FOR SNOOKER PLAYERS
INCLUDES METHODS FOR EXTENDING ABILITY INTO OLDER AGE
by Noel Huntley, Ph.D.
Can be applied
appropriately to any skill or sport and is
important information for the sports psychologist.
INTRODUCTION . . . . 1
THE MECHANICS OF SKILL AS APPLIED TO SNOOKER . . . . 3
THE THREE FACTORS RESPONSIBLE FOR THAT BAD GAME' . . . 6
PRACTICAL SOLUTIONS TO PREMATURE DEBILITATION OF
SNOOKER ABILITY WITH AGE . . . . . 8
1. CLEARING PAST NEGATIVE INCIDENTS . . . . . . 8
2. RESTORING THE LEARNING PATTERN . . . . . . 10
PSYCHOLOGICAL FACTORS . . . . . . . 19
EPILOGUE . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21
Most snooker players, particularly professional, will be mainly interested in the aging problem and how to offset this. Thus the big question is: Should a player be approaching that plateau of ability in their late thirties or even fifties?
Firstly, let us begin by clarifying a confusionin fact hidden assumptionin which we tend to identify time with age when we are talking about certain abilities. To the degree the ability involves physiological activity, then time is equivalent to age; meaning that physiology, such as involved in muscular activity, deteriorates with time/age. This is inevitable in a carbon body, such as ours, and a DNA with a gene condition that allows this deterioration which we mildly call aging'. Not all time is age-related. See Figure 1.
What we are inferring here is that a declining aptitude in skills can occur merely with time, in particular, as the ability reaches a high level. Why is this?
This particular reduction in ability has nothing to do with physiology, or the brain, which is a 3D mass of physiological and organic material that functions as a stimulus-response machine, symbol processing computer, and a step-down frequency mechanism for the mind (a field and energy system and not a by-product of the brain).
The basis of skill is the learning pattern, which consists of frequency/wave patternsan immense complexity of vibrations for carrying and processing information. Learning patterns don't require feeding, and don't wear out; they do not need to deteriorate (and don't die). Unfortunately as the skill becomes greater, the learning patterns can turn into habit patterns.
This onset, however, of the apparent aging process (as skill becomes greater), meaning in this case the degeneration of flexible learning patterns into habit patterns, can be prevented or delayed. Later the physiological degeneration will eventually take over. The solution is to either prevent the onset of these limiting habit patterns, particularly in the early stages of training, or to reverse the condition where one is already an experienced player, and restore the learning patterns to their natural flexible learning condition.
We shall return to this but here it would be appropriate to digress into an explanation of the mechanism involved in snooker skills so that the aging problem can be better understood.
THE MECHANICS OF SKILL AS APPLIED TO SNOOKER
Before we introduce simplifications for the non-scientific reader it is necessary to give a proper (and therefore technical in this case) brief description of the learning pattern. Firstly all physical movements, muscular actions, are controlled by learning patterns. A learning pattern is a 4-dimensional (4D) holographic template which houses programmes and converts nonlinear information into linear information. Don't worry about the words not understood at this point.
Learning patterns contain the programmes for all physical movements, that is, muscular actions. Abilities in coordination activities and skills are governed by the development of the learning pattern. The greater the development, the higher the skill and the more automatic movements can become. This is normal; it is to be expected. Less attention is required to keep muscular activity in activation. However, the more automatic the learning pattern becomes, the more easily it can turn into a habit pattern. This means the learning pattern ceases to change (develop), and a sticking point is reached in one's progressultimately this results in a permanent frozen' or fixed state of the learning pattern and programmes, with no progress and an eventual decline in ability.
Use Figure 2(a) and (b) with the following text. Picture oneself preparing to pot a ball. The first thing one does is to take aim. What happens when one aims?
