Joe Waldron, Ph.D.
Psychologist (Retired)

Another “self talk” that I found to be useful is what I call the “A Stroke.” It seems to me that I am always working on my shooting technique. There is my current stroke and there is the stroke I am working on. Then there is the “old” stroke that doesn’t work for some reason. That old stroke seems to come out whenever I get in trouble — bad habits and all that.

To counter this I have learned to label my current best stroke as the “A Stroke.” It is my best one to date. Now, every time I practice and use the “A” stroke, and it works as it should, I say aloud “A Stroke.” This tends to cement it into my unconscious. In the last few months I have found that when I get in trouble in a game or a match, I say “A stroke” and it comes up all by itself – so to speak. It has gotten me out of a few tight spots lately.

So – if the “A Stroke” technique works, well I wonder what else might work to improve my game? A Stoke with a smile might be even more effective. Then I got to think about how memories get stuck in the mind and the result is the above post. Just the wanderings of another goofy pool player.

Oh yeah, I should mention that some of these musings come from the current issue of Scientific American and an article by Joe Tsien (pg 52) on how memory is coded in the brain. Interesting article for those who are interested in neurophysiology and the nether reaches of applying theoretical studies to pool playing.