Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Longer Races and Mental Exhaustion

As I was watching the finals of one of the Omega tournaments recently, I noticed that one of the higher ranked players was showing signs of exhaustion at the end of the tournament. 

It could have been due to dehydration (which I have written about before that water can substantially help - it’s a great read; you won’t be disappointed).

But it also could have been due to mental exhaustion because his races are longer.  You see, he is a top player and his races were to 9, while most of his opponents were racing to 6 or 7.  And he had played 8 matches in a row nonstop just that day to get to the finals and he was still fighting hard all the way up to the first set of the finals (which he won hill-hill).  But in the second set, I noticed he was just a little off and that fatigue had set in and he wasn’t playing the exact same.  

I wanted to share my amazing insights with a friend, but that top player was talking to him and a couple of other people in the crowd while his opponent was taking a bathroom break. 

When the players started to shoot again, I took the opportunity to then walk up to my friend to share my thoughts.  You know how it is: a lot of us like to talk about pool and learn from things.

I shared with him that because this is a top player, he actually has to focus more than most because he had to race to 9 in all his matches.  It may not seem like that means he has to focus harder, but he does.  He has 2-3 more games to earn EVERY single match he played and it takes A LOT of energy to keep mentally strong and focused every single shot, all day long.  And eventually, it’s natural for a player to get tired. 

Sure, the lower-ranked players also have to focus, but the top players actually have to focus longer and harder. 

I was very proud of my knowledge I had just shared with my friend and then he looked at me funny and then kind of laughed at me. 

Uh, WTF?

Then he exclaimed, “that's exactly what he just told us!” 

As he laughed a little more with surprise, he then continued, “that player just told us that he is tired because he's had to focus so hard on all of his matches all day long because his races are longer... and so now he is feeling tired.”

So, yep, proves I can read minds and knew exactly what the top player was feeling and thinking. #Fist pump#

No, no, no.


I can’t take credit for this knowledge.  I’ve just witnessed it for several years and also heard it from other top players who have played all day Sunday of the Omega tournaments. 

BTW, the second set of the finals went hill-hill AGAIN!  Alas, a scratch on the break from the top player allowed his opponent to the table and win the final game of that very long day.

But it was a great day for BOTH players who fought hard with heart all weekend.

If you watch closely, though, you can see exhaustion and fatigue set in sometimes at the end of a day.  Usually it’s due to one of two things:  (1) dehydration and/or (2) getting tired from being mentally strong all day, match after match.

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