One looks at the layout of the balls and gauges the angle required to pot the ball. The eye is very sensitive to judgements and connects its information with the physical posture, directing changes in angles of joints and tensions. During the aiming process, tensions in the muscles are changing minutely along with the angles at the relevant joints, that is, sight information is related to tension values and angles at the joints. Even static tensions, such as in any part of the body, or legs, and certainly the arch of the hand supporting the cue, are all recorded in the programmes within the learning patterns. The eye judges the requirements for the correct learning pattern to achieve success with the pot. But the body, to execute movements, takes aim to find' this learning pattern amongst countless similar ones (corresponding to slightly different angles, etc.) in the mind computer system.
This pattern of changing, adjusting tensions and angles in the body, forms a wave pattern in itself that is continuously matched against countless learning patterns stored in the mind. Thus the sight evaluation has selected the correct requirements for the learning pattern but the body position must now correspond. As the latter adjustment takes placethe aiming processa correspondence is found and registers by means of resonance, see Figure 2(b). The posture of the body and the pattern of tensions, manifesting as a feeling in the kinaesthetic sense (sensation appears in the muscles), now resonates with the correct learning pattern (programme) for that shot. The player will observe/feel a sensation as though the computer were saying, That's it! You've got it! Shoot now!' Remember that urge to shoot now? The computer will not make a mistake.
The player now allows the learning pattern to be cause and the player lets go'. However, the learning pattern requires an uninterrupted moment of attention. A singular state of consciousness focus must be held throughout the brief shot movement. If this is achieved the computer will not make any mistakes; it will present that precise learning pattern for that shot every time if it has been learned. However, if the focus of attention is broken in any way during the shot, the learning pattern is released by the computer as not required any longer. In effect the programme/learning pattern slips out of alignment and a similar but slightly different one may take its place, and the shot fails.
This often happens when the attention shifts to the positional placement of the cue ball (where the player intends the cue ball to finish up). There is an extremely delicate and sensitive relationship between the input function and the learning pattern (sensed kinaesthetically in the muscles). Cause and effect, in particular, is interchanged back and forth in the process of aiming.
Let us now take a look at what happens when one has that bad game.
THE THREE FACTORS RESPONSIBLE FOR THAT BAD GAME'
(a) The general frame of mind of the player at the time of the game. This can be a combination of psychological and physical effects.
(b) Reactivating past errors. A psychological effect based on past failures and mistakes.
(c) Focussing. Failure to hold the focus of attention during the brief moment of the shot. This clearly is influenced by (a) or (b) above.
Let us take them in order. The first one is fairly obvious. If a person is not in a reasonable state of mind and body this will influence the player's ability to focus on the game and to succeed. We need not dwell on this and can assume these conditions are reasonable in our discussion of more important data.
For the second factor, the source of hindrance is based on reactivation of past mistakes and failures. Every time the player cues badly and reacts to it, the reaction is recorded by the mind along with the details of the event itself. The key is the reactionnot the bad shot. Any dislike, anger, self-criticism, reproach and invalidation of any degree, is recorded and will hinder the player when reactivated. The mind records continuously every split second the activities of perception, thinking, and learning, including all physical actions. A complete record exists of experiences and can be envisaged as patterns on waves (a method of storing information not so different from our TV/radio wave-band system).
What causes the actual problem here is the player's state of mindnot the mistakes in themselves. A bad reaction means there is a dislike (a withdrawal, a mental condition of rejecting and resisting). This negative aspect is also recorded in the mind. Every detail of this reactionary experience is imprinted in the memory as out-of-phase energies (sine waves). This is the emotional charge of the reaction/dislike and is recorded on top of the regular recordings of events but out of harmonywaves not in mathematical alignment. This opposition of energies (opposing flows), which create a more solid effect, tends to make these negative experiences persist in time. This means they can easily be reactivated at a future time. Not only that, but such incidents and negative experiences of failure and frustration, etc. have similaritiessimilar or repeated states of mind and they may link together, activating the charge and bringing it into the present moment (the wave patterns are in resonance). The mind behaves like a quantum computer; it has subconscious characteristics of superposition, superimposition and simultaneousness.
