Actually fear deserves our full attention here.

Did you know that the aroused feeling of fear is a feeling that has been created before? It could have been occurred for the first time through a bad experience, a thought, repetition of failure or during education resulting in a lack of confidence; or even through all sorts of things that are hidden in your subconsciousness. What you need to know is that are always two options for you … either fight or flee. It is your choice!

Through education, fear has been created in our early days when we were told to be careful for thousands of different things. Partially to protect us of course, because we had to learn to cope  with danger. How big are chances when fear of something that might happen still lives in our minds when we grow up?

People sometimes say .. ‘It is all in the mind. Fear at itself doesn’t exist.’ Up to a certain degree this is true. Because of having connected  the feeling of fear to a certain occasion in the past fear is now displaying itself in the present. But you can manage this, oh yes you can. Showing ignorance and pretending it doesn’t exist may help some people. But we believe by confronting yourself, reflecting on where emotions come from and then gradually, and with a lot of patience, reducing the amount of fear is far more effective.

We all have certain shots we like to avoid because of the outcome. These shots creep into our system and create fear. And here we are again. On a very important moment during the match. ‘Okay, concentrate, focus, you can do it.’ But still in numerous occasions the outcome will be bad again. Only few can escape this. Bjorn Haneveer, Belgian best ex-professional, always said ‘Be natural. Just do it.’ which means … you know what you have to do next, so don’t spend too much time thinking too much… focus and act naturally.

It would be very wrong to enlarge bad feelings, bad thoughts or doubts. When you do so, you are about to fail because fear is a primary reflex and will be triggered. You can diminish this by avoiding bad thoughts and bad feelings. Yes,  this will take some effort, but nonetheless it can be achieved by reprogramming your thoughts so your primary reflex will shift to positive feelings and thoughts.


Cue ball against the cushion. You have to roll in the black to clinch the frame. And there are these thoughts again. Usually you notice the same deviation in the shot, but this time it has to go in. With the excitement and pressure this shot becomes very difficult. Recognize the situation?

How can we work on this to avoid bad things from happening?

1) You could try working with intermediate steps. First place the cue ball about 25 cm from the cushion. The next day 15cm, and so on to reach the distance where the cue ball is placed against the cushion. You know you can only hit the ball high so make sure you raise the cue at the back end a bit. Try to focus, enable the cue to go through the ball naturally and smoothly similar to the previous distances. Picture yourself all the shots you made before. In your head this has to be the same shot. The only difference is that the cue ball is nearer against the cushion. Make sure the arm addresses the cue straight forward. Relax, breath and execute. Should bad habits pop up again, start all over again.

2) Use visualizations where you picture yourself the perfect cue action needed (with perfect pot) to make the shot correctly. Then you zoom in on different parts of the action e.g. stance, bridge hand, cue action, focus on the angle, smooth cueing. Then you go to the table and try to invoke all different parts, one by one. You execute them step by step. When you encounter a problem you highlight on this particular part. Again you picture the perfect image and action for this part and try to execute accordingly.

3) Self-talk. ‘You can do it. You know you can.’ You place the cue ball against the cushion. You exclude yourself from any negative image or thought from the past. You motivate yourself verbally and mentally constantly and you execute. As there is a certain value in this method, it sometimes can take a lot of time depending the player’s personality. You will face quite frequently to be disappointed. But look at it from the bright  side. This can also make you stronger at the end.

Summarizing this all we say we are all human beings with different habits, different feelings. There is no such thing as one solution to solve all kinds of problems of fear. But, when you try to stay positive, work progressively without avoiding the problem, instead dealing with it you are one step ahead in the right direction to manage your fears. Fleeing is not an option, nor postponing or pushing it aside. A positive attitude on this subject is very important.