READ Dr. Bob Fancher’s book: “Pleasures of Small Motions”.
There you have it! Confidence is easy, or as easy as it will be to read a book. In this case, you could probably read that book in a weekend or two.
All joking aside, consider what ‘confidence’ actually is. More importantly, realize that if you don’t have skills or abilities to be confident IN, then exactly WHAT do YOU have to be CONFIDENT about? Eh?
For instance: If your personal percentage on table length, straight-in shots is about 50/50, and you never spend time training on getting better at those particular shots. Then it stands to reason, when you are playing in a match and you’re faced with a long, straight-in shot, you will most likely have a 50/50 chance of making that shot. It doesn’t do you any good to drum up false ‘confidence’ that you will make this crucial shot in this particular match at better than a 50% success rate.
Say you have a 4-6 point average for the league games you play and you’re playing a match against someone who has a 10-12 point average in the same league. Your 10-12 opponent seems to be way more confident than you about making most of his/her shots, or playing safeties against you. Why wouldn’t they be? They might spend a lot of time training on their weak points (so they wouldn’t be weak points anymore). They may play many more hours every week than you do. They might even have a better sense of their body and how it moves and the spacial relationships of pool balls on a table. Bottom line is: the 10-12 player is able to be more confident in what they know they can do because they’ve done it enough times – successfully – to know what it looks and feels like when done right. They also likely have more tools in their shot ‘bag’ than you do: infrequent shot ideas they may know how to do and you may never even have heard of.
So what tools do you have in your shot bag? What are you good at shooting? More importantly: What are you NOT good at shooting? Of course it’s easy to be CONFIDENT that you can make shots that you usually succeed at 90% of the time. For those shots that are only a 50% – or less – success rate for you, don’t set yourself up for disappointment by trying to fake false ‘confidence’ in making the 50% shot. Accept that you have a 50% chance of making or missing those shots – unless and until you do something about training yourself to be better at those troubling shots.
Having skills that you can trust – shots you KNOW are high(er) percentage for you – is just a first step in having real confidence. The other stuff between your ears – worries about status, recognition, ‘winning’ or losing, judgement by your peers – is better expained in “Pleasures of Small Motions”. That book can be a ‘game changer’ for a lot of pool players.