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How to Be Best Prepared For Your Next Tournament or Big Match ~ by David Donvan

Lets assume that you have been practicing your favorite drills and working on your weakest areas, now what?

Here are 10 Keys Points that can help you to better performance.

  1. For 25 years, I owned and operated Health & Fitness Centers as well as several Pool/Billiard Rooms and have long recognized the value of being in shape. If you haven’t already made exercise a regular habit, start now. Always start light and gradually work up. Make sure the day of the event you do some stretching exercises and mild cardiovascular work. You don’t want to wear yourself out, but do just enough to loosen up the muscles and to get the blood flowing. This not only helps physically, but it causes your body to release chemicals that create a sense of well being.

  2. If you are really serious about performing your best, the day before and the day of the event, do not consume any alcohol. This is only if you really want to be at your best. Pool takes a lot of skill and finesse. To players who tell me that they play better after a few drinks, I often ask, “If you were faced with open heart surgery, would you insist that your doctor consume several drinks first”?

  3. The day of the event, you should not eat any large meals, but instead, numerous small meals and healthy snacks throughout the day.

  4. Stay hydrated by drinking lots of water.

  5. You should practice positive reinforcement by spending a few minutes each night closing your eyes and visualize seeing yourself playing a perfect match and sinking the last ball. See it as if it was on a big screen TV, in bright colors; hear the sounds of the balls dropping; see the balls splitting the center of the pocket; hear the applause of the crowd, and then feel the excitement and joy of accomplishing this victory.

  6. Always work on your mental attitude as this is something that, with practice, you can control. Your mental attitude can make or break you!

  7. We all get anxious when faced with pressure; therefore, make it a habit, when you practice to imagine that you are playing each shot as though it was the finals of a big match. As always you should do your thinking while standing: select your shot, decide your pattern, decide what speed, stroke and spin (if any) are necessary to get the position needed and then allow your brain to switch from thinking to doing and after going through you pre-shot routine get down, shoot and stay down until the ball disappears.

  8. During a match, when you are in the chair watching your opponent, practice deep breathing. We have heard this many times, but if you really want the maximum benefit, count 1-2-3-4 as you inhale through your nose, deep breathing into the abdominal area. Hold it for the count of 16, and exhale through your mouth for a count of 8. Your brain will not let you focus on your stress or fears while you are breathing and counting at the same time.

  9. While sitting in the chair, sit up straight with your shoulders back and head high. This physiology helps to put you in a positive state. Never give up, and anytime a negative thought enters your mind, immediately tell yourself, “cancel that ….”, and replace it with a positive message. Do not focus on missed shots or the score. Constantly tell yourself that, “I always play to win because I am a winner”, or some other quote that you like. Do not agonize over missed shots, that is in the past, while your opponent is shooting visualize how you would play the run out. This keeps you in the present and now if he misses you are ready to jump out of the chair and take control.

  10. When it is your turn to go back to the table, once again stand up straight and pull your shoulders back, and tell yourself, “I own this!” Now, approach the table; go through your pre-shot routine; and, remember to keep your head down after every shot.

We could spend hours discussing each one of these key points in more detail, but for now, I just wanted to share these very important key points. As a player with 50 years experience, and now an ACS Level III Certified Billiard Instructor, I have had the pleasure of helping hundreds of players of all levels improve their game. I offer various degrees of training/coaching and if you have an interest in reaching your fullest potential call me at (804) 556-6775 and/or visit my website:

Author: David Donvan Editor: Chris Freeman

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