Saturday, September 6, 2008

Making Waves

I was listening to a friend of mine, a BCA instructor, give a lesson about the importance of separating thinking and planning from execution at the table. He described watching Efren Reyes play at a tournament. How, in between his turns, he was slumped in his chair almost half-asleep. When it came time to shoot, he sort of shuffled to the table, scruffy, looking over the layout, chalked his cue, made a decision. The moment Efren got down to shoot, it was like he sucked up all the energy in the room, focusing it intently into the pure and precise execution of his shot. When the shot was over, the energy dissipated and he returned to just the way he was before.

This reminded me of one of the really interesting things I learned from The New Toughness Training for Sports by James Loehr. (Which incidentally really is NOT a new version of Mental Toughness Training for Sports. The original is far superior, but more on that later). The best athletes are the best wave makers. They can bring intense focus and energy during the critical times, and then release it and go into recovery mode. Great tennis players use even 25-seconds in between points to get just a blip of recovery, before gearing up for the next point (that actually kind of blows my mind).

This kind of discipline about intentionally recovering, supposedly, helps with eliminating the lapses in focus at the wrong time. I imagine that 100-ball runners in straight pool are probably great at this, too. Anyway, food for thought....I have to remember this the next time I need to clear more than 3-balls from the table.

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