Achieving Dead Stroke

Written by David Sapolis

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Article Index
Achieving Dead Stroke (page 1)
Immersion: Can you become
      immersed in the task? (page 2)
Autopilot - Can you make
      it feel automatic?
(page 3)

Immersion: Can you become immersed in the task?

Most of know how to concentrate, but do we know how to immerse ourselves in the task we are faced with? This relies on focus. We are what we focus on. We focus with our eyes, and our attitudes. If we focus our eyes within the six rails and the playing surface of the table, we can remain focused, but what if it is negative focus? What if we don't like what's going on there? Nobody feels good when the other guy is rattling off rack after rack and we sit in the electric chair awaiting our next chance at the table. Later on, I will discuss momentum, but for now let's look at ourselves as we sit helpless in the chair. Identify your emotions and your thoughts while this is occurring.

It is quite normal to have negative thoughts and feelings, but that can be turned around. It will be impossible to go to the table and expect "Dead Stroke" after you just sat in a chair for 5-10 minutes telling yourself how bad the entire situation is. Adjust your attitude while sitting in the chair. Remain focused on the table while the other guy is shooting, reading the rack, seeing patterns, etc. Concentrate on your breathing and remain "centered". This way you remain at the table, even though the other guy is shooting. Mentally, you avoid getting "cold" and you will keep a good attitude. This can be practiced by watching others play.

While you are at the table, you can remain immersed by concentrating on the playing surface of the table. This is harder than it sounds, but recognize and identify the things that pull your eyes from the table. By doing so, you can see where your focus is being detracted. Every time you lose focus, focus need to be reapplied. Set up a routine that gets you back into focus, and add it to your pre-shot routine.

Letting go of Mistakes

It's not so much the fact that you blew the last shot, it's how you process the information from that experience into your subconscious. When you make a bad shot, or miss position, can you put it all behind you and move forward? It's bad enough that you missed the shot, but don't make the situation worse by attacking yourself. Most of us defeat ourselves by dwelling on the negative occurrences that occur during competition. We don't need that baggage hitting us in the butt as we're bending down to run the next rack. Prepare a plan to deal with mistakes and errors immediately. Understand that mistakes, errors and bad luck happen to the other guy too. We want to be a step ahead of the game and deal with our mistakes positively so that the missed shot doesn't effect our next shot.

Errors and mistakes show us what to work on in practice. They are not designed to drag us down, they are designed to show us how and where we need improvement.

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About The Author: Blackjack David Sapolis played professional pool for 20 years in The United States, Canada, Europe, and Asia.

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