By Samm Diep © March 2011
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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