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Keep Calm & Play Pool. ~ Keith Diaz

While playing in the first Gotham City Classic 9 Ball tournament, I’ve noticed intense emotions running at high altitudes.

Players letting the complexity of the mind get in the way of their game. Now for myself, I definitely have a temper and love to call it being a passionate player. But I can’t always lie to myself.

Sometimes anger will get the best of me and my abilities on the pool table. Those are the times we players have to absolutely admit that we are taking ourselves out of the zone.

With anger being the culprit, a player has to practice letting go of their mistakes, or the unlucky rolls he/she might get from opponents. We all have to learn and follow those annoying British T-shirts that say, Keep Calm, and Carry On.

The first thing a player must do is admit that there is a problem with his/her temperment. I’m not trying to tell you guys to submit yourself to alcohol and substance abuse meetings, but this does pertain to abusing your game when falling into a state of anger. This is especially important if you ever want to excel above the amateur level and into the world of professional pool.

“I had trouble with my temper all the way through the minor leagues.”  ~ Cal Ripken, Jr.

Who’s going to argue with that man?

If you fall into this emotional roller-coaster, take a moment or two before attempting your next shot. I’m not telling you to go off into a corner and practice your downward-facing-dog pose. Just take some time to pace around the table, while chalking your cue. Remember that doing this enables you to also think about your run and the pattern you’re looking to execute.

You can also take that 5 minute break each player is entitled to during a match.

Go outside and take a breather. If its the dead of winter and you’re in New York, then go get a hot chocolate. Chocolate makes everything better, right? Afterall, its not like you can change things that have already happened.

The Greek philosopher Plato had said, “There are two things a person should never be angry at, what they can help, and what they cannot.”

A player can always adjust and make his/her own comeback victory.

If you’re still not convinced, I’ll leave you with one last verse from a sports psychology website.

“When you go into a game, match, or race and focus on anything that is directly out of your control either before or during the performance, you’ll get yourself uptight, kill your confidence and ruin your performance.” ~

So learn how to suck it up, and keep shootin’!

Keith Diaz has been playing the game for over twenty yearsand competing since 1997. Along with being a competitor, he has experience as a tournament director and is a contributing writer/photographer for pool. With several high finishes in both local and regional tournaments, his heavy passion for the game pushes him to learn more of its mastery.

Photo: {source} Editor: Dana Gornall
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