Saturday, January 13, 2018

Danielson's 2018 Goals

As promised, the Danielson Series continues!  "New Year, New You."  No, no, none of that crazy bullshit.  How about New Year, New Learning!

Danielson reached out to me and said he was thinking about his goals for 2018. 

Now, if you are a regular reader, you know I already blogged about goals a couple of weeks ago since it's the new year.  However, Danielson never reads my blog unless I send him a link to one of my posts lol.

So, it made me smile he was thinking about goals on his own, without any prodding.

Because he had such a successful year last year and working to improve his game more this year, one shouldn't set too high of goals or goals with tangible expectations.  Even he said, "I have a lot of changes this year and to try and put any kind of performance goal on myself could be disastrous."

So, he suggested his goal should be, "Play Smart."

OMG that's perfect!

Absolutely perfect!

And of course I told him, "add that to your checklist."  LMAO.

I think this is a really great goal for him and one that will prove to help him have another successful year.

Play Smart. 

Love it!

I am super excited for him!

In the last few years he said his goal was to improve in the ranking, which he did.  And currently he is borderline moving to a new handicap level and so Play Smart is a very smart (sorry) goal!  Danielson shared, "I just wasn't sure what I should be aiming for this year, but regardless of a ranking if I play smart and keep mistakes to a minimum, it will all take care of it's self."

Ahhh, Grasshopper! 

They grow up so fast, don't they?  :)

Friday, January 12, 2018

Where Everybody Doesn't Know Your Name

One of the coolest things I experienced in a long time playing in the OKC tournament last weekend was I only knew one single other player in the tournament!

Talk about fun!  That was SO cool and relaxing.  And less pressure, too.

I normally play in Texas and we all know each other.  And when I used to go play out of state, I normally played in larger events or women's events.  In the larger events, all the top players are there and I know them and also run into a ton of friends or acquaintances.  At the ladies tournaments out of state, we also all know each other.

But since this was a tournament for players rated 575 or below in the Fargo Ratings, I didn't know many of the players there since it was out of state and not open to the top players who normally roll in to steal the show.

So this tourney was completely different and a joy to play in because of the atmosphere.  It was so relaxing and refreshing to play somewhere where no one knew me and I didn't know them.  I could focus on my game, not on the expectations of others.  Nor did I have any predictions of my opponents as I had no idea who they were or how they played lol.

Sure, there were some whispers that Tina and I heard: "the Texas girls" or "they came all the way from Texas to play."  But it was nothing like the accolades (while flattering) I hear in Texas tournaments or national events that can be a added pressure if one doesn't hone it all in.  

I'm not trying to brag, I promise.  But I think it's important to share that a lot of players (no matter the sport) who have had success are very aware that success can actually sometimes add pressure.  

So, I guess my point is it was a really treat to be able to focus all my attention on playing good pool. 

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Opinions Before or After Matches Should be Off Limits

I don't know why I find it so intriguing and confusing when people make comments that I feel can be detrimental to our games.

I guess I just wonder WHY.

Why say something that can affect someone's play?

I know, I know - some people just don't realize this.

While I stated a few times (either in print or my video blog) that my mental toughness isn't want it used to be, I am still good with not letting some things bother me.  And I was lucky, too, because a couple of things over the weekend at the Oklahoma City tournament could have really derailed me lol.  Although I am distracted with my own thoughts while down on shots, I AM still good at not letting things get to me from others that could potentially be pressure type things.  And thank goodness!

My friend Tina and I went to OKC for this tourney and it was a really cool trip.

Of course several things happened I want to blog about, lol.  Come on - you all knew the blogging was coming!

Here is one:  As I walk to my table for my first match to play a guy named Victor, the Tournament Director for some reason walks right by me and tells me with a soft, cavalier tone, "I told the guys, "Watch this girl from Texas run all over Victor." "

Uh, WHY?!


WHY say that to me.

Now, I know from experience not to let that bother me or get to me, but come on now, why tell me anything.  And as a Tournament Director, I would expect one would know not to say anything to a player before or after a match.


Isn't that obvious? 

Oh, guess not.  lol.

While waiting to play that said match, a friend from the area told me I should do well in the tournament, as they looked around at the competition.  Again - pressure much?  LOL.  But, like I said, that part of my mental toughness is still solid.

