Achieving Dead Stroke

Written by David Sapolis

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What is "Dead Stroke"?

Dead Stroke is characterized by several different occurrences within your mind and your surroundings. You feel as though you can beat anyone. You feel as though you are capable of doing anything at the table, engrossed in your task and oblivious to your surroundings. The cue IS an extension of your arm and you perform flawlessly as you maintain complete control over your emotions and your actions. Throughout your performance, you maintain high self-confidence, strong focus on the task at hand, a fearless attitude, and self composure. Quite simply, your mind and body are working in complete harmony to create the phenomenon of "Dead Stroke".

But how do we get there?

The first step to answering that question is to let you know how you will not get there. You can't "force" yourself into playing in the zone, It just doesn't work. What usually happens, is that you frustrate yourself more by believing that your game will get better by you getting angry at it. This is counter-productive, and you will play worse. Though you can't "force" your way into the zone, there are 5 keys to "entering" the zone.

The password is C-I-L-A-S.

C- Confidence in your ability

I- Immersion into the task

L- Letting go of mistakes

A- Autopilot

S- Stay in control

Confidence in your ability

It is impossible to enter the zone when you are not confident in your abilities. If YOU are not confident in your abilities, who will be? What is self confidence? Self confidence is the strength of your belief in how well you can play. You can tell yourself over and over that you are the best, but if you don't believe it deep down inside you gut, it doesn't mean a thing. The key to this is being realistic in your evaluation of your true abilities. Knowing your limitations is just as important as knowing your strengths. Telling yourself you can win a match doesn't help much if you don't have the physical abilities to back it up. Confidence can be worked with, though. Identify the things that boost your confidence as well as the things that drag it down. Don't just identify the key factors, identify everything down to the smallest detail, including the way you interpret the general atmosphere of the room when you are slipping and rising. By identifying these key cues, you begin to see exactly where "the line" exists between the two. You will recognize the signs of slipping confidence earlier in competition and be able to treat the symptoms more effectively. Getting to know your game and how you react to it (positively and negatively) is extremely important, but often neglected by scores of frustrated pool players.

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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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