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.

Do you find this blog post useful? Please pass on the message, preferably by copy/pasting the link to my blog:

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


Anonymous said...

nice blog mika, a lot of the things you put i teach my students, fundamentals are so so important.

you missed 1 out, the 1 i gave you at the us open final.


keep up the good work


Joey Aguzin said...

You could have at least given me a heads-up on the disclosure of these pool tips. :-(

I would have had you hold them over to when you and I do pool commentary together at some future tournament. ;-)

Seriously, this is what I would like to see more professional players doing. It is the right thing to do and I thank you on behalf of all the pool fans and aspiring pool players.


Johnny said...

Excellent advice! It's so great to hear these things from top pros like yourself. Sometimes reading about it from multiple sources is good, but there's something about hearing it from a player like yourself that really helps solidify the meaning. I'll be passing this on to as many friends as I can!

Keep up the great work!

BTW, I have the Advanced Mastering Pool DVD and it's great! I especially like listening to your commentary over the runouts in the extras. I think it's an incredibly valuable lesson when you discuss what you did versus what you should have done for those of us who are still learning.

Edward Cabrera said...


Great Post ! From your blog it seems you have a understanding of Qi-Gong (breath work). I now understand your calm demeanor and confidence at the table. It is not surprising to me. I Best Wishes for 2010


bob said...

Nice and interesting getting to know your thoughts and fundamentals! More more more!

作弊 said...

pleasure to find such a good artical! please keep update!!........................................

Family Games Plus said...

Great Blog, I believe you have hit the nail on the head on how to play any sport to ones best ability. You must have a good plan of how you are going to execute the fundamentals before you can play well and be able to figure out calmly what flaws you have and correct them. I try to execute this plan of attack with all sports and also business activities I participate in. Again great article.

d man said...


hi, this may be off topic but i am a 10 year old kid and ur my idol when it comes to pool and i am just posting this comment to see if u have a place were i can send u a letter

yours truly
d man

Anonymous said...

生存乃是不斷地在內心與靈魂交戰;寫作是坐著審判自己。 ..................................................

Unknown said...

thats some pretty good sh*t bro. dang, dont giv all our secrets away!