Building Confidence

Written by David Sapolis

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Article Index
Building Confidence (page 1)
Step 2: Master Fear (page 2)
Step 3: Identify Your Greatest Strengths (page 3)

Increased Responsibility

Champions understand that they are responsible for their results. It is their responsibility to improve and maintain progress. Players that avoid this responsibility usually look at it as laziness or complacency. This is just another way that "fear of success" disguises itself.

All of these examples are designed to have you psych yourself out of performing at your best.

Fear of losing money: This is another common fear. Some players have a fear of losing their cash in a big money game, so they risk nothing, and gain less. This can also lead to players avoiding tournaments or competition altogether. The player become more passive, takes less risks, and gains less rewards. I am not condoning or promoting gambling. You can put your reputation on the line if you’d like, just be able to risk something - anything, even if its just bragging rights. Ducking competition will get you nowhere - FAST!

Fear of change: Pool players are creatures of habit, and believe me, you don’t have habits - they have you! Any change or disruption in these habits can be very uncomfortable for players that are used to their daily practice routine. The "change" can be good (increased success) or bad (decreased success), but a certain percentage of pool players fear change either way. They are too comfortable in their current routines and are not open to suggestions. Some players believe they know what is best for their game and refuse all help. Once again, this based in fear, not independence or self reliance.

You need first identify and understand what it is that is preventing you from achieving success, then you can find ways to eliminate these "excuses", and move forward towards improvement

Step Two: Master Fear

How do you master fear? By being active, rather than passive, in the presence of fear. Many players view fear as something that should be avoided. They do everything in their power to stay away from it, or to avoid it entirely. This is counterproductive. The best players place themselves in situations where fear is heightened, where anxiety is increased, and learn how to come out of it unscathed. They are able to do this because they learn to define fear differently than other players. They define fear as: False Evidence Appearing Real. What does this mean? This means that they view fear as something their mind has created; to them it is basically a lie. For example, most pool players fear failure. They become anxious, and end up focusing so much on avoiding fear that they end up making more and more mistakes. Top players understand that losing or failure is something that they should not fear. There is a chance that either winning or losing can happen, and even if they do lose, they know it is not the end of the world. Fear is like a bully that rents space up in your head. That bully will make you a scared, timid, passive player. Most bullies crumble like stale crackers when someone confronts them. It’s the same thing with fear. You will win back control when you realize that the bully (fear) is not half as intimidating as you thought it was. Don’t avoid the bully, challenge him head on!

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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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