Understanding Human Focus

There are three human focus orientations: Past, present, and future.  While thinking about the past is great for class reunions, it doesn’t help much when it comes to improving your pool game and playing your best. 

Similarly, thinking too far into the future will also limit your success, as often easy shots are missed when we take the next shot for granted while preoccupied with the rest of the run.  The best place for a pool player’s focus is the present — and even more specific, focus on the NEXT SHOT.

Direct your focus to what is relevant

Great pool players stay in the moment during a run and lock into the next shot, while letting go of the last shot and ignoring future shots.  What this means is the missed shot last game is out of mind, and the rest of the balls to be run are acknowledged and taken into account, but not thought about when getting down on the next shot.  It is important to note that at any given moment of a game the only shot that is important is the next shot, as you can’t change the past and looking too far ahead will prevent you from fully executing the next shot.

It is also important to train yourself to restrict your focus to things that are relevant, while letting go of things that are irrelevant.  For example, things that are irrelevant include who is watching your game, what’s playing on tv, or how cold it is outside.  Unfortunately, we sometimes get caught up thinking about things like this, resulting in missed shots and poor play.  Instead, turn your focus toward things that are relevant, including:

• Going through your pre-shot routine

• Being well rested, hydrated, and focused

• Making sure your cue is ready, with a backup on hand if needed

• If you are playing in a tournament, the time and table number for your next game

Final thoughts

Work on turning your focus toward relevant factors while letting go of things that do not matter is a challenging task, but one very worthwhile if your goal is to improve your game.  Often what holds players back from improvement is the inability to let go of bad shots and games, and turn attention away from things that don’t matter in the moment.