Preparation is a key part of playing your best in organized competition, and this process often starts well before you get to the table. So the next time you decide to enter a tournament think about all of the things that you need to do to enhance your performance. Below you will find a detailed list of suggestions you can follow to be prepared for your upcoming match.
1. Eat HealthyYou also need to drink plenty of water—it has been proven that being dehydrated lowers your ability to perform well. It is also important to eat the right amount of food. You don’t want to be hungry, but you don’t want to be too full either. You should eat foods that are healthy for you. Snacks like apples, bananas, or nuts will help maintain positive energy levels. High-quality low starch foods also help you to remain calm and focused for the full length of your match.
2. Mental PreperationAs you are driving/walking to the tournament room, play through a match in your mind and imagine running out. Imagine what it feels like to play a positive game of pool where you put a good stroke on each and every shot. The idea is to “ingrain” positive images into your subconscious, which will give you a better chance of making those images into a reality.
3. Develop a Routine and Don’t Judge Your PerformanceWatch any of the top professionals and their pre-match routines. They always prepare for success and you need to as well. Another key thing to remember is that the way you shoot during warm-up is no indication of how you’re going to actually play during your match. Get into the habit of being non-judgmental toward your pre-match performance.
4. Start with Simple ShotsSimple shots struck with a medium speed are a great way to start coordinating both your physical and mental abilities. Always remember to visualize what you plan to do and try to start developing a feel for your surroundings.
5. Develop a "Feel" for the TableAs you warm up with simple shots, try to play as many different shots as you can from a variety of cut angles. This will help you develop positive feelings as you start to get your creative juices flowing. This will also help you get familiar with the speed of the table.
6. No Technical ThoughtsThe warm-up session before your match is the time to start playing, not practicing. Resist your temptation to start thinking about stroke mechanics. You need to start playing, and that involves visualizing shots and trusting in your ability.
7. Practice Your Pre-Shot RoutineAnother thing that you need to do is practice the pre-shot routine that you’ll be using before each and every shot. This sets a solid foundation for a high-quality performance and is the only thing you can completely control while you are at the table.
8. Maintain A Positive AttitudeAlways put yourself into the right frame of mind to play your best. This requires for you to have fun and enjoy yourself. Tell yourself that you’re going to love playing no matter how well you play.
9. No ExpectationsDo not expect to win! The game of pool is very fickle. Sometimes the balls just won’t cooperate for you. No matter how well you might have been playing, you must understand that sometimes it’s just not meant to be. The balls are loyal to no one and sometimes they won’t let you win.