PDA

View Full Version : Choking



Keith Talent
07-30-2003, 03:08 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote BillPorter:</font><hr> I have to agree that the player who chokes the most is probably going to lose. Seems to me that the topic of choking has had a few threads in the past and probably is about due for another one. <hr /></blockquote>

Since the subject has been brought up, I've been thinking that there are many levels of choking.

There's the pure choke artist, like Armando Benitez, and even the extreme head-case, like poor Rick Ankiel. There are the great high-stakes players, like Efren, and then there's the rest of us, somewhere in between. Maybe you've been both, (hopefully, no cases of Ankielitis!) at different times in different games. What do you think about how this may change over time and how it all works?

Cueless Joey
07-30-2003, 03:25 PM
Two words, Red Sox. /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif

BillPorter
07-31-2003, 05:34 PM
Here is one thing I know for sure about choking: If I had a sure fire system for correcting or eliminating it, I could make a fortune. Every body chokes, even world champions. But the world champions don't choke very often and when they DO choke, they can usually recover and get their game back together pretty fast. Heck, I once saw Buddy Hall jump up on a nine-ball shot. Of course, that was ONE TIME over a period of about 20 years watching him play!

Seems to me that choking is all about fear. And what is the fear? Usually not the money one might lose. I think it is usually fear of loss of status, loss of image in the eyes of others, fear of looking like a rail-banging goofus. And the rub is that the more important is it to make the shot and avoid the feared loss of status, the greater the fear and the more likely it is that you'll miss the shot. So the fear increases the odds that what you fear will be what happens. Sounds like a design flaw in the human psyche. /ccboard/images/graemlins/confused.gif

bluewolf
08-01-2003, 09:47 AM
I think I might know a possible answer but doing it is another thing, and hard work I am thinking. I am working on this and feel I will never get perfect in #2 but will get better.

I would like to hear methods for getting very good at #2

1) near perfect fundamentals that the player trusts.
2)non attachment to the outcome, just play. no fear,no emotions.

It seems to me that effren and allison are this way most of the time.

BillPorter
08-01-2003, 09:53 AM
I like your answer, but, as you say, how to achieve your #2? One idea that I like here is to focus on your form (stance, staying down, stroke) and make it your goal to display good form. If your goal is to make the shot, part of your mind knows that this goal is not completely within your control; the shot may not go in for many reasons. But your form is more within your control. You may not be able to guarantee making the shot, but maybe you CAN guarantee that you will follow your preshot routine and stay down on the shot. Making your goal something within your control can lessen your anxiety about the shot and reduce your tendency to choke. (IMHO)

bluewolf
08-01-2003, 11:02 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote BillPorter:</font><hr> I like your answer, but, as you say, how to achieve your #2? One idea that I like here is to focus on your form (stance, staying down, stroke) and make it your goal to display good form. If your goal is to make the shot, part of your mind knows that this goal is not completely within your control; the shot may not go in for many reasons. But your form is more within your control. You may not be able to guarantee making the shot, but maybe you CAN guarantee that you will follow your preshot routine and stay down on the shot. Making your goal something within your control can lessen your anxiety about the shot and reduce your tendency to choke. (IMHO) <hr /></blockquote>

To me, being able to trust my fundamentals has taken much anxiety from me. That bad voice that butts in saying, that shot is to hard for you,etc, often I can just say that I can trust my stroke and make that voice go away. This does not mean I make the shot. It means that I shoot the shot with confidence

But there is this part,a small part, the emotions anxiety, fear that still butt in, even though they are not as big of emotions as they once were.

Then there is where I think unattachment to any emotion will cure. This is the state practiced by serious meditators to achieve. That is why I think that it is hard. It is not blocking them but letting them float by, not attaching to any emotion or thought like each thought or emotion is like a leaf floating down a stream.

I used to practice this but even when I did this, just the meditative exercise for one hour a day, I did not get perfect. I got pretty good at it, but not perfect.

So I am wondering if someone knows other solutions for number two, those feelings of fear, self doubt, anxiety that try to cling to us and wreck our game. There are many fine pool players on this forum. I think that there are some here who have been successful in conquering this. So, I was wondering what methods that they have used to make especially the negative thoughts and distructive emotions go bye-bye.

Laura

Qtec
08-01-2003, 11:03 AM
The next time you are in that position think positive . Instead of thinking what will happen if you miss , turn it around . When you make that long straight 9, the ball bangers at the bar will be thinking you are a cool customer . /ccboard/images/graemlins/cool.gif
Always expect to pot the ball. Try and relax , relax your grip and just try and hit it sweet .Trust in your technique and go for it 100% .
When youre knees are shaking and your heart is pounding [ yes , I have been there , still am there ] its the only thing you can do .

If have the luck to teach a kid pool/snooker, I teach positive play from the begining , Pos stroke ,Pos attitude and a Pos way of playing the game . Its all done to prepare him/ her for these momments of pressure .

If you have done the practice ,even when youre whole body is shaking , you will be able to get it together for the 5 seconds you need to play the shot.

