I went down to my usual Friday night pool-playing session the other night. I play at a little local bar “where everybody knows my name” as the saying goes. I’ve been playing there for years.
Right next to the table I was playing on, a large screen TV sits on the wall about 6 feet off the floor. The Red Sox were playing the Yankees. Anybody familiar with these two teams knows that, when they have a match-up, it is usually a good game.
At this stage of my life, I can play 8-ball pretty well if I do say so myself. However, this past Friday found me losing games that I certainly should have won. I was missing shots that I normally could make in my sleep.
Between shots I was watching the game, especially when a good hitter would come up. I normally never watch baseball on TV, but with that big screen right there in my face, I couldn’t resist.
After a while I started to get a little perturbed by all the shots I was missing. I mean I was missing straight-in shots from halfway down the table and simple cut shots. What the heck?
Then it hit me – concentration – or the lack of it to be exact. I wasn’t giving my sole attention to the pool game, but was sharing it with the television. It really made a heck of a difference in my pool playing.
And it’s funny, because even when I realized what the problem was with my shooting, I still couldn’t get myself to concentrate fully with that darned TV distracting me. Try as I might, even when I thought I was concentrating better, I still didn’t play up to my usual level.
Because I often play in a bar, I have learned over the years to tune-out the background noise and distractions. Boisterous drunks and loud music normally just pass through one ear and out the other. Not that night though.
Why was this ball game distracting me so much? I don’t know. Maybe I got swept up in the attention spans of the other 10 or so people attentively watching the baseball game. Maybe I just wasn’t in the mood for playing pool that night? Maybe the Chinese food I had for lunch didn’t sit right? Whatever.
I do know that without my concentration working properly, I simply do not shoot anywhere near my best pool. I knew this before of course, but Friday night just really hammered home the message – if you want to shoot your best pool, you’ve got to give the game your full attention. You can bet that’s what I’ll be doing next week.
Good thing they don’t play football on Friday nights. 8^)