All we need to know here is that separate energies, even in time, when resonant (in phase/harmony), communicate instantaneously (called phase-entanglement in quantum physics). This is the nonlocal phenomenon of quantum theory, which has been proven many times. In other words, a past-failure experience can be instantly brought into the present moment.
Imagine now a snooker player scans the ball position as he moves to make the pot. Let's say there is an arrangement of balls closely corresponding to that in a past game in which failure is recorded in his mind. Consciously he doesn't recall this but his subconscious can with its ability in pattern recognition. Depending on his state of mind, this past experience may be reactivated. In fact a whole string of such similar events may be reactivated on the mind's memory time line. The present consciousness and its proper focus will be affected adversely by this subconscious connection to that past event. Literally that emotional charge comes up from the subconscious into the margin of (present time) consciousness. In effect it is trying' to help the consciousness to survive this event better by warning consciousness: There are dangers here', You will fail here', Keep out of here' (preventing proper focussing of consciousness). Hence the player succumbs to the same error again.
Moreover the older one becomes, the more negative incidents one accumulates, bringing about a gradual decline in ability. This is potentially reversible. We shall pursue this later under solutions.
In summary, we have the accumulation of incidents to which the player reacts unfavourably, causing negative reactions/emotions impeding the player's ability in present time.
The second factor that limits the upper ability in snooker, which also could be prevented, is that as the skill becomes greater, in particular, high levels of skill, the learning patterns will change from flexible, expanding learning patterns to unchanging habit patterns.
Thus the two main factors that bring about declining ability:
1) Reactivation of past failures when potting the ball.
2) Learning patterns (flexible) turning into habit patterns (unchanging)this further then leads to deterioration (in the control of that habit pattern).
What are the possible solutions to these debilitating factors? The first one clearly would link to the subject of psychoanalysisthe past negative reactivations need to be cleared. In the future, as science develops a science of the mind, professional snooker players will specifically deal with this area. This could, of course, be done today. Let us address this one first. (The second factor, that of learning patterns turning into habit patterns, is of greater interest and has more precisely known elements.)
PRACTICAL SOLUTIONS TO PREMATURE DEBILITATION
OF SNOOKER ABILITY WITH AGE
1. CLEARING PAST NEGATIVE INCIDENTS
The degree of success in clearing the reactivation of past failures will very much depend on the ability to recall these incidentsa much easier task if the recall procedure is carried out immediately after every game and, in particular, in the early days of playing.
Expected variations would occur from individual to individual due to unknown and unpredictable factors. Nevertheless it is theoretically a very valid system.
Unfortunately we can't expect the older player who is professional enough and wants to clear these negative past influences, to succeed in any easy manner to erase these bad reactions from a complex past of such incidents. It merely depends how hard one is prepared to work on this. The hidden severity of this past also will vary from person to personsome are more predisposed towards a positive state of mind, known as a good temperament, and others are more adversely affected. Everything is recorded and built up in the mind.
Firstly one should examine whether one has a hidden thought (programme) that diminished ability must occur over the age range that it has been established to occur (Figure 1). As previously mentioned, the ideal is that players in their earliest years of practising, after every game, even though just a practice, retraces the experience and analyses for negative reactions. The procedure would be to choose a quiet moment, be relaxed, undisturbed, go into a somewhat meditative statemaybe eyes closed, slow down breathing to aid focussing of consciousness and facilitate memory recollection.
Tell the subconscious to go to the beginning of the game. Move through the event, stopping at any possibility of reactions of an invalidatory nature towards one's actions: criticism of a bad shot, or decision, dislike, frustration, blame, anger. All these must be identified and recalled. Each time an incident of this kind is recalled, start from the beginning of that incident and go through the memory pattern, observing one's reactions, which are now being revealed in the present moment.
Observe any of this emotional charge as it is reactivated in the present, which will release as it is viewed with the conscious mind in present time. It may be necessary to repeatedly go to the start of the reaction to clear it.
Similarly if one is recalling a distant past gamemore difficult to recallapply this process. Find an emotionally charged incident (even if slight) and go through it from its beginning, repeatedly if necessary, to release the charge. If it was a really severe experience (of failure, etc.), one should repeat it until it is of no concern and one becomes bored with it.
