Saturday, May 11, 2019

Female Matchup Live Streamed

I saw this match up advertised on Social Media and thought it was really cool!

It's going to be live streamed on Sunday May 19th, and it's local females playing each other a race to 11 of ten ball.

I haven't seen too many chicks do this - nice surprise!

Friday, May 10, 2019

Pool is now Handicapped

I get surprised when I read or hear people complaining about pool tournaments being handicapped. Whether that's State league tournaments, National tournaments, or Tours.

The one thing I keep hearing from players who excelled about 10-15 years ago is that most are adamant against handicapped tournaments. These top players (not professionals, but high-level players) explain they got good simply by playing better players all the time, and they put in the time and got beat for many years without a handicap system.

They see that they eventually excelled and became very good. So, in their eyes, they see it as why should there all of a sudden be a handicap system?  They had to play everyone even when they were younger and got better just by playing better players and getting beat - that's how they got so good.

Almost every sport has a handicap system. Chess, bowling, golf... I could go on and on with how many sports have a handicap system. And light bulb moment here:  they are all actually very successful and mainstream!

So, it confuses me when people complain about pool having a handicap system, when in reality every other sport has a handicap system. The only difference about pool is:  we are starting later in the history of the sport instead of having it all along or from near the very beginning like the other sports.

However, pool players from Arizona and Oklahoma hardly complain about any handicap system because they have had a tradition of a state handicap system for quite a while. But run into Texas players and many are still apprehensive, concerned, and vocal about it.

And as I wrote back in 2017, using the Fargo ratings helped me immensely when I ran the Omega Tour (read that blog post here). Just in one tournament, I had a new player from CA and from another country play who were already "established" in the Fargo ratings. This made it easy to rank them on the Tour instead of guessing what they should be ranked.

In the personal viewpoint of Melinda, my thinking is complaining about handicapped tournaments isn't going to stop pool tournaments from becoming handicapped.  That ship has sailed. So, why not simply stop the complaining and just play pool?


Simple, right?

(Note: and see below for the updated worldwide golf handicap system, which still includes weekenders to pros [click image to enlarge])

click image to enlarge

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Tony Robles Pool Clinics

I saw this the other day on FB and could not WAIT to share it with you all.

It's not because Tony Robles is conducting the lessons (which is super cool and he's a great instructor!). It's also not because there are several dates to choose from.

It's because each clinic is dedicated/focused on either the level of the players in the class, or certain games of pool.

I just love this!

So if we all lived in the New York area, we could take the clinic on July 19th because it's about 9ball, and then we could join the clinic on June 7th because we think we might be a beginner. Oh, and we've always wanted to dabble in straight pool, so let's take that lesson on Sept 6th.

I really appreciate the different types of clinics he is doing! Such a smart idea and SO helpful to us pool players, right?

I am so thrilled about this!
(Click image to enlarge)

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Support as We Improve

I think one of the coolest things I've witnessed in my 20-plus years of playing pool is when a league captain or league teammates understand that at times their high caliber player(s) may be picked up to play in state or national tournaments.

Obviously I'm not talking about stealing you away, lol, but if your current league team isn't going to state or nationals, and you get picked up by a strong team, that's a pretty cool honor! And when captains and teammates see this as an amazing opportunity for their top shooter, it means the world to that player to have their support! And when I see this type of support, it warms my heart full.

Let me be more specific.

This means their teammates not only understand, but are genuinely happy they were picked for a high-caliber team, because it means they either play that good or have improved so much they are now sought-after for big events.

What am I trying to say?

I am trying to say that yes it's normal to be jealous of a teammate who excels, and obviously this wouldn't happen if your a team was already going to state or nationals, but when captains or teammates are unhappy, jealous, and/or vocal to a teammate who gets picked up for a national or state team, it's actually not very fun for that player. They get hurt, upset, and the words can increase their anxiety when "friends" make crappy comments (instead of being understanding and supporting).

It's so cool when our game has improved so much that other teams are seeking us out to join them for state and national tournaments!  We go to sleep with a smile on our face because we are so elated people have noticed our game has improved, and we get to play with that team who's teammates we always looked up to. We share with our loved ones and closest friends how excited we are about the new opportunities and we can't believe it!

But then our happiness is squashed like a bug when our captain or teammates make rude comments about us "leaving them" or "we didn't get asked to go" or "why did they ask you?"  They make us feel bad; they really don't understand. And instead of seeing this as a great reward for us improving, they only rain on our parade!

It kind of reminds me how a great leader would never stop their employees from getting promotions. They might have been the perfect fit for your group at work, but a good leader will let them go, will let them succeed, will let them prosper, and happy for them to be moving up.

So, when I hear that captains and teammates aren't supportive, it makes me feel bad for that player.

I went through it; most players who have improved have experienced this lack of support and jealousy. And that's what's kind of crazy, right?  We work on our game to improve, people notice, and then our own teammates get upset at us.   

wth?!  lol.

Here's a little secret - it's actually not an easy decision to step away from our current league team to play in a state or national tournament with others. Sure, it's a natural progression to our game, but the first few times we do this, it's actually a little uncomfy. So, it would be helpful if we had people that supported us, instead of getting upset with us. 

That's why I think it's so wonderful when a captain or teammates are supportive! I'm proud and happy for those who have worked on their game and improved. Aren't you? 

Monday, April 29, 2019

Players Who Need Money Versus Players Who Have Fun

I have discovered, as I'm sure many of you have, that there are really only two types of players in the world. The players who aren't there to make money and enjoy just having fun, and the players who need to make money.

Obviously, this seems obvious. LOL.

You may think this isn't an issue - who cares, Melinda? Well, the problem is the reaction from players who need to make money from playing pool and/or how they treat others.

Let's face it, many of us who love this game get agitated sometimes and mouth off when we lose. But it's the players who needed that money who have more sting to their words. Or, players make certain decisions to play or not because of the need for money.

I have seen, heard, or experienced unfortunate situations because of these differences.

For instance, a friend of mine found a great new scotch doubles partner, and she was very excited because they made a great team. However, he doesn't want to play unless there is a Calcutta in the scotch doubles tournament. And unfortunately around here, the scotch doubles tournaments don't normally have a Calcutta associated with them.  It's really just a tournament to have fun all day on a Saturday and for a team to raise extra money to go to Vegas to play in Nationals.

Of course the top one or two teams make some money from the payout of the tournament, but there's no Calcutta money (which is normally where most of the cash-ola comes from). So, my friend lost a valuable partner because he didn't want to waste time on "just having fun." In his eyes, if there is a Calcutta, though, he would jump all-in to play!

