The Pep Talk: It’s the Same Shot – By Samm Diep
The Pep Talk: It’s the Same Shot
By Samm Diep
It was day two of the tournament and he was on the b-side. He had played poorly, missing shots and hooking himself. He admitted that he hadn’t played well, but all he could talk about was how much he hated that heavy bar table cue ball. It didn’t do what he wanted and he kept getting into trouble. Being more accustomed to the red circle cue ball, he was having difficultly adjusting to the heavier bar ball and the smaller tables. He was complaining about the conditions.
The Pep Talk:
“You’re better than this! If you hadn’t missed one single shot and was only hooking yourself then you could blame your loss on the table conditions and the heavy cue ball. But the fact is that you flat out missed shots on a Valley bar table. That is unacceptable! You missed shots that you wouldn’t have missed if your opponent had left them for you. You didn’t miss them because they were difficult. You missed them because you allowed how you felt about the conditions to affect your confidence and distract you from the task at hand, making the shot. Now when you get out of line today, instead of beating yourself up for playing bad position, just re-approach the table as though your opponent just missed and left you that exact same shot! Just shoot it in the hole. It’s a bar table for Pete’s sake!”
I believe it worked. He won the next few rounds to make it into the redraw and continued on to cash in the event. He was back to his old self again and you could see from his stroke that he had regained his confidence.
The point of my rant was not to make him feel bad about missing shots, but to remind him of his abilities. The fact was that he was so consumed with how much he disliked that heavy cue ball and funny rails that every time he got a little farther away than he had intended or left himself a little jacked up, all he could think about was how he’d gotten there instead of just making the shot.
On the bright side, he was so used to playing correct position that he had set a very high standard for his abilities. But because he was usually in line, his brain wasn’t used to having to shoot all the tougher shots. Bottom Line: It’s the same shot whether you leave it for yourself or your opponent leaves it for you. Just make it.
If you need a little mental trick, physically walk away from the table and come back to the shot. This can help convince you that it’s a new inning. Close your eyes for a few seconds. See the shot for the first time. It doesn’t matter how you got there. Be glad you’re at the table. It’s the same shot. Just make it.
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Samm Diep, “Cherry Bomb”
House Pro at Mile Nine & Rack ‘Em Billiards (Aurora, CO)
Author of “You Might Be A D Player If”¦ (101 Classic Moves That All Pool Players Can Appreciate)”
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