Friday, July 29, 2011

Slow Play...

I recently came across two instances of slow play.  Check these out:


I played my second straight pool match of the Summer/Fall season last Friday (July 22).

I was up against a new guy, so I had no idea how we would do sparring against each other. With my season starting off with a loss, I yearned for a win, I admit.

He told me right away he used to play straight pool about 15 yeas ago, so he knew the game at least.  When he practiced and hit a few balls with his black-wearing glove, he missed by almost a full diamond.  I was like, "hmmm...."

[I will at this point start to call him Turtle #2]. 

When we started the match, he wasn't missing like he did when he warmed up.  But I got side tracked.  Not by the glove, not by hist shots, not by distractions, but how long he took to hit each ball.  I was down -2 to 17 right off the bat, which didn't help, but he took so many strokes EACH ball, I seriously wondered how I would manage the race to 100!

At one point, I counted how many strokes Turtle #2 took.  15.  FIFTEEN.  I was in shock, sitting there watching him run a few balls, 15 strokes at a time, to get ahead 25-45.  I'm down 20 points??  OMG....

Then I'm down 26-56.  Down 30 points I finally just give in.  I'm not playing all that good anyway, and I just accept the fact I'm going to be 0-2 the start of the season.  :(

So, I loosened up, had a few drinks, and decided not to go for shots if they were risky (like I had earlier in the set).  Next thing you know, I kinda catch up.  55-69.  Still losing, but catching up.  I have an 11 ball run to actually go ahead 72-70.  Wow! 

Then I saw him do what I normally do - he fell apart.  The pressure of me tying the game got to him (I'm guessing).  I even called two fouls on myself (touched a ball he didn't see and double kissed a ball only the shooter can feel) and was still ahead all of a sudden.  [this is an all-foul league]

I admit I talked more from the drinks, went to pee more than normal (I hadn't had dinner yet) and so going on almost 3 1/2 hours I was probably annoying him and THEN I passed him up.  All pure speculation on my part.  But I end up winning 100-86 somehow!  (almost exactly 4 hours later)

Everyone in the pool room noticed how slow he played.  I was surprised how many noticed, so I guess it was obvious to them, too. I kinda feel sorry for (1) him - because people were kinda making fun of him from afar, and (2) his opponents - because they wont be happy how long the race to 100 will take if he gets to the table a lot (I know it annoyed me and I had to really try hard not to let it bother me).

Two days later one of my straight pool league mates (The Talker) tells me he already played the "recognized" slow player in our league (Turtle #1) about a week ago.  This slow guy is not the same as the guy I mention above.  One has been on the season for while, and the one above is new to the league.

Turtle #1 has been known to annoy his opponents because he takes a while to make his decisions and shoots a little slow (not 15 strokes, just kinda slow).  Plus, he plays a lot of safes.  While the match may go slow, I don't mind because it's part of the game to play defensively.  And, that's just the way he plays.

However, I was stunned what The Talker told me!  He told me he told Turtle #1 he wasn't going to put up with him playing slow and playing a lot of safes.  He actually TOLD the guy to go for shots instead of playing safe (like break out shots he thinks he might miss and leave a wide open table). 

The Talker told me he already told the League Director he would forfeit if he played slow and didn't take chances.  He said, "our matches shouldn't take 3-4 hours."

I was stunned.  Really??  You're gonna make the guy get out of his element?  Shoot more aggressive so YOU don't have a long match?  What I see is The Turtle wants to win and he's giving himself the best chance by playing defensively (he had a great season last Spring, too).

I am still shocked as I type this. 

I personally think the guy was out of line telling him to change his game and almost implying the league isn't important (imo) b/c he should go for shots and take risks.  Huh?  If you don't feel comfy, play safe.  Lock them up.  That wins games!

Ironically, The Turtle beat The Talker anyway. 

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Diagram Lesson #2 Phil Capelle

Esteemed billiards author, Phil Capelle, watched one of my streamed matches from a year ago (yes, it's taken me THAT long to put this up) and he had a few suggestions for me.  He wrote up these diagrams and gave me some advice.

You can view the FIRST Learning Lesson from Phil here.

This blog entry is about the second Learning Lesson.

I will share part of the match via youtube video, then below I will add his diagrams / tips he shared with me.  Click on images to enlarge.

Hope you enjoy these as much as I did!

This is the same match from before - I am playing for 5th place in the Oklahoma Women's State 9Ball Championships (and an OB Cues Ladies Tour stop), July 2010.

This was early in the match and I was extremely nervous.  Although I missed the 6 ball in this match, I won that game because my opponent (Belinda Campos Calhoun) missed it after I did.  That tied the score 1-1.  I also eventually won the match 7-4 and placed 4th in the tourney!

Also, I apologize in advance - you will notice I played slow, but I do that sometimes when I'm nervous!  Luckily this video clip is only about a minute, lol. 

