8 Ways To Benefit From The Covid-19 Shutdown

In the age of COVID-19, we are all having to deal with the challenges of very uncertain times. Most pool tournaments have been cancelled. No one knows when normal life will resume. This month, I’ve spent a lot of time speaking with students and learning about how COVID-19 has affected their life. I’ve also thought a lot about how to deal with this myself, and recently I decided to put together this article to help you get the most of your shutdown experience.

Most of the players I’ve talked to are disappointed, frustrated, and saddened about what has come to pass. We are all feeling the effects of uncertainty in different forms and the anxiety it causes is a real thing. Acceptance is the first step in activating our coping strategies. Next, we must choose the best course of action and seize control of the situation.

If you’ve read any of my books on positive thinking, you’ll know that an underlying factor in a player’s success is being able to set realistic goals and work to achieve them. In every setback there is an opportunity to improve. Players should use these challenging times to learn more about themselves and become more resilient to the stresses of competition. These are worthwhile skills to learn and they will enable us to be more successful over the long-term.

We will get through this difficult time, but your perspective will determine how well you do. In pool, the players who are generally more successful are able to see things from a more positive perspective and they don’t get as affected by the negative things that other players spend a lot of their time worrying about. Try to view the shutdown as something that can positively influence your future and benefit you in the long-term. How can you turn this “negative” time into something positive?

Now that many of us are working from home, our kids are off school, and tournaments have been cancelled, the normal daily structure that we were used to has totally disappeared. Routines have always been an important part of life and all of these changes are calling out for us to adapt. To help matters, I have asked students write down what they will be practicing the following day and I ask them to hold themselves accountable for meeting their practice expectations.

Anxiety and stress cause us to react instead of respond. The uncertainty of the stress caused by COVID-19 gives us a good opportunity to learn how to manage it better, which will help you in your upcoming matches. Now is a great time to start practicing positive self-talk, mantras, and deep breathing – all of which will help you reduce stress.

If your pool room is still open, or if you have a table in your home and you can still practice, try to keep the same level of intensity you would normally have during match play. Just because we don’t know when pool will return doesn’t mean you can get lazy about the way you practice. Always remember to practice with a purpose. Make sure you have a good routine, set daily goals, and hold yourself accountable for completing all of your scheduled sessions.

Take time to reflect upon your last few practices and think about what you need do differently in the future – what bad habits you would like to leave behind and which good habits you would like to embrace? What do you plan to do differently in future practices, and how will you work to improve?

Spend your free time reading instructional material and watching videos of top players. Be sure to keep in shape. You don’t have to go to a gym to work out. There are plenty of good free workouts available. Check out all of the free resources available on YouTube.

As part of my daily routine, I set a personal goal each day. Whether its mental game related or working on a specific task that I need to complete, I set at least one goal for the day. It’s almost like making a checklist. This is also something I encourage my students to do. Remind yourself of your intentions each day, write it down and put it somewhere you can see it. At the end of the day, reflect and see whether you were able to do what you originally planned. By repeating this process daily you will develop more playing skills and more confidence in your playing ability.