Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Therefore, I am going to open myself up a little bit here, take the plunge, and do things a little different.If you have a question for me, about me, about something/someone I have mentioned in my blog, anything (really) related to what you have read in my blog or are curious about, please send me the inquiring question(s) via this online form:
Then I will answer your questions via this blog. Obviously if the questions are rude in nature or embarrassing, I may not answer them, lol. But go ahead and let's give this a chance so we can interact a little more and also so you can ask that lingering question you may have. I really don't mind how personal the question - it may not dawn on me that peeps don't know certain things - I do tend to be vague in my blog entries sometimes.
I think a 30-day window to receive questions seems cool. You don't have to enter your email address; a name or initials would be cool, but not mandatory either.
I will accept question(s) through June 25th.
(note, if the online form doesn't work for you, shoot me an email with your question)
Thanks in advance for giving this idea a try!
I would fly out exactly two weeks after coming home from my ten day jaunt to Vegas for BCAPL. I still thought it would be cool, though - I love Vegas and it would be another chance at a title tourney!
However, after my third morning in Vegas at BCAPL, I was in bed reminiscing about the last three days (still on Texas time and wide awake in the mornings!), and I decided I really should not come back for ACS. I was having too much fun with friends and knew only 2% of my friends would be there for ACS. I also gave away a sickening match the night before and knew that I still wasn't mentally prepared for going after the ACS title tournament. Further, if the ACS was a few months down the road, I could see myself going, but being gone almost 2 full weeks outta 4 away from my Mom was not something I looked forward to.
Turns out my decision a week ago was the right one - maybe a sign? After exploratory surgery yesterday, we found out my Mom's sister (her only living relative) who lives in Illinois (we live in Texas) has advanced stomach cancer and it cannot be removed. I therefore need to be home right now while my Mom contemplates her worries and concerns.
Maybe ACS Nationals next year? It's going to be held the week before BCAPL, instead of two weeks after. Hmm...
Please say a prayer for my Mom and her sister if you so inclined to praying. Thank you.
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
- Master Scotch Doubles: 13th outta 82 players!
- Women's Open Singles: 49th outta 402 players!
- Women's Open Teams: 5th outta 133 teams!
Amanda, me and Ashley
Saturday, May 15, 2010
This month’s PoolSynergy Topic comes from P00lriah : “Your poolosophy.” Specifically, “What is your approach to pool and/or what does pool mean to you? What purpose do you attach or derive from the game?”
As soon as I saw the description, I knew exactly what I wanted to share:
Pool has made me who I am today.
I could not join sports in high school because my Dad wanted me to focus on my grades. So, beginning to compete in pool tournaments after college came with an ugly price – mental struggles. I already had low self esteem, was paranoid how others thought of me, suffered from depression, had a lot of self doubt, thought negatively, etc., and competing brought out these emotions 10-fold. However, playing pool for all these years has led me to where I am today: a strong, confident, outgoing, friendly, self-assured woman.
Yes, some job-related leadership courses helped me along the way, but playing in pool tournaments truly helped me become the person I really like in the mirror. Let me expound:
I wanted to improve my mental toughness to compete better so I read a few books about it in the mid 90s. If I hadn’t been competing in pool, I never would have read these books. The two books (Mental Toughness Training for Sports and Dare to Win) taught me many valuable lessons. Here are a few:
1. The importance of setting clear, detailed, reachable goals.
2. In competition, thinking positive is vital.
3. Playing your best is key to overcoming depression after tournaments.
These three examples above have helped me in my personal life, also. I started to set goals away from the table and became successful with some weaknesses in my life (like saving money, for example). I now think so positive, it annoys my friends and my Mom (lol). If I have had a bad day at work, I still drive home knowing I did my best and it helps me from being too over analytical or depressed.
Playing pool has magically allowed amazing, influential people to cross my path. Here are a few examples:
1. A female pool player (June Hager Walter) took me under her wing in 1996 and taught me to like myself. She helped me change my thought patterns from negatives to positives by helping me decipher if my emotions were true or influenced by my youth.
2. The advice I received from the pool instructor whom I happened to be sitting next to at a poker table in Vegas who stated that “confidence can be learned” transferred into my daily life when I dealt with tough situations.
3. The off-the-wall conversation from that inexperienced female player who shared with me that “you can make a difference in people’s lives.”
