Friday, September 30, 2016

Teaching Me My Own Lesson

One of the things that gives me the most happiness in life is to be able to talk to others about pool.  It gives me the biggest high in life.  I feel the joy deep in soul - my heart actually flutters in the middle of talking to others about pool because I get so happy about it lol.

I think I mentioned that I met up with a whole ladies team one night for about 3 hours and we just played pool and talked about pool. We didn't just talk about shots, we also talked about confidence, nerves, etc.  Because as you know, pool is mental as well as ability and shot making.

I've helped a few friends throughout the years with some sessions and they have always been grateful.  I recently started to meet up with a friend to spar with.  She and I thought it might be good to get some good sparring in before a big tourney she has coming up.

If we do talk, we mostly talk about strategy.  We play 8-ball.  So we might talk about why certain shots are better, when to not make balls, when to go for break outs, how to play better safes.  We are learning from each other, it's pretty cool.  Her safes are jam up - I hate them lol.

We've only met up a few times and now.... I've come to the point where I actually hate our sessions.  Omg... she learns too quickly and she has turned the table on me!  Now I have to step up my game and try to play smarter, tougher.  She gets my mind working overtime because I have to think even more strategic than usual because she catches on too fast.

It's killing me!

I LOVE IT.  :)

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Different Thoughts of Playing Better Players

I think it's very interesting what goes through people's minds when they see someone with high talent walk into the pool room during a weekly tournament.

What are YOU thinking?

A girlfriend of mine and I were talking last weekend about this very topic.

She said it must be tough for local Pros to walk in to play in local tournaments because they have a target on their head.

I looked at her very curious because that's not the way I look at them.  My thinking is completely opposite.

My thinking is more like, "shit, I hope I don't have to play them tonight."  lol.  I get nervous I might have to play them.  Instead, she is of the mind set that she HOPES to play them so she can try to beat "de-throne" them. 

I wonder why people have such different reactions and thinking when it comes to wanting to play better players? 

Confidence?  Mental toughness?  Killer Instinct?  Hmmm....

Playing The Name

What I find interesting is when we go to big tournaments a lot of us check out the chart to see if someone that is well-known is in our bracket or not.  And naturally we might get a little nervous at times.

Not a lot of people know this, but about 10 years ago I was married for a few years and my last name was Hinojosa.

I was playing in a tournament in Vegas for BCAPL Nationals and I'm sitting there next to my table with the score sheet waiting for my opponent.

A girl comes up and she's looking around and she sees the scorecard but she walks away.  She comes back about 5 minutes later and she looks around again kinda confused and she finally asks me (because I'm sitting there right in front of the table in front of the score sheet), "do you know who's playing at this table?"   And I reply, "I am."

And she looks at me real funny and she says "no, I'm playing some good Japanese girl."

And I am really confused, "I'm Melinda Hinojosa, who are you suppose to be playing?" 

It's funny because Hinojosa is actually a Hispanic name, not a Japanese name!  Little did I know I was already making my opponents shake a little in their shoes before they even got to the table just by seeing my last name on the tournament chart LOL.

Oh, and yes, she beat me.  Back then I wasn't a decent or seasoned player (yet!).

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Giving Lessons, But Why Me?

I mentioned a couple of times that I am giving lessons, and have given lessons.

It's a very weird thing, though.

Who am I to think I can give lessons?

What's also weird is that's how people feel about me (and I presume others who want to teach, too).

WHO AM I?  And why would I be good at it?

I posted on FB several months ago I had some openings for lessons and someone commented, "you?  why you?  haha."

I don't blame them, really. 

I am the first to admit some people have no idea how many state and national titles I've won, or hill-hill matches I've cinched for my numerous teams in numerous playoffs, state and national events, or how many trophies I have, or that I've been playing pool for over 25 years, or that I actually know strategy and position very, very well, or that I was ranked 2nd on the OB Cues Ladies Tour, or that have a great temperament to teach, or that I have already excelled people's game with just a few lessons....

So, without knowing all of that, it makes sense why people don't understand why I would give lessons or why players would want to take lessons from me.  I get it.

Plus, some players see me not finish high on the Omega Tour, and I don't play on the OB Cues Ladies Tour anymore so players new to knowing me are really thrown for a loop, lol.

But, most people are aware that even famous athletes have coaches that don't play like the top pro's they are helping.  So, at this point, luckily I have word-of-mouth. 

If I didn't think I was making a difference I wouldn't even tell anyone I have given lessons and just move on to other things.  But I love making players happy with new knowledge of strategy and position.  I love it when players love the game even more because they see the table differently and get more wins.  I am so very lucky to be able to contribute in this arena!

First Impressions Go a Long Way

As in anything in life, customer service is key.  Respect for customers is key.

The other day a friend of mine recommended me for a pool lesson.

By the time I got the player's contact information, he already had a set time for a different instructor (he was eager for lessons).  I told him I understood and so we set a date/time to meet about 2 weeks later.

Then a few days later he calls me back.

He shares that he hates to go back on his word, but the guy he was suppose to meet up with that week had not called him back in days, when he did call initially he didn't respect his time, he over-talked him on the phone, and he just didn't seem very cordial at all.  The player decided that since I was more courteous and responsive, he cancelled the appointment with the other guy and met up with me instead. 

As the quote above states, "First impressions last."  And that can be a positive first impression or a negative one.

First impressions are so important.  This was very evident in this situation - the instructor lost the chance to provide lessons because of that.  Normally when we think of first impressions we think of what we might wear and how we will act and our body language, etc.  Remember, though, the very first contact (phone call, text, email, etc) - that's crucial, too.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Moving Coins Hill-Hill

During the Omega stop earlier this month I saw a match go hill-hill. 

One of the players takes his coin out from under the rail and slides it on the felt towards the center of the bottom rail.  Then he walks over and does the same thing to his opponents coin.

I've been playing and watching pool for over 25 years and don't recall this before.  You mostly see it when the score is 8-8 in gambling, but not 6-6 in a race to 7 in a tourney.

I can't even fathom that this would be normal because I've personally been in over 100 hill-hll matches myself and witnessed SO many hill-hill matches all these years, that I know it's not "normal."

Makes me wonder why he did this.  Did he do this so people would not see the score?  Did he do this so he wouldn't be distracted by the coins shouting at him, "it's hill-hill!"

And what if I am his opponent and I don't want my coin moved?  lol.

I will try and remember to ask him next time I see him at the Omega Tour Finale in November why this is his preference.

Humidity Is Different Between Saturday and Sunday

On weekend tournaments, Saturdays are more humid and hot because there are more people in the pool room. 

Players tend to need gloves and powder more on Saturdays than Sundays of a weekend pool tournament, because by Sunday the field is whittled down to about the top quarter, and so less people, less humid, less need for powder or using a glove.

As a Tournament Director, we of course notice the same thing.  On Saturdays we plan to wear short-sleeved shirts (females) and light in weight.  On Sundays, we bring back-up sweaters, lol.  The temperature difference is truly amazing from Saturday to Sunday.

One player remarked at the last tourney he uses more powder on Saturdays because it's so much more humid that day of the weekend due to the number of people in the pool room. 

Preparation is key!