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BD House Pro
Tony Robles
A longtime teaching pro at Amsterdam Billiard Club in New York City, Tony has dozens of regional and national titles to his name, including the 2004 BCA Open Championships.

Instruction Articles:
• January 2017
Systems vs Feel

• December 2016
It Happens to the Best

• November 2016
Maintaining Focus

• October 2016
Riding the L

• September 2016
Tips on Tips

• August 2016
The Art of Deflection

• July 2016
Note To Self

• June 2016
Object of Safety Play

• May 2016
Speed Zone

• April 2016
Frozen Ball Shots

• March 2016
Hide and Go Seek

• February 2016
Two-Rail Kicks

• January 2016
Staying Down

• December 2015
One-Rail Kicks

• November 2015
Breaking Bad

• October 2015
Call Shot, Call Safety

• September 2015
Own the Shot

• August 2015
Patterns - Part II

• July 2015
I Notice A Pattern

• June 2015
Two-Way Prt. 2

• May 2015
Two-Way Shots

• April 2015
The Fine Line

• March 2015
Straight Break

• February 2015
The 'Walkaway'

• January 2015
Pushing Your Luck

• October 2014
Walk This Way

• August 2014
Attitude Adjustments

• May 2014
Adapt to the Equipment

• Mar 2014
Turn The Beat Around

• Feb 2014
Straight Is Great

• Sept 2013
Cover the Basics

• June 2013
Getting It Right

• May 2013
Strength Training

• April 2013
Rust Proof?

• March 2013
Not So Fast

• February 2013
Two-Step Jump

• January 2013
Open Your Eyes

• December 2012
Feeling Good?

• November 2012
Hang In There

• October 2012
Back on Track

• September 2012
Straighten Up

• August 2012
On the Rail

• July 2012
Mental Checklists

• June 2012
Respect & Fear

• May 2012
Chin Music

• April 2012
On the Line

• March 2012
Balancing Act

• February 2012
Creative Drilling

• January 2012
Power Outage

• December 2011
Jumping In Line

• November 2011
Soft on Soft Breaking

• October 2011
Find Your Stroke

• September 2011
The Path Off the Rail

• August 2011
Short Position

• July 2011
Inch Along

• June 2011
Into the Unknown

• May 2011
Sharpened Focus

• April 2011
Never Flatline

• March 2011
Stop For A Review

• February 2011
One To Watch

• January 2011
The Straight Answer

• December 2010
Shoot The Lights Out

• November 2010
Never Overmatched

• September 2010
Through & Through

• August 2010
Along the Rail

• July 2010
The Small Stuff

• June 2010
Three in One

• May 2010
One Ball At a Time

• April 2010
Going Thin to Win

• March 2010
Know Your Game

• February 2010
14.1 For 8-Ballers

• January 2010
Setting It Straight

• December 2009
Hanging Out, Part II

• November 2009
Hanging Out

• October 2009
Control Your Speed

• September 2009
Busting Out of a Slump

• August 2009
Easy Errors, Part III

• July 2009
Easy Errors, Part II

• June 2009
Easy Errors, Part I

• May 2009
Body Language & Breaking

• April 2009
The Break: Body Language

• March 2009
Must-Reads from Robles

• February 2009
Position: Four Square

• January 2009
Romancing the Stance

• October 2008
Look Out for Boingy Rails

• September 2008
Build a Better Break

• August 2008
Q&A: Ask the Pro

• July 2008
'Buzz' Kill: Stay Down

• June 2008
Stop Shots Safeties III

• May 2008
Stop Shots Part II

• April 2008
STOP-SHOT Safeties

• March 2008
How to Keep Winning

• February 2008
The Dreaded Straight-In Shot

• January 2008
Trying the Soft Break

• December 2007
The Hard Way Makes It Easier

• November 2007
How to Sight the Cue

• October 2007
Win from Your Chair

Drawing Conclusions
October 2010
ONE OF pool's most interesting components is the mental game. I've seen so many players who, fundamentally and physically, were ready to take that next step. But they kept getting tangled up with their approach to the game.

A common problem among developing players (in this case, those who are in the first stages of playing competitive pool) arises when they face opponents with more skill and more experience. Think about the first time you played somebody who, at least at the time, was clearly better than you. It's only natural to be intimidated or get nervous.

But the most important thing to remember is that you cannot change who you are and what you're capable of doing. No matter who you're facing, you should always play your game. Stick with your tempo, regardless if someone says it's too slow or too fast. Stick with the shots you are comfortable with. Stick to what is best for you.

No matter what you do, you might lose. That's a fact whenever you compete in any endeavor. But playing stronger players will pay off in the long run. You get a better sense of your strengths and weaknesses - partly because your mistakes are punished so much more by a highly skilled opponent. And learning more about your game will allow you to better understand what it takes for you to be successful.

Also remember that it's OK to respect your opponent. But the minute you respect him or her more than you respect yourself as a player, you've already beaten yourself. This doesn't mean that you have to think you're the greatest player in the world, but it does mean that you need to be sure of what you can accomplish. Having your head right will only improve your results.

There's an important point that is related to this discussion. I've always warned against "tensing up" when you're faced with an uncomfortable shot. If you hate long draw shots, you might squeeze your grip hand during your stroke. This has to do with confidence. Well, in the larger scheme of things, facing a better player for the first or second time is similar. You're still uncomfortable, but now it's with your competition, instead of a single shot.

Fight this by trying to stay focused on what you can do to win. Ask yourself if you're willing to do what it takes to prevail. The answer should be yes, so then it's a matter of taking care of business!