Pleasures of Small Motions: Mastering the Mental Game

Pleasures of Small Motions: Mastering the Mental Game of Pocket Billiards


Mastering the Mental Game .A psychotherapist and pool columnist breaks new ground by applying good science to the mental game of billiards and gives invaluable insight on competitive play.

Mastering the Mental Game .Everyone who plays pool knows that it is “mostly mental,” but the conventional wisdom about the mental game is about as accurate as the idea that the earth is flat. Until now, no one with any expertise on how the human mind works has bothered to write about pool. In Pleasures of Small Motions, Bob Fancher, a psychotherapist and pool columnist, breaks new ground by applying good science to the mental game of billiards.This book does for pool what Timothy Gallwey’s bestselling “The Inner Game” books did for golf and tennis. Fancher explains how the conscious and unconscious mind work together, prescribes drills to help players improve, advises on mastering emotion and developing rhythm, explains the difference between concentration and focus, and gives invaluable insight on competitive play. (6 x 9, 160 pages, illustrations)Bob Fancher’s column, “Dr. Bob, Pool Shrink,” appears monthly in The American Cueist. He earned his Ph.D. at Vanderbilt University and practiced psychotherapy in New York for fourteen years. His acclaimed book Cultures of Healing has been used in classes at Columbia University, Princeton, and many other schools, and is writing has appeared in The Washington Post and other publications. He lives in Austin, Texas.


  1. Bought this book on a compulsive whim while obsessing about billiards. Holy crap Tarzan! This little book is changing my life – for the better. This fine piece of work has taught me that to manage endless compulsions, which become obsessive at about three times the speed of light – all I need to do is think about something else. It’s that simple. For 65 years my personal management tool box has been empty. Now I have an effective tool to carry in it. SSRI’s like Prozac can slow down what I call the motor in my head, thereby reducing the power of a particular compulsion/obsession, but SSRI’s cannot actually help manage my OCD thought process as an adult. This wonderful book has given me a new lease on life. I can control my compulsions simply by thinking about something else. Another way of saying it is: I now manage “realistic expectations” as opposed to just bouncing around like a deranged ball in a pin ball machine of despair. Thank you so much Dr. Fancher. Your book has been quite unexpected.
  2. I believe this book is a sincere effort to examine mental aspects of pool. It is relatively well written but promises more than it delivers. What’s new? Its pluses are accurately debunking of many of the meaningless approaches regularly marketed to players trying to improve their skill and results. Minuses are criticisms of common approaches without offering solid reasons for the criticism. I got a few thing but it is too condescending.

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