Friday, 14 November 2014

How to Deal With and Get Out of A Slump

By: Erik Hjorleifson

Hey everybody, I hope the beginning of the 2014 pool season has been treating you well. As all  pool players know, and as is similar with life in general, everything goes in cycles. In pool sometimes it feels like you can do no wrong and sometimes it feels like you are struggling to do anything right. Today we are going to look at some of the ways to develop consistency and learn how to try to better deal with the ups and downs in your game.

Personally I have been in a bit of a slump lately. After two close losses at the U.S. Open in mid October I have played a couple of tournaments in Ontario where I felt like I was a pretty big favourite and had some disappointing finishes, not finishing in the top 4 in either event. This had made me think a lot lately about numerous aspects that will help me get back on track. There are so many factors that go into winning or losing a tournament. It is almost without fail that when we do well or win a tournament  we can look back at one or two instances where we could have lost, and as fate would have it the pool gods were looking upon us. Not by any means taking away from what Shane Van Boening did to accomplish his 3 peat at the U.S. Open this year, but let's not forget that he won 3 matches hill-hill along his path to victory. 

That being said it is uncanny how often top players will come ahead with a hill hill victory, rather than be put to the sidelines with another story of a match that almost was. You can see the same thing happening in tennis when the best players go to a tiebreak, they just seem to have that x factor that brings them through in crucial times. So the question is how do we develop the traits of a consistent winner?

#1 - Developing a proper fundamental base that can be consistently repeated  

#2 - Making sure you are prepared; preparation includes proper sleeping patterns, proper eating habits and putting in an adequate amount of practice leading up to an event

#3 - Avoiding being in a negative mind frame and being unfocused

#4 - Developing a consistent level of confidence
       Things that can get in the way of confidence are:

         - Worrying about who your opponent is
         - Not having strategies to recover from easily missed opportunities
         - Worrying about the prize money

People will have many ways to deal with these factors but I can tell you that one foolproof way that will make you stronger in these areas is to put yourself in the mix of having to overcome them. The more often you play good players, the less intimidated you will be by them. The more times you play for big prize money, the less you will be affected by it.

People deal with losing in many ways and the fact is that no one likes to lose.  I think the most positive thing we can take from losing is that it gives us a chance to evaluate our weaknesses. On the day we unfortunately make these mistakes it causes us to have a negative result, but in the long run we can draw on them to make an overall improvement in our consistency. As long as you have prepared properly and have given 100 percent effort you should never feel bad about losing. At the same time try to be aware of the different factors that made that preparation break down. I hope this helps and hopefully you will be doing more winning than losing throughout the next year.

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