Many of us have heard this line of advice from friends or fans before we play a big match or as advice from a pro in a pool magazine or book, so let’s dive right in.
First of all why do we get this line of advice? Well several things can take the place of playing the shot that you face at that point in time. You could mentally be reliving your last shot be it good or bad, or you could be anticipating your next shot be it tough or the game winning hanger.
When we are busy mentally with our previous or next shot, we are essentially playing at least two shots at a time and maybe more.
We may be feeling the emotion of the last shot and simultaneously be mentally anticipating the next shot — all while the shot that needs to be made now sits before us. It is easy to be consumed by “the run” that we are on, where the stringing together of shots feels more important that each individual shot. While the thrill of the run is indeed great, and is something to strive for, allow yourself the vacation from “the run” on each shot onto the individual island of the single shot that connects those shots that came before it with those shots that lay ahead.
After all, each shot could potentially be the last in the run you are on, or the badly played safety that costs you the match, so there is urgency to execute this shot properly now.
Each shot could also be adding to your run, or landing that great safe that wins you the match. So bear down in the moment and make each a work of art to the best of your abilities.
When you play the one shot in this manner, your future shots have a way of becoming better and better as your session goes on. The one shot at a time philosophy makes your game become like a super strong chain that can handle anything the table presents.
Yet when you allow sloppiness to creep in on a shot here or there, your game weakens and is only as strong as those shots where yo