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8 Ball Mental Block

8 Ball Mental Block

I have just started to get back into playing pool after 10 years and I seem to have developed a problem I never used to have, its that I choke on the 8 or 9 ball. I can generally get to the last ball while my opponent still has at least 3 or so balls left on the table and sure enough be it a difficult shot or “stupid” easy I seem to have the damnedest time pocketing it that is if I do at all.

I usually play for fun on bar tables (with the same problem) till a friend asked me to be on her team (APA league) as they were short one. Not wanting to let anyone down I began practicing earnestly and have made marked improvement yet no matter how well I play or how productive the hours of practice are I have this mental block that I don’t know how to overcome.

If anyone has any ideas I’m open.

8 Ball Mental Block

Replies & Comments

  1. evolZiggy_Lee on 9/1/2014 12:54:48 AM

    Hello, I have not played any pool in almost 3 years I just had back surgery on the 22nd of July. It's going to be at least 6 months before my Dr said I can start playing. It sounds to me like you don't have a problem pocketing balls, it's just the game winning ball your have the problem with. The only thing I can tell you is slow down, breath and keep your head down. You must practice as often as you can, you do that and you'll be running racks. Best of luck on your game.


  2. evolevol on 9/1/2014 3:22:56 AM


    How awful for you! Is that the reason you have not played in nearly 3 yrs? I trust the surgery went well and that you are on the road to a full recovery. My team captain has tells me the same thing about slowing down, breathing, taking a moment to chalk and calm myself and you are right that is great advice which has helped a lot …up until that last ball!

    I should say I am not what you might call “skilled.” I’m more in the “has potential” category so at this point I couldn’t run out a building if it was on fire let alone running out a rack (grin) but I am improving.

    I am not overly serious I don’t beat myself up if I miss a shot or lose a game. My attitude is that its just a game, sure id like to win but there are real problems in the world to care about. Whether I hit a ball into another ball correctly just doesn’t make the list.

  3. evolZiggy_Lee on 9/1/2014 8:09:42 AM

    Evol, thanks for the kind words. The surgery went well, the killer pain that ran from my low back down my left leg to the foot. That has been taken care of. Now I have just pain from the surgery and all the work they did on my spine. I start physical therapy on Sept 2nd. Dr told me it's all going to work itself out. You keep working on your game and thanks again... Cheers Chris

  4. evolgibson on 9/9/2021 10:12:07 AM

    One trick I have heard is to try to make the last ball and get position after the shot. Concentrating on two things helps to accomplish the first thing more easily.

  5. evolRayMills on 9/9/2021 9:46:47 PM

    Yes, many players concentrate on how fun it will be to win the game and don't give a little thought to where the cue ball will be if the shot is missed. Always consider whether you can leave the opponent with bad position (no sell-outs!), but not at the expense of making the winning shot less achievable. This would also include choosing a shot speed that would leave a missed winning shot too close to the pocket: Who is likely to get the next opportunity? (Eight-Ball, varies; Nine-Ball, usually the opponent.)

    So, to the original question, a rehearsed evaluation of all variables and percentages should apply to all shots, and maybe this will make game balls just the same as the others, as @gibson says.

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8 Ball Mental Block

  • Title: 8 Ball Mental Block
  • Author:
  • Published: 9/1/2014 12:07:09 AM