We all talk about wanting to improve our pool game.  We do this by practicing more, competing more and maybe seeking out professional help through lessons.  But today I thought we would talk about a rarely talked about, yet highly important part of improving our game by improving ourselves.  It is hard to reach the upper echelon in any sport without focusing on the mental aspects of the game.  Now I don’t mean our ability to focus, or even our ability to fade another player’s sharking tactics to put us off our game.  No, I am talking about excuses.

We are all guilty of making excuses.  Excuses for missing a shot, excuses for losing, even excuses for why we have not improved.  I have heard them all: “That guy walked by just as I was about to shoot!” “The table has a bad roll to it.” “The lighting is poor and music is too loud.”  Yes and the list goes on and on.

Why do we make excuses?  The answer is really a simple one.  FAILURE.  When we fail to execute a shot,  Fail to win the game for all the money, Fail to win the match that would send our team to Vegas, naturally we get embarrassed.  We failed to do what everyone, including ourselves, expected us to do.  What happens when we are embarrassed by our failures? 

To understand this we must know a little bit about the human psyche.  Your inner self as many complex parts but the one we are most concerned with is the EGO.  When we fail ego steps in and tries to protects us, it does this by defending your psyche with an excuse.  Ego: “it’s not your fault you missed that shot, that chump over there stood up just as you were about to shoot and distracted you, it was not my fault, it’s his fault.”  You see our own ego is trying to protect us by placing the blame on someone, something, anything but us.  Excuses are a defense mechanism.  They protect us from our failures.

In order to fix this excuse problem we must be able to accept our failures.  Use them as learning experiences.   Yes it really is a bummer to “dog it” in front of everyone and lose.  But you must not make excuses for yourself.   It is easy to let the ego creep in and project blame for your failure onto something other than yourself.  However I believe we can control our own inner selves by simply facing our failures and accepting them.  Instead of blaming a missed shot on a person in the crowd, analyze the failure for what it was.  Ask yourself: “What went wrong?  How do I fix it?”  as soon as you do this the ego has no more power over you.

The sooner you can get the excuses out of your game, the sooner you can begin to recognize and correct the flaws and turn failures into lessons.   You can only make your weaknesses into strengths if you first accept that you have weaknesses.
So remember, the next time you miss…Don’t make an excuse, there is only one reason you failed and it can be simply identified if you are not blinded by your own ego.  Only by doing this will you reach that upper plateau of pool greatness.

Until next time fellow Pooldawgians

Mikey V