For more advanced developments in this field of clearing abreactions from the snooker player's past games, a scientific instrument would be very useful. A type of electrometer has been designed that has been in use for a long time. It is extremely sensitive and can read on the slightest reactions of the subject using it.
By holding the electrodes of the meter in the palms of the hands a mild (not sensed) current is passed into the palms. This measures patterns of varying resistance in the palms corresponding to the mental and emotional patterns of the mind. The slightest upset will cause small deflections of a particular characteristicthe detection and release of electrical charge can be shown on the meter and much more. This would be ideal for a practising sports psychologist who is interested in clearing snooker players of negative incidents related to the game.
If the snooker player wished to pursue this further, that is, using a meter. The best advice would be to use the Internet and look for the sale of a second-hand instrument, called an Electrometer (likely being sold by an ex-scientologist). They are very expensive new.
We can now move to the second cause of apparent aging, that is, deterioration in skill with age/time.
2. RESTORING THE LEARNING PATTERN
We have covered a brief description of the learning pattern and how it works, and that as the skill becomes high the learning pattern tends to turn into a habit pattern, which now will not develop. We shall expand on this before giving practical techniques.
Take a look at Figure 3(a) and (b). In (a) we show only the learning pattern template.* The diagram in (b) is more typical. We can see that the programme is the path connecting the bits'. The number of bits is enormously reduced even compared with low skill. This programme gives us a particular muscular movement such as in potting the snooker ball. The connection is the same as coordination. The student may see that there are two learning processes at work: 1) the development of the template, and 2) linking (coordinating) the bits togetherthough (1) and (2) occur at the same time. Note that current orthodox science only recognises (2), that is, coordination, and does not recognise that the learning pattern can be expanded, and that this is what ultimately determines the level of skill. * [For the scientist: Strictly, the learning pattern cannot be developed separately from any programmes as in Figure 3(a). Every movement is recorded and constitutes a programme, even if very simple. What we are stating is that the basic movements for expanding the learning pattern will also cause recordings of these movements to occur. Template development and programming can't be completely independent.]
Figure 4(a) and (b) shows different template developments with the same programme (same movement). Clearly (b) has more bits available for the programme and will give greater accuracy. Thus Figure 4 gives us an understanding of what happens within the computer system as skill improves; that is, expansion occursthe programmes simply give the specific paths (movements) traversed. This expansion means that the function is required less and less. The robot' mechanism is making the movement for us' (the sentient input/consciousness/function) and we in effect let go. But we are still in control since the learning pattern will respond instantly to the function's thoughts.
As expansion of the learning pattern occurs the bits' multiply (by undergoing fission) bringing about more and more control (more control points') over movements from the mechanisms. Clearly the more bits there are for a given movement, the greater the density of the bits and the more control lines there are, giving greater accuracy. This causes function (conscious mind) to ease offless and less effort is required. The whole process becomes more automatic. This should never be a problem thoughimprovements should simply continue indefinitely, that is, until physiological aging takes effect. However, in general the improvements don't continue, particularly into old age, for as long as they should.
The identification of the causes is quite subtle. What happens is thatand this applies to all skillsthe performer/student during the many years of training, notices that it is easier to ensure accuracy of movements when one exercises greater firmness in posture and tensions. More tension in the muscles (applied in the conscious movement) means more cross-section of the muscles is used (more fibres). This means a greater density of information is provided by the learning patterns. This larger amount of information is more than what is necessary for making the movement but this is not a problem in itself. The key point to make here is that the learning pattern will cease to expand when one uses habitually too much tension.
Now it is important to stress here that this extra firmness/tension is very acceptable when performingwhen best possible accuracy is required. But if one always uses more tension than required, the learning pattern will not multiply its bits, tending to cause learning patterns to turn into habit patterns. Note this is a temporary increase in tension that we are talking about.