4. Very close friendships have formed with pool players who have helped me during trying times. Some girlfriends have really been there for me during the worst of times; held my hand, cried with me, and understood what I was going through when my Dad passed and when my Mom became sick.
6. My Mom has always been very supportive of me being in pool tournaments and is proud when I play and even more when I do well. Having that support bonds our closeness even more and for that I am grateful.
Running the OB Cues Ladies Tour:
Being a Board Member of this amazing tour for 9 years helped me at my job, at home, and with my friends.
1. From running the Player’s Meetings, I talk easier in front of a large group of people at meetings and at work conferences.>
2. Handling disagreements between players gave me experience to mediate between coworkers and/or friends.
3. Believe it not, I am shy. Being a board member, one almost HAS to not be shy to run a good event. As a board member, it brought me out of my shell which has allowed me to make more friends, which in turn helps me have more fun in life.
4. I don’t have a natural smile so it’s an effort for me to smile all the time, but as a board member, smiling provided a nice welcome for the players. In addition, there were a few times I found out later my actions or words were taken negatively and I realized if I had been smiling my true intent of being positive (or trying to help) would have come across better. I now try to smile more when I go out or meet people because I know how important that was when I helped run the tour.
Pool may just be a sport to you, but to me, there’s a DIRECT connection to ‘playing in pool tournaments’ to me being a happy, confident person in my life.
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
I have an aircard, so can't use the "Internet is not free at the Riviera" excuse.
Even if I am not playing a lot of matches, I still don't stick around too much in my room, so I don't get online a lot. Yes, for TEN DAYS, lol.
What am I doing all those hours not in my room? Well, watching my friend's matches, playing matches, gambling, eating with friends, hanging out, etc. It's amazing to me how much time is spent watching other matches - it's tiring but fun! I admit, I barely leave The Riviera, too! So, can't blame not getting online to that. hehe.
I also take my SLR camera and since I get a media pass, I will be in the pro area taking photog's this time. But, last year I didn't take one pic of the tournament - and yet I still wasn't in my room a lot.
This year I hope to go to dif casinos with friends to hang out, but usually that plan fails miserably, lol.
The whole point of this entry is to say I would like to update my blog while in Vegas, but I cannot guarantee anything. I don't make promises I can't keep.
You can follow the BCAPL Brackets the whole time! Click this link for their cool online bracket system: http://ctsondemand.com/TournamentHome.aspx?TournamentID=304012
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
- break out early because insurance balls are around
- solve trouble balls early
- each 8ball game has a beginning, a middle, and an end
- there are 2 areas of a table - one at a time (if do-able)
- when you play safe, always improve your balls or block a pocket (i.e., don't just hide the cueball every time you play safe - multitask)
- look for the key ball(s) first
- if you have to give up the table, improve your balls
- plan your work, work your plan
- when in doubt, got back to your first instinct
- don't forget the soft kick safe
- can't run out? improve your position; and prevent them from running out
- my first turn could be my only turn - take one ball at a time
- stack the odds in my favor - lock them up or create an edge by messing up their balls
- plan my run (where is the key ball?)
- plan three balls ahead even for easy racks
- identify the key ball and the ball to get me to the key ball
- rise to the occasion
- think of your leave if you miss - play a two-way shot if possible
- enjoy playing one shot at a time
- enjoy the challenge of 8ball
- don't let up one bit
I now carry my cue like this in my checked bag:
It will be surrounded by clothes and essentials in 24 hours!
The key to this suitcase is the size - roughly 30 inches by 19 inches. If you get one even an inch smaller, take your case to the store to see if it fits first. It's a snug fit, but this works well for me.
Try the below suggestions or at least consider them if you get nervous before or during a match - that's what I am going to do.
Breathing - take deep breaths to slow the heart rate down. A little adrenaline is okay (and normal), but too much adrenaline can be slowed down with deep breaths. Breathe in and hold your breath. Then release very slowly. Deep breathing has been well documented to ease stress and ease anxiety.
Challenge - view any tough opponent as an opportunity! As a challenge! Welcome the chance to play them and test your skills. Reverse any fears of a tough opponent by viewing it as another great experience. Just *thinking* that way can already slow the heart rate down because you change your negative/fear thought into a positive thought.
