Preparing for Competition

Written by David Sapolis

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Article Index
Preparing for Competition (page 1)
Physical Preparation (page 2)
Having a Game Plan (page 3)

How do we prepare for competition? Fact is, that most of us do not prepare at all. This is sad, but true. Most of us merely putter around all week, wandering aimlessly until tournament day. We jump into competition unprepared with no strategy or game plan. It’s kind of like going into battle without any battle plan. We get our butt kicked and then sit around wondering what is wrong with our stroke, our cue, or the table. Somehow we have come to the realization that there is probably something wrong with our approach.

Some pool players are like boxers that get in the ring every day and get beat up. The bell rings - POW!!! Get back up - POW!!! In between rounds you come to the realization that you do not possess the skills to be in the ring, but instead of throwing in the towel, you tear off little pieces of the towel, throwing the towel in a piece at a time, yet never surrendering completely. The match usually ends with you being carried out on a stretcher with the onlookers hoping you have learned your lesson. Nevertheless, the next day, as soon as you can get there, back in the ring. POW!!!!

That might seem ridiculous, but it’s not as far off as you might think. We all know somebody like that. You know the guy. The guy that comes to the pool hall every day, loses and never gets any better. He’s hoping and praying that somehow this might make him a better player. This is complete insanity, but I’ve seen this guy in every room I’ve ever walked into. The key here is to not get back into the ring until you possess the skills necessary to compete at a competent level. This means that you need to learn from what happened and fine tune the weaker point of your game to ensure that it does not happen again. This will not take care of itself, nor will it be taken care of overnight. There should be a period of development where the player should allow for the skills to become “natural”. All skills should be looked at and developed. This way you do not become a “one punch wonder”. At first, you should never bite off more than you can chew. Challenging the local hotshot will probably still garner you a butt kicking, so you don’t learn a few punches and challenge Mike Tyson on first time out. There is no crime in taking your time. Understand that when we set goals for ourselves, we should get a timeline for completing those goals. The time frame, as well as the specified goal, should realistic and achievable. Give yourself time. The small victories add up and sooner or later build into the bigger ones. If you need to step down a few notches in competition, do so. Sometimes we need to take a few steps back so that we can see the entire picture, yet most of us are there with our nose against the mirror wondering why we cannot see our shoes.

Prepare - To make ready beforehand; to plan in advance; to get ready

Preparation - The action or PROCESS of getting something ready

Complacency - Self satisfaction accompanied by unawareness of actual dangers or deficiencies;

Looking at these definitions, we can see where as players, we all fit in there somewhere. Complacency kills. Preparation is essential in competition whether you are a boxer or a pool player. It doesn’t matter whether you play n tournaments, leagues, or if you are an occasional money player, preparation goes a long way. In most cases, competency just doesn’t cut it.

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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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