By Paul Potier
A couple of week ago I was competing in the Spokane Open in Spokane Washington. I lost my second match to Rafael Martinez. I fought back strongly and won many matches on Sunday, and Monday to make the final 4 players in the tournament. My last match was against my good friend Brady Gollan from Kelowna, BC. I was up 5-3 but failed to make a ball on my next break. Brady won that game to trail 5-4. We were playing “winner breaks” and “rack for yourself” and after Brady racked the balls I leaned over to see where he was racking the 1 ball, just in case it was a different spot than I had racked it.
He made a ball on his break and won that game to tie me 5-5. After he racked the balls and went to grab his break cue I once again leaned over to see where he racked the 1 ball. Now Brady seemed upset and asked me if I was looking to see if I wanted him to re-rack the balls, when really I was just looking because I wanted information for my next break. Brady took total control of the match from that point on and beat me 9-5.
As soon as the match was over Brady apologized to me for getting upset. He knew me very well and had to know that I would never check the rack to see if he was doing anything wrong. In fact we had a conversation about just that situation the day before, so he surprised me when he got upset. I didn't make a ball on the break on my last 2 attempts yet I broke the balls exactly like I wanted to. The only reason that I leaned over to check his rack (while he was getting his break cue, thereby not disturbing him) was to see if he racked the one ball a little higher or lower than I had. Needless to say I stopped checking his rack after 5-5.
So, Brady got upset, but he turned that negative energy to get more focused and determined. He started really connecting with the table, the cloth, the balls, the lighting, the pockets and his cue. He quickly got 100% focused on the task at hand by channeling all the emotional energy into a higher level of confidence, desire, determination, and inner strength. During the last few games of that match I could see him entering that perfect zone that we all strive to find and I knew that I was in trouble.
So, I had unintentionally created a monster that trampled me to death. Oops, I guess I should have stayed in my seat!! I understand how this happens, as I have also found that perfect zone of 100% focus and determination many times over my career, and I have taught many of my students how to get there as well. Up until the point where Brady got a little upset he and I were both playing very well but not quite in that perfect zone of total connection and 100% focus. He continued that perfect focus and went on to win his next match 9-1 to meet with Rafael Martinez in the finals. With his focus still the same he did the unthinkable and double dipped the great Rafael Martinez to win the 2014 Spokane Open.
Many years ago (1990) while playing in the Manitoba 8 Ball Championship I was already in the B side and my opponent was playing excruciatingly slow. I was getting very upset and took a break to cool down. This was the first time that I was ever able to channel that negative energy into pure focus. I eventually won that match and tore through the B side like a hot knife cutting through butter to win the tournament. Since then I have experimented with channeling my emotions for many years and have been successful the majority of times. So, I definitely recognized it in Brady that day. I hope you have found this article useful, if not at least interesting and maybe entertaining.
Enjoy the Process!