The reason why this occurs is that over a period of expected improvements, tension must gradually reduce to increase skill. Everyone is familiar with the observation that higher skill seems to be associated with greater relaxation. Note this is a permanent decrease in tension.
One is encouraging this lower tension state since the higher level of skill (which, say, will be achieved in the future) requires less tension for the same power and speed. The higher level of skill brings about increasing degrees of replacing physiological muscular tension (brute force) with quantum field actiona non-force harmonic system housing learning patterns and programmes (not remotely recognised by current science).
It is important that the snooker player understands this or can believe in it as it will hugely aid improvements when practising the techniques. Thus it is necessary to restore a habit pattern to the learning pattern condition.
Ideally, of course, one should simply prevent the learning pattern from turning into a habit pattern in the first place. One would use preventative measures to avoid the transition to the habit pattern. This would be relatively easy. Once the habit is really established, it sets like concrete'. The player has used two much tension on a frequent basis. The learning pattern had then recorded these tensions in the programme and automatically plays them back. That is, the learning pattern then recreates those excessive tensions for the person (who has programmed the learning pattern with those tensions). As we have mentioned, too much tension will inhibit the multiplication of the bits, resulting in no progress, simply because a higher tension corresponds to a lower level of skill.
Consider the following. Let's suppose we now have the habit-pattern problem well established due to more and more consistency in applying too much tension (but remember this is fine for that important performance but not practice). Further this has continued for years and the individual is in late thirties or forties.
Since habit' means one is not in control; that the habit pattern is dictating information to the function (consciousness), not only does no gain occur but eventually the relationship between the controller (consciousness) and the learning pattern degenerates.
In Figure 2 the subtle relationship of cause and effect between the structure (learning patterns) and function (consciousness) becomes impaired. The automatic learning patterns/programme becomes to dominant; function gives way, more and more. Since function is already automatically feeding the learning-pattern structure it will now fail to provide the necessary energy to keep the structure proficiently active, and we now have not just a plateau of ability but a deterioration (Figure 1).
The potential solution is firstly to identify all tensions involved in the relevant action, such as in this case the action of potting the ball, whether or not these tensions are producing motion. For example, the leg positions will stabilise the body and arm actions and thus tensions in the legs will go into the learning-pattern programme. In effect, we are identifying all the elements in the programme.
We might note at this stage that there are three modes of tension involved in any skill:
1) There are the primary tensions, which involve those that create motion, such as the movement of the arm in potting a ball.
2) The peripheral tensions, such as in the opposite arm, forming the bridge (or V' for directing the cue), also legs for stability, etc.
3) Extraneous tensions, which are not necessary and should be eliminated, including excessive tensions needing reduction (above the required tension for a particular movement).
Thus training is directed at primary and peripheral tensions with the elimination of the unnecessary tensions. Primary motions/tensions are the main target but the higher the skill becomes, the more one should train the peripheral (secondary) tensions as well. Remember we are not talking about physical training (which is for developing and conditioning the muscle), but the techniques given here for developing the learning patterns that contain the programmes for coordination (Figure 4).
The actions involved in snooker do not require much motion. This makes it a little more difficult to identify and separate out basic simple actions to be practised.
If we were considering a skill such as piano technique it would be easier. For example, it is clear that the primary movements to be trained are: fingers (up and down, also lateral (sideways)); wrists (up and down and lateral; arms (up, down, and laterally). Note that in the latter case the forearm works with the upper armelbow motion occurs with the shoulderone wouldn't isolate these for separate exercises.
This latter action is similar to the snooker arm action, that is, the changing angle at the elbow at the same time as at the shoulder (Figure 5). The snooker player can use his own ingenuity in analysing the movements to be isolated and simplified separately and away from the game. An obvious example for piano-playing is the action shown in Figure 6. This is the same as tapping with the whole arm on a table, or when the arm is lifted horizontally, it is similar to the boxing action of a punch. For snooker the arm is somewhat further back (Figure 5) but one can get the idea better from the piano-playing example.
The actions are carried out in a very relaxed manner as fast as possible within the capability of not creating too much tension. In fact, just twitching the muscles is another variation on the exercise.