Another example of the difference in the philosophy about playing pool for fun or money is during times players want to split the finals. Usually this is requested by the team/player from the one-loss side when the tournament is running late.  Or, because they want more money out of the situation.

I experienced this directly at a scotch doubles tournament in Dallas about 6 years ago.  It was getting really late in the night, spilling over into the morning hours, and the couple that would have to play us in the finals would have to double dip us.  The guy of the team wanted to split first and second. The guy even tried to strong-arm me to "just split." But, I was there to try to win that tournament with my boyfriend - I hadn't come close to winning that event before so it was exciting to be in the finals!

Sure, the team didn't want to stay any later, but the guy knew they were probably going to lose. Therefore, to get more money out of the situation, he just wanted to split. But the title meant more to me than that and so I told him no; he wasn't very happy with me.

This came up a few times for me and people would get upset when I never split. But from my point of view, I hadn't won many tournaments yet and I wanted to play and try to win first place, not just split.  One Friday night a guy called me a bitch because I didn't want to split the finals with his girlfriend.

Rough crowd, huh?

Another scenario is when a player needs money, and is dependent on their finish to make money, which of course comes with a lot of pressure. I was talked about behind my back once by a scotch doubles partner because I didn't play well. Turns out (I didn't know this at the time) that he was depending on a good finish from us to make money so he could afford the room he was paying for in Vegas. Well, then he should have got a better partner because at that time (about 20 years ago), I couldn't shoot straight with a protractor.  This guy actually told people I "stepped on my dick."  I was so upset he was talking about me like that!  Well, after I found out what that meant, haha, as I had no idea, lol.  (turns out that meant I played badly)

When I ran the Omega Tour, I never got chewed out by the players who had other jobs for income. But players who relied on their finish to pay their bills chewed me out the most (you know, because when a player loses it's always the Tournament Director's fault because of the handicap system *I* personally put in place, haha).

Which player are you?  Has fun and elated when you cash?  Or relies on a decent finish to pay bills? (hopefully if you rely on pool tournaments for income you are still sweet to the people around you :)

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Toodles Danielson

I am torn about this announcement.

I have decided to retire the Danielson project of my blog.


Well, "Danielson" no longer plays pool.

Part of me is very happy for Danielson, but part of me is sad because it was a great way to share learning experiences to you all. I still do this through Katniss, but Danielson was the first project like this, so it's a tad sad, right?

But, I am also happy for him and proud of him because he stepped away from the pool room and from an atmosphere that was bad for his health, marriage, his pocket book, his self esteem, his job, etc.

Why continue to do something that causes you strife and grief?

But he did (still does) love pool and so it wasn't an easy decision. But he knew this was for the best. Aww, Danielson is growing up!

While he misses some of his old friends (and he better miss helping out through my blog, dammit!), he is enjoying more quality time with his wife, he's away from drama that can come from long nights in the pool room, and he's spending less money.

Bottom line - less stress and he's happier!

Thank you, Danielson, but also goodbye to the Danielson of my blog!  I will leave the link to the project on the top of my blog for a bit - I am not killing him off right away, haha.

Oh, and I'm talking to someone else who we might be able to learn from through his pool journey, but he hasn't said yes yet.  But, if that comes to fruition, you know I will announce it here!

In the meantime, I wish Danielson well! I really am happy for him because he is happier.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Watch Out for Crossing Old and New Habits - Project Hunger Games

Katniss (of the Project Hunger Game Series section of my blog) mentioned a few months ago that after she practiced with someone who was giving her pointers (I believe a scotch doubles partner or maybe a teammate? This is what I get for not going down my to-do list sooner - I lose some of the details!).

As we all know, our game goes down before it goes up when we get lessons or are in learning mode, but she rebounded much quicker than most.  She said she was struggling at first after the practice sessions, but then she started to play better.

My curiosity was peaked! That's not normal, haha.

Why did she play better so soon?

She explained, "The few times I practiced 8 ball after the first session, I was struggling because I was trying to use my new knowledge while still keeping some of my old habits."

Interesting observation on her part.

She added, "And I was getting nowhere lol."

You all know me, so I asked for more specifics, please.

She explained, "I was looking at the table differently, but yet I was not walking around the table, which is a bad habit of mine."

"Further," she continued, "I was not taking the time to truly figure out the table - I was leaning on my old bad habits of just shooting. "

Her great self refelctions and observations are important to share. Don't hang on to your old habits while you are working on new ones - they only get intertwined and become counterproductive, which are of no use that way.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Phil Capelle Interview - Billiard Buzz April 2019

I was lucky enough to get to interview my friend (of almost 20 years) and esteemed billiards author of the Play Your Best Pool books (and more!) for the April 2019 edition of Billiard Buzz! I hope you enjoy learning more about Phil, all he has done for pool, and his long list of ideas for the future!

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Negativity About Female Pool Players

I was taken aback last year and then again this year after two of the female players I interviewed for Billiard Buzz had both shared their experiences regarding what they heard about female players versus male players in the beginning of their pool journey. The similarities caught me off guard.

One of them stated, “When I get to the table, I am going to make them forget I’m a female and remember me as a pool player; I want to be respected by everyone."

I was taken aback because I had never thought that way before.

But then she also shared, "The culture is very different in MA vs TX. In MA, I was conditioned to think I wasn’t ever good enough. I was only pretty good for a female."

Ah, then it made much more sense.

The other female player had similar experiences.  "I had a lot of preconditioning to overcome. It was beat into my head early on from everyone who surrounded me in the pool room, that women couldn’t win. I had always looked at women as inferior pool players, counting myself amongst that number of course."

Yippers! Where did these girls play pool??

She continued, "I started playing pool in 1992, before there were many widely respected dominant female players. The pool room where I started, it was just a statement of fact that women played so far under men. That is why when I started playing pool I developed such a big stroke. I wanted to play as good as the men, and when looking around myself I saw a lot of women rolling in balls, and not able to come with big outside English draw shots that bent off rails. I spent hours practicing these and other shots to set me apart from other women. This both helped and hurt me years later."

You can tell both players were affected for many years by what they experienced and heard in the pool room about the differences between male and female players.

And when I posted the interviews, one of my female friends said they related - they had encountered similar situations.

Hmm, wow, really?

I just didn't experience any of that.

Therefore, it made me wonder why I (being a female) hadn't endured this, also.

My first guess is, the male players I associated with never discussed in a negative way about male versus females players. They never made me feel inferior and they didn't downplay females, it was just a fact/opinion I heard, but with no negative connotation to it. I played pool in both Florida and Texas - big states - but just didn't hear such raw comparisons about females. I did hear that guys think males play better than females, but it was never something that had a negative tone to it - it was just kind of a generic topic that sometimes the guys might talk about. We talked about POOL, not gender of pool.

