As a promoter, I see many of the same players again and again. Over time, you notice common traits between the players who consistently do well. They all maintain focus. They all study the table for the best shot. They all have consistent mechanics. But most of all, they all have a winning attitude. Attitude to me is the most important thing for a player. When your attitude is positive, it really works for you. Conversely, when your attitude is negative, it affects your game negatively.
Tommy Kennedy is a very good friend of mine. Heís a great player, and won the U.S. Open 9-Ball Championship years ago. Unfortunately, he hasnít won a big tournament since. He did finish second to Shane at the Super Billiards Expo this year, which was a surprise. For a couple of years, I roomed with Tommy at tournaments. Every time Tommy drew a top player, especially a top Filipino player, heís say, ďOh, I canít believe I drew so-and-so. He plays so strong.Ē In his mind, heís already thinking about where heís going to be in the losersí bracket.
If you ask me what I think about when I draw a great player, Iím excited. The way I look at drawing a seeded player is that if I beat that player, I take over his seed. Itís all about attitude. Believing in yourself is so important, and players who maintain a positive attitude do believe in themselves.
Iíve always believed in myself. Iím convinced that I could have won a U.S. Open or World Championship years ago, but I decided to take a different path, because I became disillusioned with the state of professional pool at an early age. And even though I donít play as much, I still have the same attitude when I get to the table. And thatís why I still beat a lot of these top players, even though I donít practice. Iím confident in my ability.
And I see the difference in playersí attitudes on my tour all the time. There are some players who always have a reason why they didnít winÖtheir opponent took a bathroom break and killed their momentum, or whatever. Instead, they should be taking notes about the weak spots in their own game that cost them racks. If they had a positive attitude, theyíd look forward to going back to the drawing board and fixing the parts of their game that need work.