In pool, as In life, it is the little things you do over and over that create the reality you experience, and it is your thoughts which control your actions.
You do have the freedom to choose your thoughts at all times.
You must be very clear about your desired results so that you can create thoughts, and hence action, that will produce the intended outcome. When you are faced with a shot and have already determined where you want the cue ball and object ball(s) to go, then it is time to figure out the best way to get them there.
Now, formulate your approach considering the path of the balls, spin, speed, stroke, stance, bridge, equipment, humidity and so on.
Next, imagine the shot happening perfectly in your mind. If you think you cannot do this, think again—you can. Visualize the exact line and resting point of the cue ball instead of thinking “in that direction somewhere over there.” While in games such as 9-Ball you can run out by playing area position, it will always improve your touch to pick an exact spot within the position zone. See the line or gutter of the object ball going right into the pocket instead of “towards the pocket.”
You may be playing on tight pockets or have to squeeze the object ball around interfering balls. Many times it is necessary to shoot the ball into a certain side of the pocket for position’s sake, so develop clarity of purpose. Do your best not to miss a shot on account of position. Feel your cue tip strike the cue ball. Then, feel the cue ball roll, hit the object ball, slide, spin, jump, decelerate and stop as if you were one with the ball; because you are, feel the object ball roll and drop into the empty space.
My grandfather asked Willie Mosconi what was the most important thing in pool, and he said “touch.” Hear the cue ball click the object ball, smack the back of the pocket, or softly drop in and roll into the ball return tray. Smell the dust swirling up from the pockets and taste what it feels like to sink a shot with perfect position, run a rack, or five, or a billion—it’s up to you.
What do you think? Big runs do not happen in one shot, and yet they do. Every shot is “The Shot.”
Always keep your mind on the present shot, because that is all there is. So make the best of it and concentrate. Every shot is your prayer to the universe, but it does not really matter what you are doing. What you are being in relation to what you are doing makes all the difference. So be positive, confident, focused, relaxed, determined. You name it; your game can only get better.
If you consistently think clear, positive thoughts, you will consistently get clear, positive results. Feel free to discard negative thoughts at any time, and replace them with new ones; higher ones. If you should happen to miss, big deal!
Be stubborn and keep your ideals. Create rhythm, remember who you are and remember to breathe.
Editor: Dana Gornall
Photo: Flickr/Henry Lydecker