Friday, October 17, 2014

Don't Sweat Losing ... Do Something About It

"Losing is part of moving forward. When somebody hands you a loss, do something with it. If you lost, then a weakness was detected. You can either deal with the weakness and make it stronger, or deny that the weakness exists, and allow it to become your Achilles' heel.
Winners know that losing is a part of winning. If you have any weakness, then you have to realize that your opponent will go out of his way to find a way to exploit it. It doesn't matter whether it's your break, your shot making, your banks, or your kicks - your entire game has to be fine-tuned.
Your opponent is going to attack your weaknesses, not your strengths. So you have to do something to get your game stronger every single day. That is why you should always use your practice time wisely. Don't just waste your time doing nothing - spend all of your time getting stronger and better. Losing will only set you back if you don't do anything about it." ~ Blackjack's Random Thoughts, March 4, 1991.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

When Things Go Wrong

When Things Go Wrong
Reassess the Situation
Most of us don’t know exactly what is happening when things are going wrong, yet we self-prescribe ineffective remedies for our deficiencies. This can definitely make things worse. You don’t hire an electrician to fix your plumbing. You get a plumber. The same is true with pool. You can't fix the mental by adjusting the physical. Many of us don’t understand that misdiagnosis is just as good as no diagnosis. If we are still frustrated about not making balls, we can try changing where we are breaking from - or we can try changing the cue we are breaking with, etc.; yet if the deficiency is because of a problem in our stroke mechanics or improper alignment - then these remedies will have little or no effect at all.
By taking a few steps back, we broaden our perspective and we are able to see more of the entire picture. If you have to - take a break. There is no shame in stopping for a few minutes to evaluate, reassess, and change your strategy. Taking a break can stop frustration dead in its tracks. It's a smart move - and it makes sense. Giving in to frustration will quickly build a wall between you and your good sense, so it is wise to stop, take a breath, take a step back, and reconnect to the positive.
Apply a Remedy & Reevaluate
Many of us apply our remedies in frustration - at a heightened state of emotion - and because of that, we become so entangled in the emotions of the situation that we fail to reevaluate. We must pay attention to whether or not the remedy was effective. You have to ask yourself: Was this particular remedy a solution to the problem, or did this remedy have no effect at all? If it did work, then you move along in a positive direction. Take steps to document what was learned from that situation. Keep a journal. It is extremely important to remember exactly how you were successful or unsuccessful at avoiding frustration.
You need to know what works and what does not work - and you also need to know what makes it better and what makes it worse. The more you know about yourself and how you perform under pressure, the easier it will be to correctly apply effective remedies during the heat of battle. Don't be one of those white-knuckled players that sits in the chair cussing at themselves and everything else. That's not productive or effective - and it will only deplete your mental energy. You are going to need all of your mental energy for that next shift in momentum. Always be prepared for things to start going your way again. It is inevitable.
Let's face it, things are going to go wrong and you're going to get frustrated. You need to expect that. However, you must have a planned strategy to get yourself back on track. Think about it ... if you saw a big spider crawling up the wall in your bedroom - you would quickly find something to take out the spider. You might grab a can of bug spray - or - if that's not available, you can just take your shoe off and smash it to death. You don't want to just leave him alone and let him live there - rent free. If you run out of the room - the spider is still in there - and God only knows where he might hide - or - when he might surprise you again. Frustration is that spider crawling up the wall. Get rid of it!
Frustration is the ultimate form of self-destruction. It really is a pool player's number one enemy. Frustration is the main ingredient for most of your worst nightmares. Frustration is YOU VS YOU. You're fighting yourself. Think about it - you don't want to come out of the match as your only victim. Somewhere there is a graveyard filled with hopes, dreams, and close matches that were taken out by frustration. They suffered a death by their own thoughts and lack of self-control. You can avoid that graveyard by practicing your Frustration Avoidance Techniques just as much or MORE than you practice everything else. Developing a strategy for every aspect of your mental game is worth every second that you put into it.
~ Blackjack's Random Thoughts, December 12, 2013.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Avoiding Frustration

Be careful not to expose yourself to the pitfalls of frustration. If you lose a set - learn to recognize why you are losing - look at the weakness that is causing you to lose - and then devise a plan to transform that weakness into a strength. 

Constantly and immediately going right back onto the battlefield with the same weakness will only frustrate you.The definition of insanity is trying the same thing over and over again while expecting different results. Until you solve the problem - you will get the same result every single time - so it makes sense to solve the problem - not make it worse. :)

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Mental Game: Conquering Frustration and Fear

Long answer to how I overcame the "100 Ball Wall".