Friday, November 1, 2019

Sharing Those Shots!

I still find it incredibly adorable when my friends get so excited about shots they make at league.... that they send me a text about.  With a diagram!

Makes me smile!

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

When Pool Chalk Saves Your Life

My very dear friend, Julie Collins, is extremely special to me.  She's one of those friends that because of her caring actions and beautiful choice of words, makes you feel deeply loved.  She has made an impact on my life in ways I can't express - I learn a lot from her and adore her.

I wrote about her a couple of times before in my pool blog (see this link and then also this link) and we try to meet up about once a year to do something fun and memorable - me not playing pool anymore wont keep us apart!

My dear friend was in a pickle back in the Summer.

Luckily, she is extremely resourceful!

Let me set the scene and share her words from social media:

She was driving home and her A/C went out in the car.  It didn't matter she had a convertible - it was early July and it was a very hot day with not a cloud in the sky, and no wind or breeze either.

And then she ran into this:

Turns out there was a bad accident many miles ahead of her (an 18-wheeler on the Interstate was engulfed in flames), so there was a long backup.  Everyone who was driving northbound on I-35 that day in North Texas was being diverted to another highway, which caused extreme traffic (as you can see in her photo above).

What do you notice about her photo, though?  Is there something you see out of the ordinary?

Yep, she took the photo from the side of the road.

What was she doing there?

Here is her story:

 She posted this very 'soft' post on her FB page:

"Got stuck on the Interstate. The closure is due to fire. Both myself and my car were overheating. I'm being transported back to my home base by this kind constable.
If I'd been unable to get under an overpass, I might have, literally, been toast!'

The reason I say it was a 'soft' post was because she didn't exclaim or scream or overreact about the situation - she simply shared, very calmly, what happened to her, and that she was thankful for something.  I really love this about her - she shares, but doesn't overreact or even draw any unnecessary negative attention to herself (ever). Even though in reality she had been in dire straits this day!

Btw, this was her next photo, her rescuer - The Constable!

It seems like she could easily be being hauled off in cuffs in the back of that police car, lol, but no, no - instead, he saved her!

I am going to share now her exact comments to friends who commented and asked questions, so you can see what truly happened to her that day, what a scary situation it really was, and how this all relates to pool:

"He [the Constable] heard the call someone needed help and drove down the wrong side of the closed freeway to reach me."
Someone ask her how her car was: 

"The car will be fine. I stopped in that shade when I saw my situation."

Another friend exclaimed "Thank goodness you were rescued!" To which she replied and shared: 

"Yes! I'd already resorted to writing on a paper plate with a cube of pool chalk to get cold water bottles from people who were creeping by. I'd stopped in the last shade I was aware of and wouldn't risk going further, then having it stop again completely, which it did."

Another friend complimented her on being so resourceful. She replies:
"I wasn't too proud to call for help. It could've gotten bad really quick. After people gave me ice cold water and I cooled off my brainstem, I decided I'd be better off ANYWHERE else."

I asked her how she was feeling and figured it had to be scary, to which she confided openly to all: 
"I love you too, Melinda. I am feeling better, and it WAS scary. I'd gotten to where my fingers were tingling, my head was dizzy and my arms and knees were weak. It could've gone really wrong, and I'm very thankful for the folks who jumped out and handed me ice cold water bottles. I used them as cold compresses on my brainstem, and poured them over me as well, lol. Before bed I took a long salt bath to help replenish myself.

That experience really has me rethinking driving this car anywhere long distance this summer, during the heat of the day."

And after the many thank you's to everyone for the sincere concern and glad she was okay, she ended with: 
"Spent the day very glad that I had that cube of pool chalk!!"
Us too, Julie. Us, too.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Doing Well from Past Losses - The Cueist Project

I’m going to just copy and paste part of an email The Cueist sent to me last year, to start off this topic today:

“Quite frankly, I was majorly disappointed in the team event [last year] at our State league event. Our team consisted of really top-notch players. Even the weakest player placed 5/6th in singles!  In fact, our team was so strong, a few of the other teams saw our roster and thought that we probably had the 3rd strongest team on paper in the event! 
I know we shouldn't have, but we all had high expectations for this team with our lineup. And I think that was part of the problem. 
But, we only won ONE match the entire team event.  It left a lot to be desired for the entire team.”

While I could go on and on about how I believe expectations are unfortunately a part of the Evil Kingdom (no really!), there is actually some good that conquered that evil!

Later on that same year, The Cueist’s strong team went on to play in a larger tournament in Vegas (I believe it was Nationals or something). How do you think they did?

They sucked again!

No, no, I’m kidding! That would make for a horrible ending to this blog post, lol.

Yes, they did better - much better!

The placed top 3 in their division! Going from zero place and zero money in the state-level tournament to top 3 in their national-level tournament, was great!  What happened? What was different?

It is my opinion that they did so well BECAUSE they did poorly at the state-level tourney.

There is something to be said for situations like this.

I strongly feel if they finished well at the state-level tournament, they wouldn’t have done well at their national-level tournament.

The state-level tournament proved to them that their high expectations hurt their chances. I have written a ton of times to stay in the moment – thinking ahead or in the past gets in the way of shooting the balls right in front of you. You can’t play your best pool at all if you are thinking about outcomes, or finishes, or expectations.

Luckily, his team had The Cueist on their roster! He reminded them before the event if any of them started to talk about the future, “don’t worry about expectations, and just worry about the matches one at a time.

He shared with me in that email last year,

“We capitalized on the other teams mistakes and they didn't fire back when they had the chances to. So naturally, the guys started to wonder if we could win the event. But I reminded them to stay in the moment!  As time went on, we just kept winning. 
Surprisingly, after day 2, the guys weren't nervous or had those same high expectations. Day 2 had us in some tough matches, and we knew we had to just simply play good to win the matches.

Going into the last day of the tournament, that morning Cueist shares:
“I relayed to the guys that we needed to stay in the moment and take it all in. Who knows if we'd be there again. I'm not sure it helped, but everyone was firing on all cylinders. Which is the first match where that happened. LOL.
I'm a big believer that everything happens for a reason, and sometimes, things are meant to be. Maybe it was meant for us finish so poorly at the state tournament.  And then maybe it was meant for us to do so much better at the national tournament. The universe works in mysterious ways sometimes.”

I’m a big believer in that also – everything does happen for a reason.

Their lessons learned at the state-level tournament helped them to do well at their national tournament.

I know it seems counterintuitive - play bad one event, do better the next.  Wait, what?

But, - it's their mentality about the team event and team itself that changed.  And they wouldn't have realized that if they hadn't of lost so badly a few months before.  See what I mean?

Go Cueist! (and team :)

Friday, October 18, 2019

Cristina Delagarza Schneider Interview - Oct 2019

For the October issue of Billiard Buzz, I interviewed my friend and fellow pool player Cristina Delagarza Schneider.

If you haven't read the interview yet, I highly recommend it.

