Snooker Psychology: Judd Trump – Concentration!

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snooker psychologyIt’s the last sixteen of the Welsh Open. And Judd Trump is in prime position to make progress. But a crucial missed black in the final frame opens the door to a relieved Joe Perry.

Thus Judd makes another premature exit from a big TV event. Afterwards he talks, not for the first time, about the dips in concentration that cost him the match.

Concentration is a key ingredient for success in top level sport. Especially in snooker. The quality of your concentration allows you to be in harmony with the table. Seeing your shot. Seeing the angles. Seeing the opportunities. The geometry of the table is vivid. Thus your game flows.

But when you have a distracted mind, you can lose the line from ball to pocket. Lose the picture of where you want to leave the white. The table stops speaking to you. You are no longer making the cue ball dance. What should be effortless becomes a struggle.

Subtle doubts begin to manifest themselves. You start thinking too much in the chair. Especially during a slow game. Instead of being calm and waiting for your chance to come to the table, you mind is pre-occupied…too busy…working too fast.

Missed opportunities become magnified as you play them out in your head. Thus when frame and match winning chances present themselves, you are not clear-headed enough to take them. Where has your concentration gone?…Your over-active mind has hijacked it!

A lot of players spend endless hours working on and grooving their techniques. But neglect the time spent on grooving that critical ingredient for success…the art of great concentration. As athletic great Edwin Moses once said, ‘My concentration level blocks out everything. Concentration is why some athletes are better than others. You develop that concentration in training’.#

Judd Trump’s talent is not in question. But his concentration levels are. Sometimes it is essential for career development to turn a weakness into a strength. And that moment must be now for this gifted cueman.