1. Stay focused on the present.
It’s easy when you’re playing a game to jump yourself to the end, the outcome of the game. The best technique to wipe away those nerves and perform your best is to stay concentrated on the “now”, whether it's your present shot, or coming move.
2. Play as if winning doesn’t matter.
Sometimes forgetting completely and taking yourself mentally “out of the competition” can help you play your best and reduce stress.
3. Only think about what you can control.
Easier said than done. Don’t focus on what you can’t directly control, this will cause you to lose confidence and play poorly.
4. Do not outwardly release your frustration between each turn.
Even if you are frustrated, outward expressions waste mental and emotional energy and though you may not realize it, actually working against yourself. Instead, stay prepared for your next turn.
5. Have fun.
Sometimes you get into your own head and you need to stop and remember that it is just a game and you play it because it is fun!
6. Keep your mind distracted before the match.
This will help you to not psych yourself out as it will be easier to remain calm during the match if you do not over think beforehand. Also, keep your pre-game rituals the same.
7. Rebound quickly from mistakes.
Pick your head up and make up for the shot missed or the mistake you made on your next shot to remain in the game and staying calm.
8. Do not fall for intimidation.
Know going into the game that your opponent can try and mess with your head and intimidate you. So, do not fall for it. Stay calm and focused. During practice, you can have your opponent try to intimidate you, so in the real match, it does not even bother you.
9. Believe in yourself.
No matter what the game throws at you, believe you can win.
10. Think positive.
If you think positive about winning during the entire match, you will have a better chance at remaining calm and winning the game.
11. Take deep breaths.
When you feel like you're about to explode, close your eyes and take a couple slow, deep breaths to help you remain calm and keep your head in the game.
12. Do not get distracted during the match.
There will be other tables playing, loud voices, racks breaking, balls flying, cheering….you name it! Practice in a pool hall setting before the big match, so you get use to these distractions and teach yourself how to stay calm and focused. Your pump up song can help keep you calm before the match! Singing it in your head during the match can help keep those game distractions away and get you fired up to win:
“It's the eye of the tiger
It's the thrill of the fight
Rising up to the challenge of our rival
And the last known survivor
Stalks his prey in the night
And he's watching us all with the eye of the tiger.”
13. Slow down and trust your training.
You have been at the pool hall or in your basement practicing day after day, week after week, year after year. Trust in your abilities, slow down and stay focused. You can win. Keep calm and share this blog!
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