Ladies, you will understand deeply when Cristina talks about her goals, how it was tough in a man's world, and being taken seriously.

For the men, you will be appreciate when Cristina talks about what she learned from the a top pro (Shane) - and the lessons from being on the road.

And finally, if you ever wondered about the differences between US and European pool, this is a must read.  However, even if you aren't interested, it's still extremely eye opening to read the differences.

I beg you to take the time to read it - I promise you will be surprised.

When I first had the idea to do interviews, I jotted down a few names to start my list of the people I wanted to interview. Cristina was one of the first I put on it.  She is a wonderful and smart and has so much experience already.  I was so excited when she said yes to being interviewed!  I knew it would be a treat for you all.


Thursday, October 17, 2019

Additional Tiffany Hardware

Well, Tiffany and Co is at it again!

You might remember back in July 2016 when I wrote about Tiffany and Co having a sterling silver rack for sale (~$1,000).

Well, they have upped their inventory!

If you love their shade of blue, then you will love these new items!

The rack is oak with a sterling silver accent/removable sterling silver plate you can personalize (nice touch). Along with it, custom-made Tiffany Blue® pool balls.  $1,500.

And they have also added to their collection sterling silver Tiffany Blue® chalk.  Only $195 if you want to give gifts to your pool playing friends that you really really love.

Monday, October 7, 2019

Give Examples When Giving Advice - Project Hunger Games

A few months ago I sent Katniss a little tip via text before a tournament she was playing in.  I normally just say "Have fun! Enjoy playing the game we love to play!"

I never say good luck or kick ass - I just keep things upbeat and positive.

I looked online and saw that the pool room where the tournament she was going to play in, had diamond bar tables. I wondered if she had ever played on them before (we hadn't ever discussed it). I also don't know how many diamond bar tables are in her town. She doesn't live in Dallas / Fort Worth and I'm not privy to most other areas anyway.

But, I learned something that helped me exponentially one time, and I wanted to share that with her.

From a previous blog post (linked here), describing advice from my scotch doubles partner who was a pro:
"...he knew them [the 7foot Diamond tables] well. He stressed that the team who stroked the balls the smoothest would win. He showed me how he barely had to hit the ball to get it around the table."

While I don't like to give advice right before any tournament, surely not the morning of a tournament, I decided to this time. I broke my rule of thumb, went out of my comfort zone, and after I hit send on my phone, I was nervous.

REAL nervous.

Did I do the right thing? Maybe I shouldn't have done that.  What did I do?

You see, most players should already be prepared before a tournament and if you throw something at them new right before, it could throw their game off (not on).

But, I did something different this time.  Instead of just saying something like, "The tables are fast, so have a smooth stroke," I gave her an example to go along with the tip.

I told her (hold on a sec while I go look at my text, this was several months ago...…)

Okay, I'm back.

I told her: 
Goal today: have fun. And if you're playing on diamond bar tables, you don't need to hit the ball hard, just a smooth stroke to get around the table.  Picture Mister B playing on the diamond, he never strokes hard, just smooth and pocket speed.

('Mister B' is a top player in her area that she has seen on streams, that I already knew played with a smooth stroke well on Diamond tables)

She said thank you and I didn't hear from her again.

I wondered throughout the weekend.. how is she doing? Did that mess her up? Did it help or hurt? WHaaaaat?!


I heard from her the Monday after (that's usually when I get tidbits from her for the Katniss Project of my blog), and she shared:  "OMgosh that helped me SO much!"

Immediate relief came through my soul.

"It did, really?"

"Yes!" she exclaimed.  "It helped me to visualize him playing; helped a lot. I focused all day on the "Mister B mantra."  And I believe that's what helped me finish well in this tournament. "

I giggled at her words, "Mister B mantra."  Evidently, that's what she focused on throughout the tournament and it helped her on the tables.

I was relieved and very happy I didn't hurt her. I think the key was to share an example she could visualize.

Let me give an example (see what I did there?).  If I tell you to lower your body so that your cue is near your chin, and that will give you a more solid stance, you would think, whatever Melinda.

But what if I added, 'Picture Allison Fisher.'  The tip all of a sudden becomes more impactful because you can see in your mind her doing that.

Same for Katniss.

So, don't forget to use concrete examples people can picture in their mind, when giving advice.

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Steve Lipsky Interview - Sept 2019

While I wasn't able to submit an interview for the July and August edition of the online magazine, Billiard Buzz, I did get an AMAZING interview with Steve Lipsky for the September edition.

I realize I am biased, but I promise you will also enjoy it and think it's amazing as well.

Please take some time to read this interview with Steve Lipsky! He graciously said yes when I asked if I could interview him and I am sincerely over the moon with this interview.

His responses are funny, thought-provoking, and said in a way I am enamored by. I can't wait for you all to read it - you will see for yourself why this interview is priceless.

I want to also add what a JOY it was to interview Steve. He was gracious and kind with his words as we went through the process. We had more revisions than most, only because we took more time than usual to work on it and also because every new answer promoted me to want to ask another question, haha! He was very complimentary about me on social media about working with me, and I truly feel the same about him.

The other thing I want to say is, in this interview, while it wasn't the intention at all, I asked him about several other players. It didn't start that way at all - I asked the normal questions I usually ask, but when he would answer, he would bring up someone in the pool world. Normally, I don't ask about others too much as I want the interview to focus completely on interviewee. But I recognized right away that Steve would have insight about certain people we may never know more about. Further, his way of describing his friends was interesting and captivating.

It was natural for me to ask about George (Ginky) SanSouci, as he is from New York and passed away way too young. Steve talked very highly of him and how he helped him with his game. And then Steve mentioned a poker pro (Nick Schulman) who started out playing pool and was a real good friend of Steve's before he became a poker pro (this is a truly interesting story!). 

I debated to ask Steve about John Schmidt (for those not aware, after trying weeks on end in a row, John ran 626 balls on May 27th of this year, beating the long-standing 526 ball run record by Willie Mosconi), but I wondered if Steve had any thoughts about the high run and boy did he ever! So insightful and nothing I even remotely thought of. Steve then mentioned in an answer how impactful Danny Barouty was to him (pretty cool connection and story!). But I then asked him in the interview, "You speak of Danny Barouty as if we all should know him – for those who don’t, tell us about him real quick, please." And again, his answer was so entertaining and interesting! 

Steve has a way with words. I hope you read his interview soon (if you haven't already).

Monday, September 30, 2019

Second Place is the Real Winner

I wrote about this topic a couple of years ago. But I'd like to touch on it again real quick.

I remember distinctly after I lost in the finals of a big tournament in Florida in 1998, one of the local good players told me, "Second place is the real winner." Of course at the time the sting of losing in the finals was too strong for me even hear what he was saying. 

And then of course it took me YEARs to figure out and finally understand what he was talking about.   
I hadn't really understood a lot about the mental part of pool at that time, was hardly putting effort into improving, and didn't understand all the beautiful nuances of the sport yet, to truly fathom how powerful that one sentence is.

