The most important advice concerning the mental game is:

  • Have a consistent and purposeful pre-shot routine, being sure to visualize and plan successful execution of each shot before getting down.
  • Work to improve your skills. That will create confidence.
  • Take deep breaths when necessary to fight nerves or break tension.
  • Learn from your mistakes (by practicing missed shots and positions).
  • Recognize and deal with negative thinking, replace with positive energy, and have faith and trust in your pre-shot routine and skills.
  • Quiet your mind and focus while in your stance and during your stroke, on every shot.
  • Practice under pressure as much as possible (in leagues, tournaments, streamed online videos, gambling matches, etc.). The only way to become good under pressure is through a past history of successful experience under pressure.

For more information, see The Compete Instructional Works of Tom Ross – Volume II: Mental Aspects and Joe Waldron’s collection of articles dealing with the mental side of pool.


The book “Pleasures of Small Motions: Mastering the Mental Game of Pocket Billiards” by Bob Fancher provides good coverage of the mental side of the game. Important messages from the book:

  • Focus on and enjoy the process, and focus less on the goals or outcomes.
  • Do not try to deny your fears. Acknowledge and accept them, and do your best to address and manage them (e.g., by being aware and taking deep breaths).

Close Menu