Act - Standing tall, sitting up straight, and walking around the table acting confident even when you are not... is amazing how it transforms into real confidence! Almost exaggerate these "actions" if you have to Acting like you have confidence truly does transform into confidence. Along the same lines of smiling to make yourself feel happy, acting confidence breeds confidence (try it, you will be surprised!)
Focus on Your Pre Shot Routine - this is the biggest advice. If you are focusing completely on your fundamentals, and your pre shot routine, your mind has no room for thinking or roaming. Phil Capelle taught me this when I struggled with embarrassment a few years ago. It's very, very important to do this. Mika also recently wrote a whole blog about what to do under pressure - breathe and focus on your fundamentals!
Have Fun - enjoy the moment, the table, the decisions, the environment. Enjoy playing the game you love.
Early Recognition - This is crucial - recognize early if negative emotions are affecting your match. As soon as you recognize what is going on (not staying down, thinking of the "what ifs," getting frustrated, etc.) the sooner you can reverse the thinking and start playing pool again.
Perspective - if you are nervous, try to put things into perspective. Get your mind thinking of the obvious - it's just a GAME. Yes - it means A LOT to you - but fight the nervousness by putting the situation in perspective: this isn't life or death, you aren't in a car accident, you aren't going die of embarrassment if you fall on your face. Everyone has bad days - you are human, it's okay.
Awe - fill yourself with awe. Be thankful you can even play pool, can attend the tournament, have the opportunity to be in this event. Nothing fills the heart more than realizing, "hey, I'm so blessed to be able to play pool, my passion in life."
Trust Your Stick - give it your all, but trust your stick too. You practiced hard now go out there, have fun, and play your game!
Reverse It - if your opponent upsets you, turn it into a spur for your game - make it become a motivating factor.
Jumping Jacks - got into the bathroom during your break and get that blood flowing! (don't slip, though.)
Stay in the Present - don't psyche yourself out by already playing two future matches in your head while you are playing a weak player. Don't think of future results - the game isn't over yet! Don't psyche yourself out by thinking everyone is thinking you're dogging it. Don't psyche yourself out by relaxing your fight if you are ahead in the match. Bear own, but bear down on the shot right in front of you.
Play Your Best - give your best effort for every shot. Don't rush easy shots or take for granted a wide open table. Play your best every single shot. Make the most when you are at the table. Don't let up at any point. Focus on playing your best to contain the nerves.
Focus on What You Can Control - focusing on things you can't control takes your mind away from the present. Did they crap in a ball? Is the A/C broken? Well, you can't control these things - why let them bother you? Worried about what others are thinking? They are probably fighting their own mental demons and not even thinking about you, lol. Your mental approach and your pool game are things you CAN control.
It's a Good Thing! - nervousness means you care - that's a good thing! Remember also, that it's natural to be nervous; natural for the adrenaline to flow. Don't fight it - accept it and feel it for what it means - it means you love the game. Embrace it.
Monday, May 10, 2010
I have two version you can download - a .pdf file (to print-only) or .doc file (so you can edit with some of your specific needs).
after I get to my travel destination (lol) that I have forgot something I really needed. I therefore created this travel/packing checklist. Hopefully my pains help you. :)
Sunday, May 9, 2010
First of all, almost $6,000 was raised for my friend who didn't have insurance for her cancer. The charity event/tournament was a huge success! (and btw, my friend is doing well).
The Monday after the event, Royce Bunnell of OB Cues tells me that our league mate named Robert Cleland (whom I didn't really know) won the dinner with me. Royce told me Robert exclaimed after he won it that he felt he won the best raffle item of the event. I thought that was super sweet of him to say.
Turns out, that dinner has led me to a lot of topics in my blog, and also helped me in my personal life. Robert told me over that dinner about this straight pool league he was in. He said I would love the game and it would also help my overall pool game. He was to let me know when the next season started up and as soon as he did, I joined it... and have never looked back!
Robert also not only introduced me to pool, he understands fully when my Mom is in the hospital due to her emphysema. Robert lost his wife to cancer a few years ago and he recalls all the rough, long days and nights in the hospital. Robert is also an only child like myself, so he can relate to how tough it can be.
Robert and I are great pool buddies and because he is in my life because of that "vain" dinner donation, I now love straight pool, have a friend to lean on during tough times, and also have a dinner date when I want one. :) Robert and I try to still go to dinner every once in a while to catch up. He and his son both play that Straight Pool league and other 8ball leagues in the area - so I get to run into them all the time now. I have appreciated Robert's help on so many levels.