My other guess is because I was around a very strong female player when I started in the pool realm. Strong at the game and strong in her character.

When I was about 22 years old, I was practicing pool one sunny weekday afternoon in San Antonio Texas at Clicks Billiards.  The pool room was pretty empty, as it was a very beautiful day outside, and June Hager Walter (who I didn't know at the time) was practicing on another table.  She came up to me and told me that I was cute and had a good stroke, and that I could get sponsors and should consider playing pool for a living.

Um, What?

When I told her, "But I have a job," she still looked at me like I was crazy, lol. Maybe she thought I didn't have good, steady job or one that made decent money, I dunno, lol.  But when I explained I actually had a career with my job that I went to Texas A&M for, she then said, "Oh, well, you should definitely do that instead of playing pool."


It was really funny.

But her and I became very good friends and it turned out that June was a very good player who had been on the road in the '80s and '70s.  Her husband at the time was a well-known road player and so she learned how to play pool very well, and also how to handle herself. Don't get me wrong - June was very sweet, extremely caring, and would do anything for her friends. But she also stood up for herself and handled herself well in all situations, which was something I hadn't seen growing up.

Because her and I became great friends (she was instrumental in helping me overcome something in my late 20s), I would travel with her to tournaments not just in Texas, but also out of the state. I saw her play a lot of very high money matches, and so I'm witnessing a female who was playing high-caliber pool against other high-caliber female pool players and they're playing for a lot of money. So, in my mind I never thought much about the differences between a male and a female pool player. I mean, I know there's differences, but there was never a negative connotation tag to it, as I read in those two interviews.

I'm very thankful I was around a lot of people in my pool journey that didn't talk negatively about female pool players. That would have sucked.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Be Leery of Giving/Receiving Compliments

I believe it was in February when a friend of mine was playing a scotch doubles tournament. I don't like to ask my friends how they are doing during a tournament, because if they are losing, the last thing they want to do is share that info, lol. Right? Talk about a Debby Downer, haha. So, instead, I deliberately and intentionally send generic, but positive comments to show my support.

So I sent her a sweet text (because I'm sweet like that - hey, don't laugh!). I didn't ask her how it was going, instead I simply told her I hope it was going well and that she was having fun. Oh, and I asked her who her partner was.

She replied, "Thanks for checking on me! I am playing with BB.* " 

I asked her BB's last name, as I wasn't sure which BB it was.  She tells me and then says, "He knows you...but you are no surprise there. "

I replied, "Omg, you're silly, lol. Have fun!"

But in my mind I was doing cartwheels! It was the BB I knew and he is a fantastic player!  I was SO excited for her to be playing with a top-notch bar table player. I knew they had a great chance to win.

She said she was suppose to be playing with someone else, but he backed out on her.  I told her, "Good! You will have fun with BB."

Continuing my focus on the fun part of playing pool (i.e. no pressure).

She shared, "I'm having a great time... and we are shooting good together!!"

Well, "duh" I said to myself. She already plays jam up and so to add a scotch partner who also plays jam up, it's like Christmas in July!

The next day she told me they won - went undefeated!  I knew they made a great team, but did you notice I never told her that?

Come on, did you?

I hope so, because that's the point of this blog post.

Sometimes giving compliments can affect our game. We can get OVER-confident which can affect our routine and then we miss more. Further, overly confident thoughts and expectations can fill our head - which is a distraction and takes way from our game.

Just like negative emotions can interfere with our performance, so can highly positive comments.

I have played a lot of matches and lost because I was too confident. It's a weird thing that happens to us, but it does.

Players have actually used this as a sharking technique. A player may deliberately comment to their opponent during a match how well they are playing, because that might distract them from being in the zone. It causes the opponent to start being more conscious about how well they are playing, and then they start to miss.

Of course, the other obvious reason I didn't show my excitement for them as a great scotch team is because that can sometimes add pressure.

Sheesh, Melinda, can we say anything to our friends?

Lol.  YES!

But just remember any distraction - good or bad - is still a distraction.

So, my advice is to wait until after a tournament to give all the accolades and compliments you wish! But during or before tournaments, simply focus your support by telling them to have a good time and enjoy the game we love to play (see what I did there?).

*not real name to protect the innocent

Monday, April 8, 2019

Tips to Help Negative Feelings During Matches - Project Hunger Games

Katniss (of the Project Hunger Game Series section of my blog) was telling me the other day she felt "off" during one of her matches at league and then she lost a crucial game because of it.

You all know me, I dove right in!

I asked her about 1,000 questions (give or take a few) to get to the bottom of what she was trying to describe.  What did "off" really mean, why did she feel that way, and what was going on?

Long story short, she wasn't comfortable and she was distracted because she had some negative feelings going on. Poor girl, she had a lot of things going against her. And as we all know, it's tough enough to already play our best without distractions lol.

  • She was playing in local bar that she didn't feel comfortable in (it was very small, it was crowded that night, and also on a bad side of town)
  • The two tables were so close to each other, she would have to lean her butt on the other table at times to shoot well (difficult to get comfy and worried how cute our butts look, right?)
  • The other team had people cheering for them loudly because it was their home bar
  • She was having some issues with a teammate who was upset with her (who knows why - you know how women can be, lol)
Like I said, she had a lot of things going against her - distractions and some negative thoughts/feelings.  No wonder she felt "off" and didn't play her best.

I want to right away jump into what will help during your matches in the future if this happens to you.

There is a mental thing you can do and a physical thing you can do.



The most important thing before you can implement any tool during a match to help you when you might be struggling is, is you must learn early to become fully aware that there is something going on. You don't need to identify it, but if you realize and recognize early enough that you are bothered, upset, distracted, feel pressure, embarrassed, WHATEVER, then you will know it's time for you to implement tools during the match to help you regain confidence. "Hey, I'm not playing well because something is bothering me. I don't know what it is, but I can tell I'm upset for some reason, and my arms are a little wobbly, and my heart is racing."

Don't wait til after the match is over to realize something was bothering you and that's why you played badly. I admit this takes some conditioning to learn, but once you do - your game will skyrocket. Instead of Monday Morning Quarterbacking, you will be solving problems right away! So, keep aware of your state of mind, your emotions/feelings, that your body feels "off," etc - if you can identify soon that something is bothering you, then you will have time to use tools to help you.

I actually think this a huge part of your repertoire.

Now, let's get to the tips!

