As the main photographer of the Omega Billiards Tour (I wear many hats running the Tour, lol), I know probably more than anyone which players stay down well on their shots and which do not.
Of course we may generally recognize which players shoot fast or maybe don't stay down. Or maybe you might recognize players that exaggerate staying down on their shots (whether intentional or not).
As the photographer, though, I know EVERY single players' normal shot routine.
During the last Omega tourney, I was taking photos and immediately recognized that a player was staying down longer on his shots. In the past, he tended to falter sometimes in matches due to misses (not due to choice selection or safeties), but today he was staying down so well and taking his time more than I'm used to seeing, and it was clearly related to his positive score in this tough match, because he was making more shots.
I debated on telling him or not that I noticed this. As I've written before, bringing awareness to someone about their game can actually be detrimental during a tournament, as they then begin to focus too much on that, instead of playing pool. So, I decided to just kept the compliment to myself.
The player won that match, but then lost his next match. He came over to the tournament chart, waiting to play his next match, and I decided to finally give him the compliment.
I told him I noticed he was staying down really well and was taking his time more than usual in his earlier match, and that he made more shots than usual. I told him I was pleased to see this change, as it really benefited him. I also shared, in comparison, that in his next match he didn't stay down quite as well, to shine on the reality that his staying down and taking more time was indeed beneficial to him.
And then I recognized right away my compliment was kinda lost. He wanted to explain to me why he hadn't stayed down in that last match and why he lost. Every time he would say something like, "He hooked me 3 times in a row by accident," I would counter with a chuckle, "What does that have to do with staying down well?"
And then he shared more of his frustrations with me, "Well, he had me down and then shit in a ball." Again I asked, "What does that have to do with staying down?"
I tried to really reinforce that him staying down was a beautiful sight and that he played so good taking his time.
Okay, folks, I could easily end this blog post right here. But for some reason, I think it's intriguing to delve into this exchange some more. Sure, it makes for a longer reading (sorry!), but I like evaluating aspects of situations. It's the leadership classes I've had over the past 20 years that begs my mind to evaluate and contemplate the different aspects of communication.
You can stop reading now if you wish, or read on for my opinion of the leadership/psychology aspect, lol.
At this point in the conversation, I knew there were many factors affecting his absorption of the compliment or not. It was now a matter of his personality on if my words would sink in or not, or maybe my timing was bad, or maybe my choice of words wasn't good, or maybe comparing it to his next loss was not smart on my part, etc.
Further, it's actually tough for some guys to take advice from anyone, much less a chick. Further, he wanted to really explain why he lost. That's his personality; and I'm okay with that. He might have heard what I was trying to tell him that would help him, but he didn't acknowledge it; which again is fine.
But he seemed to brush it off, and instead wanted to counter with the reasons why he lost (many bad rolls and his frustration over that).
I am fully aware that some people take advice, some don't, some don't think I know much, some don't acknowledge positive things, etc.
The whole conversation was really about two personalities and also if the words I choose would help the compliment be received.
Further, what frame of mind was he in to receive the words of advice? If I told him over dinner, I bet the convo would have been different. Instead, I might have picked the wrong time to tell him because it was right after he lost a match.
Timing, personalities, ego, acceptance, choice of words - all these things go into giving/receiving advice. Even if it's a compliment.
I am hopeful he thinks about the compliment the weeks after, and shows up at the next tournament ready to take extra time on his shots and kick more ass!