One of my friends recently placed second in a big tournament and I was SO HAPPY for her! I'm guessing she might have felt deflated and maybe defeated because it was second place, but all I could think about was how much she was going to learn because she got second place!

You see, if she had won the tournament, she may not be as reflective as she will be now. Let's face it, second place means you didn't win the tournament, so you're going to evaluate what happened, think back on your shots. Was I staying down? Was I tired? Was I nervous? What was going on? Had she won the tournament, none of those great questions would have entered into her mind for her to reflect on and learn from.

Lessons we learn when we lose big matches are sometimes the highest gifts to our game. Second place is the real winner.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

"Return the Faver" Goes to Ohio (twice!)

The next free entry fee to a tournament has been identified for Return the Faver!

If you don't know what that is, please check it out here; this Player Scholarship Fund Award is in honor of my dear friend Dave Faver. 

I have been corresponding with Sonia, who has been holding straight pool tournaments in Ohio. Dave's friend since childhood (Joe), got me in contact with Sonia to help with this endeaver of a free entry in Dave's home-state, and I have been so thankful of our collaboration! 

A free entry ($55) was donated to the "Summer Sizzler" Straight Pool Tournament in Wickliffe, Ohio in July, and I just sent her another free entry ($65) donated to her "Fall Frolic" Straight Pool Tournament in Ohio in October!

She sent me this kind note, and I am truly thankful for her help with Dave!
"I just wanted to thank you once more for your more than generous donation to my straight pool tournament.
Again, you are awesome and Dave Favor's memory will live on!"
This all makes me so happy!

Here is the flyer, and the words on it about Dave:

"One lucky participant will have their entry fee paid for in full, thanks to a generous donation in memory of Dave Faver. Each pre-paid entry will be entered to win. Drawing will be just before Calcutta, and that winning participant’s entry fee will be refunded in cash, prior to the start of the tournament."

Monday, September 23, 2019

What do you do to Improve?

A friend of mine, Tina, has been working on her game so much so, that her persistence has paid off.  She recently won her end of season league tournament - a first for her!

Everyone has noticed her game has gone up and her stats and finishes have also soared. So, of course that led me to wonder what she was doing to improve.  But I didn't need to ask her.  If you follow her on social media, it's evident.  She WORKS on her game, works on improving, and works on learning.

Here's my question to some of you: Are you just playing pool?

First, if you are - that's fine!

But if you want to improve, what are you doing about it?

Don't be upset with me with the harshness of this statement, but:  just showing up at league or tournaments is not enough.

Tina doesn't just show up to her 'main' league and play pool.  She also plays in two other really tough leagues. Additionally, she plays in big tournaments around the DFW area, and sometimes in big tournaments in OK and other cities across Texas. She also plays on two tours (a ladies tour and a men's tour), and further, at times plays in weekly tournaments.

It's almost like she read my blog from the past where I shared many things one can do to improve your game.  I was ADAMANT many times that in order to improve, you MUST play in many different type of tournaments (yes, some tough); you aren't going to improve by just playing in league.

But, wait there's more!

If there is a stream on over the weekend, Tina has it on and she's watching. Watching great pool and patterns helps our game immensely (I've written about this before here).

side note: as I was writing the draft of this blog post last week, I noticed Tina posted this on her FB:

Proof she watches streams!

Oh, and guess what?

Yep, there's more!

She also practices.  She will either practice at home, meet up with league-mate at the pool room and hit balls before tournaments, or sometimes even go to the pool room and hit balls by herself.

Additionally, she reads.  I know, so rare! She will get out her reminders and go over them. Or she will grab a Phil Capelle's books and read some sections.

Further, she will sit herself in the front row of tournaments and watch matches while she waits for her own match to be called! I have written before about how crucial this is. And, she is taking advantage of the "free" learning lessons by watching the great matches right in front of her. She could be sitting in the corner reading a book, or drinking with her friends at the bar, or playing vide games to pass time. Instead, she's using her time wisely.

See what she's doing?  She is working on her game!  She hasn't been playing pool for a long time, but for some reason, she knew in order to improve, she needed to put in work for her pool game to improve.

I can easily admit for the first 10 years of me playing pool, that that's all I did - just play pool.  I only played on some tour stops and played on a league, and then wondered why my game never went up.

It took me years to figure out I needed to put in work and not just show up to a tournament and hope for the best.  I finally set practice goals, read, watched DVDs, wrote in my pool diary after each match, practiced diligently, and played in a ton of different events. And guess what happened? Yep, my game improved. I became more successful in my tournaments, in my standings, and started to win tournaments.

What I love about Tina's journey is she knew pretty soon out of the gate that she if she wanted her game to improve, she needed to work on it. And, so she did!

Again, if you want to improve, are you just playing pool?

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Perfect Practice: The Cueist Project

I learned something really valuable from The Cueist the other day.

I have always been of the opinion to practice like you're in a tournament.

What do I mean by that exactly?

For me, what that was if you have a pool table at home, don't play in your pajamas or slippers. Instead, wear the same clothes that you would wear if you were competing.

I didn't like a pool table at home because I didn't have the same atmosphere or feeling as during a pool tournament. You can turn off the TV, put the dogs in the bedroom, you can shut out any distractions. But is that the same atmosphere as a pool tournament?

Um, no.

I've written a lot about how I love practicing in pool rooms because things will be distracting, just like during a tournament. The music may be too loud, someone might try to talk to me while I'm playing, these are all the same things we have to deal with when we are in a tournament.

So again, you should play pool in the same settings as if you were competing in the tournament.

But The Cueist actually goes further.  And I'm so excited to share this all with you today!

He says one of his preparations to get ready for tournament is to spar with a friend. But instead of just sparring, he is instead thinking of his opponent as a nemesis.

No, no, not me.

I'm not his nemesis. (wait, I hope not!)

But pretending you are playing your nemesis makes you bare down more!

He isn't just really sparring with a friend, he actually has the feelings during a tournament against the guy that is always tough for him to beat.

I think this is a very important learning experience for you all to try to incorporate!

He describes it much better:
Since I don't get to practice as much as I used to, I tried doing something else at the start of this year. A few years back, I talked to Rodney Morris about a few different things in pool. But one thing he mentioned about practice is this:

"When I was young, trying to learn the mental game, my mentor told me, 'you need to learn to play within yourself.' For me, that means practicing exactly like you play for real. When I'm practicing, I try to convince myself that I'm in the finals against whomever is my toughest opponent. I try to create that pressure situation. Because if you just practice like you're practicing, when you're playing for real, it will be different and you won't know how to react. People say practice makes perfect, but that's not true. It's perfect practice that makes perfect. So train correctly and imagine yourself in the toughest situation every shot and you'll be able to emulate that and stay within yourself no matter what is at stake:)"
The Cueist went on:
I just happened to see Rodney's message at the start of this year, and what I started doing is picturing my friend that I spar with as my nemesis. That made me bare down a lot more, and I got to the point where I am beating my friend in a race to 18, and he's now not even getting into double digits!

