I wrote yesterday about a teammate that IMHO should not have complimented an opposing teammate during a team event.
Today I'd like to write about something I learned over 20 years ago from my friend and good player, June Hager Walter, about complimenting opponents during individual matches.
She taught me NEVER to compliment my opponent during a match.
I did this one time during a match she watched me play in, and afterwards she told me not to ever do that again.
She explained if I compliment my opponent during a match ("good shot" or "nice out") it kinda makes my opponent feel better about themselves. We have just helped THEM in their OWN match.
Now, I am a very soft-hearted person so it actually pains me not to give a compliment of a good shot or out, because it goes completely against my nature. I actually WANT to acknowledge them.
I sit there thinking, "wow that was a nice, tough shot." But I keep my mouth shut and don't say it to the player. I *may* say something about their play after the match, but not during.
If we want the killer instinct and to give OUR best playing pool, then we should not be HELPING our opponents.
Imagine, you are playing in a really tough match. You make a HECK of a shot! Then your opponent acknowledges it, "That was a really nice shot."
How does that make you feel?
You knew it was great, and even your opponent was impressed. And now you are pumped up even more!
See what just happened there? Yep, your opponent helped YOU by giving YOU kudos.
Don't do that to your opponent. Don't pump them up. You are there to defeat them, not help them.
And, it actually pains my heart to even write all of this out because it goes against my nature. I provide positive words of encouragement or kudos to people all the time in my daily life. But as my friends Lisa Marr and Jennifer Kraber shared, "friends off the table."
I admit if I see something spectacular, I *might* compliment them. But even after a really nice / tough run of the table, I normally keep my mouth shut and refrain from telling them because of what I learned so long ago from June.
However, it's actually a very tough balance.
Some good players/friends will still say, "nice shot" as a courtesy to their fellow player. This happens a lot between good regional players who appreciate a good shot or recognize a tough shot.
Or, like one time at ACS State, I was playing a VERY new player and gave her compliments because I knew my compliments were helping her as a person who was nervous, but not in any way would my words help her defeat me (if that makes sense). I know, I know, I should not be supportive at all to my opponents, ever, but it was tough not to be super kind to her because she was so new and nervous.
But, if I think back to that one time I played at a WPBA Pro event, there was not ONE single pro player saying "nice shot" to their opponent. It was very serious and cut throat, quite honesty, and you were there to win, not compliment you opponent during a match.