Billiards: The Mental Game
Billiards is one of the most popular cue sports – if not the most popular – that is played with pool cues and billiard balls on a felt covered table bound by rubber. The aim of the game and its variations is to put the balls into the six pockets of the table, in various orders and with fluctuating rules. Billiards has been played in various forms for a very long time. Initially it wasn’t even a table sport! But through its growth and evolution, the game has not lost its competitive edge and continues to be a very popular pastime.
Pool is a commonly played billiard game. Here the balls are divided into stripes and solids, and the aim of each player is to pocket all of their billiard balls and then the black ‘8’ ball. The game requires a fair amount of physical agility as the table is low and the balls need to be hit with force and precision. Good eyesight and the ability to aim correctly are also vital skills to succeed in this game. A few millimeters can define your game, so you need a steady hand.
Although physical skill is important, billiards is really more of a mental game. Physical talent can only take you so far, but if you don’t understand the mental aspects of the game you might as well pack up your pool cue cases and go home. Concentration plays a substantial role in this game. The best players are the ones who can focus to a great degree. Focus requires you to be able to think in angles, pressure, force, etc. And after a while, you don’t even need to think; you can just see it. In order to reach this stage you need a lot of practice. It’s only when you can play the game in your sleep that you know you’ve got it right.
The first thing you will notice when you’re concentration is in place is that you automatically tend to loosen up. Are you able to laugh at a silly shot? Can you smile at the thought of losing while continuing to play to win? It’s when you are able to do these things that you know that you are relaxed and you’ve set the stage for success.
You need to be able to visualize your shots before they actually happen – seeing is believing. Self-motivation also plays a big role in keeping your calm and pushing you towards your ultimate goal.
The art of billiards is in understanding that it is a mental game. Once you’ve got concentration and focus, you’ve managed to up your game by quite a degree. Suddenly the game moves beyond the billiard cues and billiard balls and other billiard supplies and it becomes a sport of determination and top-notch skill.