Aside from mentally picturing my nemesis, I also changed things up a little when practicing certain shots, or playing the ghost. I started picturing that I was back in the finals. By just picturing the lights, etc, it helps me bare down, even when doing something as mundane as practicing the same shot over and over.

Obviously, everyone is different. And this is just what's been working for me. I'm sure I'll be changing my nemesis as needed during my next practice sessions. :)
And by the way, since he has started visualizing his sparring friend as his toughest opponent in a match during a tournament, he has noticed his game is gone up a ball. That's pretty fantastic.

Learn from The Cueist, folks! 

Next time you spar with a friend, pretend they are your toughest pool enemy.  And/or visualize your surrounds from a previous tough match, and incorporate that when practicing.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Passion Can Come Across as Upset

One of the things on my "to-write-about" list is something I noticed I did back in November.  I didn't get around to writing about it yet, though. Dang it.

And then what do you know, I found myself doing it again just last week. Now I'm even more determined to write about this, as it is something I am not proud of at all.

What did I do that was so horrible?

I got on to a friend for something I am passionate about.

I know, doesn't sound horrible per say.

But, when I am passionate about something that I learned that helped me deeply and strongly about my pool journey, I tend to speak up more about it.

It's difficult to describe.

However, let me share something real quick:  I recall distinctly a friend in the late 90s telling me that my personal goal to win Most Improved Player was ludicrous.  It took me awhile to realize her point, but she was saying basically my goal was dependent on others. I had no control over that - someone else decided that "title" (and no, I did not win it, even though I came close).

So, fast forward 20 years and I kinda got on to my friend who shared with me back in November ironically that was her goal for the upcoming year. I should have listened more to her and also been kinder in my response. Instead, my passion for what I learned took over and I didn't really acknowledged her goal, just more so told her it wasn't a good idea.  I didn't want her to go through the same thing I learned the hard way. But, I could have stated it all better, as I told myself as I drove away from our outing.

Fast forward 9 months later and I recognized on my drive home from visiting with a different friend, that I kinda got on to her for a comment she made about big tables versus bar tables.

I admit when I am passionate about something or feel strongly about something that exponentially helped my game, I will speak up. But I don't need to be rude about it.  Ugh.  I pretty much told my friend she was wrong, and I kept stating all these reasons I learned why it's best to only practice on a 9 foot table, and that that will in turn actually help you when you get to smaller tables.

I even quipped, "don't you read my blog?" lol.

She laughed at the moment, but I am betting she felt badly I was so vocal about the topic.  (here is just one blog entry I wrote about why it's crucial to practice on 9 foot tables and how helpful it is to your game on all table sizes.)  (see, I can't stop!)

I really need to be better at giving advice at times.  Just because I learned something that deeply helped my game, doesn't mean I need to be a bully about it. I can be kind and still make points.

I am trying to figure out why I was so vocal these two times, when usually I'm pretty calm and reserved, and actually carefully think about how I'm saying my advice. I want my learning experiences and advice it to be received well, so I normally am very careful with my word choices so they don't come across harsh.  Not sure what was going on these two times.  My apologies.


Friday, August 30, 2019

Cueist Project: That Miss - Lesson 4, Committing

The Cueist recently had learning lessons from a crucial miss. I will share each lesson in separate blog posts.

Today we will talk about Lesson #4: Committing to the shot.

Here is the story:
I'm deep in a big state tournament. My opponent is spotting me 1 game and in a matter of about 10 mins, I'm down 4/1. I claw my way to being down only 5/3, and he misses his last ball. I only have 4balls on the table and I have the break on the hill game. Heck yeah, that's exactly what I wanted! I make my first ball, stop shot. Take a breath. 2nd ball, good shape. Take a breath. 3rd ball, had to go 2 rails for shape w/ inside English. Nail it and took a breath. Last ball before the 8 ball, and I have to draw it back off of the rail w/ outside English. Well, I didn't HAVE to do that, but that was going to get me perfect shape on the 8ball. I get down on the shot feeling a bit nervous and single stroked the shot, while chicken-winging it, and jumping up at the same time. Then took a breath. LOL. Cost me the match of course.
Cueist adds:
I didn't make up my mind on where I needed the cue ball, and as a result, I didn't commit to the shot.

Personally, I think this lesson (#4) is the key to any shot.

You have to commit to every shot, and if you're not fully committed, we need to stop and reset.

I remember getting down on the shot and said to myself that it's an easy shot, but can get tricky due to the side pocket. In reality, the side pocket should've never come into play. But because of that last second doubt and indecision, I should've stopped, gotten up, and reset. You see? I hadn't truly decided yet where I wanted to be; and it cost me.

I hate this for Cueist. A little bit of nerves, a little bit of an indecision, a little bit of thinking in his head, all led to a crucial miss.

So many things can happen to us during every shot.  The four lessons we are rehashing with The Cueist (Lesson one (easy shots), Lesson two (perfect shape), Lesson three (nerves), and today's lesson (committing) are KEY.  And the bottom line is to stay down, stay calm, breathe, and focus only on your fundamentals and solid pre shot routine.  And you'll be okay!

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Cueist Project: That Miss - Lesson 3, Nerves

The Cueist recently had learning lessons from a crucial miss. I will share each lesson in separate blog posts.

Today we will talk about Lesson #3: Nerves happen.

Here is the story:
I'm deep in a big state tournament. My opponent is spotting me 1 game and in a matter of about 10 mins, I'm down 4/1. I claw my way to being down only 5/3, and he misses his last ball. I only have 4balls on the table and I have the break on the hill game. Heck yeah, that's exactly what I wanted! I make my first ball, stop shot. Take a breath. 2nd ball, good shape. Take a breath. 3rd ball, had to go 2 rails for shape w/ inside English. Nail it and took a breath. Last ball before the 8 ball, and I have to draw it back off of the rail w/ outside English. Well, I didn't HAVE to do that, but that was going to get me perfect shape on the 8ball. I get down on the shot feeling a bit nervous and single stroked the shot, while chicken-winging it, and jumping up at the same time. Then took a breath. LOL. Cost me the match of course.

"So what did we learn?" Cueist asks me, lol.

Well, nerves kick in, that's a fact. Nobody has the "cure" for nerves. It's a matter of recognizing the situation, and calming yourself enough to go through your pre-shot routine and make the shot. I should've stood up and reset.

I think we've all lost matches due to nerves at some point or another. The nerves kick in, and we miss an easy shot, etc. By remembering to breath, pre shot routine, stay down when the nerves kick in, we're able to focus on the ball/shot and increase our chances of winning the game.

