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Mental Aspects "Where's your head?" by Kenny Ash

Pool is a fun game. One of the most important mental outlooks you can have is realizing this before playing.
If you go into a game with the intent of having fun, you'll do a lot better in stressful situations. Concentration in pool is crucial to good playing. Like any game or life situation, there is a need to recognize how to achieve your goal. Keeping the thought "PURE" is a great way to achieving your goal. If you are shooting a pool shot and are thinking "I wonder if..." you've made a mistake... Most people claim to keep their thoughts clear, but like anything, it usually takes a little time and training to really increase the skill. I constantly see people checking there phones during matches - this is a prime example of how not to focus on your match. I'm sure you've heard the saying "be the ball"; this is a very true statement when it comes to your success in the game of pool. First, keep your mind clear of all thoughts (this is not easy for most people)! Second, be the ball. Three basic ways that I've found over time to help increase my mental game were basic drills such as...

Thinking of nothing for as long as you can. (use a watch with a second hand) - most people will probably be surprised that it's quite challenging to keep your head clear for even 30 seconds (meaning no other thoughts arise). This is also a great exercise to help reduce stress. This is how you should feel when approaching the table, until you begin to analyze the lay out of the table and what you wish to do with it. Think of nothing else!

When I'm shooting, I'm happy and hungry to perform. I have a chance to play and I enjoy it... even if I'm in a tournament, playing for cash, or practicing. If I'm not happy, I probably won't perform my best game of pool. Bottom line - Your mental state is most crucial to your higher level of success in competition.

Practice, Practice, Practice. There are some small drills you can do daily (even without a pool table) that can increase your basic stroking fundamentals (bottle drill practice) or overall mental ability to play. Figure out what drills suit your needs and just do it - daily! You can increase your game with less than 30 minutes a day of proper drill practice on a consistent basis. .

Pool for me is something I treasure. I look forward to my next challenge. I love knowing what needs improvement in my game. Most importantly, by relaxing - when I make a mistake - I can usually reflect on what went wrong (whether it was a mechanical error or a mental error). It's usually one or the other...Realizing this, rather than become frustrated or angry after missing a shot, will help you grow a lot faster. Don't waste emotions that are not relevant to you achieving your goal. An example is a person who easily gets angry in a pool match (this is my favorite type of opponent). My advice is just enjoy what you are doing, whatever it may be, and throw yourself into it; in this case - be the ball.