But, it does bring up the fact we just shouldn't really say, well, anything.  It's really one of the best things you can do for a player, friend, whatever - shut your mouth, hahaha.  Any type of words that have to do with future thoughts or opinions of them or their opponents should be off limits, lol.

Reminds me of this gem:

(Unwelcomed) negative reinforcement is described well by this AWESOME story by one of my favorite psychology and sports psychology authors, Denis Waitley, in The Psychology of Winning:

The World Series, in the 1950s.  New York Yankees, Milwaukee Braves.  Warren Spahn, the great Milwaukee left-handed pitcher on the mound.  Elston Howard, the great Yankee catcher at the plate.  Score tied.  Two men on, two men out.  Three and two.  A critical part of the series.  And a critical part of the game.  
The manager walks out of the dugout to give Warren Spahn, the great pitcher, some encouraging motivating advice.   “Don’t give him a high outside pitch, he’ll knock it out of the park,” said the manager.  And walked back to the dugout.  
Warren Spahn said to himself, “why did he have to say it to me in that way.”  Let’s see, “don’t give him a high outside pitch.”  “The reverse of that is…” too late.  Like a neon sign, high and outside came as the dominant message.  Out of the park went the ball.  A 3-run homer.  
Because of that one dominant thought Milwaukee almost lost the World Series.  But Eddie Mathews came in with a home run to save the game and the series for the Braves.  Warren Spahn, to this day says, “why would anyone ever try to motivate anyone with the reverse of what they want?”  
That’s like motivating and office staff by saying, “firings will continue until morale improves.”  You know, it just won’t work.  
I know many series for the coaches who unwittingly set up their players for losing performances every day.  Here’s an example and basketball.  “Missing free throws is what loses big games, team,” yells the coach.  “You’re all going to stay late during practice and shoot free throws until you stop missing them so often.”  While the winning coach would take advantage of the positive motivation opportunity by saying, “teams with high free-throw averages win ballgames.”  “I want you to put an extra 15 minutes a day making your free throws in practice, so that when we get them during next week’s game, we’ll make all we can, and will win the game.”  
You see, this is the right way to motivate. 

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

What I'll Miss Most

There were many special things that happened personally for me over the course of running the Omega Tour for almost 6 full years that I am honored and blessed to have happened. 

Let's look at some remarkable parts of running the tour in detail that I cherished and will miss:

PLAYERS BECOMING FRIENDS:  New friendships, even some love interests, happened because of running the Tour.  And not to mention all the cool players I met who either I learned a lot from (about pool or personal things) and also who ended up being genuine good friends.  Had I not run the tour, I wouldn't have met all these wonderful people who are now a part of my life and for that I will be forever grateful. 

RESOURCES:  One of the cool benefits were the contacts I gained.  As I mentioned in a previous blog post, having access to so many different types of people allows one to find trusted resources of expertise we may need.  Like I now have a roofer, a friend who works on cars, a friend who helps me with house improvements, people who will lend a hand if needed when friends are sick, etc.

GAME IMPROVED:  The other thing that of course happened was my game skyrocketed because I watched so many talented players compete for 2 full days at a time for 8 to 12 times a year.  That's A LOT of learning that not many people get to witness!  I admit completely that part of my winning run for a few years was because I was able to watch patterns of the top players and also see how well they stay down with smooth strokes.  You watch great pool like that so often and so much, you gain such incredible knowledge that helps propel your game.  And I was lucky to be on the receiving end of that.

LEADERSHIP:  And another thing I truly loved was all the leadership I gained.  Talking at times to all the sponsors allowed me to learn a lot of the ins and outs of a business and why decisions were better than others.  Further, a lot of leadership opportunities also arose by running the tour when I interacted with the players.  There's a lot more to just running a tournament and going through the motions, it's also about personalities, and how to handle conflict, and dealing with issues professionally.  Huge opportunity and experience for leadership.

