(FAQ) How can you play better while nervous?

(About the Author)

Nervousness is a mental condition. It is most intense when fear is greatest. Generally, the fear is based on worries of survival – actual or imaginary. In the world of pool playing, nervousness occurs when you are doing something new. It could be entering an unknown pool hall, playing an unknown opponent; or entering a tournament for the first time.

All of these are new experiences and you will feel a certain amount of worry, simply because you are unsure of what can or might happen. When you get ready to play your first game

Regardless of the source of your worries, your stomach is tensing, your heart is racing, and your head is filled with possibilities, all with the same results – humiliating failure. So what can you do? Here are a few suggestions that can be used singly or in combination:

  • Realize it's just a game. No one is going to die if you are not 100%.
  • Play your own game. Your opponent can only come to the table when you let him.
  • Study his playing processes. Look for weaknesses and then exploit them. The first couple of times you are successful, you will realize he has feet of clay, just like you.
  • Use a series of defensive shots to confuse while gauging his state of mind. If he is also nervous, you can make him even more worried.
  • Before the match take a few deep breaths and do some isometric exercises.
  • Nothing takes the edge of worrying about something new then to get more experiences. Familiarity is a fine way to set your concerns at rest. (One way is to just go to the place as a spectator, looking for interesting things to watch. Watching closely can make you realize it’s nothing you haven’t already seen and done.
  • Examine your individual concerns. Most concerns fade away when examined in the bright light of your intelligence.
  • Humor to dissipate your worries.
  • If nervousness follows you into the game, and you find your mind racing as you consider the hundreds of ways to fail – play a safety. A few of these and you will get into a playing rhythm.

When you get more interested in the game then in your mental condition, you will get over it.

The FAQs of Pool & Pocket Billiards


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