Dealing with mental issues ...
First of all we need to say that there is no such thing as one solution for all kinds of problems or adaptable to all players. We all differ in:
- level of play,
- adaptive abilities and learning abilities,
- ambition, personality,
- practice facilities etc.
We all face disappointment once in a while. We question our own method, our thinking, our game plan, ourselves.
Most of those problems will not fade away. Hoping that problems will dissolve automatically is out of the question. So how do we deal with problems? It is time to look at solving problems differently. Time for a plan of action. You need to work on way of thinking and attitude. As there is quite a lot to discuss about we highlight 3 easy steps.
1) TO ANALYSE AND EVALUATE CORRECTLY ...
What we need is a keen eye on things. You should ask the right questions like … What are my advantages? What are the obstacles? A keen eye needs a bright mind. So spend time on the mental aspect as well. What is your personlity like? How do you cope and feel about things? How do you judge yourself? All kinds of problems related need to be brought into picture. Without summary and clear view it is nearly impossible to set off well.
A few examples of pending issues might be:
I am playing too quick and therefor make mistakes.
I tend to lose control when I am amongst the balls.
I think too quick and often negative.
I suffer from bad luck all the time.
I can not finish things off and always lose on the pink or black.
When I am behind in points I start to panic.
I get verbally aggressive easily. Etc.
Trying to find what causes this. Ask yourself ...
How is your basic attitude anf how do you tune in on your surroundings?
Have I always been like this?
What are my targets?
Am I raising the bar too high?
What about my social skills?
What are my inner feelings when I win or lose?
Do I still suffer from previous events in my life? Etc.
2) TO DRAW A PLAN OF ACTION ...
The closer you get revealing the real problem, it is time for action. Bear in mind not to rush in on things and go step by step. Trying to solve mental problems is never easy. So when there are a few steps to be taken, start with the easy ones. Once started you will face a journey where you keep analysing patterns of behavior constantly. As this is a totally new way of looking at yourself it is conceivable you will gradually start thinking differently.
FOR INSTANCE …
When the problem is involving taking wrong decisions at the snooker table, you need to require a clear view on your way of thinking. A plan of action that will provide you with better tactical insight can be reached out for you by practicing certain playing conditions or even watching and studying match play on television. Doing this by yourself is not easy. So that is why we suggest to have more players get involved or an assistant/coach.
When negative thoughts need to be worked on it is very important to know what triggers them. Here, the attention should be addressed on shifting negative to positive. Quite often this indicates hard work that requires dedication and resilience. Trying to improve on attitude, insight, feeling or personality can only be achieved with an open mind.
To some extend you can deal with problems yourself or with some help of friends. But sometimes we have to face reality as well. When problems are substantially or extensively sizable you can’t just turn on the tele or watch a dvd. Sometimes bigger or worse problems call for medical intervention.
Despite the nature of the problem, there needs to be the will of the player to turn things around. During the process of change stimulation and motivation can be very important and decisive.
3) TO MEASURE AND TO ADJUST ...
Finaly you are put to the test. By exposing yourself to stimulus? e.g. match play is the best way to find out you have progressed mentally. Practice sessions do count also. When you succeed while practising you already made an important first step ahead. Derailing during practice sessions means you still have a long way to go.
You already sensed that improving mentally is like a work in progress to some of us. It is falling down, getting up again. Falling down again. When Steve Davis was outclassed by young master Stephen Hendry early ‘90ies, he was confronted with a new approach to the game. His famous words ‘Back to the drawing board.’ are still echoing. After many years of ruling the game he needed a different approach to adjust his level of play to what was currently needed that time. And boy did he, for he became the longest player to stay in the top 16 ever.