In all types of competition, there is an element of the game played above the table. In the minds of every player is the battle to hold strong the drive and will to win. Forces that affect this intention begin with the player’s opinion of his personal self-worth, usually proven by table results. Win one or more games and personal opinions are positive; lose one or more games and it can begin a self-defeating downward spiral.
Instead of considering game wins and losses to be your personal measurement of self-worth, consider a different gauge. When you play “above the table”, individual setbacks are less relevant. It is more important when you learn how to consistently win using strategy and tactics. (See The Art of War versus The Art of Pool.)
The game of pocket billiards is played turn by turn. Each player starts with the layout left by his antagonist. When you consider that a defensive shot hands your opponent the table that you decide he can have, the game changes into a command and control situation.
When you allow him to shoot, you are in control. You decide from where on the table he starts. The power you have over his opportunities depends on you. How well can you control the cue ball and other balls on the table? If you can figure out his weaknesses and strengths, you can tailor his choices.
Note: This is not about sharking and mind games as defined in the book Why Pool Hustlers Win!! The techniques in this book are applied with all due attention and behavior expected for proper sportsmanship.
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