Saturday, May 8, 2010
Well, I think this time it may backfire! I am playing in the Masters Scotch Doubles with Sylver Ochoa. Even though he is a friend of mine and we have been at countless tournaments at the same time over the years, it doesn't mean we have ever played pool together before. lol. Am I nervous to play with him? Yes. Should I be? No. But, it's Sylver Ochoa; a pro; a well-known pro. He would laugh at me if he knew I thought this way about playing with him. I have played scotch with top pros before, but not in a big tournament against other big players. And if I did, I either was just as nervous and don't remember, or didn't know who the top players were at the time, or it wasn't a big event.
Every time someone asks me who I am playing with in Vegas and I state his name in response, every person has replied, "Really? Wow. " Then they might add, "how did that happen?" "he's a pro!" "wow, he plays really strong." "well look at you." blah blah. lol. Like I'm not nervous enough already. Ugh.
Am I nervous to play against the names on the bracket? Yes. Should I be? No. I am human, though. And although you may be laughing at me, I can't possibly be the only person who has ever been nervous in this situation! I keep thinking, "I wonder how Borana felt before she went overseas and played with Mika in that scotch doubles tournament?" And yet I am not even playing in front of TV cameras like she did!
I know I do not have a strong mental attitude all the time. I have not yet been put under enough pressure situations to just play the table every time and not the name across from me or to stop yearning so badly to win title tournaments. Sometimes my mental game is dead-on confident; sometimes it is not. I can't quite comprehend why throughout all these years my nervousness comes and goes; why my mental angst goes up and down; why it resurfaces the way it does and other times is contained. I would think I would eventually stop going backwards. I have had great periods of time of playing pool with a strong mental attitude, yet then some tough moments crop up.
Am I worried about falling on my face? Yes. Should I be? No. I should go in to have fun and accept this as another great opportunity.
I fully admit I do not have the killer instinct. I fully admit I am nervous right now. I want to have fun and so by the time I get to the tournament in less than 6 days, I hope to calm my brain and focus on enjoying the challenge.
I surprise myself that I can give a talk/presentation/speech in front of a hundred people for my job, yet I'm nervous to play in this tournament? lol.
Like I said, I will review my notes and get my mental toughness prepared to focus on pool for the tournament so I have a chance to not let the negatives of my mind win. However, I never really know which Melinda will show up - the confident one, the nervous one, the nonchalant one, the zone one. Eeek. lol.
I did call Sylver a couple of weeks ago to tell him I was nervous about the tourney and he laughed at me and simply stated, "it's gonna be fun." He knows what to focus on and what not to worry about. Thank goodness, lol.
I am glad for my blog right now - besides feeling very vulnerable letting you all ride with me on my roller coaster of emotions from confidence to tips to nervousness to disappointments to successes - it allows me to consider the things I need to work on.
I hope this week I will have time to share in my blog what I can do to overcome this. I really do know some good tips to help out and I know writing them down will help prepare me even more. :)
Friday, May 7, 2010
Thursday, May 6, 2010
I tried the m&m holders many years back, but tokens didn't fit in them; quarters yes, tokens no.
My FAVORITE solution is the Coin Holder that Samm Diep has for sell on her online store. It is large enough to fit BCA/Diamond tokens! Here is a pic of it:
You can go to her website and order it today before you go to Vegas! $2.00 each or 3 for $5.00. I checked with Samm and she can ship up until May 10th (that's when she herself leaves for Vegas).
HOWEVER! You can also buy these IN Vegas! :) There are three vendors that will be at the BCAPL Nationals that will have them for sale:
- Frank's Center, and
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
- they have a really crappy attitude
- they act like they are better than everyone else
- they shout out after they win matches
- they hand pump their fist some times
- they throw temper tantrums
- they make snide comments during their matches to their opponents
- they make rude comments while watching matches
- they wish out loud for bad rolls for their opponent
I finally figured out WHY: I respect their game. Yep, I really really do.
Do I wish I didn't have to see all these crazy antics and hear rude comments? You betcha! But, I try to not let their attitude get in the way of the competition. I know I need to show up with a strong mental attitude to play these players and I just try to accept their antics.