So, I gave her two suggestions of what to do when you are playing badly while feeling pressure, embarrassment, or have negative emotions:

(1) I've written about this before, of course, which was when Phil Capelle gave me advice on how to handle embarrassment. I was almost paralyzed from competing well for about a year because I had intense feelings of embarrassment and judgement. When you're feeling negative emotions, how can you possibly play your best pool? The way to combat that is to get your mind busy with something else. Pretty simple, but very powerful. He suggested I focus completely on my pre-shot routine and three-ball shape. It was a miracle worker! My brain was so busy focusing on those two things, it had no time to think about the judgement I felt I was under. So I told Katniss if she notices she is playing badly and also has negative emotions or feelings, that she needs to solely focus on three-ball shape and her pre-shot routine (fundamentals) because it keeps your mind busy.

(2) The second thing, which I think sometimes is more important, is when you are feeling pressure you need to stroke the ball more. I've also written about this before as this was a huge learning experience for me as well, but the key is a lot of times when we feel negative emotions (pressure, upset, embarrassed, etc) we simply don't shoot the same. We actually rush our shots when we feel pressure. So the way to combat that is to stroke your cue more. I know this seems opposite of what we've all been taught - that you should have a set pre-shot routine and stroke the same number of times (except for tough shots). However, when we are nervous, we only take two strokes, and therefore we aren't following our pre-shot routine anyway, lol. Furthermore, when we are nervous or feel pressure we honestly don't even realize that we are two-stroking at all because our brain is distracted with these weird sensations of nervousness and pressure.

I've actually been in situations where I'm playing in a tournament and I'm nervous, and someone will tell me, "Hey, you're two-stroking; slow down, take your time, stroke some more." I was SHOCKED! I had no idea I wasn't stroking normally - I thought I was! You see? These negative feelings and emotions can affect our routines. Therefore, if you become aware of negative emotions and you also recognize you are playing badly, then immediately start to stroke a few extra times when you are down on the ball. You'll be amazed how effective this is.

So these are two important things that you can utilize to help you play better when you are nervous or feel pressure. There are a ton of other things you can do (read more here about tips I shared from 2011), but these two things are golden.


Again, to even be able to start to use these items is you have to have self-awareness that you are nervous or feeling pressure in the first place. Sometimes we don't know til it's too late why we are struggling. Self-awareness really is one of the most important things because without it, there's no way to begin to correct what is going on.

Til next time!

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Choice of Words on Streams

For someone who stated I don't listen to streams sure has been posting a lot about what they hear on streams lol.

But, I have discovered recently certain tournaments have really good commentators, so want to definitely talk about them!

I listened to the stream of the DFW 9-Ball Tour last month. This is the tour that took over the Omega Billiards Tour I used to run.

I was very impressed with the commentators! Several of the players seem to consistently commentate - a few I recognize the voices (like Jeff Georges who is a great commentator), but others I have no idea who they are lol because I'm away from pool halls now.

But, you all know I do my homework so I put on my Big Investigator Hat and went to work finding out who commentated certain matches so I could talk about them, errr, showcase them in my blog.

I found out one of the players I wanted to point out was Billy Guy - he was a really fantastic commentator!

One of the things I admired most (besides his vast knowledge of the game), was how he handled commentating matches of players who aren't seasoned.

While I listened to him and watched the stream, I recognized and was very impressed with his wording choices. You see, if a player did something unconventional or maybe kept making the same mistake, instead of calling the player out or saying something rude/hurtful, he was actually very kind with his choice of words.

I was so impressed, I think he should be a coach to players because he has a way of making a point without being judgmental.

Now come on people, don't make fun of me! I know you all know someone who has given you crappy and hurtful advice, no matter how well-intentioned, right?

Anyway, the one thing he did repeatedly was instead of saying what the player did wrong, he would instead say what they should have done with a preface like, "I'm a big fan of..."

Let me give an example instead of being vague, lol.

If a player was, I dunno, continually using top English on certain shots, when instead they would get better results using a stop shot, Billy would say something like, "Again, I'm a big fan of using a stop shot for that position. It allows me to control the cueball and also get great shape for the next ball. Top English on those shots can cause too much unnecessary movement with the cueball."

This might sound perfectly normal and you might be thinking, "Well, Melinda, isn't that how most people would say that?"  I would argue no. I can guarantee you I've heard instead from other commentators something like, "What are they doing? Why do they keep using top?"

[Watch out - here's where I talk about leadership in my blog]

You may think the second example is perfectly fine, but I would argue that it:
  1. passes judgement (What are they doing?
  2. doesn't give suggestions, alternatives, or advice like Billy Guy did ("Using a stop shot for that shot allows me to control the cueball and to get great shape for the next ball.")
  3. And further, doesn't explain why this other option might be better ("Top English on those shots can cause too much unnecessary movement with the cueball.")
  4. Billy's intro was so gentle and not passing judgement or blame on to the player, either. "I'm a big fan of …" and actually points to himself, not to the player.

So, which one would you listen to and learn from if someone said this to you:

"What are you doing? Why do you keep using top?"


"You know what, I'm a big fan of using a stop shot for that position. It allows me to control the cueball and also get great shape for the next ball. Top English on that certain shot can cause unnecessary movement with the cueball."

See the difference?

Yep, we are all more receptive to the second example.

(BTW, Bill gave some great advice about safeties that I will write about soon!)

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Tip Tournament Director?

The other day I read a comment from someone on social media that suggested when you win a tournament, "Don't forget to tip your Tournament Director," or something like that.


Well, if there's anything I've read on Facebook that I didn't agree with, this is something I definitely don't agree with.

Although there are a few exceptions, most everyone who runs a tournament is getting something already. I admit they aren't getting a lot, but they are getting something - whether it's free drinks during a weekly tournament or a free entry into a that weekly tournament, or even getting paid somehow during monthly tournaments or running a tour.

I whole heartedly admit that even if someone is getting paid to run a tournament or makes money from running tournaments, it's NOT a lot at all.

But, my personal belief is: it's already tough enough to make money at pool, so I say: "Congrat's on the win! (and keep that money in your pocket!)"

As a Tournament Director, I would rather receive instead is a sincere thank you in person or maybe a post on Facebook after the event expressing how much you appreciated how well the tournament was run.

I mean, sure, anytime $20 or $50 bucks thrown my way is a nice gesture, but I would rather the pool player keep that money.

I know, I know, some players are just super thoughtful or it's in their dna to want to give a little tip to the Tournament Director. I'm not saying to go against your personal beliefs, folks.

But I feel pool players shouldn't ever feel obligated to pay the Tournament Director. Sure, if you win 1,000G's you can remember me in your will, but otherwise don't ever feel obligated to tip a Tournament Director.

Monday, April 1, 2019

Joining a new League!

I get asked still off and on if I can come out of retirement and join this team or that team. It's super sweet that people still think of me and consider adding me to their team roster.  Really makes me smile!