FRIENSHIP:  The thing I'll miss most is talking with friends and getting to know them.  Even a few friends would come to visit me at the tournaments on Sundays, and we spent hours chatting and catching up.  We have decided to continue that in other arenas (away from smoke and pool rooms).  Further, all the players who helped me run the tour became really good friends and I will miss them.  Heather, Ginger, Jeff Georges, Dana, Duane, and Kara.  Even my bestie Amanda and I only really saw each other at the tourneys.  But I gained valuable friendships in all these people and I will miss hearing their advice, learning more about them, and enjoying conversations.  It's not to say I'll never see or talk to them, but the Omega was the Perfect Storm for all that conversing to take place.  And of course hosting birthday celebrations for friends who I normally wouldn't see was a pretty cool side benefit of running the Tour.

And no... none of this changes my mind about my decision to get away from the pool room.  But, many have asked me what I'll miss from not running the Omega Tour anymore, so wanted to share.

But, the distance wont stop me from still having great connections with friends!

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Video Diary - OKC Trip Jan 2017

Well, I decided to change things up a little bit and try something new and different:  A Video Blog instead of typing out words.  In this video blog I describe a recent trip I took with my friend Tina  when we traveled to Oklahoma City this past weekend for a pool tournament.  This is just a little test of something new, and right now I only have the capability to do this from my office (not very pool-related-friendly background, lol), but it's a start of something different.

This video blog shares how I played in the tournament in OKC.  How did I play?  How did it go?

Monday, January 8, 2018

Betting on a Roomba

A lot of pool players are your typical gamblers, and as such they will find anything to bet on.

During tournaments, many players will match up and gamble on the open 9-foot tables or bar tables either in ring games or one-on-one matches.  For those pool rooms who don't have open tables, players will match up and bet on darts, shuffleboard or foosball if they have those.

Players will also side bet on matches or bet on a football game on tv.  You know, anything for a sweat bet.

Other times players will flip a coin for $100.  Or see who can make (or can't make) a certain tough shot rail to rail.  Players gather around, wads of bills in their fists, ready to bet.

It's kinda of unheard of for no bets to be taking place during tournaments.  There's always some type of action/betting going on.

So, this should not have surprised me at all when Heather Bryant posted a video of people betting on a Roomba!!  

Talk about being creative, lol!

Her and Charlie "Hillbilly" Bryant were at the Rocket City Open in Huntsville, Alabama at Good Timez Billiards over the weekend. 

She posted a video of what was being bet on, and it was shared over 1,250 times!  

Whatever ball the Roomba makes, the person who bought that ball wins the money.  Check out the video for yourself:  Like I said, gamblers will bet on anything!

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Pool Chair with a Twist

I'm amazed how much I relate everything to pool.

This chair was floating around on Facebook a few weeks ago.  I, however, barely noticed it was perfect for wine.  I noticed I could put my chalk on the front left carved-out section, and that I could lean my cue in the groove where the wine glass was resting.

Everyone knows any chair with a groove is a spot for your cue.

People!  This isn't a wine chair.  It's so obvious it's a chair for pool players.  Come on!

Friday, January 5, 2018

Playing Preparations

I mentioned the other day I had sparred with a friend (video edition).

And I had some important preparations to do beforehand.

Because I don't play that often anymore, I don't think of things I need to do to better prepare myself for playing.

This time I remembered! 

Yep, needed to tape my chalk up so I can easily identify them.


I know - sound crazy that THIS would be my only preparations.  lol.  But, even being comfortable with your chalk is important.  My other pieces were either too low, had bad-colored tape, or not tape at all.  All aspects of comfort are important, peeps!

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Filling Your Head

As I sat with my friend Dave Faver on Christmas Day, who was in the hospital over the holidays, we were talking about pool at one point.  Dave is a great pool player in the DFW-area (and other states, too) and he has a vast knowledge of the game that most people don't realize he has.

I was sharing with him that I was distracted when I had sparred over the weekend, and was missing easy shots at times.  You see, because I'm not competing as much anymore and as often, my mental toughness is actually really weak.  I don't bare down or focus as much as I used to, and I get easily distracted with thoughts.

He shared with me, "Yep, if you don't fill your head with of the right things, then the wrong things will wind up there for sure."

And he's SO right!

I have a tourney in Oklahoma this weekend and I know if I can fill my head with focusing on following through, staying down and focusing on the object last, then the surroundings and atmosphere and negative thoughts will have a tougher time to get into my head.

Great advice/reminder for me for this tournament!

