One of the things I’m most known for in teaching pool is fundamentals. I’ve been blessed to receive many compliments from many top players and world champions on my own technique, and I’m thankful to have helped players from dozens of countries improve their physical approach to the game and make them better players. This pleases me, as I’ve put in a ton work on my form and in teaching it to others.
Today though, I want to discuss something even more important that will ultimately control how good of a player you become: your philosophy. The first component of your philosophy is your intent—how good you decide that you will become. Not want or hope, but decide that you will become.
You’ve got to draw a line in the sand, and declare to yourself where all this work on your game must—and will—ultimately take you. Then you must constantly remind yourself of this target, until it becomes your underlying thought and belief in yourself and where you are headed as a player.
To decide means to “cut off from all other possibilities.”
Being crystal clear on your target skill level will animate your thoughts and actions way beyond being a normal “ball banger” in the pool hall, who just wants to get away from his problems or in a somewhat wishy-washy way wants to get better, someday, and hopes to one day be “good enough to compete against so and so…”
Figure out exactly how good you want to be first, how far you are going to take this. And then trust you’ll find the way and resources to help you get there.
Another component of your philosophy is how you plan to arrive at where you have now decided to be one day. What I mean is, do you plan on being dedicated to the cause and work on it in small increments every day, knowing and believing that it is the small increments, compiled over time that will get you there? You don’t have to make some crazy improvement over night or in just a few days, take the slow and steady route of consistent work on your game.
Yes, fundamentals are an aspect of your improvement—yet it’s the philosophy of incremental changes and course corrections over time that will turn you into the beast on the table you know that you can and will become.
When you are focused on improving in small ways, your leaps in skill may actually show up as big jumps in level that magically appear one day. Most likely it was the daily small things you did that created that “quantum” leap.
Ultimately, it was your philosophy of having an intention and of slow and steady improvement that pushed you through multiple “sound barriers,” to inspire the awe of your comrades, who will be wondering “What got into that boy, he got real good out of nowhere! Just a year ago I was spotting him the eight and now he’s playing like a pro…” Be the guy who creeps up on—and past—everyone around you, and runs racks like it’s nothing, like you were born to do it.
Slow and steady wins the race.