– advice dealing with various topics
– books dealing with mental aspects
– changing bad habits
– “choking” (how to help prevent)
– “dead stroke” (being in the zone)
– knowledge can be useful, but you still need skill
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.
- When down on a shot, don’t “pull the trigger” until the alignment and aim looks perfect. Then, with a clear mind and still eyes, execute the stroke. There should be no uncertainty whatsoever just before or during the stroke. If there is, you should get up and re-start your pre-shot routine.
- Give every shot the respect it deserves in terms of attention and focus, even “easy” shots.
- Be confident and trusting in your skills and abilities.
- 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, abilities, 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.
- Never give up, even if you are far behind in a match.
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).