Cueist says is all well and I don't need at add anything! But he did:

"See, your blog entries helped me realize the importance of staying calm a long time ago. Having a good pre shot routine helps a lot. I didn't do it this day, though, because of many factors going on." (sad face)

He is referring to Lesson one (easy shots), Lesson two (perfect shape), today's lesson (nerves), and the fourth that will be posted tomorrow (gotta wait!).

It's a good reminder that most times there isn't we are trying to deal with. That's what makes this game so fun, right?!  (smile face)

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Cueist Project: That Miss - Lesson 2, Perfect Shape

The Cueist recently had learning lessons from a crucial miss. I will share each lesson in separate blog posts.

Today we will talk about Lesson #2: Trying to get perfect shape.

Here is the story:
I'm deep in a big state tournament. My opponent is spotting me 1 game and in a matter of about 10 mins, I'm down 4/1. I claw my way to being down only 5/3, and he misses his last ball. I only have 4balls on the table and I have the break on the hill game. Heck yeah, that's exactly what I wanted! I make my first ball, stop shot. Take a breath. 2nd ball, good shape. Take a breath. 3rd ball, had to go 2 rails for shape w/ inside English. Nail it and took a breath. Last ball before the 8 ball, and I have to draw it back off of the rail w/ outside English. Well, I didn't HAVE to do that, but that was going to get me perfect shape on the 8ball. I get down on the shot feeling a bit nervous and single stroked the shot, while chicken-winging it, and jumping up at the same time. Then took a breath. LOL. Cost me the match of course.
What is the second lesson?  

Trying to get perfect shape. 

Why do we need perfect shape?  Sometimes it's to show off.  You know what I am talking about!  We have all been through a similar scenario. For guys, maybe a cute girl is watching your match that you like and you want to impress her.  Or for gals, maybe some new guy is watching you play and you want to show off.  Or, for anyone, maybe a pro walks by your match and you notice they stop to watch. Who doesn't want to show off?

It's a natural thing - but remember, it can be costly. Being too confident is just as bad as not committing to a shot.  Both actions mean you are not focusing on your solid fundamentals and pre shot routine.

Cueist told me:
As I mentioned, all I had to do was make the ball and I'd have a makeable shot on the 8. But, I wanted to get perfect on the 8ball, which caused the side pocket to come into play. So I hit a drag draw shot with side spin, and it threw it out of the pocket.
You don't need perfect shape, and you don't need to impress anybody no matter how good they play! Everyone knew my opponent was probably one of the top 3 players in the building. I felt like I played good to come back, and tried to get cute w/ the cue ball. No need for that whatsoever. Just make the ball and stay in the match. Put yourself in a position to win.

He makes it all sound so easy, right?  But he's right!

Monday, August 26, 2019

Cueist Project: That Miss - Lesson 1, Easy Shots

The Cueist recently had learning lessons from a crucial miss. I will share each lesson in separate blog posts.

Today we will talk about Lesson #1: Taking shots for granted.

Here is the story:
I'm deep in a big state tournament. My opponent is spotting me 1 game and in a matter of about 10 mins, I'm down 4/1. I claw my way to being down only 5/3, and he misses his last ball. I only have 4balls on the table and I have the break on the hill game. Heck yeah, that's exactly what I wanted! I make my first ball, stop shot. Take a breath. 2nd ball, good shape. Take a breath. 3rd ball, had to go 2 rails for shape w/ inside English. Nail it and took a breath. Last ball before the 8 ball, and I have to draw it back off of the rail w/ outside English. Well, I didn't HAVE to do that, but that was going to get me perfect shape on the 8ball. I get down on the shot feeling a bit nervous and single stroked the shot, while chicken-winging it, and jumping up at the same time. Then took a breath. LOL. Cost me the match of course.
Cueist added:
Prior to me missing that shot, I had to grind and stay in the match. And in that last game, I honestly thought he was out. Then all of a sudden, he missed. I never got nervous during the first couple of shots. I actually attribute the miss a few different things....

It was such as easy shot, that I took it for granted. I basically just had to make the last shot and not scratch anywhere on the table, and I'd be able to make the 8ball.

But, I took it for granted.
I think we can all relate to this. We bear down on the tough shots, right? Stroke a little more, breathe a little more, stay down. But here comes the easy ones and we two-stoke it, or don't stay down, or rush it. What the @#%#&%&**(&!

I once watched a one pocket match for $5 a game 15 years ago against two guys in their 60s. I was SO surprised when one guy would stroke the ball 4-5 times on straight-in stop shots. I was like, "What the hell is he doing?"

He was giving each shot the courtesy and time that it deserved. He had enough years of experience under his belt to know that even the easy shots could be missed and cost him money. He took his time and was intentional in his efforts, intentional on every single shot - even the easy ones. And, it helped him!

The point is, we all at times rush our shots, but more so ESPECIALLY in the heat of the moment and under pressure. That's why it's so key to get your pre shot routine down!

So, be wary of the easy shots!

Now, Cueist plays good and has a solid pre shot routine, but you will find out in the upcoming learning experiences there were other things going on that impacted that damn easy miss, errr, that shot,

(yes, you have to wait some more, lol)

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Project Hunger Games: What Makes You Confident?

So, Katniss is finally back from a league Nationals tournament.  I have been dying to ask her questions how it went!  Not dying literally, obviously, but very anxious and curious!

You see, she has only been to a team Nationals tournament twice.  The first time she went, the whole experience was very, very new to her - traveling that far, hadn't been to Vegas, and hadn't played on such a big stage before.  Her team was an okay team, but not a super star team, if that makes sense.

But this time around, her team was a much higher-caliber team. The members played better, had more experience, and I believe some members might have won a title or two in team events before (not 100% sure about that though).  But, the team dynamics would be very different from the last time she went, so I was anxious to ask her about it.

I figured she would have much more confidence because she was on a stronger team.


Boy I was wrong!  lol.

I asked her about 100 questions (or so), all related to confidence.  Did you feel more confident because of your teammates? Did you feel more confident because it was a good team? Did you feel more confident because of how well they played?  etc, etc.

She kept saying no.


I was so confused.

"Well, how did you play?" I asked her.

"I think I played pretty good," she shared timidly.

"Well, why?" I prodded, ready with pen-in-hand to have notes for this blog post.

"Well, I felt more comfortable, had more fun, and felt less stressed because it wasn't my first time in that big tournament.  But, I felt more confident because *I* was more confident in my game.  I mean, it was cool the team was strong, but to be honest, my own confidence has gone up because I am playing better. "

Well, shit.  She makes really good points!

It wasn't her teammates, it was her own improvement and therefore that natural consequence of the confidence in herself as to why she felt better, played better, and felt comfortable and confident.

I was trying to lead her to answers I thought she was going to say... and instead she led me down a completely different path that completely made sense!

Ahhh, I love learning!

Friday, August 23, 2019

Cueist Project: That Miss - Intro

I think we all have that one shot we reflect on where we were at a critical point of a big tournament, we can feel our tournament life on the line, and we can sense what a big moment it is. And as we reflect back, we then see that stupid, damn, easy shot we missed!!

I can picture mine like it was yesterday. It was a team event at BCA State. I had a very simple straight-in shot on the 8 ball in the side. If I make it, then my teammate gets to the play the hill-hill game. But instead, I miss it.

As soon as I missed it, I start jumping up and down and exclaim, "I was nervous! I two-stroked it! I didn't stay down!"  You know, because when embarrassment kicks in, we want to explain to everyone watching why we dogged it, lol.

That miss might have been 10 years ago. I still remember it clearly.

However, it taught me the most valuable lesson of all - to stay down on my shots when I'm nervous and to stroke more when under pressure.

Of course that was not the first time I dogged it - but it was the first time in a that crucial of a moment - and that's when we learn the most from.  I've dogged 1,000 nine balls.  But it was that 8-ball for the team win that haunts me most, but most importantly, it's the miss I learned from the most.

The Cueist recently had a similar experience, learning lessons from a crucial miss. Damn misses!

Here is his story:
I'm deep in a big state tournament. My opponent is spotting me 1 game and in a matter of about 10 mins, I'm down 4/1. I claw my way to being down only 5/3, and he misses his last ball. I only have 4balls on the table and I have the break on the hill game. Heck yeah, that's exactly what I wanted! I make my first ball, stop shot. Take a breath. 2nd ball, good shape. Take a breath. 3rd ball, had to go 2 rails for shape w/ inside English. Nail it and took a breath. Last ball before the 8 ball, and I have to draw it back off of the rail w/ outside English. Well, I didn't HAVE to do that, but that was going to get me perfect shape on the 8ball. I get down on the shot feeling a bit nervous and single stroked the shot, while chicken-winging it, and jumping up at the same time. Then took a breath. LOL. Cost me the match of course.

So what did he learn?

Well, I'll keep you in suspense!

He actually talks about 4 very important aspects of that miss.  And they are too important to talk about in just one blog post.  Plus, it would make for a very long read and I don't want to lose your attention (uh, hello?)

Stay tuned!

And while you are waiting with bated breath, what do you think his learning experiences were?  Write them down and compare your notes in the follow days.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Snitches Among Friends (and a Great Tip!)

I mentioned before that I sparred a few times with two friends in the spring.  It's been really fun because we get to spend quality time together not just playing pool, but we usually eat before or after, which is always nice to do with great friends.

One important part of the game I have shared with others, I consequently shared with these two ladies as we sparred.

I learned from my friend June Hagar Walter a very long time ago, don't ever tell your opponent you fouled.

She instilled in me that it's my opponent's responsibility to pay attention to the game.

Now, I'm not saying you're not supposed to fess up if you are asked, "Is that a foul?"  I'm NOT talking about lying at all! But what I am saying is, if you foul, simply walk away from the table and sit down. If your opponent asks you if you foul, you absolutely be honest and say yes.

However, she taught me to not pick up the cue ball and give it to your opponent. Nor tell your opponent that you fouled.

I'm not going to be able to truly express why this is an important part of the mental strategy of the game, but let me try. It could be because it is the opponent's responsibility to pay attention and you aren't their keeper. It could also be because it is more a 'killer instinct' kind of action. Remember on the table you are not suppose to be friends. It could also be that it might annoy your opponent, right? But it's a legal part of the game - you aren't going against any rules.

However, I fully admit to you that because I didn't get even a smidgen of the killer instinct until about 15 years into my pool journey, I picked that cue ball up or offered my blunder to my opponents all the time, lol! It was only when I got more mentally stronger and that killer instinct ramped up, that I was finally able to walk away from the table knowing I fouled without telling my opponent.

Here's the kicker: this goes completely against my grain of being a nice person!  It was actually REALLY hard to do, because I felt like it was going against my own personality and character. I am serious - it was truly difficult! I felt like I was being mean, and that's not like me. But once I figured out more about the killer instinct and to be tougher (not nice friends with my opponents), then I realized it was just part of the game.

Okay, back to my sparring friends!

I think we sparred together about four times, and so you can imagine that fouling happens often enough that it happened every session. And I would give them this June Hager Walter advice. But, they seemed to forget the advice a lot (because it was a habit) and they would always want to give me the cueball after they fouled.  I would remind them to stop doing that. Sometimes they would say, "Well we're just sparring, we're not competing, so I'm just doing it to be nice." Well, that allowed me to use the moment to remind them that even when we spar, we are to treat it like a real match. And in matches, we are not suppose to be nice!  I also reminded them they needed to get into that 'routine' / 'habit' (just like I had to) - so even when they're practicing or having fun, don't go out of their way to tell their opponent they fouled.

I know it was difficult for them, as they are two of the sweetest people you will ever meet, and so it goes against their grain to not just tell their opponent they fouled, also. I get it, I really do! But I wanted to remind them (when it came up) that this is a great tool to have in their toolbox because it IS a mental toughness and strategy thing.

Eventually, towards the last of our sparring sessions, if one of them fouled and almost grabbed the cue ball, the other one would kind of pick on them because that's what they weren't supposed to do. And they knew that I would get on to them, lol. It became really funny!

So imagine my surprise when in May I was having dinner with one of the ladies.  And she snitched on the other one!

Their teams were playing league against each other one night, and in their own match, the other friend fouled, picked up the cue ball, and gave it to her. And my friend, eating dinner with me, sharing this story, was almost like an older sister who snitched on the bad behavior to her mother! She couldn't wait to tell me our friend did that LOL!

My friends are so cute!

Monday, July 29, 2019

How a Pro Handled Nerves - The Cueist Project

Cueist recently shared with me that he was in a tournament were he was very happy with so many hill-hill wins.

I asked him why he was successful with those matches.

I've been focusing more on calming myself down lately during big moments, as well as not remembering past matches while at a current event. 
Can you explain that a little bit more, please?

See, your blog entries helped me realize the importance of staying calm a long time ago. So having a good Pre-Shot Routine [PSR] helps a lot.  
Aww, thank you for the compliment!
And on top of that, I remember seeing James Davis Jr playing a hill-hill game at a Texas tournament a few years ago. James left himself a tough shot on the final ball and immediately got down on the shot. In the middle of his 2nd backstroke, he got up and walked to his seat. He took 3 deep breaths, took a drink of his soda, then closed his eyes for a few seconds. He then walked around the table, did his PSR, and got down on the shot. 
It was so amazing to see how a top player like him was aware enough of his nerves during that situation, while he's probably been in those situations countless of times over the course of his pool career.
We are all so very lucky  - Cueist is sharing a key part of his pool journey with us and we are learning through him!  He witnessed an amazing real-time example of how a pro handled a nervous situation. Cueist is correct - even though the player has been in nervous situations numerous times, he still needed to do what was best for his game at the moment.

It's also a good reminder we aren't alone in our nerves - yep, even the top players have those feelings. It's how we deal with nerves that is key!