Admittedly, sometimes when my mental strength is not strong (for whatever reason) their antics have been known to upset me during a match. But I know ahead of time about their possible actions so I usually prepare for it.
I think it's tough for some peeps to accept that "players with attitudes" can also be good players. I have no issue fully admitting they can play well.
Let's check out the checklist and see how I'm doing:
(note: some of items below are newly added from my original checklist)
- Plane Ticket bought - check
- Room Reservation made - check
- Pick-Up arranged - to do
- Singles entry fee mailed in before late fee deadline - check
- Scotch Doubles entry fee mailed in, too - check
- Getting excited - check!
- Team name decided on - WTH - check (yes, that's our team name, "WTH")
- Team shirts bought -check
- Team shirts embroidered - check
- Team entry sent in - Captain did that - check
- Practice 8 ball with Coy Lee - 2 out of 3 sessions completed.
- Review Play Your Best 8 Ball and Play Your Best Pool - check
- Review my notes that I prepared in the past for 8ball tourneys - not yet
- Watch Straight Pool DVDs - check
- Read a mental/strategy book - check
- Get sleep a week before I go - hope to!
- Pack - still too early for that, lol!
- Make hair, nail and botox appts - check
- Try out a sunless (spray-on) tan before I go - check
- Print out rules to go over on the plane - check
- Print out itinerary - check
- Go grocery shopping for Mom - to do
- Ensure all Mom's prescriptions are filled - check
- Do arm curls a few weeks before to help my break -check
- Practice my fundamentals one more time before I go - to do
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
I set a goal about 3-5 years ago to practice at least once a week. My practice session hours are usually only from 1-3 hours at a time, once a week. If I can get extra sessions in, that's even better. :) Believe it or not, it seems easy, but it can be tough and tricky to find time to practice once a week!
If I have a tournament over a weekend, I try to find one of the weeknights to practice. If I am in town for a weekend, I plan my whole weekend around which day I am going to practice (Saturday or Sunday).
I realized how hard-wired this goal was this past weekend!
I wasn't able to go practice on Saturday b/c the A/C went out in my house. My Mom needs the air cold due to her emphysema, so even though it wasn't hot inside, it was too warm for her. So, I dealt with our A/C choices when the tech came over all day Saturday. On Sunday I wasn't about to leave Mom because she was coughing for hours and hours - I felt so bad for her. :(
On Monday, I felt this amazing urge to practice. By the time I got off of work at 6pm, my whole focus was on - getting the pharmacy, checking on Mom, and then going to practice.
The feeling to practice was so automatic, and the urge was so strong, it felt like an internal clock! Check out this definition of "internal clock":
- "sustain life"
- "regular schedule"
- "importance...cannot be underestimated."
Looks like "internal clock" is not too far off of a description for my practice routine after all. :)
I went to the pool room last night for conditioning because I didn't get to practice over the weekend, and wanted to so badly work on staying down and a smooth stroke.
I put on my ipod and starting to play 10ball but after only about 3 songs, my friend, Steve, came up and wanted to play one pocket. I can't pass up the opportunity to play one pocket! Plus, I figured once the weekly tourney started in 45 minutes, I'd go back to conditioning while he competed.
Well, he forgo-ed the tourney! We ended up playing one pocket for a good 3 1/2 hours.
Steve gave me 11-5 and I told him he couldn't beat me at that spot, but he played really good, took his time, and focused on the shots. Dang it! lol. He won the first 4 games, then I won a few, but his coin was on 4 games a few times. He warned me he was going to get to 5 games, but I whittled it down to only 2 games by 11pm. :)
I was tense at first - trying to hard to impress him. Then the effects of moving balls near my hole started to affect my shot making ability. I noticed my shoulders were tense but I finally started to relax and take my time. When peeps stared to watch, I began to play better. For some reason, guys are still shocked when they see a chick playing one pocket, lol. I played better toward the end when I succumbed to "it's ok I'm not winning" to then focusing on the smooth stroke.
11-5 is a big spot and it sure was tough to swallow I didn't really win at it, especially because I feel I've learned so much about the game in the past two years. But, I have A LOT to learn. And, playing only once a month is really not doing me any justice if I want to become the best female one pocket player in Texas.
Have I mentioned I love one pocket? I do!! So glad I was able to play that beautiful game for so long last night. :)