The national cue sports team started their first training session of the year by doing a post-mortem of their performance at the recent 27th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games.
Zulkiflee Abd Hamid, sport psychologist at the Sports Medicine and Research Centre (SMRC), joined the session last night at the Billiards and Snooker Hall, Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium, Berakas.
Ahmad Taufiq Murni was the sole Brunei representative at the Games. He lost his openers in both the men's 9-ball and 10-ball singles events.
The 25-year-old's campaign started with a 9-8 loss at the hands of Manut Makkamontee of Thailand in the first round of the men's 9-ball singles event - the third time his campaign ended at the same stage at the biennial Games.
His poor run against Filipino cueists continued after losing 9-5 to World No 12 Dennis Orcollo in the first round of the men's 10-ball singles.
"We wanted to see what his weaknesses are. We want to correct it for him for upcoming tournaments," said Zulkiflee in an interview with The Brunei Times yesterday.
"Taufiq has the skills but we observed that his missed shots were mostly due to wavering mental concentration.
"We are looking to help him improve on that (concentration). He is also very honest (with the feedback on his performance) which allowed us to determine the necessary solutions," he added.
"He has been working on his mental game during training, but he lacked application since there are not many competitions. It is different," continued Zulkiflee.
National cue sports coach Lim Tat Hwe felt that it was necessary to have the sport psychologist lend his expert opinion.
"Taufiq has got good mental game, but it is just not strong enough. He will need to bring it up to another level," said Lim.
"We were trying to find out his thoughts in the last second before he took his shot. He was unable to be firm with his decisions and ended up with a lower percentage shot," he added.
The team trains six times a week and Lim is eyeing three big competitions this year.
The first is the China 9-ball Open in June followed closely by World 9-ball Championship in Qatar at the end of the same month.
The final one is the World 8-ball Championship in Dubai, United Arab Emirates in September.
"We are aiming to compete in these three tournaments. There are going to be others, but these are the ones on the calendar so far," said Lim.
Taufiq's lack of high-level tournament experience is also a weakness they seek to address to improve his performance.
"Taufiq is short of experience compared to his opponents. For example, Dennis (Orcollo) competed in more than 30 tournaments last year alone and mostly in the United States."
On future tournaments, Lim hopes that more players will put in the work for a chance to represent the Sultanate.
"I also hope that we can get more Bruneians competing at the next SEA Games (in Singapore). However, we will need full commitment from the players (to earn their spot in the team)," said Lim.
"They need proper time management and take the training seriously at all times. We have to start early and do the preparations now."