I had a very interesting conversation with a player the other day. He was basically saying there are two people he plays regularly that he completely respects their game and never checks their rack. However, as much as he respects their game, he has noticed that he doesn't quite make as many balls against one of them anymore and he's wondering what is going on.
He shared that he felt like if he checked the rack of this one particular person who he deeply respected (mutual respect, too), that it would actually come across as disrespectful. And he wasn't quite sure what to do about it.
I took in all of his words and concerns and I expressed my thoughts: I told him that he needs to do what he needs to do to win his matches. And if looking at the rack for a split-second will make him feel better about the rack or see if something's going on (like balls aren't touching or crooked rack), that he needs to that.
I also shared with him that I don't think the other player would consider it disrespectful or even notice anything different. The player I was talking to looks at everybody's rack anyway. And he doesn't take a long time doing it - he probably looks at the rack for less than 2 seconds. He kinda walks by briskly and peers into the rack and then walks quickly away to break. I think if he studied the rack and was down their deciphering it to death, then yea, the guy would notice all of a sudden.
I'll let you know after they play or match-up against each other if he did indeed check the guys rack quickly or not and how he felt about finally doing that.
But you gotta do what you gotta do and sometimes think of yourself, even if your opponent might feel disrespected. But I can tell you that I honestly feel this guy won't even care that his rack is being checked. He knows it's part of the game.
What's also interesting about this is not only that he feels he might make the opponent feel disrespect, but what that makes HIM feel. It's a fact that affecting someone else's emotions can have a personal effect in you. And when competing, we need to not be distracted how the other person is feeling because it takes away from our own focus.