Tension is one of the biggest enemies of the precision shooter. Tense shooters grip the dice too tight and toss them too hard. Instead of smooth, fluid tosses their throws look hurried and jerky. How can you learn to toss like a pro? First, you have to understand where tension comes from:
Most tension stems from anxiety, or fear of the future. When faced with the unknown, we experience doubt in our minds and tightness in our bodies. Our minds race ahead into a “what if?” scenario. “What if?” I double pitch, or “What if I hit a chip?” “What if I embarrass myself in front of my friends?” Most of the tension and anxiety in dice influencing is relative to the shooter’s fear of failure.
Self-doubt is another factor in tension. Self-doubt is a negative part of your personality that questions your ability to create your potential. When the self-talk in your head doubts your ability, muscles tighten and you miss shots.
Most shooter’s reaction to this is simply to try harder. But trying harder creates tension as well. This is a tricky area for most, because in order to gain more control you really have to release your control. The less you “try” to execute the perfect toss, the more fluid your toss will be. Why? Because when we “try” harder, we tighten our muscles, and that interferes with the fluidity of the toss. As you let go of “trying” your subconscious mind will be able to achieve the coordination, timing and tempo needed for your peak performance.
Simply going in the casino also causes tension. Dice influencers often have much better performance on their home practice rigs than in the casino. Functioning under the scrutiny of the other players, the dealers, the box man, the pit and the eye in the sky can overwhelm a shooter, causing muscles to tense. You can melt that tension away through a simple deep breathing exercise while visualizing yourself tossing on your home practice rig.
Playing Conditions can also contribute to tension. Precision shooters constantly think and talk about problematic conditions when it comes to craps. Conditions vary from casino to casino, table to table, and often from crew to crew. Fumbled tosses are often caused by tension produced by thinking about the negative results the condition could produce, instead of the actual condition itself. To stay relaxed, it is imperative to keep a positive attitude about the conditions and focus instead on the execution of your toss.
Some days you will have more tension than others. Remember, you concentrate best when you are relaxed. Concentrate on the things you can control – your breathing, your self-talk, and your thoughts. Because when you get right down to it, the only thing you CAN control is YOU. The more you relax, the better you play. Your mind becomes more alert because your attention is focused and not divided. You will then feel as if you have more time to perform the necessary set up, grip, and toss because you are one with the process. You will be relaxed, focused and “in the now.”