4 Reasons to Regroup

By Samm Diep © March 2011

 

Samm Diep

It’s always good practice to take a deep breath and relax before you shoot. However, there are certain times when it’s especially important to take a moment to regroup and calm yourself before your next shot. High pressure situations can get your adrenaline pumping, which can ultimately result in an assortment of bad outcomes.

Though adrenal hormones help the body cope with stress, among other vital bodily functions, they are also known for increasing your heart rate and constricting blood vessels. Too much adrenaline can cause you to miss a shot or over or under stroke a ball and miss position. When your palms are sweaty, your hands are shaking, and your heart is beating faster than normal, you are feeling the effects of the adrenaline and it’s a good idea to take a moment to regroup and settle down.

Here are four instances of when it’s important to regroup prior to shooting again:

 

After a lucky shot

Luck happens. Maybe you caught a lucky roll or slopped something in playing 9-ball. Whatever the case may be, the surprise of the unexpected fortune might be just enough to raise the adrenaline level. When this happens there’s no need to feel guilty. It’s part of the game. Luck happens to you and it will happen to your opponent as well. Accept the shot, regroup, and focus on the next shot.

 

After a great shot

Have you ever come with the shot of your life, only to turn around and miss the easy one that follows up? This happens to everyone. It’s very common that when so much focus and energy was needed for a heroic effort, the subsequent shot is taken for granted. A fantastic shot can cause excitement and elevate your heart rate. In these cases, step away from the table and take a sip of water or do something to break the tension. Refocus and approach the next shot.

 

After your opponent’s lock up safety

Not getting a shot, alone can be frustrating, but when you finally receive an opportunity and your opponent just put you in jail, it can be quite discouraging. When your opponent is not giving an inch and the only chance you’re getting is not even a chance at all, it might seem easier to throw in the towel and just give up. This is one time when it’s critical to regroup and do your very best with what you’re faced with. Do not give up or rush your decision. Your opponent can sense your weakness and it only makes them stronger.

 

After your opponent sits you for a while

A similar circumstance occurs if your opponent is dominating the match and you’ve been sitting in your chair for some time. The anticipation of finally getting a shot after your opponent puts a five-pack on you can cause some restlessness. But, unless you have Ralf Souquet’s nerves of steel, don’t expect to return the favor with a package of your own. As much as you may want to, do not charge the table. It’s good to be eager but racing to the table right now can elevate the excitement and again, your adrenaline level. Calmly approach the table with a clear plan of attack.

These are four examples of when it’s easy to get overexcited and allow your enthusiasm or impatience to take over. Don’t let your adrenaline get the best of you.

Samm Diep, “Cherry Bomb” (DenverCherryBomb.com)

House Pro at Rack ‘Em Billiards (Aurora, CO)

Author of “You Might Be A D Player If… (101 Classic Moves That All Pool Players Can Appreciate)”

Player Representative for Chris Byrne Custom Cues, PoolDawg, Predator, Jim Murnak Custom Cases, & Delta-13 Rack

 

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Control it or Ignore it

By Samm Diep © January 2011

Samm Diep

You play pool because it’s fun. There’s also a part of you that enjoys the problem-solving aspect of the game. Your brain looks at the table and begins finding solutions to the puzzle. You can’t control it. That’s just how it works. It’s a game, which means there’s ultimately a winner. Your brain automatically begins to troubleshoot all the possible scenarios and outcomes to determine a way to the finish line.

What it’s overlooking is one significant detail. Your subconscious does not distinguish between can and cannot, e.g. things that you can or cannot control. Therefore, your brain will automatically attempt to fix anything, even if it may be out of your control.

In the problem-solving mode, the brain is involuntarily seeking solutions to ‘problems.’ In most cases, the problems may be how to get from the 3 ball to the 4 ball or should I bank this ball or play a safety? What you may not realize is that your brain will continue working overtime to address your other needs. Such as, the tables are awfully close together or these balls are terribly dirty. There may be other valid concerns that your brain will want to manage.

It’s instinctive to react when you’re uncomfortable or displeased with your surroundings, without considering whether or not they are even within your control. Instead, before changing your behavior to accommodate for the circumstances, ask yourself if what you’re reacting to is in your jurisdiction? If you are reacting to something that you cannot control then you shouldn’t be reacting at all because if it was out of your control to begin with, it will still be out of your control after you react.

Okay, let’s review.

Things you cannot control: Things you can control:
Your opponent plays a safety on you Making the best educated decision possible on how to make a good hit
Your opponent is running out on you Studying the table and being prepared for your next opportunity
The table rolls to the left Making a mental note to yourself and playing your next shot wisely
The spectators are being very loud Giving extra focus and attention to your mechanics and follow-through
Your opponent misses and accidently hooks you Taking deep breaths and remaining calm so you can think clearly and deliberately

The next time you’re in a match and you catch yourself distracted by something. First, ask yourself, “Is this something I can control right now?” If the answer is no, then just do your best and quit inviting unnecessary stress. If the answer is yes, then do what you can to address the issue. Control what you can and only focus on the things that can be controlled.

Samm Diep, “Cherry Bomb” (DenverCherryBomb.com)

House Pro at Rack ‘Em Billiards (Aurora, CO)

Author of “You Might Be A D Player If… (101 Classic Moves That All Pool Players Can Appreciate)”

Player Representative for Chris Byrne Custom Cues, PoolDawg, Predator, Jim Murnak Custom Cases, & Delta-13 Rack

SammsPocket.com | fun & unique products for pool players

PoolTipJar.com | random smatterings of pool thoughts, articles, news, & reviews

PoolCalendar.com | your source for weekly, monthly, and special tournaments & events around the Denver Metro area

MileHighPoolPlayers.com | it’s how Colorado pool players stay connected