peeling off the layers until I get down to the smallest part I can. For instance, approaching the table - the outermost layer. I screen out the table surroundings. Then I concentrate on the table surface and the layout I am faced with. Then I concentrate on my shot options, where the CB's going. I keep getting smaller and smaller in the task at hand until I am down to stroking the shot. I can focus in and out but I know I'm doing something right when I can completely phase out the immediate surroundings from my line of sight and concentrate on the table, whether I'm shooting or not.

I haven't put an opponent to sleep yet, but that's just a matter of time.


02-11-2003, 05:12 PM
That's part of my problem, I can't get to the point that I'm only concerned with the shot at hand. I continually think about the position on the next shot, and that that shot leads up to another and another until I'm shooting at the eight. I can't focus on that one shot or stroke that I should be only concerned with at that moment.
Maybe I need to invest in a pair of earplugs and horse blinders.

02-11-2003, 05:20 PM
I have taken lots of pleasure watching good players establish their presence at the table. The 'onion' is a good way to describe the essence of a Pre-Shot routine.

1. Walk around the table
2. See the ob path from both ends. from the cue ball to ob to the pocket and from the pocket to the ob to the cue ball.
3. While STILL standing, think about the path the cb has to follow to stike the ob to acheive the results you want.. and where the cb will end up afterwards.
4. Alighn your body according to your aim for the cue ball to Object ball.
5. are you finished doing all your thinking standing UP? if so,
6. Get down and get ready to make the shot
7. Cue stick, cue ball, Object ball. Eyes going to CB to OB to CB to OB and then pause and shoot.

If you do this each time it's your turn.. you have put so much thought into your intentions you have pushed out all the other distractions.. THIS REALLY Works. Try it during practice and then take it with you when you compete.

02-11-2003, 05:26 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote cycopath:</font><hr> That's part of my problem, I can't get to the point that I'm only concerned with the shot at hand. I continually think about the position on the next shot, and that that shot leads up to another and another until I'm shooting at the eight. I can't focus on that one shot or stroke that I should be only concerned with at that moment.
Maybe I need to invest in a pair of earplugs and horse blinders. <hr /></blockquote>

Oh. I have missed shots that way, thinking about position on the next ball and missing the one I am on.

Randy g says to paraphrase 'thinking equals standing'. So when I get down on the shot I am not supposed to be thinking. This has been very hard for me because I think too much.


02-11-2003, 06:28 PM
I liken focus to a beam of light. It starts as a broad beam takeing in the whole table layout as i'm planing and anilizing the next shot. When the "right shot" has been decided on the beam of light narrows to the shot itself, and how it will play out. Finally, the beam narrows down to a lazar fine point on the object ball.

After the shot your focus then broadens to take in the whole table once more.

It's important to know when to focus, and when to relax as intense concentration will ware you down faster than you reolize. St~~Believe it or not, reading is one of the very best practices for focus. In this case, your just reading the table~~

02-11-2003, 06:33 PM
hmmm, thinking is critical, DUH, I try to consider possibilities and account for everything.

relaxing is tough though.

a question dawned on me while playing and that is "Am I playing not lose or am I playing to win?" I was playing not to lose that day and i lost bad.

think think think


02-11-2003, 06:34 PM
For me, it's how bad you want to win, when I truly want the victory my focus isn't a problem, try not to overthink on every shot and play within your own game.

02-12-2003, 10:28 AM
Heh Honky. Interesting thing about "playing not to lose". For whatever reason, the subconciouse mind does not recognize the word DON'T. If you say don't lose, don't scratch, don't choke etc. then what your mind really hears is lose,scratch, choke. Besides, if you'll notice, all these events are projections. That's bad. In order to stay properly focused you must deal with the present. So focus only on the process one ball at a time. St

02-12-2003, 12:02 PM
Let's start with good basic fundamentals.
1.Number of strokes per shot (always the same regardless of how easy the shot is!Not doing this causes, one to become upset,and when we get upset we become unfocused!
2.Get involved on every shot!Walk around the table,look at the object ball and the angle that you have to hit it.
By doing this your feeding your computer.Plan more shots ahead and think about your cueball position!If you do these things all the time it becomes a good habit and makes it easier to stay focused!Next time you miss a shot, think about what you did wrong! and make the correction in your head.Everyone misses some shots,but the majority of the time
when one misses it's caused by a bad step in the fundamentals.Just watch the the pro's.There fundamentals are solid every shot!Not 85 or 90 percent.You very seldom see, a pro miss a hanger because he gave the shot the old one two stroker.And last but not least! I wish I could follow my own advice!I've played this game for 40yrs and when I have followed my own advice,I'm not bad.

02-13-2003, 06:47 AM
I had the same problem when I first started playing. Always looking around the room to see who's watching me, unsure at the table, choking easy run outs, feeling like I have no clue what to do next, and generally not playing up to my (concieved!)ability. Then as I started to learn the game ,and gain confidence most of that went away. My biggest help was/is visualization during a match, and at home. Learn strong visualization techniques, and you will imprint images of you playing great pool, being calm, very confident at the table, and loving every minute of it. This will subconsciuosly carry itself to the table with you, and you'll be playing better with no extra effort. Thats what I try to do anyway......Gerry

02-13-2003, 09:41 AM
Give yourself something to focus on! If you just get to the table and don't think specifically about what you want to do then you wont be concentrating hard enough. Think about the exact spot you want the CB to end up and the exact spot you want the OB to hit the back of the pocket and remind yourself to keep your head down and your wrist loose. Be specific in everything and take your time.

Now you got something to focus on.

I like to keep my eyes fixated on the table and the balls. I don't look around at the people or pay attention to anything that is going on around me. Tunnel vision helps me focus like this but you can't keep that intensity forever. You have to be able to turn it on after you surveyed the table and have come up with your plan. Once your turn ends you have to ease the intensity back again.

If you have problems with distractions you can do what me and my friends did when we started playing seriously. Shark each other. Of course only do this when your practising but it will help train you to tune out distractions.

Good luck! It's not easy to do but you will get better at it with practise.