Thursday, October 05, 2006

Snooker: Learn to Focus = Learn to Win

Trying to move up a level in any sport often means turning a losing habit into a winning habit. Quite often though a sportsperson will have the innate ability but cannot turn that natural talent into a winning formula.

Generally this is caused by a lack of focus, something that can easily be addressed. In billiards, pool and snooker this is a particularly important aspect of getting into the winning mould. How often do we hear players say “I took my eye off it” or “I just wasn’t concentrating?” This is to do with focus and it can be caused by external factors both on and off the table.

Everything we do in our day-to-day life can have an effect on our focus and concentration. Many a time I have heard players in my local league claiming that they just did not play well in a particular match. It is very difficult to focus on a game like billiards when your mind is elsewhere, if you have had a bad day at work or home then this will affect your game. Billiards relies on focus and concentration and without them you may as well not turn up!

How can we try to regain this level of focus to allow us to play our match? It is a very difficult question and not one that has a finite answer; different people will deal with focus in many different ways. This guide offer’s a number of solutions as to how to regain your focus whilst playing.

Pre-Shot Routine

To regain or even maintain focus and concentration during a game it is important to have your own pre-shot routine, a set of movements, or a mental checklist before you get down on every shot. If you get into your shooting position the same way every time you shoot then it allows you to concentrate solely on the job in hand and can cut out some of the many external factor’s that may be going on around you.

Take a Break

In a match you can sometimes get frustrated when the “roll” does not go your way. I am a firm believer in the old adage that you make your own luck. Take a break from the table; get a drink, a toilet break, anything to refresh your mind. Come back to the table and on your next visit try to put all your efforts into the job in hand.


Although billiards is not a particularly physical sport it does take a large amount of mental concentration and calculation. Matches can go on for a long time in often very smoky atmospheres. With this point in mind it is important to re-hydrate regularly, billiards players often miss this factor. Water enables the body to function properly not only in a physical way but also mentally.

Ignore the Surroundings

I have been in a lot of matches where I have allowed my surroundings and what is happening on other tables to affect my focus and concentration. This can be other billiards matches, music or a particularly loud conversation. The best way to eliminate this external factor is to not allow your eyes to move from the table. Whether it is you or your opponent at the table your eyes should not leave the baize. This focuses your mind on the task and makes you mentally ready should your opponent make a mistake.

Eliminating external factors in your efforts to focus will greatly improve your game. This coupled with the will to win and the determination to improve will move your game to a sufficient level to achieve success.

Remember Learn to Focus = Learn to Win.

© Copyright 2006 P. Williams
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