So many students tell me that they do well until the last ball or the last couple of balls…and then they miss.
Then I’ll invariably answer; “Well the first thing is, you have to stop thinking like that. Stop telling yourself that you are going to miss. You are only programming that to keep happening when you dwell on your misses and keep giving them life in thought and word. Start telling yourself that you always make the last ball, that you are a run out player.”
So true, your mindset is all important to creating the results you want on the table, so focus on what you want mentally: making the shot, performing well.
Ok, now that that is out of the way, I’m now going to suggest another reason why so many players miss that last ball, the one that will win them the game, and why that missing stroke is often accompanied by an awfully ugly stroke. Here is the reason: On every shot throughout the game, the player had some idea or plan for where he wanted the cue ball to end up. Some players plan more precisely but you get the idea, there was a goal in mind for the cue ball which affected the quality and direction of the stroke.
What can happen on that last shot is, because there are no more balls to get position on, the player may now have a much greater percentage of their attention on only making the ball, which can not only add some mental pressure that does not help, but also it takes away from the normal routine of pocketing the ball, and playing position. Not only is the routine gone, but because of this, the smooth, clear, confident, directed stroke is also gone, or at least compromised.
After the miss, while it may look to an observer like the player only dogged making the shot, what may have happened is that because the player neglected to plan a route and destination for the cue ball as usual, the quality of the stoke suffered in various ways, resulting in a miss.
So the takeaway: When shooting the game winning ball (be it the 8, 9, 10 or whatever), pick a place where you want the cue ball to land as if this is just another shot you are making and playing position on another ball. I hope you find yourself making those clutch, game winners more often!
Now go run some racks!
See you soon…