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Sleep Tips From Pool

I was talking to a coworker a few months back about my problems not getting enough sleep.  He had a suggestion that I wanted to pass on to you all.  Maybe it will help one of us out!

He is a golfer and I related his suggestion to pool.

He said what he does when he can't fall asleep is he thinks of a past golf match.  He added, "because I'm not thinking of actions or what to do, it calms me down and I fall asleep."

I have written before how imagining running out can help our pool game when we can't get to the pool table, but I hadn't considered thinking of a previous pool match to help me fall asleep.  I suppose that is better than counting sheep!

Let me know if this works for you.

Friday, July 5, 2019

Team Building - The Cueist Project

So I announced the new player I'm following (The Cueist Project) and mentioned I already had a topic to write about.

Because Cueist has emailed me for a few years, I was going to write about something he mentioned in one of his emails awhile back about food (yum!).  But I asked him real quick, "Hey, do you still do traditional team dinners in Vegas before the team event starts?"

He replied, "Sorta. We do a team dinner at some point during the event."

Once I knew that, I was ready to blog!

I was going to share how cool I thought this was. A lot of teams could really learn from this.

Team building is HUGE. It's really a kinda new concept in the corporate world. Nowadays you hear about 'leadership retreats,' or work place teams going to Escape Rooms (working together to get out of the room), outdoor friendly competitions, or even just events out of the office that get the members together building bonds and friendships. It really can be helpful!

So, to hear his team had dinners before Team events in Vegas was something I really wanted to showcase as an example you all could maybe do with your teams as well.

Getting together before an event really sets the whole mood. Of course, please be careful who you invite. One year my team had a team dinner and then I got a text, "Hey, team (insert a ladies team name here) is coming with us." Well, myself and another teammate didn't necessarily get along with everyone on that other team. So, instead of it being a bonding event, I chose to not go to avoid uncomfortableness, and my other teammate sat at the end of the table not engaged. Had it just been our team only, the whole dynamics would have been so much better. So, be careful - think of the PURPOSE of the dinner. Was it to just eat with friends? Or have a team building moment?

So, that's what I was going to write to you all about, that I thought would be very helpful.

But wait, there's more!

Cueist, I now realize, is more talkative than Danielson or Katniss. I mentioned last month someone had emailed me a novel. Well, that person happened to be Cueist. I just didn't know at the time he would be my next undertaking, err, project via my blog.  Well, his characteristic of writing novels is already flowing over to this first topic, lol.

After I emailed him, "Hey, do you still do traditional team dinners in Vegas before the team event starts?"  and He replied, "Sorta. We do a team dinner at some point during the event."

The next day, I hear from him:

"So, uh, I just thought about this my first Cueist assignment? LOL. If it is, then I'd like to expound on my previous email. :D :D :D "

Oh shit....

And then here he goes...

(while I'm picking on him and trying to be funny, you will LOVE this additional information and you can tell already we will be learning so much through him!)

"Yes, we do a team dinner at some point during all tourneys that we travel to as a team. Obviously, that's state and national events, however, we have actually traveled out of state a few times as a team as well and did team dinners then, also."

(Hey, wait. His team has gone out of state for team events?  I might have to delve into that some day.)

Back to his dissertation:

"My first experience with full team dinner was w/ a new team I had joined many years ago [a REAL good team he joined], and it was a little awkward b/c I was the youngest on the team by a longshot. LOL. However, the captain made it a point to include me (and my girlfriend) in the conversation throughout the dinner. It was super cool of him to intentionally do that. The whole team (and spouses) all laughed a lot, shared war stories, etc. It really helped get everyone comfortable before the "battle" of the tourney. As you know, tourneys are a grind, so it's nice to have a relaxing night with the guys before we're consumed w/ bad rolls, run outs, and the ups/downs of tourney play."

Cueist continued, verifying the importance of Team Building:

"Ever since then, I've made it a point to try and keep the team dinners going after I started my own team. Even though we're all already friends and see each other weekly for league, it's still nice to hangout without a pool table around. It really helps the team 'gel' together."

And then he said, "Ok, I'm a little more satisfied w/ that answer to my publisher. LMAO."

And we are, also, Cueist!

I think you all are going to enjoy The Cueist Project, am I right??

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Scotch Doubles Help from the Pros

One of my clients/friends/students that I spar with, her name is Tina. She calls me her "Mentor" which is super sweet and flatters me to no end.  We have become great friends through this "sparring" and so it's really cool that the first time I reached out to her a few years ago to spar has led to a beautiful friendship today!

Okay, put down your Kleenex's, lol.

Well, the other day she was going to play in a scotch doubles tournament and she posted a quote from a pro to her social media account that she said she loved. When I read the quote, I thought to myself, "Yikes, that's not good advice."

Evidently there is a big scotch doubles event going on somewhere in the world with the pros.  I admit I have no idea about this tournament, as I don't follow much pool anymore. Don't judge, lol!

But I can tell based on the few posts I see on Instagram something is going on (I don't really go to Facebook that much anymore).

I wanted to find out why she liked that quote, but more so, did it help her? (why or why not?)

So, I dug into my little keyboard on my phone and inquired for us, because as you know inquiring minds want to know!

I honestly figured Karl wrote that after he or his partner had a fantastic rescue! I personally don't think rescuing your partner is what scotch is about. I think it's more about having fun, trusting your partners' skills, and shooting shots you would normally play (not shots you think your partner wants you to play).

But, who cares what I think, let's see what Tina's thoughts were as to why she loved that quote.

"Well," she confided, "that quote by Karl really change my way of thinking. I was always trying to leave my partner perfect position on every shot, when all along I needed to just trust in their skills."

Hey, that sounds familiar!  (smile)

I found it so interesting she gathered that from his quote.  I became excited!

I continued in inquisition:  "Did you notice a difference when you played in your scotch tourney?"  (hoping the answer was yes)

"Absolutely.  That little phrase has changed my scotch doubles playing life!"

(So cool, right?!)

I replied, "Wow, that's pretty powerful. I'm so happy his words helped you so much!"

She shared, "I was happy, too. I have been watching the World Cup of Pool all weekend..."

[edit to add, oh that's the pro tournament that was going on hahaha]

"..... and I see how the partners in the scotch doubles format we're struggling - even though they were pros. Plus, the quote really did change my way of thinking."

I can imagine how relieved she feels - no wonder she played well in her recent scotch tourney (they placed 4th!). That is a lot of pressure if one thinks you have to leave your partner perfect shape every shot, wow! And, what a relief for her to see pros miss in scotch doubles - seeing them make mistakes makes us realize we are all human.

I get so tickled when words penetrate and they impact people deeply. And I also loved how my interpretation of the quote was completely different from hers - I love learning!

Monday, July 1, 2019

Announcement: The Cueist Project!

I would like to formally introduce, The Cueist Project! 

