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.
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).