As well as play snooker and pool, the other sport i devote a lot of time to is boxing. There are a lot of differences between the two, the most noticeable for me is in boxing when sparring or fighting, you have no time to consciously think. You are reacting and doing everything you have trained to do, especially on the defensive side of things
In snooker and pool, all you do is have time to think. Every shot is like taking a free throw in basketball or a penalty kick in soccer.
For this reason the mental side of the game is huge.
I was rewatching some snooker matches from 2008, some involving Judd Trump. Judd could pot just as well back then, but it is clear he was lacking in confidence and belief that he belonged at the very top. In every interview you hear of Judd this year, he is always saying how confident he is.
One thing i have noticed is because of the league and division structure of most snooker and pool leagues, some players get permanently pidgeon holed into being say 'only a B grade or Division 2 player' and they believe that is their level. They don't feel they belong in A grade or Division 1 and play accordingly. Whilst high break is a rough indication of ability, it's not everything. There would be club players who make higher breaks than Steve Davis does nowadays, but Steve is still in the Top 30 or so in the world.
For me, if i start an evening of competition well, i play well throughout. If i struggle at the start, i struggle the whole night and it's all about confidence.
excellent post peter ... it's hard to describe but I think it's our subconscious mind that pots balls but it can be really difficult if our grey matter (conscious mind) is thinking about all the "what ifs" ...