Once you master composure, your actions take on a different tone. In your daily life you will walk strong. Composure is not how you act, it is who you are.
People often talk about how a composed person is strong in all situations. Let it be said that you can’t act composed, you have to be composed and that takes practice.
In the game of nine ball, let’s look at a player who is not composed.
He says things like, “Man I hit that ball so good,” when he missed by two inches. “Did you see that ball slide?” when he delivered a force follow stroke and did not adjust to it. “That happens to me every time. The ball rolls off. How do you play on a table like this?” or “My opponent is always lucky. When he misses a shot, he leaves me nothing.” It does not occur to him that any kind of missed shot is an opportunity for him.
Composure allows you to control the game. Those who lack composure are letting the conditions become bigger than him. They are not competing; the conditions are in control of everything. He has given over control to the elements of the game.
“I always get hooked on shots like that.” Players who lack composure like to use the word “always;” “Why does this always happen to me?”
When you tell your brain you always get bad rolls your brain will work hard to make sure that you get bad rolls. “I am so unlucky” will get the brain to work on you being unlucky.
“On my table the cue ball doesn’t deflect near as much as this table…” Whatever the deflection is on any table, a composed person will adjust. He will not make excuses.
One student turned to me and said, “I don’t know how this match is tied. I should be robbing this guy.” I asked, “What does that have to do with the next rack?”
A non composed person takes himself out of the game. The game and all the bad rolls become bigger than him, and eventually destroy his mind and ability to compete.
We strengthen what we focus on. If you want to develop composure, you must focus on it. I told my student to keep totally quiet about everything during the match. He did that, and the rolls started to go his way.
The next day he was in a high stakes match and playing very well. At one to nothing, he missed an easy nine ball. He could not hold back his negative tirade. Soon, he found himself behind five to two. I told him he should forfeit the match and quit. He stopped talking and got it to five to four before his opponent slopped a seven ball in and was left with an easy run out to go on the hill.
My student started to cry about this. I told him he was still in the game. He had not lost yet. Focus on the chance you will get. The opponent broke dry and my student ran out, and then broke and ran out again for the set.
Composure allows you to perform. Lack of composure will take away your ability to perform.
I told him to forget about everything and trust his training. Shoot the shots like he did in the class, connect to the shot, land on the cue ball, set the cue tip on the cue ball in line and then the last thing to do is to zero in on the target and make the ball. Do not worry about anything else.
When you can focus on one shot only, you have become a composed person.
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