Missing the 9b ,choking , is usually the result of moving on the shot or bad timing , ie snatching or jabbing ,as opposed to a smooth , sweet hit ]
Eliminate these two things and you they will soon be calling you the 'iceman'. /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif

Qtec

bluewolf
08-01-2003, 11:17 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Qtec:</font><hr> The next time you are in that position think positive . Instead of thinking what will happen if you miss , turn it around . When you make that long straight 9, the ball bangers at the bar will be thinking you are a cool customer . /ccboard/images/graemlins/cool.gif
Always expect to pot the ball. Try and relax , relax your grip and just try and hit it sweet .Trust in your technique and go for it 100% .
When youre knees are shaking and your heart is pouding [ yes , I have been there , still am there ] its the only thing you can do .

Qtec


<hr /></blockquote>

If the stroke is good, the mind can be told off, and shoot the shot trusting the stroke, but it is like for me, like pushing those bad thoughts to the side. In my case, anyway, there is still that undercurrent of anxiety. I do not like to feel that. I want that to go away. It never goes away perfect, except for the zone. And I do not know how to be in the zone all of the time, just like I never got perfect in meditation.

Yes, refocusing on stroke makes me not choke, but I still do not like those little bad feelings.

Laura

Hopster
08-01-2003, 01:14 PM
There's the pure choke artist, like Armando Benitez, and even the extreme head-case, like poor Rick Ankiel. &lt;--Keith Talent

Keith, you gave me a good laugh with those two examples. Especially Ankiel, remember the playoff game with the mets and the cards when he threw like 5 wild pitches in a row ?? I almost fell out of the chair laughing at that game. In the dirt, behind the batter, at the batter. lol, that was just too funny.
Benitez is another one, hes all right in the games when nothing matters but when it counts, lookout he goes to pieces. Although as lifelong Mets fan i got to say he did have some great saves. But i wouldnt want him as my closer.
Yup, they do it in all games.

Keith Talent
08-01-2003, 02:43 PM
Hopster,

Man, Ankiel was painful to watch, wasn't he? The Mets were home free, up 7-0 or something, and this guy kept firing it to the backstop. It was almost like it could be bad luck to even look at him, that it might somehow be contagious. /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif A friend of mine saw him in the minors this spring ... he still uncorked a few. Confidence shot for life, I guess.

As for Benitez, it was risky sending him to the Yanks, but he seems to be showing his true colors already. At least all of us Mets fans can rest assured that next spring we won't have to hear those big-mouthed Yankee fans taunting, twenty-SEVEN CHAMPIONships!!! No way 24 other guys can overcome that much bad juju!

Big saves by Benitez? Can't think of one, hardly. Some of his narrow escapes could count, maybe. Never seen anybody fail so consistently under pressure ... when you think of how hard it can be to hit a baseball and how many times this guy with the 98 mph fastball needed but one more strike, a fly out, a ground out, anything ... It's just mind-blowing.

As for pool, maybe it's better not to dwell on it too much. Made my share of big shots and those other ones ... I can hardly remember them. /ccboard/images/graemlins/laugh.gif

Fran Crimi
08-01-2003, 08:29 PM
Keith, from what I read about choking, I think you're on track with what sports psychologists say about the subject. The general consensus is that choking is a performance fear and there are several different types. One psychologist pinned down 8 different choking personalities.

Anyway, they say that occasional choking is a perfectly natural thing to do. It's when a player chokes frequently that it's considered a problem. Usually the player who chokes fairly often does it in the same type of situation. There are some people who choke in two or three different types of situations, but always when those same situations come up.

I read that if you take that same person who chokes fairly often during sports and put them in a similar non-sports situation, they'll choke as well, for example someone who practices well but chokes as soon as they get into competition, may have the same problem in the office. They'll do fine at work until they have to give a presentation to the boss or their co-workers. Then their nerves will get the best of them.

Another example is someone who misses that key clutch shot in pool matches, will tend to panic when the pressure heats up at work or at home.

The most important thing I got from what I read on consistent choking is that it's a personality issue that doesn't go away when you walk away from the pool table. It's there with you everywhere you go and in everything you do.

The occasional choke here and there is something that players can work on by focusing on their physical execution or through visualization (like Happy Gilmore finding his "happy place." /ccboard/images/graemlins/laugh.gif) but if nothing they do seems to work, then it could be something much deeper that requires a little more help than just trying to stay down and follow through.

Fran

Alfie
08-01-2003, 09:03 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Fran Crimi:</font><hr> [about choking] <hr /></blockquote>references?

Fran Crimi
08-01-2003, 10:10 PM
Sure. Buy yourself a dozen books on sports psychology and find the common thread. It's there.

I'll give you one to give you a head start. James Loehr. He's one who discusses the different choking personalities in depth.

Happy hunting. /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif

Fran

Alfie
08-02-2003, 01:22 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Fran Crimi:</font><hr> James Loehr. He's one who discusses the different choking personalities in depth. <hr /></blockquote>Do you know if he discusses it in this particular book, "The New Toughness Training for Sports: Mental, Emotional, and Physical Conditioning from One of the World's Premier Sports Psychologists"?

Fran Crimi
08-02-2003, 02:56 PM
I don't know. I just took a look and can't find the book. I probably have it stored away in a box somewhere. I know he also published a booklet exclusively on choking. I just did a quick search on the net and I see that they're offering reprints of that booklet with his "Toughness Training III" book which is designed for coaches and teachers. I took one of his seminars and got that booklet on choking at the seminar. It's only a few pages but it's good stuff.

You won't go wrong buying any of his mental toughness training books, IMO. They're all good. (Haven't read the coaches book yet.)

Fran