Pool is a game of ups and downs. Most pool players experience a slump at some time or another. Slumps occur when you play below your expected ability for a prolonged period of time. Most pool players do not know why they are playing bad, so they tend to look for solutions in all the wrong places. Sometimes this causes the player’s performance to drop even more. Often, the player falls deeper and deeper into despair. Pool players are often unable to break fee from the chains of this performance inhibitor because they become tense, think negative thoughts, and develop a negative attitude. The primary key to overcoming a slump it to remain positive!
In order to remedy the problem, a player needs to begin by identifying the root cause. The first step should be to determine the type of slump that you are dealing with. Slumps can be either physical or mental in nature.
Physical slumps are often result from some sort of change in a player’s fundamentals or mechanics. Slumps that fall into this category can be remedied quickly but require diligence to overcome. When dealing with this type of slump, my suggestion is to video tape yourself and watch your stroke in slow motion. Review the video with your pool coach or someone who is knowledgeable about stroke mechanics. You can even try to identify the problem yourself, but If you are unsure of what to look for you can enroll at Virtual Billiard Academy and receive a complete video analysis for a for a nominal fee.
Mental slumps on the other hand can be much more difficult to come out of. The real problem seems to be figuring out what causes them. Mental slumps often originate from some sort of psychological problem. Psychological issues can create a prolonged decrease in performance, and they can also prolong the life of a slump that already exists. It is important to note that slumps can originate from numerous causes, and it is always important to identify anything that might be an underlying cause.
Some mental game challenges that can cause or prolong slumps include:
. Lack of confidence
. Inability to improve
. Being uncomfortable at the table
. Satisfaction with current ability
. Lack of motivation
. Too much practice time
. Putting pressure on yourself to win
Here are some suggestions that will help free you from the bonds of performance slump:
Remain focused on the process. Stop worrying about the results. Do not think about how poorly you have been playing. Forget about the past. Do not look at league statistics or previous tournament performances. Instead, focus on shooting one shot at a time.
Do not worry about other players or how they perform. The only player you should worry about is yourself. Worrying about other players is often a distraction that can produce negativity, especially when you are in a slump. Remember to focus on your pre-shot process and your performance will start to improve over a period of time.
Always remember that it is important to stay motivated and committed that the goals you set for yourself. When you are not playing well, it is easy to begin questioning your expectations. Stay patient and remind yourself why you love to play the game.
Author and photos provided by: Anthony Beeler
Editor: Shaylyn Troop