Monday, July 16, 2018

Reasons for Recent Successes

I've always been fascinated when a player all of sudden finishes really high in a big tournament.  If it's an up-and-coming player, it makes sense because they are usually working on their game.  But when a seasoned player all of a sudden does really well when they had been missing from the podium for a while, it makes me want to find out the scoop!

I'm talking about players who have always played well, but hadn't had many high finishes the last few years, and now all of sudden placed high in a big tournament.

That happened to two of my friends recently and so I started my investigation right away for you all!  I want us all to learn from them. :)

The first player I reached out to is a good friend of mine and so he was chatting with me honestly about his thoughts on why he had propelled in his latest big tournament.  When I ran the Omega Tour, he only placed in the top 4 maybe once (when the tour first started), so what was the reason for the recent top finish?

He said he actually hasn't been playing hardly at all, especially the last three months.  I told him sometimes not putting so much into practicing can actually help us with no expectations, which allows us to enjoy the game again.

He relates and replied, "Yes I agree.  I was at a point where I was putting too much pressure on myself and overthinking.  I was able to keep things simple for most of the tournament weekend.  And also I want to have more fun when I play.  That got lost somewhere for me along the line."

I was SO happy to see how well he had finished.  So happy for him :)

At that same tournament, I noticed another player who had a higher-than-usual finish.  Then at his next big event, he had yet another top finish!  So, I reached out to congratulate him, too.  And while I did that, might as well ask what he's been doing to help his game.

After the kudos, I asked him, "Have you done something different with your game?"

"No, not at all... just gotta be positive and realize I can run out and beat anyone in the tournament."

That didn't help us, did it?  lol  So, I prodded, "But is this new thinking?"

"No, not really," he said.

Ugh.  There has to be something!

He then continued, "Just gotta do it and also stay focused through the waiting during the tournament.  The waiting just sucked the life outta me in the past."

I still wasn't satisfied with his response, lol.  I asked him, "So you just came to aha thoughts about what you need to do as far as your thinking?"

"Pretty much."

So, let me translate this for you peeps, lol.  I think he got frustrated with not finishing well, knowing damn well he has the ability and talent.  He gave it some deep thought as to WHY, and what he realized was he needed to be more positive about his own game, and also remain focused throughout the entire event (and not get frustrated with long waits, etc - things you can't control).

Pretty good translation, huh?  It's okay to be impressed.  j/k!  :)

The difference between the two is almost opposite.  The first player I talked to stop thinking too much and started to enjoy the game with less pressure.  The second player thought about why he wasn't finishing well and realized it was his attitude after much thought.

I think both are key to successes.

Congrats again to my friends!

Friday, July 13, 2018

The Rabbit Talk

I was watching a player in a match last year on the Sunday of an Omega tournament.  He really studies the game and practices, and it shows in his increasingly high finishes, even though he's not yet one of the top players.

I am very impressed with how much he has improved and how well he knows the game.

In this match, I saw him miss a crucial 8 ball.  He was trying to get shape on the 9ball, but he went for a tough shot on the 8ball and missed it in the side pocket.  As soon as I saw the shot, I thought to myself he should have used a different route to make the 8 ball (an easier shot) so he would for sure have a shot on the 9ball.  In other words, he took a risky shot and because it was a tough shot, it was missed.

Because I really like the guy, I decided to share with him (at the next tournament) my thoughts on his shot selection.  You have to realize I can't just walk up to some dude and start giving advice, I actually have to be careful how I even broach the subject.  Some guys take offense to a chick trying to show them something, so it can turn into a dicey thing.  But, I think you all know me well enough to know I am careful with how I word things to not embarrass him, upset him, or make him think I am better than him.  I am just offering advice.

Long story short, the conversation went very well!  We chatted about the different options and he explained why he made that shot selection (he wanted to get perfect on the 9 ball) and I explained why I thought it was better to go a different route (easier shot and still have shape on the 9ball).

After the great discussion, I shared with him I was glad he accepted my opinion so well, as sometimes guys don't react as receptive as he did.  He then shared something really cool with me.

He said that it's just like taking advice from a rabbit.

Uh, what?

He said in his country (Peru) there is a saying that you can listen and take advice from anyone, but it's up to you to decide if you want to use it or not.

I loved it!  But then I asked, "Uh, what about the rabbit, though?"

He smiled and explained, "Oh, the reason why the quote mentions a rabbit is because in Spanish it rhymes.  Un consejo hasta de un conejo."

I always find it fascinating when someone uses a phrase or quote from their childhood or country.  Makes me feel like they remain connected to their history and they let me see a part of it.  That day was a cool day for me.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Being a Team Player Can Hurt - Project Hunger Games

I admit it.  I feel bad for my friend, Katniss of Project Hunger Games.

You see, she has a lot of talent, potential and love for the game.  However, she has a bit of a disadvantage.  What is this disadvantage I speak of?  Well, unfortunately, her own teammates.  

You see, she confided in me back in May that she doesn't get to play all 5 of her games on league night because she has teammates who complain about wanting to play, or feel they deserve to play, or whine they aren't being played more.  So, she gives up her 5 chances every league night to improve her own ranking on the league so her teammates get to play more.  Even though she's the top player on their team, she still does this selfless act.

So, what happens when people complain?  We get in a foul mood, get a bad attitude, and therefore can't compete well.  This in turn (oh the irony!) upsets her teammates because she's isn't winning all her games.  Little do they know, they are the ones affecting her play!

So, she is sacrificing not playing as much, not playing her best because she's upset and it not only affects the team standing, but her individual stats as well.

Katniss shared, "I get to the point that I don't enjoy competing....its not fun anymore. So I don't try, because I'm dreading it."

But a month later something really awesome happened.  She struggled with her unhappiness for many weeks and then decided to do something about it after giving it some thought and talking over options with her husband.  

She decided to have a team meeting and they set up ground rules about who should play and why (based on stats and future incentives).  This is another ironic thing as it not only helps her, it also helps the weaker players to give them incentive to help their own game so they get to play more!  So it was a much-needed change/decision that ended up helping the entire team!

Being on a team is one of the highs in life, but it can sometimes come with conflict and drama.  Once those are ironed out, watch out - fun times and better play ahead!