To recap, the main thing to keep in mind is that when performing a skilful action and, in particular, when trying to be accuratesuch as in a public performance or a competitioneveryone has a tendency to apply too much tension than that required for the movements. This will retard the expansion of the learning pattern. The reason is that for the higher standard to be achieved, tensions will and must reduce. That is, the relationship or ratio between tension and output is reduced. Thus the exercises should be executed using lower tensions than normally required for the movement, encouraging the mind-computer system to increase the information density (number of bits) within the programme.
The snooker player can practise the arm movement in Figure 5 without necessarily striking a ball. Many repetitions need to be carried outalways lightly in a relaxed manneron a regular basis.
Now even static tensions (peripheral) should, if possible, be isolated and given some procedure for training them to develop the learning patterns, so that these tensions are held with continually-reduced effort (over a period of time) and greater stability, enabling coordination links to be stronger, as these tensions are linked to the main ones (such as the main primary movement shown in Figure 5).
As we have stated, the snooker posture is a difficult one to analyse for selecting appropriate exercises compared with, say, piano playing or even running. However, in the case of running, for anyone reaching professional or competitive levels of ability, training should be extended beyond merely the legs and arms. In fact most of the muscles of the body can be seen in use when closely observing the sprinter. There are many muscular movements in the peripheral category to be trained. Remember all these tensions ae linked together in the programme.
Thus keep in mind, at the amateur level, one would merely focus on training the primary actions. But for much higher standards the training must be extended more holistically to other tensions, particularly ones occurring at the same time as the primary ones.
For the snooker player the principal basic motion is of the arm shown in Figure 5. Isolate this movement making very light back and forth oscillatory motions in a rapid and relaxed manner. In doing the techniques relaxation is more important than speed if the person has to apply significant tension owing to low skill in the execution of the exercise itself.
This can be done with or without the cue in hand, though it would be better to occasionally use the cue. One could also use an object that could be held that is similar to a cue as far as the grip is concerned for correct positioning of the hand and grip.
Both arms separately could be practised even if one is right-handed or left- handed only. This is beneficial owing to the natural cross-over effect or symmetry of learning patterns. Following this exercise we might see that the hand plus wrist, holding the cue, even though only slight motion is used (hand/wrist), needs to be a skilful operationand therefore trained. As indicated previously the player's own ingenuity in arriving at suitable exercises is encouraged.
We can separate out two techniques here (see Figure 7):
1) Finger motions as shown (wrist essentially still).
2) Wrist motions as shownfingers can be clenched into a fist (not tightly though).
Even if the player uses negligible motion in the wrist, such exercises, in increasing the information density of the bits' will enable the wrist to more accurately hold the tension and posture of the wrist.
A certain amount of exercising as in (1) and (2) above can be executed also for the other, bridge hand. Remember the mind/body relationship prefers balance and uniformity.
Keep in mind, the professional snooker player is in the best position to know which tensions in the muscles in the snooker posture are the ones essential for holding the posture and making the shot in an accurate and stable manner. Remember, all these tensions whether causing motion of limbs or just anchoring the limbs and body, associate together (holographically) in the learning-pattern programmes. The programme gives equal merit to them. Thus they all can be trained to benefit the ability but the degree of time spent would be greater for the primary movements and less for the peripheral, secondary onesand to the degree they appear more secondary (less important). Also enabling a higher standard to occur is a reduction in the background tension in muscles. Even when not tensed, it is known that the resting muscle is in some kind of alert state. The more relaxed the background state is, the more distinct tensions superimpose on this and will be more differentiated, improving controlsee Figure 8.
Note the difference between the waveform for the lower skill and that for the higher skill. For the greater skill (dotted graph) we see that tensions rise and fall more rapidly (lines more vertical). Notice the close association between waves A and B (two movements close together in time). For the higher skill A and B are not interfering but for the lower skill they are overlapping.
