At the ACS Texas State Tourney, I noticed a theme with several players after they missed.
After players miss a shot, they do not realize how they are acting and how disruptive they can be to their opponents. Some players pout, some stand and are simply disgusted. Others sit down and talk to someone sitting next to them because they are embarrassed and they want to explain why they missed. However, it would be best to just sit down; and don't move and don't talk. Give your opponent the courtesy to allow them to focus at the table instead of being distracted by your behavior and mannerisms while you are pissed at yourself for the miss.
I have seen this a lot, but it was more apparent this past week, and I saw it over and over, both in singles and in the team events. I think I figured out the WHY. And I think that's why I reflected about it and wanted to blog about it.
At events/tournaments in pool rooms where people are not allowed to sit near you when you play (like regional Tours, for example), after you miss you walk slowly back to your lonely chair and sit your pissed a$$ down. You then reflect silently on why you missed (hopefully you are doing that and not just being pissed in your chair not making the most of the time you have to reflect).
But after you miss in a team event at a State tournament with your team near you, and your pool table is the one in front of your team, you get to go back to your area and sit or stand and you get to vent to your teammates.
Now, you don't HAVE to do this, but it was rampant this past weekend.
I was pretty much disgusted when when a player kept missing, and would walk back to her area and just stand there. She was constantly in her opponents' line of sight and never sat down. If you don't want to sit down, then at least move over a little. Don't stand there with your hands on your hips disgusted and pissed in their line of sight. Give your opponent some respect.
Because of the layout of bringing in pool tables and sitting tables to a large convention room for State events and Nationals, there are numerous tables for people to sit at and watch right next to the pool tables. So, even in the singles events, it's very easy to sit down after a miss and turn to your friends to vent and explain things.
I know I have done this - it's easy to do. But it's not really right or fair.
It's very frustrating to be at the table and see your opponent in your line of sight with their head down, or on their phone, or talking to their friends while you are trying to concentrate.
I am no saint and have done all of this, but I have learned from the many tournaments I have been in not to do this. I even feel very bad if someone comes up to talk to me, as I don't want to disrupt my opponent or upset them because someone is trying to say hi.
I think I honestly wouldn't have even thought to write about this if I didn't see this happen a lot over the weekend when the opponent was down on shots, in the line of sight of their opponents. But the layout of the room allowed for this.
Now I KNOW that these players have no idea they are being rude and disruptive. And I also know no one is deliberately sharking. I know it in my heart. And let's face it, we have all been guilty of talking to friends. I could go on and on about the psychological reasons how helpful it is to speak to our friends in the midst of battle and why that helps.
However, when we are at the table and the pressure is on, we "sense" more things from the sidelines. It's like our hearing is heightened when we are in the midst of battle. So, early in the match we may not even notice. Or, it may not bother us at all. But if the score is close or the pressure is on, that's when we notice even more things on the sidelines that we normally wouldn't even see, hear, care about.
I realize that after a miss we are disappointed in ourselves and upset and many of us react to that. But our positive behavior on the sidelines is important - to give our opponents the respect they deserve.
I know it's easy to be selfish and be in our own little world beating ourselves up. I really do realize this.
I honestly think the reason it was more apparent over the weekend, was because of the layout of the tournament.
At Tours hosted at pool rooms, most of the matches are separated from the crowd, as they watch from afar. You aren't even suppose to have friends or family sit near you at the pool tables. At State and National tournaments, the set-up is such that long tables are along all the pool tables. So, it's very easy for 4 or 5 friends to sit right next to you while you play a match. And your chair is right there, next to your friends. At a Tour, the only chairs near your table are yours and your opponents. No one else can even sit close.
So, while I might be sounding like I'm blaming the players, honestly, they are put in a position to easily be distracting without them knowing it. They can easily talk to a friend and vent. At Tour events in pool rooms, it's not as easy and therefore I haven't noticed it as much at pool tournaments in pool rooms.