Monday, March 8

How to deal with pressure?

Many people keep asking me how I deal with pressure situations.

Tip number one: Breathe? haha... Ok, that's a given but seriously, sometimes you get really tight and simply forget to have proper breathing. You should try to breathe from your lower belly, this will calm you down and the practice itself can take your mind of thinking too much about the pressure. It is called sink the breathe down to the "Dan Tian" of lower abdomen. It calms the Body and centers the Mind and strengthens the Shen(Spirit). There is a saying that "if you can control your breath, you can control your life".

You all heard about adrenaline? It's is a free drug, but you can't really get it over the counter. You have to use it when it comes to you uninvited. Just make sure you are ready for it. Invite it. After that its all about paying attention to your fundamentals and you will find the zone. break it down to the simple steps:

Pre-shot routine: phase 1 ( analyse, determine, visualize ) phase 2 (approach-make sure you are a couple of steps away from the table so that your perception of the shot is correct as you approach the stance. Lining up to the shot properly is the most over looked aspect in the fundamentals. Being lazy will kill you, eat you up inside. You'll be kicking yourself in the chair. Electric chair.

Stance: be as relaxed as possible: for right-handed players the right foot is the foundation. you can lean into the left leg a little, but most weight is on the right. At least this works for me.

It's important to find balance, and certainly you don't want to lean to far over the table too far and put pressure on bridge hand. I see a lot of people balancing on one foot when there is absolutely no need for it. Avoid this mistake. First and foremost, see if you can keep both feet on the ground. If not, then try your foundation foot. Right hand,right foot. Left hand,left foot.

Grip: both bridge hand grip and back-hand are relaxed. Use the weight and balance of the cue to make the shot. Trust your instincts and fundamentals that you are on target. If not, its easier to correct a shot gone wrong with proper technique than the shot that went in with bad technique. It's all about giving yourself feedback when it does go wrong, and avoiding the same pitfalls in the future.

Shoot; AND STAY DOWN! Unless you have to move out of the way due to ball returning towards the bridge-hand, there is no reason to get up instantly. Follow through the ball as long as you can and stay down. Always follow through in a straight line, regardless of spin or center-ball.

You might get shakes if the pressure is intense, but use it to focus. Think of it as a gift. Because it is. Shoot mostly center-ball and rely on smart patterns to do this. It's all about getting right angles which makes the position to next ball easy. I can't say it enough: Pay attention to the fundamentals. This way, when and if you make a mistake, you might have an idea why. If there is many flaws in your technique, it's hard to tell which one went wrong that time.

In practice, use your left hand if you are right handed and vice versa, not only does it feel great to go back to the usual hand but also opens a new avenue-Because your technique will be limited, you will be forced to use the most effortless pattern. This is one of many reasons why it improves your game. On top of that it stimulates the right side of the brain.

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Also, I have got a lot of positive feedback from the Mastering Pool DVD's. Feel free to check out for those.

Yours Truly,

Mika the "ICEMAN" Immonen

First man to officially be on the roster for Mosconi Cup


8th March



Mosconi Cup Goes Back to Its Roots



December Return to Pool's Most 'Intimidating' Venue



MATCHROOM SPORT can announce that the 2010 Mosconi Cup will be taking place at the fabled York Hall, Bethnal Green, London from Thursday 9th to Sunday 12th December.


Home to the event for a six year period, the Mosconi Cup was last played in the famous East London boxing venue in 2002, when Europe won the trophy following six years of total domination by the USA.


Following a multi-million pound refurbishment of the York Hall, the Mosconi Cup returns for its first UK appearance in eight years.


One man delighted by the event's return to London is Finland's Mika Immonen. A five-time York Hall loser in previous years, Immonen has now established himself as the world's leading player and will be a front-runner for a berth on the 2010 Euro team.


'I love the fact that we are going back to the York Hall. What could be a more perfect setting for the Mosconi?' said Immonen.


'No memories in my pool career compare to the York Hall. The atmosphere was electric, and I can't wait to see how it is now. It has been my dream to go back there...bring it on..!


Matchroom Sport chairman and Mosconi Cup promoter, Barry Hearn, is looking forward to recreating the wild atmosphere that made the East London venue so charismatic.


'The York Hall has a special place in the history of the Mosconi Cup and it's fair to say that at times, it was the game's most intimidating arena,' commented Hearn.


'It certainly got rough and rowdy in there and it said something about the American teams of the late '90's and early 2000's that they were able to shrug all of that off and triumph five times out of six.


'That said, it is home to one the great Mosconi Cup moments when Steve Davis stole what was the final rack off Earl Strickland in 2002 to bring the Cup home for Europe for the first time in seven years.


'I think Mosconi Cup fans from Europe and America will be very excited at the prospect of coming to the York Hall for what could be the greatest Mosconi Cup of them all!'


Triumphant 2009 USA captain Nick Varner has plenty of experience of the York Hall, having played there four times.


'I will never forget playing two matches against Ronnie O'Sullivan in 1997. Every time he potted a ball, the crowd went wild; it was like Europe won the Cup every time he made a shot. He was so popular with the fans.


'One of the other American players was supposed to play him but didn't want to fade the heat from the crowd. So I took the match and found it exhilarating. I loved it.


'The York Hall brings back fond memories of winning except for 2002. In one year we went from winning 12 in a row and winning the Cup 12-1 to losing it the next year.


'The European fans get a little rowdy and boisterous which can test your composure, especially the later it gets at night. As the fans have a few pints, the atmosphere can get real noisy.


'After the great response of the American fans in Las Vegas last year, going back to the York Hall will be a shocker for the players who haven't played there before. In fact going back to the York Hall seems a little scary to me!' added Varner


Live in its entirety on Sky Sports in the UK, the Mosconi Cup features two five-man teams representing Europe and the USA doing battle in a series of singles and doubles matches. Now in its 17th year, the Americans hold an 11-4 lead following their victory in Las Vegas last December.



Luke Riches, Matchroom Sport:, +44 7785 395688