Snooker Psychology: Graham Dott – Nine All!

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It’s another day of dramatic action at the Crucible Theatre. After James Cahill’s compelling win over Ronnie O’Sullivan, Graham Dott is mounting a serious recovery operation against former champion Stuart Bingham.

From 8-1 down in the morning session, Dott has brought the scores level to 9-9. He has serious momentum. And Bingham is struggling.

But in the final frame, the Scotsman starts to get edgy for the first time in the session. From chasing down his opponent, he can now smell the winning line. His flow and fluency desert him, and Bingham finds enough composure to get home 10-9.

When you are chasing down an opponent, it’s like they have a great big target on their back. There is a clear focus for you to align around. A sense that you are moving towards them closer and closer. And your task is to bridge that gap. The closer you get the more energy you summon. And then you bridge the gap.

You have caught up. Arrived in the same place as your opponent. Now what? From aggressive chaser, who are you now? What’s the new target?

What if in the act of chasing. you fail to realign? Suddenly there is no one to chase. No prey to hunt down. No gap to close. You’ve succeeded.

Now you need to recompose the story. Create a feeling of calmness. Control. Re-set your intentions. Maybe, somehow, in clawing back a seven frame deficit, Graham Dott no longer had a clear purpose. In not wanting to throw away all the gains he had just accrued, it put him into a defensive mode. And with it came an edginess. Balls he was previously potting, were now being missed. And with it went the chance of recording one of the Crucible’s greatest ever comebacks!