In addition to the psychology of past specific negative incidents, as every snooker player knows, the game is not free from the more general psychological effects, even influences between players. In particular, the swing of the pendulum' is quite real and not based on chance as science would have you believe. This is the phenomenon of one player having the so-called run of the ball' and getting ahead by several frames, but then there may be an unexpected turn of events in which the other player catches up.
It is extremely important that players do not allow themselves to become disheartened and entertain negative thoughts when their opponent is winning, say, for example, four frames to zero. If both players are capable of beating one another then this is the swing of the pendulum and must be recognised and acknowledged as such. The more positive the thinking, the more likely will the luck swing in one's favour. A pessimistic state will reinforce a continuation of the losing streak.
There is also the reverse application to consider. The player who, say, is four frames to zero up must also watch his state of mind. Becoming too confident, dwelling on thoughts of winning, will often bring the winning spell to an end, and the pendulum may swing out of his favour.
One may ask how can this occur (the swing of the pendulum)? The universe is structured from a balance of polarities but the energies of the mind are also subject to polarity. If those energies swing too far one way for too long they will reverse to seek balance again.
Egotistical states often cause imbalances. For example, if one manifests too high an opinion of themselves, this is an unnatural artificial condition usually a subconscious attempt to cover up an insecurity. It will tend to cause a focus of consciousness more external but coming back on self (flowing inwards)being interesting (such as to others) instead of being interested (attention flowing out from the true self).
Another state of mind to avoid is one of self-sympathy or simply dwelling on a bad shot. The player is not getting the run of the ball, appears to be unlucky today, and the other player is getting all the flukes, etc. The mind must not focus on this for a moment (which is a flow of attention into self). The attention must out-flow positively on the next action. One must not let the subconscious mind receive this state of concern of this problem, otherwise it will come up with all kinds of irrational solutions, such as making further mistakes to prove' that the player is having a bad day. In effect it is saying, Look, I am having a bad day because I am playing badly today' (and thus must continue to have a bad day to show that this is the reason). An attitude must be created of looking at being able to handle it and projecting a state of success.
Even if you feel genuinely bad about your game and what is happening to you, don't let the subconscious know thisjust act the part if necessary and save the negative thinking until after the game if that is the only way. The subconscious will take everything literally.
These more positive states of mind encourage greater responsibility for the circumstances. However, the word 'responsibility' has a deeper meaning here. Everyone is playing a much greater role in what happens to them than is realised. One is more responsible for one's experiences than is believed possible. We don't mean for instance being responsible for, say, the opponent's fluke, but if it has affected one (adversely), taking responsibility would mean, allowing it to have happened without protest, blame or a feeling of being a victim; the upset is basically caused within oneself. Once one entertains being victimised, negativity will be attracted from that point on. If one is consciously creating (just thinking about) being a victim, the subconscious will attract events to corroborate this. (Of course many of these negative states are already subconscious in life's experiences and it is not so easy to deal with them.)
This booklet can be considered to be just a short manual giving an application of the mechanics of physical learning (skills) and accompanying psychological effects as applied to the game of snooker. These same principles will where appropriate also apply to other applications of skill ability. The booklet presents the knowledge and principles involved but the reader may require more descriptive material and in particular more exercises for the techniques. However, if the reader can make an effort to understand the theory they can make up their own exercises relevant to their activity (sport, etc. ) of interest. By doing so, improvements much more easily occur, since instruction to self is much more effective practically than instruction from others, externally.
Keep in mind the following. For superficial amateur-level interest, focus on the primary movements. For a deeper level of interest, include the main peripheral exercises progressively towards all peripheral exercises and, further, for the professional, ultimately extend the movements selected to be exercised to include gradually all muscular movements in the body. You wouldn't bother with toes if these don't play a significant role, and you needn't develop independence of finger control (only all fingers together) when, say, a peripheral action involved just gripping (such as a golf club, etc.). Of course finger independence would be primary for instrumental technique. Even with correct knowledge about how things work there is no magical short cut; hard work is always the keynote.
To complete this somewhat brief booklet we can give a few general exercises for the reader to study or explore and encourage one to originate further techniques relevant to their activity, sport, etc.
