Mind of Steel

Dr. Stankovich

Develop Confidence for Success in Pool

Confidence truly is king when it comes to athletic success.  Confident pool players constantly look to dominate their opponents and “play to win,” while players lacking confidence consistently underachieve, choke, and play to “avoid losing.”

When you are confident in your pool playing abilities, your mind and body become synchronized and you get into Flow (or as athletes refer to it, “the Zone”).  Confident players don’t pay attention to things that don’t matter (the opponent, the fans, the last missed shot, etc), and instead channel their complete energy into the only thing that is important – the next shot.  Confidence also impacts perception – for example, say you took 10 shots and made 5 and missed 5.  A confident player will stay focused and positive, whereas a player with less confidence will get angry, frustrated, and inevitably miss more future shots.

The good news is you control your self confidence.  To begin with, make sure to have a positive attitude every time you pick up your cue.  Positive emotions and attitudes have a tremendous impact on self-confidence.  The great news is YOU control your emotions and attitude, so be sure to stay positive everyday.  This game is tough enough without you being your own worst enemy.

Some additional tips for building self-confidence are presented below:

Practice with a purpose.  Work on mastering the basic skills until you can do them without thinking – to the point where they become automatic.  More shots made = greater self-confidence.
Make pool mastery a personal challenge.  Is the glass half-full or half-empty?  The perception you have is as individual as you are.  Whenever you play pool you are going to make some shots and miss others – the real question is what will you focus on at the end of the day?  If you are challenged to get better every day you will always look to build on the future by challenging yourself to get better every day.
Look to learn something new every day.  By improving at the small details of pool (i.e. getting into pinpoint position), you will make more shots and improve your confidence level.  
Laugh.  Life is short enough, so you might as well enjoy as much of it as you can!  Sometimes you have to just break down your stick, smile, and promise to make tomorrow a better day than today.  Remember, it’s not the end of the world when you miss a shot (or lose a game), and the sun really will come up tomorrow.
Keep a journal of your success.  If you think you will remember the last time you played great pool, think again.  I’ll bet you can’t even remember what you had for lunch yesterday, much less that great tournament you played in 6 months ago.  Trust me, if you want to feel good nothing beats a quick re-read of one of your best all-time games.
Confidence is king, and you control your confidence level. Think like a champion and one day you may become one – good luck!

About Dr. Stankovich:
Dr. Christopher Stankovich is a nationally acclaimed expert in Sport & Performance Psychology and the Founder of Advanced Human Performance Systems.  For more information on performance-enhancement products, including the popular  “Mind of Steel for Pool Success” DVD please visit www.drstankovich.com