: Jennifer Barretta
There is no better feeling than playing your best pool. The cue feels like it's a part of your arm, your cueball lands wherever you want, and you couldn't miss a ball if you tried. Usually some part of your conscious brain lays down and has a nap, while your subconscious slips into the drivers seat and allows your body to do what it is trained to do. Everything flows, and you barely have to think about your next move. These are the best times in pool, and unless your opponent has also put his conscious brain to rest, it is very hard to lose.
But what about the other times? You know, those times when the object ball looks light years away, your cue feels like a two by four, and your conscious mind seems like it just downed a 6 pack of Red Bull? As miserable as it is to struggle at the pool table, there are certain strategies that I employ to still eke out a win. I call it winning with my B game, and for me it is one of the most satisfying ways to win.
1. Do not shoot any tough shots. Shooting at tough shots and missing will only further lower morale. It's better to play safe, especially when it's early in the rack. The idea is to hopefully get ball in hand to get yourself going, and also to keep your opponent from having opportunities to loosen up his stroke.
2. Do not give up easy games. Make sure the back of the rack is tight when racking nine ball. It's very easy to just throw the rack up when you're playing poorly, but you can't afford to give up a nine on the break.
3. Do not give up easy games. If the nine ball is hanging and you are hopelessly snookered especially early in the rack, take the foul and push the nine in.
4. Do not give up easy games. If you're on the last couple of balls, or even the last ball, and you only seem to have a long rail bank available, don't play it. Duck two rails or play a thin cut safe. Sometimes you have to try to make your opponent lose instead of taking a risky shot to win.
5. Never give up. There is nothing that tests your resolve quite like playing badly. Everything in you may want to roll over so you can get home in time to watch Family Guy, but you have to fight the urge to quit. Nothing feels better than fighting your way out of a bad set, and the more you make yourself do it, the easier it becomes. This is a skill that great comeback players have mastered, and all it takes is determination and a lot of patience.