Figure 9 exercise is actually similar to that in Figure 6, but since the arm is resting (preferably on, say, a mattress so that the elbow can move up and down a little) this allows the exercise to be performed in a more relaxed mannerless tension in the muscles. This would be used
when the learning pattern is fairly well set as a habit pattern, that is, won't easily expand. The extra relaxation will more easily break down the frozen' state of the programme. An exercise, such as this, with extra relaxation needs to be used when the individual has become skilful in the exercises themselves. This may happen and the learning pattern for these exercises are tending to become habit patterns. This means they won't particularly aid the required movements for the skill in question.
Figure 10 shows a movement for the arms when the requirement is a side-to side motion similar to, say, that in a tennis shot, or golf swing.
Figure 11 technique is an action similar to that when an athlete runner stands on one leg and shakes (out the tension of) the other leg. However, the intention of the runner is simply to remove any fixed/stuck tensions, whereas the intention here is to deliberately make movements but at a lower tension. Leaning on the chair enables one to reduce the tension in the legs.
In Figure 12 we see an action which is similar to that in Figure 11 but can be executed in a more relaxed manner due to the posture (on, say, a mattress).
The movement in Figure 13 is similar to those in Figures 11 and 12, however, both legs are used alternatively (like walking or running) but the feet do not leave the floor. One should aim at doing this rapidly is a very relaxed manner.
Think in terms of impulsive tensions, almost like twitches. Keep in mind the graph in Figure 8. For all the exercises the more repetitions carried out the greater will be the increase in information density within the learning patterns and the higher the ability.
Regarding the apparent aging effect, which as we have explained is overly attributed to physiological deterioration, there is a further, more general, influence on abilities as sufficient time passes. This we can think of as overlaid on the other two explained above. Unfortunately this is more difficult to correct but is less significant than the others.
We could have ignored it but it is something we have to face up to in older age. We have explained the structure/function mechanism of the learning pattern in skills. But imagine this applying to all experience, that is, not just structure (the robot/computer aspect of us) recording all our movements to provide the skill, but structure also recording, many times a second, all thoughts, emotions, and perceptions (hearing, seeing, touching, etc.).
By the time one is an adult one has accumulated an enormous amount of recording data. Moreover, all the information is fed back to function (just as in the case of the learning patterns). Recall what we said about the automation increasing with the learning pattern, ultimately bringing about a degradation in the relationship between structure and function. What we are alluding to is that a similar situation holds for all these other recordings. So much of ones daily routine becomes automatic, that is, handled by automatic robotic recordings, including driving a car on a familiar route (|learned) when one's attention is on other matters (thoughts).
A child has that freshness of vision (a basic requirement for proper art appreciation) and can look at the environment more directly instead of as an adult looking more into the mind at all the recordings of that environment. This robotic mechanism is telling us what we are looking at (which reduces the amount of consciousness of what one is actually doing). Experimental psychologists sometimes call this looking through filters'.
It appears that this also affects the awareness of time since the attention goes into thought more and can cause the illusion of time speeding up. Moreover, it would be expected to affect short-term memory since if one is looking at or using copies of one's sense perceptions or thoughts, the recordings will be less intensely embedded and more easily fade when attention is even briefly removed from them. Note that all this occurs outside the normal awareness.
The point is that the cluttering of consciousness by countless recordings (which is supposed to be aiding consciousness/function) can unstabilise the focus of consciousness in skilled activities involving a brief moment of clarity of awareness during, say, the process of aiming and the requirement of high accuracy.
A long-term research project would be required to investigate possible solutions to this, for example, it would be interesting to test anyone who has meditated (holding a relaxed blank state of mind), say, an hour a day for many years. This might reduce the onslaught of recordings taking over live conscious experience, leaving consciousness fresh, sharper and more focussed.
1. www.nhbeyondduality.org.uk. Book: The Attainment of Superior Physical Abilities by Noel Huntley.
2. www.nhbeyondduality.org.uk. Articles on skills and learning pattern.