And, it seems to always happen when friends are putting together a new team at the end of a league season or getting a stacked team ready to play at State tourneys or National tourneys.  So, the text messages kinda come in waves.

Again, super sweet that of all the players in the area, my name still comes up as someone who would be a benefit to their team.

Over the weekend I got yet another request and although I have been saying "no, but thank you, means a lot you thought of me," this time I said YES!

I'm super excited to be playing pool again!  And on a new league!

NOT.  This is all an April Fool's joke.


Thursday, March 28, 2019

Confidence Playing in Big Tournaments - an example

I'm always a tad jealous when I see players who are excited about playing in upcoming tournaments that I know I would be super anxious and nervous to play in.  

I believe (still) this stems from the "test anxiety" issues I've had all my life. I have freaked out due to nerves before many big exams in college and also for job interviews. And so I have talked a lot about how I had jitters before almost every big tournament. I honestly feel I would have won BCAPL and ACS State tournaments much sooner in my pool journey if I didn't have "test anxiety" or "title tournament jitters."  I would just get psyched out before even making the drive to the events, lol.

So, when I read on Facebook a friend of mine, Tyler, was excited to play in the US Open 9-Ball Championship this year, I was like, "look at him - how cool is that that he's excited."  

If you haven't heard, the US Open 9-Ball Championship is no longer held on the East Coast in Virginia Beach in October.  It is now headed by Matchroom Sport and it moved to Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas this April.  Here is what their website says about the tournament:

The US Open 9-Ball Championship comes to Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, Las Vegas as America’s most prestigious billiards tournament is relaunched by Matchroom Multi Sport with a record-breaking prize fund.

One of the biggest titles in world 9-ball, the US Open sees the best players on the planet battle it out over three breathless days to reach to the final 16, after which all matches are sudden death knockout played under the TV lights in front of an international audience.

The US Open roll of honor is a who’s-who of billiard legends and is now under the banner of Hall of Fame promoter Barry Hearn, whose Matchroom Multi Sport company are renowned in billiards for the Mosconi Cup, World Pool Masters and World Cup of Pool.
Tyler won a Qualifier in February to the US Open. Here is that flyer and a photo of him from the tournament that I stole from Facebook for this blog post, lol:

I congratulated him on the win of the qualifier and he replied, "Thank you! Going to be neat to go to that event! I'm excited."

I thought to myself: Excited? Dude, you are playing top pros of the world! Aren't you scared and nervous? "Excited" is not the word I would use. "Petrified" or "Crazy" maybe. hahaha.

See, there's the difference - I would be nervous, apprehensive, and be shaking already and yet he's freaking excited. 

However, I admit I am thrilled and get impressed by that mentality and really love to see that type of positive, confident attitude, because it's so opposite of mine.

But, it got worse! Someone shared on his Facebook page this article about the "Unprecedented field for US Open 9-Ball," stating, "Upcoming US Open 9-Ball field is hands down the strongest field we've seen."

And of course Tyler exclaims, "Going to be an awesome event! Stoked to be able to play against the best players in the world!"

If only I had a smidgeon of his confidence and excitement to play in tough events...

Go get 'em, Tyler!

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

A Perspective: Singles Finals in Vegas

A friend of mine finished an impressive 2nd place in the BCAPL National singles event last year. It was the highest national singles title he's ever come close to!  He has had several big wins here and there throughout the last 10 years or so, but none on the national singles stage.

He has put in the time and he was due for sure - we were all very proud of him!

He shared with me his tournament experience because we used to share these type of things many, many years ago. Plus, he knows I LOVE hearing these type of stories :)

He told me, "So I was reading your blog, and it made me reflect on pool in general and I think you'd be the person that could relate to it the most." And he was right! Trust me when I say I could blog about five topics just from these few paragraphs, lol. A lot of great insight he shares.

He's a very funny guy and I actually call him my "Favorite Mexican," but then that makes my other friends jealous, lol. I have written about his Mom before in my blog: here.

I would never even begin to adequately be able to describe what he did, so I'm going to simply copy/paste his words so you can experience for yourself this amazing, unforgettable time in his life. You will enjoy this, I promise!


I've never been able to put myself in a position to play in the finals of the nationals in singles, and I got super nervous when I was playing in the semi-finals match. I walked around the table trying to calm down, took deep breaths, did my PSR [pre shot routine], and just made sure to stay down on every, single, shot until the 8ball dropped.

So now, I'm super excited I'm in the finals, I damn near wanted to cry. LOL. I called my wife, then walked to the bar. I knew I had to calm down from the excitement, and figured a drink would help (mental right?). So I get to the tv arena, and I hit a few balls. Those tables were super fast and rails really bouncy. I was overrunning everything during warm up. Up until that point, I made it a point to not look up. Just wanted to focus on my table, and that's it. Well, there was a slight delay in the start of the match, and then I looked up. Ugh! Just about everybody that was there in the building from Dallas, was in the stands! Then I looked over to the table next to ours, and see two top players playing, Jesus Atencio vs Omar Alshaheen. 

At that exact moment, I got a text from my friend Alex. In '09 when I got 3rd at the state tourney, Alex was texting me and calling me, telling me to have fun in every match towards the end of the event. It really helped! Well, the text that I got from him was something similar. 

Since we hadn't started yet, I stood up, took a deep breath, then turned to look at the crowd. I took it all in, and decided to enjoy the moment. I mean, who knows if I'll ever be in that spot again. 

The nerves instantly went away. It was weird. I felt a sense of calmness just before my opponent walked back up to the table. It was just a matter of tapping into the mental calmness for a bit. Of course, we all know how the finals went, LOL [he lost :( ]. But afterwards, I didn't feel any kind of regret or sadness. I just felt great to be able to play in the finals of that event, which had been my goal since stepping foot in the BCA league.


What is your favorite part of the story?  Mine is pretty easy:  "I stood up, took a deep breath, then turned to look at the crowd. I took it all in, and decided to enjoy the moment."

I just loved that whole sentence - it truly captured everything we all wish and hope for to feel some day in our own pool journey!

Congrat's to my Favorite Mexican! err, I mean, Juan!  SO FREAKING PROUD OF YOU!

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Might as Well Learn While You Lose

One of my friends captured on video (I believe it was live stream via Facebook) about 5-10 minutes of a match in a big tournament in Vegas. And what I saw on the video disappointed me. I mean, I understood what I saw, but I was still disappointed.

