Breaking your Limits!

“I must break you!” – Ivan Drago (1985)

Push yourself, push your limits and break through your boundaries. 🥊

The Pool Coach is here to help you get the best out of yourself! Sometimes that will mean challenging you to do things that might make you feel uncomfortable. Most players won’t want to do the things highlighted in this post – which is why most players will continue to remain in their pool stagnation instead of progressing and moving forward. So read on until the end and make sure you’re playing your pool in the right way!

Let’s begin by talking about Rocky. Focusing on Rocky Balboa and not the chocolate bar (even though the caramel ones are tasty). Sylvester Stallone comes up against some monumental hurdles in each of these films, making the number 1 pick of the collection difficult to choose.  This used to be one of my favourite debates to have with one of my best friends.  For us it always came down to Rocky 3 (vs Clubber Lang) or Rocky 4 (vs Ivan Drago). 

Rocky IV – Inspiration through Perspiration.

For me, Rocky 4 wins every time! The formidable Russian, genetically modified, Monster of an opponent Ivan Drago cut an intimidating opponent. So much so that Rocky accepted the challenge by pushing the boundaries of his training and his lifestyle to prepare for the battle. One of the best known film montages of all time accompanied by a highly-charged, emotive soundtrack often shows Rocky training in isolation – pushing himself both mentally and physically in extreme conditions. Unlike his Rival, all of the methods and equipment he uses are creative and unconventional, with no special training machines or technology. The emphasis of the routine is hard work, sweat and determination. 🥊

The Rocky story lines are more poignant when you understand that it was Sly Stallone who actually wrote the scripts himself. This is important because of his own personal backstory. To keep it brief, I’ll outline a few key points about his life that highlight the enormity of his achievements:

  • The doctor severed a nerve in his face when he was born, leaving him partially paralysed with slurred speech.
  • During his childhood he struggled in and out of foster homes.
  • He was expelled from 14 schools and often struggled academically.
  • As a young adult he moved to New York to follow his dream of becoming an actor (despite his slurred speech) but ended up so broke that he had to sleep in a bus shelter for 3 weeks.
  • After being inspired by a boxing match he saw, he stayed up writing for 20 hours a day and had his screenplay completed within 3 days.
  • He faced many rejections over his script but kept on going.
  • To cut a long story short he finally got his big break after being insistent that he wouldn’t sell the script unless he played the lead role of Rocky.  This meant that he actually received a lot less money initially than he would have done otherwise.  As we all know now – his risk paid off!
  • The film won 3 academy awards and launched one of the most successful action movie careers in history! 🎞

Top 5 Tips to Get out of your Comfort zone, Grow and Improve your Pool:

  1. Join a new team, one that have a history of placing higher in the league. The effect of this step will mean that you are both watching and playing with a higher level of player week in, week out. Moving up a level isn’t necessarily measured in gigantic steps. Small steps over time all compound into bigger improvements.
  2. Get a practice partner that consistently wins more games than you. The losses will hurt, but you will always learn more from a loss than a win. The challenge is to turn more and more of these losses into wins.
  3. Start playing in a league with a better crop of players than your current one. Not only will you have to raise your game to compete, you’ll also have the added challenge of forming bonds with your new team-mates.
  4. Enter a knock-out tournament, one where you attend alone.  Safety in numbers, it’s more of a challenge to turn up anywhere alone.
  5. Play in your local singles league. Pool is often a team sport but I always feel more freedom playing in singles competition because the result of my contributions only directly affects me. It’s always best to shake things up and try different tactics to see what works best for you. ☑

These might not be steps that you can put in place today but that is NO EXCUSE to stop you working towards them. Start looking for your next practice partner, send a few messages to potential players. Actively keep an eye out for the team you aspire to play for in the future, or a tournament you’d be interested on testing yourself in! 

This post is a great example that these skills are transferable. As a result, they can be utilised in other sports and other areas of your life. Ask yourself; How can I apply these top 5 steps in other areas of my life?

“If I can change and you can change, everybody can change.” – Rocky Balboa (1985)

Are You Up for the Challenge?

Let me know how you are pushing yourself out of your comfort zone to improve your pool. Tell me about your victories! Hope this helps you Raise Your Game.


Video Credit: The video used in this article was produced by Movieclips via YouTube.

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