advice dealing with various topics
changing bad habits
“choking” – how to help prevent
“dead stroke,” and being in the zone
knowledge can be useful, but you still need skill
general advice
learning mental control
learning vs. intuition
physics “understanding” sometimes provides useful insight
technical knowledge is not enough


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.

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).
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