Why Players Find It Hard To Win The Final Frame 12/26/09

The ability to cope under pressure allows the player to successfully cross the finish line. How often do you find yourself in a situation where you need one more frame […]


The ability to cope under pressure allows the player to successfully cross the finish line. How often do you find yourself in a situation where you need one more frame to win the match but you find it tremendously difficult? Without a doubt, the final frame is the hardest to win.

Here, I’ll share with you some insights that I learned from Steve Davis and Ken Doherty, two former world champions.

The player who is behind in the match tends to throw caution to the wind and play with more freedom. He has no more pressure and you often find he will play much better than you. The pressure on you mounts with each shot missed or with each poor safety shot.

You need to block the fact that it is the final frame and treat it like the first. Do not emphasise that it is the final frame. If you emphasise that it is the final frame, you will put more pressure on yourself. Players needing to win the final frame have the tendency to try to get the ball over the pocket or trying too much, instead of just playing the balls. Meaning you should continue on with your strategy that has gotten you in front of the match. If the strategy has worked well so far, why change it?

If you notice, players tend to miss simple shots at the end of the frame. This is largely due to the player’s desire to win taking over the desire to play. Not that I’m saying that the desire to win is bad, but over do it and you will forget that you still have to play the game. You forget about the hours of training that you have put in.  Don’t you find it a great waste of all your training if you do not play your normal game and lose?

In a match, especially in a tournament, it is not how you play the shot but how you react to it after wards. This shows the psychological frame of mind that you are in. In Steve Davis heydays when he was on top of his game, you cannot find any facial reaction from him when he made a mistake. This is important so that your opponent does not know what is going on in your mind.

Lastly, to quote Sun Tzu, “know yourself and know your enemy, a hundred battles fought and a hundred victories.”

From the “Snooker Psychologist”, Dr Anthony Teh


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