You see, the match pitted one of the top players in the world against an amateur.  The video was showcasing a REALLY tough out by the pro.  The pro (some guy named Shane Van Boening) didn't have an easy out, but of course made it look easy, lol.  But it was his opponent who I was also focused on.  His opponent was looking away from his own match, I'm guessing because he was perturbed about being beat and that Shane was running out (yet again I presume).  Instead of watching and learning from the top player, though, he was looking elsewhere.

It was a HUGE missed opportunity!

He could have spent his time (instead) wisely while sitting in that chair to watch, learn, and absorb from one of the best players on the planet! Instead, he seemed kinda miffed and deflated Shane was running out.

In the short clip, he sat holding his cue looking at anything but his opponent. He would glance back over to his own table right before Shane made each shot, but then quickly look away disinterested when he didn't miss.  The guy finally set his cue down and looked somewhere else while Shane continued a pretty phenomenal out.  

I get it.  I really do!  Who wants to get beat?  Who wants to not have a shot?  Who wants to lose?

No one.

But, if you can already tell that Shane is going to beat you, why not take advantage of the front row seat you have?  Why not watch his stance?  Or his shot selections?  Or how he would get back down on shots he wasn't comfy with?  Or how walked around the table looking for the best position for his cueball for his next shot?  Or what pattern he chose?  The guy only glanced occassinaly back at the table to see if Shane missed or not.  

There is so much more to this game than making balls - and to be able to watch Shane is a huge treat!  To be able to watch how pro's approach the table (literally and figuratively), what choices they make, what patterns they choose, and how they take their time with their shots....  Omg peoples, take advantage of these learning opportunities!

Monday, March 25, 2019

Search by Topic - New Addtion to Blog

Earlier this month I received a nice note from Brett:

"Hi Melinda, I have started listening to ABR and am enjoying it a lot.
Found your blog from there and wow - thanks for all you are doing to
support the great game of pool. I live in Canada near Niagara Falls btw.

Is there a way to search you blog by topic - so many posts and eventually I
want to read them all but would like to cherry pick a few that are on my
mind first..."

I ran to my blog and noticed sure enough, I no longer have a list of the topics/labels like I used to have on my blog. 


I then added the labels back to the front of my blog and immediately was reminded why I removed the list: there are too many!  Ahhh, that's right, the long list ran WAY down the page - it just wasn't feasible to add because there are just too many labels and it took up a lot of unnecessary space.

For background information, I choose one or more certain words to assign to each blog post, depending on what I wrote about.  Those words (i.e. topics/labels) are listed at the bottom of each blog, but there is also a list of all the topics/labels that can be displayed on the blog so one can choose the topics you want to read about.  For example, if I write about an interesting situation where some guy wouldn't shake my hand after I beat his azz, I would label the blog "handshake." And then if you wanted to search all the blog posts I wrote about "handshake" you would see all the posts by choosing that word "handshake" from the list.  

I'm not sure so many labels/topics is worthwhile, but I do talk about a lot of different things and kinda like the ability to search blog posts by the different topics/labels.

I then went to the all-knowing Internet and searched for ways to display the topics in a shorter format - maybe drop down menu or simply a link that would go to a separate page that would list all the labels.  I luckily found several options to add coding that could offer a solution.  I tested several options on my blog and then finally decided on a code that will allow for the topics to be chosen via a dropdown menu!

So, on the right of my blog you will now see this:

So, now you can all search by topic from the front page again!

BIG thanks to Brett for sending me the kind email and also asking the question - his inquiry helped spur me to find a solution to add that back to my blog in a more effective way.  Thank you, Brett!

Saturday, March 16, 2019

That Chin!

I shared with one of Dave's good friends (Joe) one morning that initiative I announced in January, "Return the Faver."

The easiest way to explain the initiative was to simply share the link with him so he could read all about it.

He called me that afternoon and was so excited about this for Dave! He's been friends with Dave since they were kids, so this means a lot to him and he really loved the idea to keep Dave's memory in the pool world.

Then I discovered that wasn't the only blog post Joe read - evidently, he read some of my other posts.  He told me he had no idea that I played pool, lol.  Yet, he said, he could tell right away that I played well just by looking at the pictures of me.

"What do you mean?" I asked him

He shared and explained that when the cue is close to the chin, that is an automatic sign that a player shoots well. Means they have a solid stance, are usually seasoned, and normally stay down well on their shots.  As I thought about it, I did eventually get lower in my stance later in my pool journey, which helped my game go up.

I actually didn't realize my chin was so close to my cue, though, but it does reinforce what I tell people: that a player has a more solid stance and therefore are more effective if they are lower on their shots because their cue is much more level.

If you picture snooker players Allison Fisher or Karen Corr in your head right now, you automatically picture then lower near the table with their cue near their chin. Right?

Well, it's not just snooker players - check out just this one male pro I picked from the US who does the same thing:  Mr Sky:

Oh, and here's a pic of me and my chin, errr, cue:

I have to admit it was quite cute that Joe went on and on about how he had no idea how well I played and he stumbled upon it looking through my blog. It really made me smile.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Gordy Vanderveer Interview! March 2019 Billiard Buzz

I was lucky to get to interview one of the best guys around the pool scene, Gordy Vanderveer! If you don't know him, you are missing out, as he is wonderful to be around with a contagious, positive, fun attitude and a very knowledgeable pool game (that he is passing on through "SLA" - read about it in the interview). Even if you do know him, you'll enjoy this interview, too. Thank you so much, Gordy!! 

Thursday, March 14, 2019

There are Different Forms of Practice - Project Hunger Games

Katniss (of the Project Hunger Game Series section of my blog) shared with me a few months ago one afternoon that she was playing well, even though she hadn't been able to practice but one time that week. And that "it was very unusual for me to not practice more."

I discovered that she plays league twice a week, maybe plays a tournament once on the weekends, and also still practices three to four times a week.

Holy cow that's a lot of pool!

I was hesitant to share my opinion, but I really thought she was practicing too much. I actually consider league practice and also playing in tournaments practice. Sure, those are not dedicated "practice sessions" (if we want to put a label on it), but it's still playing pool - it's still working on your game. 

Let me put it this way, if you not playing league or tournaments or gambling, then yes, you should be putting in a practice session or two a week if you can because otherwise you aren't playing at all.

Further, this might sound silly, but if in your mind you think you have to practice, let's say four times a week, and you only get to practice two times that week, you might think it will hurt your play.  And you might blame not shooting well because you didn't put in your normal 4-times-a-week practice session. Yet, the reason could be stress at work or not enough sleep or because you just had a bad night.  What I didn't want Katniss to get in the habit was, was to think that she had to practice four times a week to play well.