As I alluded to a couple months ago, I had a prospect who might replace The Danielson Series section of my blog. While I didn't want Danielson to leave my blog (RIP Danielson!), but because he's no longer playing pool, I obviously can't blog about his pool journey anymore.

Today, though, I am super excited to share that I will be following a new player with their journey in pool!

Just like with Danielson (of the Danielson Series) and Katniss (of the Project Hunger Game Series), I will be following a player and sharing through my blog his cheers, tears, heartbreak, joys and learning experiences as he competes on the pool canvas.

As I have mentioned, following players and sharing their lessons has been very beneficial to the reader because you all get the opportunity to learn through them. And the same will happen with this new player.

As usual, they will remain incognito, which means he and I came up with a name for the project. We decided on "The Cueist Project."  No, don't read that too fast and think it says "cutest," lol.


"Cueist Project" is now already listed on the top of my blog as a menu item, so you can find it easily.

I haven't met him in person, but he has kept in touch with me via email for years because of my blog (which is super cool, right?!).  He has written in the past to either ask questions or share some of his tournament experiences.  So, am I excited he said yes when I approached him about this idea!

Therefore, because he has written to me in the past, I have a couple of topics already and I will share at least one of them this month for you all.  It's about eating - one of my fave subjects!  hahaha.

I'm excited for all of us about the newest member that you will learn through.

Welcome aboard, Cueist!

Friday, June 28, 2019

Helping Others Helps Yourself - Katniss

I thought it was really cool the other day when Katniss (of the Project Hunger Game Series section of my blog) shared that she went to a tournament because "she wanted to support it."

She had a very full plate that weekend at home, but she still found time to support this local tournament.

I discovered the tournament is near and dear to her heart and she wanted to show the tournament directors and the pool room owners that she cared about what they were doing for pool players, and so she went to play. Some people visit tournaments to show support by stopping by to say hi to the TD (as an example, which is really cool!), but Katniss showed her support by playing in the tournament.

What's also cool about this is, indirectly she will also gain additional experience by playing in yet another tournament.

As reminder, every single tournament you play in, you learn. Every single match play, you are learning from. So even though she was going there to show her support, she also gained something by going - more experiences to add to her repertoire!

Also, her decision to play in the tournament just to show her support, shows how big a heart she has. Normally we all go to tournaments to play pool. Yea, we might like the people running it and also the pool room owners, but many of us aren't there for them. We are there for ourselves. We are there to play pool, right? Go show support "just because"? Who does that? lol. hahaha.

Very sweet of her.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Upset at Captain Decisions

One of my friends recently emailed me and shared how his team placed at a league state tournament.

Long story short, he's mad at his captain! Poor captain, lol.

The captain made a poor choice during a match during their state tournament and my friend believes this cost his team a better chance to finish well in the tournament. Turns out the captain is a good friend of his, so he's struggling quite a bit with being upset with him. What did the captain do that was so bad? Well, he pulled two players from the line up during a crucial match at a crucial time, so two other teammates could get to play.

Here, let me share part of his email so you get a better flavor of the situation:

I felt like he didn't have the leadership to stand firm and not try to appease everyone on playing time. And I just felt like he let us down from his captain duties. It's certainly a far cry from my previous captain who knew more about team dynamics, momentum, and when to pull players or not. I just don't feel like he has that quality, nor does he want to become a stronger captain. Am I overthinking that? Am I being selfish b/c my competitive nature wants our team to do so well given the talent on the team? What do you think?

I haven't emailed him back yet, mostly because I've been too busy and also because he wrote a freaking novel (lol) and I haven't had time to address everything in the email. But, of all the things he said in that long email, this topic is the one that's bothering him the most. So I'm going to respond to his concerns via my blog! hhahaa. Hope he reads this so he can get some closure. (wink)

I can empathize that he's upset about the poor choice his captain made against a tough team.  And yes, good leaders are VERY important; but they aren't the end-all.

So, in my opinion, I think it's unfair for him to be upset at his captain. (1) The captain didn't make poor decisions intentionally to hurt anyone. (2) The captain just doesn't have the experience.  (3) It's not really healthy to compare him to his stellar previous captain. Hey wait, isn't that discriminatory anyway!?  Just kidding, lol. But it is kind of like comparing your new girlfriend with your previous girlfriend. It's not fair to the new girl and causes problems, right?  (4) A team will not win or lose solely because of a captain. (5) And finally, it's team event; everyone is responsible.

His entire team plays REALLY well (yes, even the captain), and it just wasn't their time to win.

I think captains do the best they can with what they know. Although my friend might have had better experience and knowledge with what should have been done, the teammates did leave the decisions to this inexperienced captain. To me, that's just a lesson learned. Further, there's no guarantee that if he hadn't pulled those players during that match, that the team would have finished high.

The other key about this situation is, my friend has many experiences of first and second and third places finishes in state and national tournaments with another team with that stellar captain. So, had my friend not had those experiences, he wouldn't even have known the decisions made by his current captain were costly.  See what I mean?

So to my friend (if he reads this, lol), stop being mad at your friend.  Learn from it! But don't be mad at the guy. It's okay to be disappointed the team didn't finish further, but it's not one person's fault.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Learning Lesson about Interviews

I love learning!

Don't you?

Wanted to share something I learned the hard way the other day.

When I ask any prospective interviewee about being interviewed for my column in Billiard Buzz, I always have some questions already in mind for them. I don't ever inquire without already knowing what I might ask. That wouldn't be proper journalism, right?

Then I wait to hear back from them before I type up all the questions.  But, I learned in late May I just might need another plan of attack lol.

You see, I asked the next potential interviewee if they were interested and I immediately received a "Yes!" back. I promised her I'd email the questions by the end of the week. Work got in the way, and I also finishing up the June interview. Then, work got busy the next week (real bad), and told her I would need another week to get her the questions. Luckily for me she was very cool about it.

Then, omg... nightmare scenario happened.

Granted, none of this would be a nightmare if I had the Internet at home, but that's not my fault! That's the fault of the companies who wont install wiring underground in my neighborhood.

But I digress....

I ended up for the first time in my life getting a sinus infection. I don't know about you, but I haven't had one before and I actually was out of work for almost two full weeks. And because I do all my computer and Internet things at my desk at work, I could not send her any questions via email as I had not prepared them yet!  And, I couldn't even drive a car - that's how bad my infection was - so I couldn't even sneak to work on either weekend to type them out.


So every week I sent her an apology email... "Next week...."

Well, that sad pattern continued for weeks of apologies - literally 4 weeks later than originally planned!

So, to say the least, I wont be making the July issue.

But, not to worry, as I'm not worrying! As you recall from my blog post last month, I'm learning to not let things stress me.  Including deadlines!

But, it's an interesting learning lesson for me.

Because actually, no one has (yet!) actually turned me down when I've asked if I could interview them. So, maybe I should prepare the questions ahead of time just in case unforeseen things happen again.  What a concept, right?!  Oh, and I just realized that will also decrease my stress because I wil already be prepared. Hmm...