When playing in tournaments, every player needs to analyse how they performed after the event. Suppose you won the tournament, congratulations. but if you lost, I would always recommend that you conduct a mental tournament review.
It is essential to look at your performance, focus on the positives but also on at what you did poorly. This is not for you to dwell on and feel miserable about yourself; the purpose of this is to see how you could make improvements, for your next match or tournament.
Every player I have worked with over the years had to learn from their mistakes to get as good as possible by engaging in this self-reflection process. In saying this, it is crucial to consider your own goals. This is because players’ goals will differ from their opponent more often than not.
Some players main aim is to win the tournaments. Some are solely focused on reaching the semi-final or final, others set goals of winning a few matches to test their skills in a competitive atmosphere and then you have players only looking to win frames.
To keep a record of your previous events and matches, I would recommend that every player start a notebook. The purpose of this is to visually see and review how you are progressing. The following areas and questions should be considered and answered in the notebook when writing about your matches.
Firstly, we should analyse the face value factors of the match. These are the primary items and serve as a log for review when conducting a mental tournament review:
- Did you achieve you personal goal in the event?
- How many matches / frames did you win?
- What kind of easy balls did you miss in the event?
- What type of safety shots do you need to practice more?
Next, we analyse the secondary factors when it comes to matches played. These will serve as areas of refinement to perfect your gameplay:
- How would you rate your self confidence in the event?
- How many times tactically did you leave the winning ball near a pocket?
- How strong or weak mentally were you in the event?
- How fit you were during and after this event?
- How strong or weak technically were you in the event?
Finally, and arguably most important, we analyse what key area(s) you find yourself needing to improve on in retrospect, having completed the first two stages of the mental tournament review.
This will serve as a true testament to determine if you will win more games in the future.
Once you have completed your review, I would strongly recommend talking through each answer with your coach. This will be the best way to seek practical improvement skills. However, if you do not have a coach, you should discuss your answers with a fellow player. Although, I believe that talking with a qualified coach will give you the winning edge when it comes to improvement.
This is all a rough plan of starting your mental tournament reviews, so feel free to change or alter the questions as you see fit to reflect your own personal review/play style. At the end of the day, it is all just about making a plan to help you win more.