Think Positive!

The best pool players in the world are happier than the rest, right? But is it winning that leads to happiness or could it be happiness leads to winning?

Our society tells us that by work- ing harder, we’ll achieve more success and as a result, be happier. However, I believe we need to reverse engineer the happiness equation that we’re taught from birth. I believe that to be successful, you first need to figure out how to become happy. Champions often get there because they have a positive attitude. It’s about being calm, and seeing match anxiety as a challenge, not as something we should fear.

Positive thinking = better pool
How can this help you play better pool? Many of the habits I teach have been time tested and proven to get results. By working on these habits daily, a player will:

Achieve a more positive mindset (they will start searching for something positive instead of looking for the negative).

Be able to cope with anxiety better

Play pool from a quiet state of mind, subconsciously, which is key for be- ing able to focus and access your best mechanical skills.
Enjoy the game more.

1. Focus on your pre-shot routine both mentally and mechanically.

2. Separate the two routines. Don’t plan while executing the shot!

3. Don’t think about the score or your opponent.

4. Focus on the present moment and the shot at hand.

5. Deliver each shot subconsciously without thinking about mechanics.

6. Focus on your senses: Feel of the cloth as you go to deliver the shot. Hear the object ball splitting the pocket in your mind’s eye as you go to shoot.

7.Remember that all negativity comes from past experiences or fear of the future. Play in the present!

8.Don’t talk to friends before or during your match. They often will unintentionally fill your head with negative things.

9. When you practice self-talk remem- ber not to say negative things.

1. List 3 things you are thankful for in what you are about to do (things that have nothing to do with how well you play). Things like “It’s an amazing field, I’m so lucky to get to play against all of these great play- ers” or “I’m about to play the game I love, I’m going to enjoy playing no matter what happens” or “I’m playing with my friends today, this is going to be a lot of fun.”

2. List your strengths in your mind and remind yourself of some of the great experiences you have had playing in the past. This could be previous matches or tournaments won.

3. While on the table: try to make positive mental notes about every shot. What did you do right? Don’t focus on what you did wrong. You can worry about this later during practice.

4. After your matches, keep a log about all the things that went well during play.

5. Meditate: I’ve become a big believer in this one. Like a lot of mental game techniques, it’s hard to quantify and qualify what’s working and what’s not, but I believe this has made a big difference in my own game. Meditation allows your brain to focus better on the task at hand, which is obviously a benefit during match play.

Give these suggestions a try for the next 10 matches you play and see if a more positive mind-set leads to better results. The steps above coupled with appropriate process goals will enable you to play better and enjoy the expe- rience more.