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Dart Championships on TV

I was intrigued over the weekend when I saw that there was this "thing" called the Dart World Championships playing on TV. 

Maybe it was the bad cold I was trying to get over blurring my thoughts to watch something I have no interest in, lol.  However, I really was genuinely interested in seeing the production and how it compared to pool.

Of course. 

I swear everything I read or see I can relate to pool somehow, lol.

And as I watched it, flipping back and forth from it to the Fifth Element (a fav movie of mine), let me just say I'm highly jealous for our sport.

Here, this photo kinda already proves why I was disappointed and jealous:

Can you see the depth of the crowd!  It was a HUGE venue and it was PACKED!  The amount of fans standing behind the two dart players was astounding.  Fans were cheering and yelling and it was quite the spectacle.  Even when pool was on TV we didn't have crowds as big as that.  The crowd was even larger than what I've seen at poker tournaments on TV.

It was a three-hour program and it had one of those famous announcers that extenuates the words, like for boxers.  And in this corner, the World Champion Briiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiieeeeeeeennnnnnnn Casperrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

I have to admit I didn't see any payouts I didn't watch it all that long, but what I recognized was is darts is a highly followed sport that I probably had no idea about, but happened to see it on TV this day.

Even when I came to work this week, our secretary mentioned it to me and she was surprised how much the fans were into it and also had no idea there was a Championship or that it is something popular enough to be televised.

I bet people think the same thing about pool.  They see pool on TV and they think that we make great shots and that they wish they could play like us.  They are even surprised that there's a tournament that we're playing for money on TV.

This was held in London and doing research for this blog post, Wikipedia shows this is a mostly a sport with European players.  And there are qualifiers and brackets, etc etc.

I had heard that people play in dart tournaments, but hadn't thought past that to think they would have a World Championship like we do.  And didn't think it'd even be on TV.  Of course there's other sports like this that we don't think of but yet we see all the time in the pool room that are more popular than we realize:  Shuffleboard, darts and foosball are the ones that come to mind.

I'm sure the competitive dart players were very excited that this Championship was on TV, just like we get proud when pool is on TV.   I presume darts has the same struggles as we do trying to get  mainstream in a world that doesn't see pool as a mainstream sport yet.

I was pretty happy to see the darts on TV.  They are very similar in our wants of a low hanging fruit sport that should be more nationalized.  Hope for pool!

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Goals! 2018.

I have a written a ton of times about GOALS (okay, maybe that's a little bit of an exaggeration).

But because it's the first of the year, let's continue this important tradition. 

First, I don't believe in resolutions but I do believe in GOALs and feel they are very important to our improvement.  Bottom line is there are good goals and not so good goals.  Don't set yourself up for failure; set you set up for success!

One year I had a goal to get "Most Improved Player" on a tour in the late 90s. Boy, I learned my lesson the hard way!!  I had no control over that - someone else decided that "title" (and no, I did not win it, even though I came close).

That was a very unrealistic goal because I had no control over that.

I was so na├»ve.  lol.

Goals are important because they give you that something extra to strive for, to look forward to, to plan for, etc.

I like simpler goals now.  Like in matches:
  • Have fun
  • Stay down
  • Smooth stroke
  • Enjoy the game we love to play

These goals below seem realistic and attainable, but sometimes they are not:
  • Get in the money every tournament
  • Last til Sunday
  • Win all my matches in league
  • Get in the top 25% of a tourney
These goals are setting you up for failure.  Sorry!  They are affected by A LOT of outside factors that you have no control over.  One time I placed 9th and didn't get in the money because the field wasn't large enough.  One time I ran into the top two players and didn't make it to Sunday.  Another time someone slopped in the 9ball and cost me a 5-0 at league.

So, as you can see, goals are only as good as you set them.

Let's compare: "Watch more videos this year."  It's better to put a time factor on it.  How about, "Watch 2 videos a month."

Here is a list for you, that I would follow if I was still competing regularly:
  • Practice for 2 hours every week
  • Talk (or email) with my mentor every quarter
  • Watch one youtube video about pool (lesson or great match) once a month
  • Spar with a higher-ranked player at least once every two months
  • Play in a weekly tournament once a month
If you have any free time (who does thee days?  lol), then check out this blog post from last year that has several links to goals and their importance (with great examples).

Good luck!