Mental Game Improvement

For over 100 years it has been said that pool is a mental game. Grady Mathews told us long ago that the pool is at least 80% mental. Indeed, most of today’s professional players embrace sound mental game strategies. So if most players have already acknowledged the impact of the mental side of pool on our performance, why have many not taken the time to learn and improve this very important part of our game?

Pool has become a game of carbon fiber shafts and “$20 chalk.” The billiards industry places huge emphasis on how the latest equipment will help your playing ability. But as we already know, most of these are false promises.

The game has seen huge technological advancement over the past hundred years – we can hit the cue ball with side-spin and less deflection than ever before, supposedly, modern day layered tips give players more control and the latest billiard balls are almost 100 percent round. But for some unexplained reason, players aren’t much better than before. Despite all the innovation and hype about how much easier the game is, the latest cues, fast cloth and training aids, have not made much of an impact.

The fact remains, there is something else that we can do instead of buying the latest equipment.  Practice time with goal setting will definitely help.  Also, think about taking pool lessons from a certified instructor who has the ability to train you on the finer points of the mental game. However, being given the physical tools alone is not enough to make us play at the professional level. We must embrace something else.

Developing the mental side of pocket billiards is the final frontier that remains unmastered to most students. One of the reasons we love pool is also one of the reasons we fail to get better. Lagging for break with no idea what to expect over the next hour or two is one of the most alluring qualities of the game. Why is it, with the same pool stroke we are capable of winning the tournament one week and going two and out the next?

Pool has more ups and downs than most other sports and more time to think about them. But this can be changed. If we can embrace a solid mental approach to each match we will play a more consistent game of pool. Being able to control our emotions and get into the right state of mind before we stroke the cue ball is one key to playing well. We need to be disciplined and embrace a sound pre-shot routine to reduce inconsistency. This will also help players to remain focused on the “present moment”.

So how do we improve control of our minds at the table? What we need is to relax when we are in between shots, and reach a state of intense focus when we are executing a shot. Through learning this process and making it a sub-conscious action, we will get closer and closer to reaching our potential. If we are able to learn a structured pre-shot routine, which allows us to switch into a high state of focus during each shot, we can achieve the correct mindset for a quality game of pool.

Your new routine will positively reinforce your ability to analyze, visualize, and trust your abilities on each shot. Your practice routine on the table will involve seeing and hitting as many shots as possible, so that visualization becomes part of your instinct. Then on the table, all we have to think about is what shot we want to hit without any technical thoughts. Negativity, such as fear of pocketing the nine, embarrassing yourself in front of your team and generally not playing up to your potential will, overtime, disappear as your new pre-shot routine becomes more automated.

There are no shortcuts or gimmicks to developing aptitude for the mental side of pool. However, enrolling at Virtual Billiard Academy and using it as a resource, along with applying the above mentioned principles into your game, you will be able to play a better game of pool than ever before.