I shared with her, "You may not like this, but I think you practice too much lol. So, only practicing once, then having league twice, and playing in a tournament is actually a lot of pool. :) Therefore, it makes sense to me you are still playing well, even tho you don't feel like you practiced enough.  I think reading can be considered a "practice" day because you are still working on your game, for example. :)"

She explained, "Yes, I do practice a lot, but I enjoy it! I'm obsessed with the game lol. I may back off some. Well, I will try anyway, lol."

I explained further, because I didn't want to deter her, "I'm not necessarily saying back off a lot. But I am suggesting that you should consider league night, reading, gambling, and/or playing a weekly tournament as forms of practice. So if you don't get in the dedicated practice you are used to, you'll still feel good. :)"

She replied, "That is true. Hmmm, never thought of it like that."

What I diddn't share with her is that sometimes when we ease up on so much dedicated practice, and realize that other activities (reading, playing league, watching videos, etc.) are a form of practice by working on our game, it actually helps us. Consequently, we will still play well (and sometimes better!), even though we aren't physically playing pool during a "dedicated practice session." 

I talked to her over the weekend and she said she hasn't been practicing as much. I was surprsied, as I didn't think she was really going to cut down the number of her dedicated practice sessions.  

I was like, "Really?"

"Yep," she said, "And you know what? I'm playing better."  

I smiled to myself and was so happy she experienced that positive consequence! 

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

What Do You See on Streams?

I mentioned yesterday, the female pros I listened to this past weekend who commentated for the stream of the WPBA tournament we're really extraordinary!

They would talk about why certain patterns a player chose were best, what the players should do with their shot selections, what options might have been more effective, talked about safeties, all sorts of gems that if one was to pay attention, you would have loved as well from all the learning opportunities.

It made me wonder:

I wonder what other people listen for and watch when they are watching streams? Does everyone do what I do? Are they listening for gems? Are they paying attention and learning about patterns? Or are they just watching two players play on the stream?

I noticed so many things like: who walks around the table more than others, who stays down well on their shots, who walks into their shots, who has great pre-shot routines, all that type of stuff. So it's not just patterns I like to see, I also look for the nuances of why one player might be better than the other.

Obviously I'm not noticing these type of things because I'm still playing pool.

Watching streams helps remind me of great tips I can share with my clients/friends. Further, watching streams also provides me topics I can blog about (case in point, right? lol). And ironically, a few times the commentators this past weekend said something helpful and I responded proudly to myself, "Hey, that's exactly what I've stated before!" It's nice to get confirmation of the tips I have shared via my blog or with my students. :)

Monday, March 4, 2019

Women's Pro Tourney on Stream

Well, I turned the sound on the stream again this weekend. I know, I know, I mentioned just last week that I don't like to turn the sound on because the commentators usually annoy me, lol.  However, I deliberately turned the sound on this time because I saw that a female pro friend was going to be commentating on the WPBA matches.

I didn't get to hear her commentate after all, but I heard some other female pros and they were fantastic!  And it reminded me that when I watch pro events when pro's are commentating, I turn on the sound.  Therefore, it's during amateur events when the commentators are kinda just talking on the mic and not about the why's of the choices of the players when I don't like to listen.

The pros I listened to this weekend for the WPBA tournament we're really extraordinary! They would talk about what the players should do with their shot choices, what they should have done that would have been more effective with their patterns, talked about using certain English, about staying down on their shots, better safeties, all sorts of gems!

At one point, a non-pro joined one of the female pros in the booth and I was immediately distracted by him.  I am not trying to be rude, but I simply enjoyed the knowledge from the pro's so much better.  They kinda had to correct him a lot on his suggestions. I'm not saying that's good or bad for the viewers, but for me personally, one of the bonus's of the platform of streams is for us to learn.

I was actually very excited for all the great commentary from the female pros this weekend!  Very valuable insight!

Friday, March 1, 2019

Practicing Alone Effectively

The other day someone posted on Facebook looking for advice.

Because I am a huge fan of Copy and Paste, lol, I thought it would be cool to share with you all the question and the answers this player received.
Q:  Anyone else have trouble focusing when practicing alone? Need some tips on how to practice the way I would play against an opponent. 

Reply 1: Practice playing the ghost, and commit to competing against it the whole set, start off with shorter sets and even give yourself a reasonable spot and work your way up to playing it even

Reply 2: Definitely play the ghost like suggested, really work to stay focused. Straight Pool is also a great way to practice. Sometimes you can begin to play 9ball unconsciously because the balls tell you what you need to do. To play straight pool you’ll need to be constantly thinking of what to do next. It will improve your game all around as well.

Reply 3: Go on the road. (this received a lot of laughing emoticons)

Reply 4: I didn't contribute to the discussion on Facebook, but I will share my thoughts with you all here.  I wrote a blog post many moons ago that shares how I practice.  When I played by myself (which was most of the time back then), this was my practice routine - and it helped me all these years.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

A Coaching Team Name

Oh my goodness! I'm a little perturbed at myself at the moment.

All these years trying to come up with the perfect team name for the many women's teams I was on, and not ONE time did I think to come up with a team name that might be helpful to myself and my teammates for when we played! ugh.

I know, I know you are thinking, "What the heck are you talking about now, Melinda??"

I'm talking about this:

The other day a friend of mine from Canada posted a shout out about her team.  "Won our first team match, next one at 8pm. STAY DOWN let's do this!"

I asked her, "uh, is Stay Down your team name or are you coaching from Facebook, lol?"

She said it was her team name and I immediately shook my head with disgust realizing all these years I could have had clever names that could HELP me when I played in team events!  But oh no!  I wanted team names that were funny or innuendoes, instead. Like, 'Nice Rack' or 'Just the Tip' or 'No Balls', etc.

This whole time, instead, I should have had a team name like Stay Down.  That's what I needed to remember in all those pressure team matches! I can hear my teammates now, "Come on, Stay Down!"  See?  Wouldn't even seem like we were being coached because it's our team name!

Opportunity missed, dang it!

Monday, February 25, 2019

Changing Your Break In the Middle of a Tourney

I was watching a stream over the weekend and actually had the sound on for once, and could hear the commentators.  I normally don't do that - I would rather just focus on the game and see how the players are doing and what their shot selections are, etc, instead of listening to opinions.

Don't get me wrong - certain commentators I will turn UP the volume (Jeremy Jones is one of the best commentators around and I learn a lot from him.  The other person I used to love to hear was Billy Incardona).

However, I don't normally want to listen to commentators.  As a matter of fact, I have a copy of the finals when my partner and I won the scotch doubles event at Texas BCAPL in 2014. I have yet to watch it with the sound on, lol.

But I digress....

