Vince Lombardi once said “Confidence is contagious, so is a lack of confidence”.

Have you ever noticed those days when it seems like you just can’t miss? And of course, sprinkle in a few of those days where you can’t seem to do anything right!  How can our performance make such a dramatic swing? More often than not it has to do with our confidence.  When our confidence is high, we play to the best of our ability, but when it is low….I dread even thinking of what happens then.

So how do we keep our confidence level as high as possible?  Well, there are always going to be days when we have low confidence, but if we pay attention to a few simple rules we can try and minimize those days to as few as possible, and start playing better pool.

Distractions of all shapes and sizes
We all know that confidence and concentration go hand in hand.  So let’s be very cautious of a few things that can break our concentration.  Outside interferences, such as noise and movement, can often distract you, and break your focus.   Try first to condition yourself to these types of scenarios by playing in places that offer up these distractions regularly. If you find yourself still unable to focus, remember, Stand up, take a deep breath, begin your pre-shot routine and get back down and focus on the shot at hand.   Let’s try and avoid excuses.  Excuses are the easy way out.  Accept responsibility for your game.

Fear Factors
This can be a very delicate subject for some players.  Nobody wants to admit they are afraid.

Fear of Missing- Everyone is afraid of missing the shot.  We all know what happens to the guy who misses too many shots.  That’s right, he gets beat.  Getting beaten is very far from the end of the world.  There isn’t a player alive who is undefeated.
Fear of the other guy – Never fear your opponent!  Remember what we said earlier, every player has been beaten before, and can be beaten again.  Be confident that if you play your game, you can achieve victory.  However, under no circumstances should you forget to respect your opponent and his ability to play.  After all he has worked hard to be a good player just like you have.
Fear of what people think – This is a biggie for a lot of players.  It is very easy to destroy your own confidence by caring about what others think of you and how you play.  Never cloud your judgment with thoughts of “they might think I am not a good player if I shoot the shot like this”.  That is a dangerous way of thinking.  Your game is just that YOUR GAME!  Shoot the shots the way YOU would shoot them, and it will always be executed with confidence.

Confident…..or Arrogant?
There is a fine line between being a confident player and being an arrogant player.  Arrogant players do possess plenty of confidence in themselves, but they also tend to fall victim to the Fear Factors listed above.

After all arrogant players are also usually braggers, and have put a tremendous amount of pressure on themselves to cash the check they wrote with their mouths.  Be self-confident.  The Confident player believes in his own ability, and understands that sometimes you can’t win them all.  As long as you try your hardest, and never give up you will regain your self-confidence.  Don’t be a bragger, or an excuse maker.  Let your stick do the talking for your game.

If you steer clear of the hazards of Distraction, Fear & Arrogance, you can always stay Confident.

Mikey V.