One of the biggest advices that Joe Salazar has ever given me is to not look at the crowd.
He shared with me that he won many tournaments against other great great players with this tactic.
I try so hard not to look at the crowd when I'm in any matches - whether the first match of a tourney or the finals.
I have captured a glimpse of something or someone and it affects me the rest of the match. And it sucks!
No one means to affect us or do anything to disrupt us, but sometimes we just see things or hear things.
Case in point, I'm trying not to look in the crowd when I was playing in the hotseat match of the BCAPL Texas State 8-Ball Championships. But about half way through the match, I notice a friend come and sit near Tracie and I's match. He's always been super supportive of me and my game so it was cool.
So I thought.
After a good shot by Tracie, she walks over to this guy (for some reason) and high-fives her for her safety and they laugh together.
I see this and am thinking, "What the hell?"
I thought he was more my friend.
Now, this isn't what normal people think on a daily basis, but it IS sometimes what competitors think in the heat of battle. It's a very tricky little mental thing we go through with ourselves.
We want support; we don't want negatives.
I tried to tell myself that it didn't matter; he is my friend too, he isn't AGAINST me.
But this is the type of thing we can accidentally see. For all I know she was high-fiving him because he was still in the winner's side of his division. Who knows!
I know what you are thinking, "WHO CARES!"
Well, that is easier said than down when you are competing. You all know what I'm saying.
Think about those few friends when they walk up you feel immediately comfortable. Now think of those few people when you see them in the crowd you kinda cringe.
So, I just try not to look at the crowd. I don't WANT to know who is watching. It just gets me thinking too much. JUST LIKE Joe said.
So, if you see my not turning around, or you try to get my attention and I don't respond while I'm in a match, that is why. I'm trying to focus all my might, mind, and energy on the playing this already mental game.