It doesn't have to be pretty, right? I think personally, I feel better when I play well and lose, but when it comes down to bringing it in for the team, yeah I'd rather win. A few months ago Samm Diep had an article where she interviewed some top pros (I'll add the link later), and they all pretty much said the same thing, given the choice, they'll take the win however they can get it. (That's not surprising, considering that's how they make their living and winning really affects their bottom line. ) So, I ain't to proud to take it anyway I can get it.
First round of play offs and I ended up anchoring. That's not what the plan was, but one thing led to another....and it was up to me to bring in the case match. I'd like to think that I can handle the pressure, but I was definitely feeling nerves. My match didn't start until after midnight, and unfortunately, the one thing that really hampers my ability to stay calm, is being tired. I get a little physically clutzy in the early hours of the morning and I guess I'm a little psychologically clutzy too. Nothing seems to work as well.
I was on the hill, I had ball in hand with 2 balls left, and got them in to set up for a pretty easy shot on the 8 in the corner. I was lined up. I could see it. I could feel it. It was going in. And then, I went to shoot it and ... Wah? I barely stroke the ball....and the 8 dribbles into the rail. It was like an opera singer on stage taking in that deep breath and preparing to start a full-throated expressive finale. They open their mouth and "sqqquueeeaaak" nothing comes out. Sometimes, you don't feel right about a shot and then you're not surprised, but this was not the case. Somehow, my mind and stroking arm were completely disconnected. I was so intent on my aiming point and alignment, I guess forgot to breathe and stroke the ball. Damn. Fortunately, it left the 8 as a makable cut, that was prone to overcutting...My opponent followed the script, missed the ball and left the 8 right in front of the pocket.
I have to say that while that was a truly horrible shot, it didn't phase me. "oh, I missed. Let's not do that again." I was on to the next shot. That was probably my best mental moment of the game.
So, next time. Focus on getting my rhythm. Seeing the shot BEFORE I get down on the table, and focusing on my stroke. I might have been trying my damndest to hit my target, but was still using all of the pocket that I could. I know that when I let my stroke lead the way, that even when I miss, I'm getting closer to finding that place mentally where the pockets all look huge and the ball rolls right in the center. Why not just let it be in charge.