Five Ways To Play A More Confident Game Of Pool

When asked, many pool players say that they want to play their best pool so they can feel more confident. Most players believe the cause-and-effect relationship between having more confidence starts with improved play. 

But this isn’t entirely true. Confidence is a skill like any other and can be worked on daily, but you must know the right techniques first. Furthermore, working on your confidence first will directly impact your ability to also play better pool. So, let’s take a more direct look at where confidence really comes from… and some methods for improving your confidence both “on” and “off” the table.


How you talk to yourself daily shapes you as a player.  People have an emotional response to words… especially when the words come from ourselves. Uplifting and encouraging words help you feel more confident and help you to play your best. Research reveals that the more “negative” self-talk you have is a leading cause of performance anxiety in sports.

A common misconception is that “thoughts” and “self-talk” are the same. This isn’t true. Thoughts happen to us whereas self-talk is a choice. The right self-talk can help get you into a positive mindset before playing, help you focus on what’s important, motivate you, and guide you through negative situations.

Some of the best players in the world rehearse a list of positive things they want to believe about themselves.  They say these things to themselves until they fully believe they are true.  Positive self-talk doesn’t work if you don’t believe it. When I coach a student, I help them to create self-talk scripts, so they develop a winning mindset.


Confidence and mental toughness are both related to your personal perspective. Is the glass “half-full” or “half-empty”? Are you seeing yourself “succeeding” or “failing”? What is positive about your current situation and your future? The world’s best players believe that something “good” is about to happen on their very next shot… not something “bad”! A player’s negative bias will always pull them towards negativity and what could go wrong. The good news, however, is that optimism can be enhanced with the right training exercises and mental rehearsal.


Starting each day and each match with the clear intention of being the person and player you want to be that day, and seeing the success that is possible, will increase your confidence and the chances of achieving that success. The best pool players in the world practice mental imagery before shooting. Pre-match mental imagery routines are an important factor in improving your game and achieving your goals.


Another source of confidence is being able to trust yourself to act in a way that is consistent with your values and goals. You’ll need to be disciplined with the things you “can” control and make sure you execute and reinforce them with fidelity. Keeping small promises to yourself each day ultimately leads to big increases in self-trust and confidence.


Preparation helps you feel like you’ve earned the right to be successful. Do you do everything you can to feel mentally and physically prepared to overcome the challenges that lie ahead? At Virtual Billiard Academy I’ll show you how to prepare for a match so you feel like you can be victorious. This will include quieting your mind, mental rehearsal of past and future success, preparing for future challenges you might face, preparing your performance strategy, and having an attitude filled with positivity and gratitude.