Nic Barrow's The Snooker Gym ... 'Improving Your Game, From Every Angle'

Stephen Hendry’s sanctuary, fun frustrations, and a tip on making regular 50 breaks

psychology Feb 28, 2019

I thought I would just share some fun frustrations a client wrote to me about today in his weekly update after our first session...

 

MY COMMENTS ARE BELOW IN CAPS

 

The biggest challenge I'm finding is the mental side - game management, resetting between shots, not launching my cue at the group of blokes chatting loudly on my line of vision, etc etc.

WE HAVE ALL FELT LIKE DOING SUCH THINGS TO SUCH PEOPLE – YOU ARE NOT ALONE!...

THE MENTAL SKILL IS IN NEGOTIATING THESE EGO HURDLES IN REAL TIME… OR BUILDING UP THE COURAGE TO ASK THE GUYS POLITELY TO TALK A LITTLE MORE QUIETLY. THE BARRIER TO THIS IS OF COURSE THAT WE DON’T LIKE TO FEEL WE ARE TELLING PEOPLE WHAT TO DO, SO WE USUALLY CHOOSE TO BOTTLE IT UP AND TELL EVERYONE ELSE ABOUT IT AFTERWARDS… THE CULPRITS NONE THE WISER ABOUT YOUR ANGST!

 

I've been experimenting with meditation, mindfulness exercises, and basically anything I find that might help me stay composed in a match. Don't think there's really an instant success pill, but hopefully it will add up over time.

THESE APPROACHES WILL HELP IN LIFE TOO – AND YOU CAN ALSO USE SNOOKER ITSELF AS YOUR MINDFULNESS PRACTICE FOR LIFE.

STEPHEN HENDRY SAID A SIMILAR THING IN HIS RECENT BOOK:

 

‘SNOOKER, FOR ALL ITS UPS AND DOWNS, IS MY SANCTUARY AND ALWAYS HAS BEEN. WHENEVER I’VE FELT DISAPPOINTED, DEPRESSED, OR CAUGHT UP IN A CRISIS, THE TABLE HAS ALWAYS BEEN THERE FOR ME, COMFORTING AND UNCHANGING.”

I ALSO FOUND, WHEN I HAD A PERSONAL TRAGEDY IN 2004, THAT PLAYING SNOOKER WAS THE ONLY WAY I COULD BEGIN TO PUT SPACE BETWEEN MY EMOTIONS AND I. EVENTUALLY, THAT LED ME TO A PATH OF HEALING.

 

It's heartening at least to see that however bad I think my own concentration levels are... there's always somebody else in the club who'll look and sound like his pet's just died if he misses a spotted black.

THAT IS VERY CORRECT LOL! THE BIGGEST DIFFERENCE BETWEEN NON 50 BREAKERS AND REGULAR 50 BREAKERS IS THE ABILITY TO OSERVE THE OBJECT BALL TO THE POCKET ON EVERY SHOT REGARDLESS OF THE OUTCOME.... INSTEAD THEY JUDGE THE SHOT (POSITIVELY BY CELEBRATING, OR NEGATIVELY BY LOOKING LIKE YOUR PET DIED). THUS, THEY HAVE BAILED OUT OF THE SHOT EARLY WITHOUT SEEING WHAT HAPPENED TO THE OBJECT BALL, MAKING THE OBSERVATION / SELF DIAGNOSIS / SELF PRESCRIPTION CYCLE IMPOSSIBLE.

 

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