This past Monday was my in-house league night.  I’ll spare the details of the match and sum it up saying that I lost, not terribly, I got to 7 (going to 9) and I made some great shots, but the real point of this post is ask the internet a question:

Everyone knows a variety of ways to keep yourself calm during a match.  What do you do if you find yourself in the middle of meltdown, fully recognize it, and all the usual tricks just don’t seem to work.  Not breathing, not taking a break, not laughing; none of the usual methods to keep yourself in line are working. How do you recover from that?

The “give-up stroke” sometimes works, but when you’re not playing well, the rolls don’t go your way, so as soon as you start to reign in the mental game, something else, sets it off.  Opponent misses, gets safe, pockets spitting a ball out, or rolling a 1/4 inch too far, etc.

Tuesday morning I realized what the biggest problem of all was… I was tired. I didn’t feel tired at all Monday, but Tuesday morning came and I couldn’t barely remember anything from the previous day; which is a sure sign that I hadn’t slept as well as I thought Sunday night.  Combined with my rush to get to league after having to work late, leaving me no time to warm up, and really hating the table I had to play on, it’s really no surprise I lost my head.  But, hindsight is always 20-20. 

Probably the best shot of the match for me was this one: my opponent missed the 5 in the bottom corner and it snuggled up next to the 8.  I could actually see an edge of the 5 relatively easily, but not enough to pocket it easily.  I recognize that the carom off the 8 was dead in the side, if I could just get there. I looked at doubling the long-rail, but my angle was a little too much fo rme to feel confident to hold it on the rail.  I looked at kicking in front of the 9, but then I’d have to open it a little, and again didn’t feel confident.  Finally, I saw that I had enough room to squeeze behind the 9 and straighten it out and it should head right towards the 5.  I lined it up, sent it and everything went as expected.  My opponent gave me a “great shot” compliment even.

However, I over-cut the next shot on the 8 and gave that rack away. And that’s how the bulk of my match went. :/