It's a strange phenomena. "The zone" as it's called. It's that point one reaches where you see nothing else, hear nothing else, and feel nothing else except your sport/activity of choice. A crucial element is your concentration level which is very high and very focused.
I have been there plenty of times myself playing snooker. Balls are just easy to see/make, all the angles and paths are clear and bright. Sometimes, I even flirt with the edges of the pocket just for my own delight to see how much give the table fitter has worked into the cut of the pocket.
With my own humble ability in this game and all the time spent thinking about it, I have worked out some personal strategies that I use to get "into the zone" and to force myself into a state of mind where I play well and feel good at the table. Why did I do this? Well, it's the reason many people play this game - to play well.
Here are my tips and pointers on getting "into the zone":
1. Disregard everything else around you. Focus on the balls on the table and just watch the cue ball move around as your opponent plays his shots. Don't talk to your opponent, hum to the music, or look around the club. When you aren't at the table, don't do something distracting, or at least keep distractions to a minimum.
2. As early as possible, take on a difficult pot and focus completely on it. Take all the time you need. Potting a difficult shot gives you confidence and helps you focus on the next shot. Early on in a match, I always take on a pot and never turn it down because I'm not ready. If I have potted a similar shot in the past, then I will take the pot on. I'm not one to "grind until I'm ready" as I know some players do. Now, just a warning here: if you're in a serious match or playing a very capable opponent, you might want to take this point with a grain of salt. All of my m8's and the club regulars aren't going to hurt me if they make a few balls so my risk tolerance is higher earlier in match.
3. Don't watch your opponents cue action or shot timing. This one can be really distracting. If you have been playing snooker long enough and pay close attention to match play you might notice a strange thing happen: opposing players end up mimicking each others cue action to some degree. Why does this happen? I have no clue! It's something semi-conscious or sub-conscious I suspect and haven't dived into it much. I just know it definitely happens! Maybe seasoned veterans here can chime in.
4. Tell yourself that every new approach to the table is a fresh start and a clean slate. No matter how badly you have played until that point, your next time at the table is an opportunity to prove otherwise. Don't focus on what has happened already (in the match, that week etc), but focus on your new opportunity presented. It's not easy to tell yourself that all the bad form is in the past, but I have successfully "reset" myself for matches a few times and it's all about clearing your mind, and focusing on the job at hand - the next shot.
5. Ignore friends, m8's, and the opponent's commentary, what we jokingly call here the "peanut gallery". It's easy to hear the opponent and feel like you have to respond. Instead of responding, which takes away your focus and concentration level, just ignore the opponent and say you will respond later. If your opponent takes offense, just shout out some random words like "eagles and turkeys!" or something else. It sounds ridiculous but you won't get any further questions, I assure you!
Going back to that point where "everything just clicks", I use one or more of the concepts above to get "in form" and it often results to getting into the zone and becoming "one" with the game. Ahhh.... yoda would be proud!
So, how do you get "in the zone"? Would love to hear your thoughts!