Everyone experiences some natural and ordinary nervous anticipation at the beginning of an important match. These reactions are the body's natural fight or flight response. Some of the symptoms can include:
- Fast breathing.
- Constriction of the throat.
- Tightness in the chest.
- Sweating and dizziness.
- Difficulty in concentration and focus.
- Hyper-awareness of sounds and movements.
Normally, these symptoms disappear once you get into the competition. But if a hustler recognizes that you are suffering these reactions, he can enhance the intensity of your symptoms to improve his chances of winning. It makes it easier to win the first couple of games to give him an initial short-term advantage.
Therefore, it is to his advantage to "help" stimulate any and all worries that reside within your head. Here are some of his techniques:
- When you make some early mistakes during the first or second game, he states that these errors in playing skills or judgment probably demonstrate that you aren't ready for serious competition.
- Before starting the match, he brags up some of his own past victories and successes in this competition venue.
- If this is a first time at this level, he exaggerates the difficulties and problems – and imply that this might be much more difficult than anything you previously experienced.
- He may dwell on how quickly and easily other newbies to this competition venue were so easily eliminated. He can also describe some episodes when a player choked and lost.
- He can explain how the money winners have all had to play perfect or near-perfect matches, emphasizing the difficulties.
You may not need input from "experienced" competitors to increase your nervous condition. You can do this all by yourself. Here are some of the ways you can self-destruct and sabotage your chances to win:
- Obsessing about losing.
- Remembering past failures.
- Becoming panicky and losing any focus.
If you are self-inflicting your own intimidation, this generally passes after several minutes of play. Put yourself into the game and utilize the same actions and attitude used to beat others. Perform a proper opponent analysis, define his strengths and weaknesses. Craft plans to manage his opportunities. Then execute those plans.
If you are targeted with this shark, there is one emotional reaction that almost immediately washes away any indecision and fear – anger. This is the “fight” response and removes any indecision or confusion in your mind.
This is not the wild reactionary anger of immediately lashing out in response to direct infliction. This is the cold, focused anger of Popeye, when he is finally forced to grab his spinach. It is embodied in his signature quote, "That's all I can stands, and I can't stands no more!"
And, finally, simple experience overcomes this problem. The more times you place yourself in similar competitive situations, the more comfortable you become in handling anything that happens. An attempt at sharking with this trick generally fails before your confidence.