pace yourself. gee, how many times have i heard that. but it works.
a while ago i was playing someone for drinks. i didn’t really want to play for drinks, but the gentleman asked nicely, & i thought why not. so i relaxed, cleared my head, deep-breathed, and focused. and we started to play.
not sure what happened, but i got into this weird mental zone. not the “i can’t see nothing except the table” zone, but the opposite. i became aware of EVERYTHING, but not in a distracting way. i guess you could describe it as hyper awareness. i started seeing the balls very clearly, & was able to really control my pace near medium speed–not too fast, not too slow. my shots also became more deliberate with this medium-speed tempo. a strange thing happened then.
my opponent’s game was visibly affected by my pace. it was quite startling to watch, in retrospect. (my opponent could shoot a good game when he’s on; he’s very offensively minded & a good shotmaker.) the more i zoned in on my shots, the more deliberate i became, the faster he shot & the more often he missed. my opponent’s game gradually dropped down to about pocketing 2 balls per inning, far from his capabilities. i won the match pretty surely.
i’m sure this had happened to other players. it is a weird feeling for me. while the mental zone i was in wasn’t the “make every shot with eyes closed” variety, it was a “controlling everything” type of zone: my opponent’s game was directly affected by my pacing. he couldn’t change my shooting with an uptempo speed; i doubt he could have changed my shooting even if he slowed down. meanwhile, my pace & shots affected everything he did.
i wonder how you would achieve that type of zone. i think the deep breathing helped tremendously. i’ve not done the deep breathing lately; not sure if that’s the deciding factor (for me) between running out and missing. maybe i can bottle the experience one day. i think the following are applicable to many: center my game. don’t worry about what others are doing. think about the shots, and nothing else. in short, focus on what i’m doing, not what others are doing.
maybe if i’m lucky i can duplicate that experience.
an unrelated mention: i’m sure many of you have heard about kanye west’s pure f~*tardry move of upstaging taylor swift. the best part of this whole fiasco, however, was provided courtesy of da prezident. off-record (but accidentally made public by a reporter), his remark on kanye west’s behavior was:
“he’s a jacka~*.”
well said, sir, well said.