Is Pool A Mental Game? 10 Tips For Staying Focused

Pool, or pocket billiards, is a game that people are familiar with, but not all are successful. Enjoying a game of pool in the evenings is always a good time, but if you lose frequently, you may be wondering if pool is a mental game.

While entertaining, pool is a mental game that requires practice, patience, and precision. The most successful players have a routine. Working through a mental routine will ensure that you succeed.

Whether you play pool for fun or you are a serious competitor, developing the mental skills required to succeed will help you find success in your gameplay. Keep reading to learn more about how to improve your game of pool.

Preshot Routine

Having a routine is important in all areas of life. A routine keeps you focused, lets you know what to expect next, and keeps the nerves away. Playing pool is no different. When you are looking at the mental aspect of the game, a solid routine will keep you sharp.

Take Deep Breaths Before Every Shot

Deep breathing has long been touted as good for life in general. In the mental game of pool, though, a vital part. When you take the time to take a deep breath, your body and mind can focus on the task at hand: sinking your shot.

Rehydrate During the Game

Staying hydrated is important in life. Hydration is also going to help you with mental dexterity in the game of pool. Without the proper hydration, you can lose focus. Losing focus causes problems when you step back up to the pool table and attempt a shot.

Concentrate on the Shot You Want to Take

Never focus on the next shot. The shot you focus on should be the one in front of you. Keep your body still. Visualize how the play will unfold. Stay in position once you have completed the shot. The part of your body that should move is the arm used to shoot the pool cue forward. Concentrate on what is in front of you, and you will see results.

Take a Break Between Each Play

Separate yourself from the pool table between each play. By doing this, you allow yourself to refocus and regroup. The shot is complete, so now begin your preshot routine again and begin visualizing the next shot you will take. Again, do not remove yourself from the game, but allow a reset between shots.

Block Distractions

When you practice, try using different areas with different types and levels of noise. Programming your body to get used to different sounds and decibel levels allows you to block distractions. Have you ever been doing something that requires your attention, and sharp noises jar you from your task?

In pool, you need to stay focused on what you are doing, and an unexpected noise could ruin your shot. Blocking out distractions is vital to succeeding in pool.

Keep Calm

Are you a nervous person? Does anxiety kick in when the stakes are high, or the pressure is on? If you are, know that remaining calm during your pool game is important for success. The game can still be fun even when it’s competitive! Keep calm by taking that deep breath before you shoot. Develop your pregame routine to make sure you can regroup, refocus, and keep calm.

Improve Your Self -Talk

Self-talk is important no matter what, but with the pool being a mental game, self-talk can make or break you. If you tell yourself you won’t make the shot, the chances are that you won’t.

Try hyping yourself up before you play. Let yourself believe you are capable of performing well, and you will succeed. Practice leaving negative self-talk behind, and notice how your game improves.

Keep Your Eye on the Table

Along with staying focused, keep your eyes on the prize: the shot before you. Focus on the table, and let the world fall away from around you. Nothing is gained by giving in to the temptation to look away. When you take your eyes off the table, you lose your focus and jeopardize your chances of success.

Make the Most of Each Chance

Each chance at the pool table is an opportunity to succeed. Do not waste your shots because each shot is different, and you won’t get the chance again. Do not give up, even when you are feeling defeat.

Final Thoughts

Every game of the pool is an opportunity to hone your skills. So follow the tips above, practice, and have patience; you will see your pool game improve. And before you know it, you will have mastered the mental game of pool!



Benny is the owner of Supreme Billiards and has been shooting pool and teaching people how to shoot pool for a few years now. He enjoys showing new players techniques and drills to improve their pool game.

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