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When We Miss A Shot – What Would A Pro Do Next?

You will notice from the title “When We Miss A Shot” that I used the word “when” and not “if”. That was for a very good reason as you will find out below.

Amateur Versus Professional Attitude.

One of the biggest differences between the amateur and professional player is the way in which they react to any kind of adversity. This includes missing a shot or missing position on the next ball.

The amateur player tends to beat themselves up and criticize themselves for missing the shot. I have heard this and I have done it myself.

Attitude is Key.

The professional player knows that everybody misses! Even the best players in the world miss balls. It’s part of the game, you cannot avoid missing shots or position sometimes.


Eventually we all miss. Not in this video but Shane Van Boening missed an easy 9 ball to win a championship in 2019. He must have been devastated. Looking at his face and his demeanor, as he took the long walk back to his chair, you would never have known! That is professional discipline.

If missing is inevitable and it is, then why do we give the missed shot so much power over us as players. It’s like a volcano waiting to erupt every few minutes

This brings up two important points.

  1. How do you react when you miss?
  2. Why do you miss?

Today I will discuss point number one.

How do you react when you miss.

A History of Missed Shots.

When we first started to play pool every shot we played failed. Later as time progressed we failed less and less as we discovered which particular actions worked and which ones didn’t. This is called trial and error. Most people use this method to learn how to pot pool balls. Hit a million balls or HAMBs as it’s referred to works particularly off this principle.

Eventually we develop a different way of looking at the game than when learning. Initially it was okay to miss because we were learning from those mistakes. Now we have become competitive our mindset has shifted to one of not accepting any kind of failure.
Missing now equals defeat. Missing equals failure.

Moving Forward You Must Change.

It has been said by many motivational speakers…. “The only people that don’t make mistakes don’t get out of bed in the morning”. Also it has been said that there’s no success without failure. Thomas Edison invented the light bulb on his 99th try etc. etc.

Get back to the point you were at last time you missed. Missing was an opportunity to learn a better way to play. This is what professional pool players do. They analyze their mistakes and play the shot over and over again until it is indelibly burnt into their muscle memory. This way the professional player is using his mistakes as a way to learn and improve for the future. This different mindset sets professional players apart from most amateur players.

Perceptions Can Hurt Our Play.

It can also be said that that there are no good or bad shots that is only our perception of the result. Sometimes the shots go in, sometimes they don’t. There is no real difference only our expectations and our win lose mentality.

So how can we deal with this and change our attitude. The best way is to take care of this in practice. Make the decision right now that the next time that you practice and you miss you are going to react in a different way.

We Need to Practice Missing.

We all miss balls when practicing , When We Miss A Shot, stop look at the shot again, run it back through your mind with no judgment attached to it.
Now set up the shot again, visualize a positive result and continue to play it until you can’t get it wrong. This has to become part of your game, your ritual, just like your pre shot routine. This will become your routine for missing.

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