You can play for 50 years against all types of pool players with skills great and small. Each and every one of these opponents owns a variety of sharks of varying effectiveness. Many of these are of the minor variety, relatively benign in effort, intention, and application. Watch anyone play pool for half an hour and you can spot a minimum of three sharks. Some people, when their sharks are identified, are surprised. Generally, these relatively minor sharking tricks have become part of his playing routine.
Ask any 10 players if they regularly shark, five deny it with righteous indignation, four blushingly admit to the occasional sin, and the last is forthright in declaring he has an addiction to mind games.
Even counting all of these in the total number of distractions that have been directed at you throughout your playing career; that is a fraction of the sharks you played against yourself! This is an astonishing truth that few want to face and address.
Here is a very short list of some of those ways you confuse yourself.
- Saying, "I hope I don't miss, or look stupid, or scratch."
- Someone maybe, might have, could have sharked you.
- Someone moved, or stopped.
- Someone laughed, or cried.
- Someone said something, or didn't.
- Shirt is too tight, or too loose.
- Shoe laces are loose, or too tight.
- Pants crotch digs in, or doesn't.
- Belt too tight, or loose.
- Music too loud, or not playing.
- Forgot to splash on some cologne, or put on too much.
- Someone turned away, or turned the other way.
- Someone dropped something, or picked it up.
- You didn't drink enough, or too much.
- Ate too much, or not enough.
- Room is too hot, or too cold.
- You have a personal problem, or maybe two.
- In itch here, or there, or there.
- A pretty girl, or another pretty girl.
- Poor execution or equipment.
- and so on and on and on.
There are thousands of things that can bother you, from the simple to the complex, from the personal to the impersonal. With the right frame of mind, you can be distracted by gravity.
Physical exercise can help remove some of these distractions by dulling the too-bright intensity of your mind. With less “awareness” of everything, you can get back to an ordinary playing attitude. Try doing one or more of the following (out back if possible - don't want to get people talking):
- 20 jumping jacks (make sure you have room).
- 20 deep knee bends (in the bathroom, the handicapped stall support bar is very helpful).
- 3-5 minutes of jogging in place (quietly).
- Brisk walk around the block (make sure the neighborhood is safe).
Another way is to take a moment to count your blessings, starting with the fact that you are alive and mobile. Think for a moment on what your life would be like if you had the problems that other people have mentioned. Once you can trivialize your original distractions, you can get on with your pool game using a more vitalized point of view.