Don’t Get Frustrated!

How does frustration affect your pool game? Is there anything you can do to overcome it?  These are common questions players ask themselves.

Learning to deal with frustration in the correct way will allow you to make great strides with your overall pool game. The first step in overcoming frustration is to know when it’s time to “move on.”

For example, you started the tournament playing your very best and you never felt mechanically stronger or more comfortable at the table.

You were so sure this was going to be your tournament. In your second match your opponent ran out the set lucking in the 9-ball twice.  Then frustration set in.  You lost your next match 7-2 because you just couldn’t rebound from your first defeat. You worked so hard practicing before the tournament, and now you feel everything is lost. You thought your efforts were wasted. You even had thoughts of never wanting to pick up a pool cue ever again.

However, at some point, you must decide what to do. Your decision will have a significant impact on you as a player. Do you stay stuck with a negative mindset? That is, will you focus on everything that went bad? That kind of mindset will keep you down and out.

Furthermore, this will hinder your future performances and keep you out of the money in other events. Your confidence will take a dive. With this mindset, you may never fully recover mentally, physically or regain your full composure. The other choice, when faced with frustration, is to look for an active present-oriented response. This choice answers the question, “What can I do right now?”  All negativity stems from negative memories from the past or fear of the future.  Playing in the present moment is a critical part of playing your best pool.  

To play your best game its always helpful to focus on your senses.  One thing that I do that really helps me, is to focus on how the cloth feels before every shot.  I do this when I slide my bridge hand into place.  This is a very positive thing and helps me keep my focus on the shot at hand rather than dwelling on my shortcomings from previous matches.  This also serves as a distraction from the fear of the future.  

Here are some examples of ways “fear of the future” can get in your way:

I missed this shot last week.  What If I miss it again?

How will I feel if I dog this shot?

What will my friends say? 

Having a game plan to deal with this kind of negativity can mean the difference between winning and losing. You should be focused on acting instead of doing something passive that focuses on something negative, such as wallowing in self-pity.  An excellent way to overcome all this is to focus on your pre-shot routine. Your routine should be so well defined that there truly is no time for negative thoughts.

When you have a bad experience, you can also choose to re-evaluate your game, work with your pool coach, or try improving your mechanics.  You could contact a mental game coach or spend hours working on ball running drills. You can easily find at least one strategy to move forward after experiencing frustration.

Responding well after experiencing frustration will get you back on track and mentally stronger than before.

Peak performance always involves good choices; follow a well-defined pre-shot routine or make random decisions; practice your weaknesses or shoot from the hip; go through the motions or put in the work; wallow in frustration or take action that will pay off in the future.

All choices have repercussions. Moving past frustration all comes down to making correct choices–instead of dwelling on something unfair that happened to you in a previous match.