Taking a Break to Recharge

As the host of this month’s pool synergy forum, I wanted to write about a topic that I was familiar with and was also relevant for me.  Over the last two years, I’ve been laser focused on improving my pool game and I believe the prolonged intensity caught up with me this fall about a month before the preliminary round of the 2011 U.S. Amateur Championships.  I was beginning to lose my desire to compete and was mentally exhausted.  In October I somehow managed to pull myself together and was able to win the preliminary round of the U.S. Amateur Championships held in Northern California, but then I immediately reverted back to my mental/emotional slump and couldn’t motivate myself to do any additional training.  After traveling to Florida in November and competing in the finals of the U.S. Amateur Championships, I finally admitted to myself that I was having trouble focusing and I needed to take a break from the game. 

For the entire month of December and probably the first three months of 2012, I’ve decided to take a break from playing pool.  I just need some time to recharge my batteries, reorganize my life, and get refocused on what my goals are in pool and life.  For the time being, here’s my plan for refreshing and recharging myself:

(1) I’m totally revamping my diet.  I’ve gotten rid of all of my junk food, kicked my diet coke addiction, started eating more raw vegetables like carrots, celery, broccoli, etc., drastically reduced my intake of useless starchy carbs and began eating only when hungry, not when the clock tells me it’s time to eat.

(2) I’ve transitioned from being a semi-professional couch potato to adopting a new (and sustainable) exercise program which includes 3 or 4 days of running per week, plus 3 or 4 days of gym work.  The exercise is making a big difference in my energy level and is also a good stress reliever and mental gunk cleanser.

(3) I’m spending a lot of time with friends and family.  I’m flying back east to see my family during the holidays and also plan to take a trip to see some snow in late December.  I think spending a few days at Lake Tahoe or Yosemite will do wonders for me.  My main focus will be resting and relaxation, and maybe I’ll enjoy a little hot cocoa while snuggling up to a cozy fire.  :-)

My intention in making these changes is to be a healthier person both physically and mentally, allow myself to get some rest, rebalance my life, and come back to the pool world next year with a fresh new focus and attitude.  So that’s about it for me.  I plan to periodically provide updates to this blog on my thoughts and musings on pool, so stay tuned.  After all, although I’m taking a short break from the table, I’m still an incorrigible pool player at heart.

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3 responses to “Taking a Break to Recharge

  1. Hi Michael,

    A break seems like a healthy response to burn out. I once took a 4 year break from my music; in the long run that was good for me. I emerged with a better balance between music and the rest of my life. These days I put in about 10 hours per week on music (maybe a little more). My level of enjoyment has never been as high as it is right now. As a “talented amateur” I get a lot of the satisfaction and little of the pressure the pros have to deal with.

  2. Thanks for all of your help and for starting ths blog in the first place pool needs more community and Synergy. Have fun on your trips and have a great Christmas break.

  3. I had a mini burn out a month or so ago. I decided to not play for a week. I was in the hall on Wednesday LOL. I got watching youtube and streaming pool matches and it was all it took.

    I did limit myself to Friday night for three weeks and I think it helped a lot. It helped my mental focus while playing. I am no great player but try to be, and am always focused on improving. A local spot has some dang good players. I used to be lucky if I could hold the table for more than 3 games. After my break I went in on Friday night. I played one game as partners and lost. Someone else asked me to be partners, I agreed and he wanted me to break. I broke, sunk a ball and preceded to run out the entire rack with ease. I was totally shocked as it was the first time I ever did this! I can usually run 4-6 balls but anyway, that night I was on FIRE, we changed the table to singles, won a coin flip so I got the table, kept the table for about 15 games and finally got tired, lost focus and scratched on the 8 ball. The next week it was about the same. I can’t explain it but that few weeks of a break did wonders for refreshing me mentally on the game. Before I could run about 2-3 balls in my head (not saying I always got shape but still…) now I can pretty much run 4 balls to the whole rack in my head before shooting.

    Anyways, here is hoping your break helps as much as mine did!

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