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The Art of the Comeback

Posted by : Jennifer Barretta

There are few things in pool that bring the fans more excitement than a great comeback. What could be more exciting than watching a player, who is on the verge of losing, turn the whole set around and slowly creep back into the match? His slumped shoulders and weary expression are replaced by a focused intensity and a confident stride as, seemingly out of nowhere, his A game emerges. In return, his opponent starts to feel the heat and makes mistakes that he previously wasn't making. Before you know it, the player who everyone thought was going home, snatches victory from the jaws of defeat.

Some players are known for their comeback abilities. Many times the swing in the match will hinge on one bad shot by an opponent or one good roll, and they suddenly seem to turn into a different player. As a player who frequently comes back from large deficits, there are a few things that I've noticed all good come back players do when it seems like they are about to meet their demise. Any player can train themselves to do these things. It may not be easy, but the results are so worth it.

1. Remind yourself of why you want to win. Is it a money round match? The hot seat final? Is it a player you usually lose to? Did your dad tell you that you would never amount to anything? There are a million reasons to give up, but great comeback players find one very good reason to give it their all.


2. Don't take foolish shots and give up easy opportunities. Part of being a great comeback player is learning how to take control of the table. It's amazing how often, if you make someone earn a win as opposed to giving it away, the player who was previously making everything will start to falter.


3. Let your body language speak for itself. Walk around the table with confidence, even if you don't feel it. Swing your cue like you mean it as you follow through the ball. Hold your head up high and show your opponent that you're ready for a fight. If you look defeated, you will most likely be defeated.


4. Keep calm and carry on. Don't let bad rolls or an unforced error get your blood boiling. Anger and panic  are your worst enemies and will most likely cloud your decision making. Close your eyes, take some deep breaths and calm down.


5. Pay close attention to the flaws that emerge when you're under pressure. Do you steer the ball? Maybe you let up on your stroke or jump up. We all have bad habits that creep up when the heat is on. Make sure your know what your flaws are and pay special attention to them when you're faced with critical shots.

By radiating an air of calm confidence, having a good reason to win and making solid decisions you can be one of those players that make the fans go wild.  With practice you can master the art of the comeback, and word will get out that you never quit. This puts a tremendous amount of pressure on your opponents and sometimes will earn you some extra wins even when you don't play well. Sometimes you can do all of these things and still lose, but the loss won't feel nearly as bad when you know you gave it your all.