What's really cool about my friend is (who lives over 1,000 miles from me in Texas and has been emailing me updates for at least 5 years), he has said my blog posts have helped him with his mental game and his journey in pool. So, anytime he emails me, it brings me joy to hear of his improvements!
Here's his situation today:
Dave shared that he missed a 10 ball that would have made him go up 7 to 2 in a race to 11. Eventually, he lost 11 to 9. He said he "didn't make disastrous mistakes," but the loss "gnawed at him."
"Now if someone told me that the result would have been 11-9 in his favour, I would have thought I played well. He is at the next tier above me, but not impossibly far ahead. But at the end, the result gnawed at me. Certainly not in a poor sportsmanship way. But from my perspective I knew that the 11-9 loss felt different in the way I squandered the opportunity."He asked me and the readers of my blog, what are his lessons?
This is going to sound really profound from me, LOL just kidding, but there is really a very good point I want to share.
We have all been in those same situations right? dammit LOL.
We think about the 10 ball, we think about that we should have won, we think about the opportunity lost, etc. Even though we didn't play horribly, we still lost because of that stupid 10 ball, right?
I believe Dave will learn from this experience a hundred times more than someone that simply played the match with no self-reflection. Not only is Dave self-reflecting, which you all know I've talked about a lot (link here) and am a firm believer it will propel us (another link here), but him writing it down (even just to email me) is going to help him reflect deeper, and help him much further.
What I feel he is going to learn is:
- if you miss a shot, try not to let it bother you during the match
- play your best every single shot (check out this link about this).
I know it sounds simple and I know there's a lot of emotions, thoughts, feelings that go on when you're competing in a match, but what's interesting to me is he talked about the 10 ball only. He didn't mention any other miss! So, because that is what is sticking in his mind, that's probably what bothered him during that match, as well.
However, he may not even realize it affected him. But if at any point he thought further about the miss, or thought about what the score 'should be,' then if affected his game.
You know the scenario! We are winning and then all the sudden our opponents jump ahead of us, and all we can think about is, "What if I would have made that nine ball....?" (or 10 ball or 8 ball) "I would be up such and such, and I wouldn't be down such and such." It's very tough to not think that way, but it's very important to stay in the moment. The only thing that truly matters is the ball in front of you.
I know I sound like a broken record, but if you're thinking about the missed 10 ball, you're not thinking about the shot in front of you. If you're thinking about what the score should be, you're not thinking about the shot in front of you.
How can you possibly play your best with those distractions in your head?
Here's a link to something that proves that you cannot do more than one thing at once. Even though I claim to be a multitasker and can focus well, in reality it's very difficult to do.
But my long-winded response and my babbling on and on is really to say that his learning experience will sit with him because he's reflecting on it, and because he wrote it down. He will now try to put more effort into staying in the moment and he will also work on playing his best every single shot, because he saw what that one miss can cost him.
You might think that this is a bad thing that he lost, but in reality (as I've also mentioned before), sometimes a dynamic loss is really the catapult you need in your game.