I don't like listening to commentators of streams because I just don't always agree with their opinions and that distracts me, lol. If they are great at giving tips and I learn from them (like Jeremy or Billy), I love listening. I want to know why certain shots were good or talk about alternative options that might have been best. But when it comes to two people just talking in general about their opinions, it doesn't help me, and instead usually only annoys me, hahaha.

Case in point! The match I watched proved exactly why I don't like to listen to commentators. Someone just shoot me next time I turn on the volume! 

First of all, they highly favored one player over the other and didn't give the opponent her due justice. I would rather hear two guys talk highly about both players, not cheer for one over the other and not recognize good shots when they see it from the player they weren't rooting on.

But here was my biggest heartburn:

(as I type this out, I'm wondering if I should listen more, though, as it does give me topics to bitch/write about, lol.)

They kept talking about the break of the player they didn't root on. Basically, some of the players had great success breaking from the side rail. When you do that, you can usually pocket a ball on the break pretty consistently and also plant the cueball in the middle of the table. The commentators kept saying that for as far into the tournament as she was, they were surprised she wasn't breaking from the side rail yet. Her opponent would break from the side rail and pocket a ball and they would exclaim, "SEE!" lol. Further, they stated "that's the break for 9-ball."

While that may be true to some, I think it's ridiculous to suggest and/or expect someone to change their break in the middle of a tournament! When I worked on my break for bar-table 9-ball, I spent hours and HOURS trying to get it right - you need the right speed, feel, where to hit the rack, etc.  It's not as easy as just walking up to a table and simply starting to shoot from the rail and the magic happens. Noooooo. Especially for those of us who do not shoot from the rail at all, it's actually uncomfy and we don't have a feel for it right away. We have been breaking between the top two left (or right) diamonds with our hand on the bed of the table for 20+ years and now you suggest in the middle of a tournament someone needs to adjust their break? Come on people!

How about instead: "You know what, I hope this player recognizes from those around her at this tournament that the 'from the rail' break is more effective and she should practice it when she gets home and add it to her arsenal." NOT suggest she adjust her break in the middle (or end) of a tournament.


I wouldn't be so ornery about this if I didn't try to do this a few times and discovered for myself just how ineffective and what a horrible idea it was, lol.

When I tried to adjust my break in the middle of a tournament a few times, boy did it throw me off! I had no cue-ball control and the break I usually used was far more effective because I was already comfortable and used it for like 10+ years. One needs lots of practice to change where they break from if they've never broke from that spot before, so imho I think it's ill of them to pontificate their opinions about this.

Then again, I'm pontificating my opinions right here, so who am I to judge. ;)

Friday, February 22, 2019

Billiard Buzz Feb Issue - Me?

Mike Howerton turned the tables and interviewed me for Billiard Buzz.

The issue is out and if you have some time set aside, here is the link to it. I say that because it is kinda long. Sorry - I had a lot to say, lol!

It's actually been out for a week or so and I have been a tad confused by the lack of responses. I kinda opened my heart about some things from my childhood - I feel extremely vulnerable and raw about it. Been nervous when the issue would come out because of what I shared, but the response has not been what I expected, so guess I didn't need to worry at all, hahah!

I have asked a few friends about it and they said maybe people aren't mentioning the childhood thing because (1) I overcame it and (2) maybe people are too trepid to bring it up. I think also the interview is just simply too long... and the childhood part is at the end, lol.

Either way, my goal of every interview I conduct is so others can learn from them, so I hope to help at least one person sharing all I went through. Many people were surprised to read how I "used to be," because I'm so opposite of how I grew up. Boy, I am thankful for that!

One of the cool surprises is a few people I work with have read it and they are stunned all that I did with pool. And now they feel like they know a super star or something. pfft. Sheesh, stop with the hounding for autographs!  ;)

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Not Exhausted During Tourney - Project Hunger Games

Katniss (of the Project Hunger Games series of my blog) shared with me in January "Oh btw...I reached a milestone this weekend. I was at the tournament all day mainly waiting, but I did not get tired! Usually by 7 pm I am wore out. I felt strong and awake at my match in the evening!"  

Being the nosey, curious person I am, lol, I asked her, "That's great!  What was the difference or what did you do different?"

Katniss: "I really don't know? I drank water and pepsi; no alcohol. I was nervous playing a super-high ranked player my very first match and even remember seeing my hands shake while trying to rack for him...but just did deep breathes. By my 4th match, all my nerves were gone!  I waited 5 hours before that match. I really don't have any idea. Maybe my mental toughness is getting stronger?"

I listened to her words, but my gut was telling me something different.

I prodded some more, "Didn't you mention you have been working out?"

Katniss: "Yes I am.. More lifting weights than anything."

Me: "Hmmm....I don't think mental toughness helps tiredness.  I think instead you working out helped you from getting exhausted."

Katniss exclaimed: "Oh, that could be very true! How many pros claim a healthy lifestyle helps keep them on point. Mmmm...interesting."

Me: "All pros in every sport.  Golf, too."

Katniss: "I will need to make a mental note of this milestone!"

Me: "Absolutely!"

I was so happy for her - overcoming exhaustion and finding out why is huge - and it will help her in future tournaments with long wait times.  

Awww, I love our journey with pool!

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Danielson Series: Which Tournament to Choose?

There's many personal reasons that help us decide what tournaments we want to play in.

And I was lucky to get in the head of Danielson to see how and why he decided to play in a certain tournament one weekend.

Normally, he just plays in the tournament that is being held that weekend, but last Fall there were THREE tournaments on the same weekend. Pretty fortunate he had to suffer to make a tough choice, huh?  lol.

But, he had to weigh what each tournament offered (or didn't) and then figure out why he wanted to play.

One tournament was on bar tables and players had to have a Fargo under 640 to be able to play. The problem with that handicapped tournament was, the Tournament Director lets players play who didn't have "established" Fargo ratings and he would let them play due to "known ability" from word of mouth. Turns out, the top 3 players of the two previous tournaments were all unranked and "unestablished." Danielson didn't want any part of that again.

Another tournament was not handicapped at all. And it drew the top players from the area, because most top players do not want to play in handicapped events, they have a better chance cashing when they play everyone even. Danielson didn't want any part of playing all the top guys even.

Then there was the third tournament. This one also only allowed players who were ranked under 644 Fargo, but if players were not "established" in the Fargo system, that TD wouldn't let them play. Further, the other handicap tourney that weekend was winner break. This event was alternate breaks. Danielson WANTED a part of that, lol.

He said, "So if I play...I'm going to give myself the best odds...and alternate breaks with confirmed handicaps sounds best to me."

I was a tad surprised as that tournament was the farthest out of all of them, but he choose the tourney he thought he could place the highest in.  If you have choices, wouldn't you do the same thing?