(FAQ) How to forget your pre-shot routine

(About the Author)

Every once in a while, for one reason or another, you approach a shot, bend over, and the next thing you know – the cue ball is moving and you don’t even know what happened. You just allowed your back brain to take over your consciousness and totally ignore your pre-shot routine. Or it could be your evil self took momentary control. There are two ways for your pre-shot routine to vanish.

Suddenly

This happens when you forget that you are at a pool table. Your conscious brain shuts down and you go blank. Your subconscious, noticing a rare opportunity, steps in and bypasses your pre-shot routine to do whatever it can to screw up your life.

That’s all it takes. At the wrong moment in time, your intelligence and sanity takes a holiday. When it does happen, all you can do is shake your head in disbelief, and return to your chair as your opponent, however surprised, gets prepared for his turn.

Gradually

This is a form of mental laziness. You begin the competition with all necessary awareness and intentions on performing perfect pre-shot routines. Your first several dozen shots are all done with your best abilities on display.

Then you get comfortable (or drink one too many beers). Laziness and arrogant competence takes over your brain. You stop performing all of the individual steps of the pre-shot routine and slur them together.

For example, on getting ready to stroke, an alternative option bursts upon your consciousness and, instead of giving it due consideration, you make the adjustment in the middle of your stroke. Your opponent congratulates you on your decreased skills. Once you stop paying attention, other changes cascade into the process and you basically begin the process of constantly losing.

Another place where laziness intrudes is when your body starts running out of energy. There is a correlation between the body and brain. When one has difficulty delivering results, the other also decides it isn’t needed. Your ability to focus is reduced. The pre-shot routine becomes truncated with its expected consequences.

There is one more circumstance when laziness will send your game downhill. That is when an outside appointment is remembered – that you absolutely must be at (or die some horrible death). It is the urgency and importance of that appointment that begins crowding out your playing abilities. It can even be so important that you would rather lose than not get there on time. If your opponent notices this, he can ensure victory by simply slowing down his routine. You then become capable of the most stupid, silly, crazy, and incompetent playing you have ever done.

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