The Art of the Choke

Written by David Sapolis

Page 3 of 8:  First ·  Prev ·  1 ·  2 ·  3 ·  4 ·  5 ·  6 ·  7 ·  8 ·  Next ·  Last

Article Index
The Art of the Choke (page 1)
Satellite Interference (page 2)
Self-Communication (page 3)
Centering (page 4)
The Center of Mass (page 5)
Breathing (page 6)
Using Centering to Deal
      With Past Failures
(page 7)
What is the problem? (page 8)

The best self-talk is simple soothing words. Earlier I gave examples of soothing words. There are also motivational statements you can use, such “I win!” Anything positive that can get your mind focused on a positive outcome is recommended. I know there are some players out there that do not believe in affirmations. Let me explain the “garbage in - garbage out” theory. If you let garbage in to your thought patterns during competition, then after a while the garbage will start to pile up. If you do not “take out the trash” every so often, you end up with a mess. Remember, we’re talking about your mind, not your garage. A mind that is blocked with garbage and clutter will not perform well under any circumstances. If you plan on winning at pool, I suggest writing down a few self-motivating affirmations. These affirmations are not meant to be “rah-rah” motivation. These affirmations are merely thoughts you can use to clear out the negative thoughts, or, take out the garbage in your mind during competition. Everybody has their bad days at the table, so this applies to everybody.

We all participate in negative thought breeding at varying degrees. Many of us trudge through the muck of negativity without a clue of how to get into the positive. It starts here. Negativity breeds negativity, positivity breeds positivity. Many players place playing consistently as a goal, yet thinking consistently is just as elusive. This is evident when you miss an easy shot that you believe was well within your capabilities. If you allow it to bother you, you will lose your mental focus and concentration. The consistent use of positive affirmations during your time at the table can prevent this from happening. The champions in pool leave mistakes in the past. They forget the mistakes quickly and move on. They remain focused on what is in front of them. They do not remain wrapped up in judgment and anger from the shot they missed five minutes ago. They move on and remain focused on winning the match. Positive thoughts strengthen the energy system and increase the power of your mind and your body. Negative thinking drains your physical energy and impairs your performance.

Direct yourself towards the positive without arguing with yourself about the mistakes you’ve made. Breathing techniques, and “centering” are key tools to combat the onset of choking. Think of your concentration as a signal center or communication satellite that that serves as an information-processing center for your mind and body. Your concentration uses your focus like a radio dial to pick up certain channels. Your focus fixes on the situation at hand and searches for the right channel. The satellite receives the correct messages to feed back to the brain, which gives the correct messages to the muscles involved in the motor functions required to complete the task. Choking occurs when focus fails to receive messages, or picks up nothing but static when it attempts to tune in to the proper channel. The reception path is blocking the signals and a communication breakdown occurs. Doubt is the number one blocker of positive thought. The player then enters the altered state of consciousness, called “choking”. This means that brain starts receiving static communication entirely, or incomplete messages. The focus continues to search for the channels, but the reception has been blocked by either negative thinking, or a meltdown of the nervous system (nerves). After a while, the entire system crashes, and this leads to choking, anger, frustration, and bitterness.

Page 3 of 8:  First ·  Prev ·  1 ·  2 ·  3 ·  4 ·  5 ·  6 ·  7 ·  8 ·  Next ·  Last

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

Related Articles

Author Info - David Sapolis