Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Distractions Distract

Who'd a thunk it?

If your brain is distracted, it takes focus away from the primary task at hand.

The National Institute of Health says that multitasking is a myth.  Human brains do not perform two tasks at the same time:
  • The brain handles tasks sequentially
  • The brain switches between one task and another

The brain engages in a constant process to:
  1. Select information the brain will attend to
  2. Process information
  3. Encode to create memory
  4. Store information
  5. It must also:  Retrieve and
  6. Execute or act on information
When the brain is overloaded, these steps above are all affected.

OMG! Knowing the above, then how can one play pool with distractions?!

Heck, I'm distracted by all these words coming at me in this blog entry!  ;)

The thing is, in the Encoding stage (#3 above), the brain filters information due to overload. AND most importantly, we are not aware this is happening. Plus, we miss critical information that is right in front of us that is needed to make decisions at the table.

Now it should make complete sense to you:
  • why when someone is arguing on the table next to you, you miss shape while trying to execute a shot during your match.

  • why when someone deeply upsets you during a match, you don't even see the obvious safety in front of you (even though everyone on the sidelines points it out to you afterwards).

  • that when you check your voicemail or text message and it's not pleasant, you cannot play your best pool after that.

  • that when you are too worried about people second guessing your shot selection, you can't focus on your fundamentals which causes you to miss more than usual.

  • why when you care too much what others think, you have a bad day at the pool room.

  • why when you think about winning the set, it gets in the way of actually winning.

  • that when you keep thinking about that missed shot, embarrassment is flowing through your veins and your arms are wobbly and you can't make a ball.

  • that when you are consuming your thoughts with how cold the room is, you can't focus your mind on pool.

  • that when you get upset at bad rolls that you feel are *against you personally* that your mind is too upset to concentrate on your fundamentals, pre shot routine, and playing your best pool.
Take this in, PLEASE!  If your brain cannot multitask like the National Institute of Health has confirmed with tests, then stop THINKING while you are down on your shots.  THINK only about the shot in front of you.  Not that you are hungry, who your next opponent *might* be, that everyone is watching, that you want to impress your friend, that you want to win, need to win, etc.  Everything gets in the way of executing perfect fundamentals if you are thinking of anything else besides the shot in front of you.

Focus only on the shot in front of you and stop the chatter in your brain.

Try it, you'll like it.  I promise!

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