(FAQ) How can your shooting game go wrong?

(About the Author)

When your shooting game goes off into failure-land and your shooting results begin to significantly deviate from your intentions, something has gotten out of kilter – usually your fundamentals. The problem is – how long does it take before you notice that something is wrong and take corrective action? Generally, by the time you do wake up, the game count is tough. You might recover – but the struggle to win becomes a low probability proposition.

This article identifies some of the most common situations that create a handicap you could do without. If you can train yourself to recognize when one of these situations occurs, you can more quickly take corrective action. Here are the common problems.

Suddenly Stupid

You make an intelligent shooting decision and get down on the shot. Suddenly, with no conscious intention, the cue ball is moving. Shocked, you watch the table layout change – usually for the worse. Probably, your hind brain took over, or your evil twin surfaced and used this opportunity to mess you up.

At the wrong moment in time, your intelligence and sanity jointly agree to go on holiday. This can be costly in a money competition. Of course, your opponent could be so surprised that he couldn’t take advantage of the momentary disintegration of your focus.

When it does happen, all you can do is shake your head in disbelief as your opponent takes over the table. This generally happens because your brain was multi-tasking while shooting. In other words, you weren’t focusing on the game in general and the shot in specific. Don’t obsess about it (which can further distract you). You can recover if you can immediately go back to your pre-shot routine and start manually performing each step.

Casual Laziness

You begin the competition with all necessary awareness and intentions. Your first few dozen shots are all perfect examples of focus and attention. Your very success and the pride you feel in making the cue ball do what you want becomes your downfall. You relax your intentions (or drink one too many beers). The initial success goes to your head and you (incorrectly) assume you are at the top of your game. After all, recent history has proven your unstoppable skills. Arrogant trust in your competence becomes your new attitude.

For an observant opponent, the next few missed shots demonstrate a weakness in your game. He starts saying things like, “So close” and “You almost had that”. You go along with the idea and agree that the misses are simple bad billiard god luck. He snaps up several quick wins.

Here are more ways to mess up your shooting game.

Bumbling Imagination

This is another way to help your opponent win. All that is needed is an uncontrollable imagination. It occurs most often when you are doing your doing practice strokes. An alternative option bursts upon your consciousness. Instead of stomping on the idea or getting up to reconsider playing options, you change your bridge height and position and go for the new shot. You look at the table results and aren’t even ashamed of yourself. Your opponent loves you and considers congratulating you on your decreased skills.

Body Distractions

Another reason to justify reduced attention on the game is bodily interference. There is a close correlation between the operational condition of the body and the ability of the brain to function. Your body has many ways to interrupt your attention. Among these are hunger pangs, headaches, an injury, or excessive flatulence.

Your body can also run out of energy. This physical weakness causes the brain to stop functioning properly. This can result from poor nutrition, weak muscle tone, or even limited stamina. Any of these reduce your shooting and playing abilities.

Competitive Distractions

This is a self-inflicted problem. For some reason, your mind doesn’t want to concentrate on the game. Any kind of influence in the area demands attention. This can be environmental – music, conversation, an attractive person of the opposite (or same) sex, and others. Even sounds that previously never affected you – affect you, such as clinking ice cubes in a glass. Itemizing the many distractions would be too many to list here. Basically, your brain will seize upon anything to justify your lack of focus and screw up your game.

Outside Distractions

There are times when personal problems aggressively intrude into your game. Instead of being able to use the Green Game to take a break from your worries, you carry them right along with you. They keep you company as you attempt to be competitive. If your opponent notices this, he can ensure victory by simply slowing down his routine – extending the time that you are waiting (and worrying). Either put your head into the game or go home.

The FAQs of Pool & Pocket Billiards


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