Monday, June 19, 2017

Goodbye First Round Bye

When I started out playing pool, I always wanted that first round bye in tournaments.  Sometimes, back even just ten years ago, that would be my only match win in the tournament, lol!  So, I savored those byes.

And then at some point as you became a better player and competed more, you heard (and truly felt/believed) that you should actually not wish/yearn for a bye.  The thinking was you need that first match to get warmed up, to get in stroke, maybe work out some nerves.

And then, as you get even better, you realize that you do indeed want that first round bye back in your life lol.

You see, in the beginning of our pool journey, it's true - sometimes the bye may be our only win because our game is that bad.  As we play more, we realize playing in that first round really does help us - gets us comfy in the tournament, gets a win under our belt, helps us get in stroke, etc.  But as our game gets even further along, we don't need a first round match to get in stroke anymore.  We are now seasoned players, and we would like that bye because if all goes well, we will be playing all weekend and that first round bye would be a nice rest.

I believe this thinking is a normal progression in our game as we get better and better.  And of course a lot of it has to do with the fact that we are more confident in our skills.  We are more confident in the fact that we've played a thousand tournaments.  And each game is a mental toughness struggle to stay in the match to win, so I would like that bye to give myself a little mental break.

Further, I don't even think about everyone else who is getting to "warm up" the first round - I'm not even concerned about that.  Heck, I don't even care!  lol.

I truly feel that as you get better and better, and play in more and more tournaments, you don't even think about a bye being a good or bad.  It's just what is.

I think a lot of people feel that not getting a bye is great for the tournament experience and it's great for them to be able to warm up for the rest of the matches. But I'll be honest and a tad vain - I'm already prepared before I walk in the door.  One match in the first round is not going to make or break me anymore.

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