Isn't it cool when you see someone trying to get into the zone? Or, trying to mentally prepare for a upcoming match?
I think what I appreciate is when other players recognize this and then DON'T bother the player. Let them do their own thing, don't come up and shoot the sh!t or ask dumb questions, leave them be to get mentally prepared.
I have seen this a few times, and once I describe these few scenarios I think you will recall similar situations.
The first time I was strongly aware of this was in April 2000 when I attended some big Straight Pool Tournament in New York City (i.e. the US Open Straight Pool Championships). Everyone was super dressed-up in tuxes or dresses. Quite the tournament.
I was there supporting my boyfriend, even though I had no idea at the time just how difficult yet amazing the lovely game of straight pool is, and how some 15 years later I would have a love/hate relationship with it, lol.
A friend of mine had sent me a message to tell Ralf Souquet good luck in the finals. I went looking for him and there he was, sitting by himself behind the stage... just.....thinking. He wasn't talking to anyone, he looked at peace with himself, all alone, hiding from everyone. He had his eyes closed and you could tell he was in deep thought.
I didn't bother him, and told him after the tournament (that he won, btw) his friends' well-wishes.
Another example of a player getting into the zone is female pro Vivian Villarreal. She wears earbuds and listens to music as she's walking to her matches. I presume she does this for several reasons. One, because she's trying not to get interrupted by fans because she's trying to get in the moment on her way to her matches. And two, because good music always helps us feel good and get in the zone . (Btw, after matches she puts her earbuds away and is very approachable for the fans!)
The other time that is vivid just happened a couple of months ago. Two local players were going to play an 11-ahead, $1,000 set on diamond bar table. I showed up to watch the action because I was in the area.
As they both came into the pool room, they each took turns warming up on the table they designated for the match; they alternated out every few games. Then, one of the players steps away from the area. He moved to a chair near the wall and kinda sat there, thinking. Just like I had seen Ralf do some 15 years earlier.
It was the same aura - you could see him trying to mentally prepare, getting mentally ready, staying by himself to compose his thoughts and emotions, and try to get in the zone.
Maybe they were reminding themselves not to get upset over outside influences, or to take their time, etc. Either way, it was pretty cool to see him/them literally mentally getting prepared and ready to play their big match.