Strategy (from Wikipedia) refers to “one of the options a player can choose…” and then “what action will happen in regard to that option.”
While strategy can be what you do with the balls ON the table, or what you can do away from the table that might produce an outcome by your opponent, I’d like to talk about what you can do away from the table to get a reaction for yourself. The key to overcoming a deficit is to reflect as early on as possible during a match what is going on so you can work on solutions right away to start to play better pool in the match at hand. This obviously can also help if you are ahead in a match and find yourself not finishing it off.
If you are thinking about that shot you just missed, how bad you are losing, who is watching, what the score “should” be, etc., then you aren’t focusing on the match. The HUGE key (strategy) is to figure out as early as you can in the match why you are not focusing on pool so you can start to play better.
How many times have you lost a match and then afterwards said to yourself or to a friend: “Oh! I just realized I wasn’t staying down.” “I missed too many balls.” “My mind was thinking too much about how embarrassed I would feel if I lost.” “I wasn’t into the game because I was thinking about who my next opponent would be.” “I wasn’t playing my best.” Etc.
These are all very good reasons that you lost, BUT – to think about it AFTER a match is too LATE! All of these reasons/excuses can be turned around into a positive DURING the match. Then, you can start focusing on playing your best. Don’t wait to reflect AFTER the match or when your opponent is on the hill. Do it SOON.
Train yourself to recognize EARLY why you might be missing or playing bad. What negative thoughts are going through your mind? Or are your fundamentals off? Once you figure it out, you can then start immediately to work on positive thoughts or adjusting your fundamentals.
Turn the switch.
If you are missing balls, ask yourself why. Is it because your mechanics are off? Or are you not comfortable? Remind yourself, “stay down, follow through, smooth stroke.”
If you find yourself thinking “the score should be 5-2, not 2-5,” then tell yourself, “focus on the present; focus on the balls in front of me. I can no longer change that I missed that 9ball, but I can focus on playing my best from here on out.”
You give yourself the best chance of a comeback or finishing off the match by recognizing early during the match to reverse negative thoughts or focus back on your fundamentals.
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