people seek control.
not saying that all people are demanding bastards trying to make you do things for them; not at all. but people do seek control to varying degrees. pool players as well. unfortunately, pool, like life, are often filled with things outside of control. so really, what can we control in pool?
not much, as it turns out. i personally think the only thing you probably can control is yourself. for me, just barely.
i don’t think i can control my opponent, really. i can behave a certain way in order to elicit a set response, or a response i know my opponent will most likely exhibit. but that’s about it. if my opponent doesn’t give me the response i want, there is not much i can really do. i can try behaving differently, hoping i’d get that desired response. but if it doesn’t happen, it’s outside my control.
can’t really control the table either. i can do the archer and pick at near-invisible dusts all day, but that won’t guarantee there won’t be one dust particle that sits righttt there just in place to mess with the cueball.
i have even less influence over the rolls. if i can actually figure out how the balls will roll, i’d immediately join the pro tour.
i have some control over my body. but when a body decides all by itself that it’ll convulse in pain for whatever reason, there isn’t much i can do except to quit playing that day and go see a doctor. maybe the muscles in the arm will decide to twitch at the wrong time and throw the shot off. or any number of things.
all these x factors tell me one thing: when i’m at the table, i need to ignore all the x factors and worry only about how i will shoot a shot. i can’t worry about my opponents, the tables, the rolls, the crowd, because they all have one thing in common: they are all outside my control. so the only sensible thing to do is to accept that fact and ignore the things i can’t predict or control.
i still marvel at how the filipino pros can just tune everything out and play. i think they’ve figured this point out, and they’re taking full advantage of it. sure, you can try sharking them, distracting them, make them mad, make them laugh, pee on them, pee on yourself, whatevers. and that’ll work once in a while; they are human. most of the time, however, you’re just wasting energy, because i believe that they’ve figured out what’s important.
their shot, and after they make it, the one after that.