Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Complimenting Opponents, Part Two

I wrote yesterday about a teammate that IMHO should not have complimented an opposing teammate during a team event.

Today I'd like to write about something I learned over 20 years ago from my friend and good player, June Hager Walter, about complimenting opponents during individual matches.

She taught me NEVER to compliment my opponent during a match.

I did this one time during a match she watched me play in, and afterwards she told me not to ever do that again.

She explained if I compliment my opponent during a match ("good shot" or "nice out") it kinda makes my opponent feel better about themselves.  We have just helped THEM in their OWN match.

Now, I am a very soft-hearted person so it actually pains me not to give a compliment of a good shot or out, because it goes completely against my nature.  I actually WANT to acknowledge them.

I sit there thinking, "wow that was a nice, tough shot."  But I keep my mouth shut and don't say it to the player.  I *may* say something about their play after the match, but not during.

If we want the killer instinct and to give OUR best playing pool, then we should not be HELPING our opponents.



Imagine, you are playing in a really tough match.  You make a HECK of a shot!  Then your opponent acknowledges it, "That was a really nice shot."

How does that make you feel?

GREAT, right?

You knew it was great, and even your opponent was impressed.  And now you are pumped up even more!

See what just happened there?  Yep, your opponent helped YOU by giving YOU kudos.

Don't do that to your opponent.  Don't pump them up.  You are there to defeat them, not help them.

And, it actually pains my heart to even write all of this out because it goes against my nature.  I provide positive words of encouragement or kudos to people all the time in my daily life.  But as my friends Lisa Marr and Jennifer Kraber shared, "friends off the table."

I admit if I see something spectacular, I *might* compliment them.  But even after a really nice / tough run of the table, I normally keep my mouth shut and refrain from telling them because of what I learned so long ago from June.

However, it's actually a very tough balance.

Some good players/friends will still say, "nice shot" as a courtesy to their fellow player.  This happens a lot between good regional players who appreciate a good shot or recognize a tough shot.

Or, like one time at ACS State, I was playing a VERY new player and gave her compliments because I knew my compliments were helping her as a person who was nervous, but not in any way would my words help her defeat me (if that makes sense).  I know, I know, I should not be supportive at all to my opponents, ever, but it was tough not to be super kind to her because she was so new and nervous.

But, if I think back to that one time I played at a WPBA Pro event, there was not ONE single pro player saying "nice shot" to their opponent.  It was very serious and cut throat, quite honesty, and you were there to win, not compliment you opponent during a match.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Complimenting Opponents

During our women's league team playoffs, you'll have to picture that most of the women on the league all like each other and are good friends.  Like 95% of us are all friends!

So, it makes it difficult sometimes to play against each other.

I have learned, like my friend Lisa Marr says, "friends away from the table" because otherwise I use to have too soft of a heart when I played pool and that gets in the way of a killer instinct to want to win.

Anyway, so during our women's league team playoffs we are playing against some friends from an opposing team and one of the players is really struggling.  Turns out she was coming down with the flu, but she didn't know it at the time.

She's on her second match and struggling and she says out loud, "man, I can't make a ball today."

Well, one of my teammates immediately tells her something like, "You'll be fine, dont' think that way."

And I just REACTED.

I felt so bad I did this, but I said right away to my teammate out loud kinda snappy, "Don't tell her that!  She's our opponent.  Don't pump her up."

I realize they are friends and she was just helping her "as" a friend, but against each others teams we aren't suppose to be friends.

I know it was very natural for her to want to offer her support and kind words because she was struggling, but that was not the time nor place for it.

But... *I* could have handled that better and whispered in my teammates ear, instead of saying it out loud, kinda getting on to her.  I think our friend (yes, she was my friend, also) might have heard me say that, which is rude when you are trying to play.

I realize my teammate prolly took my words as advice eventually, but it prolly came across as getting on to her right then, not helping.  :(

Monday, November 17, 2014

Timing of Kudos

At the ACS Texas State tourney, a fellow female player had just won a spot in the hotseat match!

I didn't know who she was, or where she was from and honestly I had never seen her before. 

But, I could tell she was new and in unfamiliar territory.

She would lose that match, tho, even though you could tell she was fighting with nerves.

She would then lose her very next match, which meant she placed 3rd overall in the singles. 

After the match, I went up to her.

I leaned down (she was sitting down) and I told her that she played well and how happy I was for her.

She was very upset, though, and I was not helping.  But I thought it was important to tell her how well she did in the tourney and how good she played.  But I admit my timing wasn't good at all.

I gave her a quick hug and went on my way.  I knew if I hugged her any longer, the tears would be greater and I didn't want her to show her upsetness any more than she had to.

The next day during teams, she sees me and stops me.


"Hi there," I said

"I want you to know how much it meant to me that you said all those nice things to me yesterday.  I'm sorry I wasn't more receptive, I was just upset," she shared

"I know, I could tell, that's why I didn't hug you longer," I giggled.

"Although I could barely speak yesterday, I want you to know it really meant a lot to me.  And, thank you."

"Oh, you are very welcome.  You deserved it - you played well!"

She smiled with happiness and I think it meant a lot to her to finally be able to speak and say thank you.


Friday, November 14, 2014

See-Through Cue

Here is an amazing, very original cue made by Marty Wallace, local custom cue-maker in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.

It was a specifically ordered cue, made of Zircon, aluminum, copper, with an optical clear tube.  He only had a month to make it!

Pics do not do it justice so I captured it via video: