Monday, October 7, 2019

Give Examples When Giving Advice - Project Hunger Games

A few months ago I sent Katniss a little tip via text before a tournament she was playing in.  I normally just say "Have fun! Enjoy playing the game we love to play!"

I never say good luck or kick ass - I just keep things upbeat and positive.

I looked online and saw that the pool room where the tournament she was going to play in, had diamond bar tables. I wondered if she had ever played on them before (we hadn't ever discussed it). I also don't know how many diamond bar tables are in her town. She doesn't live in Dallas / Fort Worth and I'm not privy to most other areas anyway.

But, I learned something that helped me exponentially one time, and I wanted to share that with her.

From a previous blog post (linked here), describing advice from my scotch doubles partner who was a pro:
"...he knew them [the 7foot Diamond tables] well. He stressed that the team who stroked the balls the smoothest would win. He showed me how he barely had to hit the ball to get it around the table."

While I don't like to give advice right before any tournament, surely not the morning of a tournament, I decided to this time. I broke my rule of thumb, went out of my comfort zone, and after I hit send on my phone, I was nervous.

REAL nervous.

Did I do the right thing? Maybe I shouldn't have done that.  What did I do?

You see, most players should already be prepared before a tournament and if you throw something at them new right before, it could throw their game off (not on).

But, I did something different this time.  Instead of just saying something like, "The tables are fast, so have a smooth stroke," I gave her an example to go along with the tip.

I told her (hold on a sec while I go look at my text, this was several months ago...…)

Okay, I'm back.

I told her: 
Goal today: have fun. And if you're playing on diamond bar tables, you don't need to hit the ball hard, just a smooth stroke to get around the table.  Picture Mister B playing on the diamond, he never strokes hard, just smooth and pocket speed.

('Mister B' is a top player in her area that she has seen on streams, that I already knew played with a smooth stroke well on Diamond tables)

She said thank you and I didn't hear from her again.

I wondered throughout the weekend.. how is she doing? Did that mess her up? Did it help or hurt? WHaaaaat?!


I heard from her the Monday after (that's usually when I get tidbits from her for the Katniss Project of my blog), and she shared:  "OMgosh that helped me SO much!"

Immediate relief came through my soul.

"It did, really?"

"Yes!" she exclaimed.  "It helped me to visualize him playing; helped a lot. I focused all day on the "Mister B mantra."  And I believe that's what helped me finish well in this tournament. "

I giggled at her words, "Mister B mantra."  Evidently, that's what she focused on throughout the tournament and it helped her on the tables.

I was relieved and very happy I didn't hurt her. I think the key was to share an example she could visualize.

Let me give an example (see what I did there?).  If I tell you to lower your body so that your cue is near your chin, and that will give you a more solid stance, you would think, whatever Melinda.

But what if I added, 'Picture Allison Fisher.'  The tip all of a sudden becomes more impactful because you can see in your mind her doing that.

Same for Katniss.

So, don't forget to use concrete examples people can picture in their mind, when giving advice.

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Steve Lipsky Interview - Sept 2019

While I wasn't able to submit an interview for the July and August edition of the online magazine, Billiard Buzz, I did get an AMAZING interview with Steve Lipsky for the September edition.

I realize I am biased, but I promise you will also enjoy it and think it's amazing as well.

Please take some time to read this interview with Steve Lipsky! He graciously said yes when I asked if I could interview him and I am sincerely over the moon with this interview.

His responses are funny, thought-provoking, and said in a way I am enamored by. I can't wait for you all to read it - you will see for yourself why this interview is priceless.

I want to also add what a JOY it was to interview Steve. He was gracious and kind with his words as we went through the process. We had more revisions than most, only because we took more time than usual to work on it and also because every new answer promoted me to want to ask another question, haha! He was very complimentary about me on social media about working with me, and I truly feel the same about him.

The other thing I want to say is, in this interview, while it wasn't the intention at all, I asked him about several other players. It didn't start that way at all - I asked the normal questions I usually ask, but when he would answer, he would bring up someone in the pool world. Normally, I don't ask about others too much as I want the interview to focus completely on interviewee. But I recognized right away that Steve would have insight about certain people we may never know more about. Further, his way of describing his friends was interesting and captivating.

It was natural for me to ask about George (Ginky) SanSouci, as he is from New York and passed away way too young. Steve talked very highly of him and how he helped him with his game. And then Steve mentioned a poker pro (Nick Schulman) who started out playing pool and was a real good friend of Steve's before he became a poker pro (this is a truly interesting story!). 

I debated to ask Steve about John Schmidt (for those not aware, after trying weeks on end in a row, John ran 626 balls on May 27th of this year, beating the long-standing 526 ball run record by Willie Mosconi), but I wondered if Steve had any thoughts about the high run and boy did he ever! So insightful and nothing I even remotely thought of. Steve then mentioned in an answer how impactful Danny Barouty was to him (pretty cool connection and story!). But I then asked him in the interview, "You speak of Danny Barouty as if we all should know him – for those who don’t, tell us about him real quick, please." And again, his answer was so entertaining and interesting! 

Steve has a way with words. I hope you read his interview soon (if you haven't already).

Monday, September 30, 2019

Second Place is the Real Winner

I wrote about this topic a couple of years ago. But I'd like to touch on it again real quick.

I remember distinctly after I lost in the finals of a big tournament in Florida in 1998, one of the local good players told me, "Second place is the real winner." Of course at the time the sting of losing in the finals was too strong for me even hear what he was saying. 

And then of course it took me YEARs to figure out and finally understand what he was talking about.   
I hadn't really understood a lot about the mental part of pool at that time, was hardly putting effort into improving, and didn't understand all the beautiful nuances of the sport yet, to truly fathom how powerful that one sentence is.

One of my friends recently placed second in a big tournament and I was SO HAPPY for her! I'm guessing she might have felt deflated and maybe defeated because it was second place, but all I could think about was how much she was going to learn because she got second place!

You see, if she had won the tournament, she may not be as reflective as she will be now. Let's face it, second place means you didn't win the tournament, so you're going to evaluate what happened, think back on your shots. Was I staying down? Was I tired? Was I nervous? What was going on? Had she won the tournament, none of those great questions would have entered into her mind for her to reflect on and learn from.

Lessons we learn when we lose big matches are sometimes the highest gifts to our game. Second place is the real winner.