Well, what do I recommend?
My Fav DVD:
Anyone who has read enough of my blog prolly knows what my favorite DVD is and therefore what I will recommend. I honestly watch this DVD before big tournaments, especially if I hadn't had a chance to practice ON the table before a big event. I swear this player review by Buddy Hall and Grady Matthews prepares me because I get to watch such smart pool, along with the "why's" of the shots because Buddy and Grady are the commentators of the DVD. This was a match from the June 1992 Sands Regency Open.
I thoroughly enjoy watching this DVD several times a year because each time I watch it, I always learn from it. When I show up at a tournament after watching this DVD, I can SEE the shots, patterns, and choices so much clearer. I can even hear Buddy and Grady in my head, telling me how I should position the cueball for my next shot!
My Fav Book:
I have so many favorite books. I almost decided to recommend a book in every pool genre (8ball, mental, 9ball, one pocket, etc). lol. Instead, I picked my most recent fav book that was recommended to me by the lovely and talented Liz Ford.
In March I emailed Professional Pool Player Liz Ford:
"I was looking through Billiards Digest and saw from the Feb issue you were in the Quick Hits section. I loved your response to the Q: 'What specif area of your game are you working on right now?'"
She answered in Billiards Digest:
"I am always working on my game but this year I am focused on believing in myself. There is a difference between showing up at a tournament and wanting to do your best and showing up at a tournament prepared to take people down."
I wanted an explanation - I was VERY curious what exactly she meant.
She explained to me via email:
"I can't remember if I said that before or after reading Winning Ugly by Brad Gilbert. I think it was before but that sentiment was reinforced heavily by that book.
For a long time I focused on all the things that I didn't know. It gave me determination to get better and an unending quest for knowledge - but come tournament time I never felt confident. In trying to get better all the time I never really thought or felt a sense of pride about all the things I already did really well. Practice is for learning but competition is about executing what you do best.
In terms of being prepared to take people down... I'm not sure if it is just the phase of life I am in or if Winning Ugly changed my brain in some way, but lately I take great joy in dismantling my opponents mentally. I want to push them to the point where there game breaks down. It has nothing to do with sharking or mind games and everything to do with having a plan to be the smarter, more aware and mentally stronger player. I don't feel like I can explain it adequately... you should definitely read the book."
So, I did.
And guess what? I think I finally found the killer instinct. I can't explain why, I can't explain what exactly this tennis book by Brad Gilbert shared that changed my mindset but Liz is correct: I want to win more than ever and I have no ill feelings if you happen to scratch, I beat you 7-0, or I follow the rules which leads to you losing. I no longer am scared to win or take someone down or feel bad for my opponent. As Liz explains, I too now take pride when my opponents are frustrated; I sometimes smile to myself, even.
I am simply more prepared to win.
Although Winning Ugly sounds like the book may be about sharking, it has nothing to do with. In tennis, Brad Gilbert "is the best in the world at the mental side of the game" and he shares his wealth of knowledge in this book and explains how he won millions (by being prepared).
Brad Gilbert is not a well-known tennis player but pro tennis players know him well. They would tell him he won ugly because he wasn't necessarily talented. But he PREPARED. The book tells you how he prepared. How he took down the greats. How he prepared before even setting foot in the arena.
I highly recommend the book - it's an easy read and chalk-full of great tips to develop a stronger mental game, if you've been looking for that.
I wish I could explain exactly how the book helped me be a more confident, prepared player, but I can't. All I know is, if you have problems with the killer instinct or you want to be more prepared to "take people down" as Liz stated, I highly recommend Winning Ugly by Brad Gilbert.