From Phil Capelle:

My memory fails me a little on this one, but the general idea is correct.

Diagram 1 - You played the 5 and allowed the cue ball to drift over near the rail, making it tough to get from the 6 to the 7.

Diagram 2 - The correct route keeps the cue ball away from the rail and leaves a relatively simple route from the 6 to the 7 from the position zone - A to B

Diagram 3 - Shows the routes to the 7 from both A and B.

Play for the correct angle
Plan for 3 balls at a time
Stay away from trouble

Melinda - in case you are interested in exploring the line up technique I mentioned, it is on pages 42-45 of CPP (Capelle's Practicing Pool). It will build consistency and precision to your set up. 

Thank you, Phil!! 

Do You Hold Your Cue, Or Put It Down?

Because my hands sweat a little, I could never hold my cue while I sat in my chair.  I felt like if I held my cue, then the shaft would get dirtier and also my hands would get more sweaty.  So, I would lean my cue on the side table or chair, or maybe someone had a cue holder I could use.

Then one day a few years ago, a friend at the pool room told me to hold my cue when I was in my chair.


I expressed to him I couldn't hold my cue while sitting in my chair every time.  I felt like it made my hands more sweaty! 

In return to my stance, he explained why I should seriously reconsider.

He suggested that it's a deterrent for my opponent.  It's also mental - on both sides.  He said that when your opponent sees that cue on your hand, even subliminally it looks like you are ready for them to miss and/or ready for for your next turn at the table. It also tells your own mind and body YOU are ready for your next shot at the table.

I thought it was hogwash.  I really did.

"Whatever, Dude."

He then shared he had told one of my fellow female colleagues this same thing and now she does it all the time.

Hmm, really?

Being one of my competitors, that made me more interested in it, lol. 

It did make sense.  Can you recall those times you were at the table and in your peripheral vision, you see your opponent put down their cue?  That was a tell-tale sign they knew you were about to run out, and they weren't expecting another chance at the table.

So, maybe he was a little right.

I don't recall exactly how many years ago this was and I can't recall exactly when I started to utilize his suggestion, but now I canNOT put my cue down when playing in a match.  I got used to holding the cue.  I got used to "being ready to play" by NOT putting my cue down.

I still wont technically hold the shaft of the cue in my hands b/c I think the wood against my palms creates extra sweat (at lest it feels that way), but I lean my cue against my lap or legs when I'm sitting down, waiting for my turn.  I now have to have the cue leaned up against me, or my arms kinda wrapped around it, or sometimes holding it if I am standing. 

If I'm sharing a cue and my partner puts our cue down, I will grab it and hold it near my persons.  I just can't not be holding my cue anymore.

I've been doing this for years now. 

I don't know how much affect it has on my opponents, but I like how holding my cue makes me feel ready for my next shot.  And secretly I hope this small action has a small effect on my opponent, too.  (Is that bad?)

Either way, it works for me now.

If you decide to try this, please let me know if it helps!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The State of Pool

Surprise!  There is a discussion about the state of pool over on AZB Forums.  Again. 

One of my friends commented to me about my optimistic thoughts of pool I stated in that thread.  His ideals and mine are completely different.  I think "there's nothing wrong with pool" (even tho everyone else pontificates otherwise on the forums) and even though I WISH pool was mainstream as golf or basketball, I'm okay and can with live with that's it's not.  It's just a fact.  If I made my living off pool, maybe I'd be more vocally upset about pool not being as hot as poker (for example), but I still have plenty of pool tournaments to play in and pool remains my passion even without all the fanfare.  And let's face it - pool isn't the only "we don't have big name sponsors and aren't on tv" sport.  Darts, shuffle board, and foosball are in the same boat.

Anyway, I asked my friend to give me his comments for my blog.  It's always nice to have a different perspective.  It can prolly get annoying to you (as the reader) to keep reading my 99 % optimistic blog entries, and not read/hear some negatives that do indeed go along with the game that my rose colored glasses don't always see. 

**The following doesn't necessarily reflect the thoughts or ideas or how I really feel about pool. I love pool and everything about it. Please forgive me if you are offended.

I’m the editor for Over there we believe there are lots of good things about the game of pool. We search for more of these good things. We post videos. We write blogs. We look for people to post videos. We look for people to write blogs. Only condition is somehow it all has to fit under the editorial umbrella of, “THE BEST THINGS ABOUT POOL.” Melinda has been a great partner in that project.

So Melinda says to me one day, “Why don’t you post on my blog?” Well, first of all, I have to ask her which one because we all know the girl thinks it’s her role in life to write as many blogs entries as she possibly can before she dies or she might not get into heaven. Or at least that’s all I can come up with.

I tell her sorry I use up all my goodness and patience at poolstudents and all I’d have left for your blog is the unwillingness and, in fact, deep resistance, in suffering the hundreds, if not thousands, of pool fools that are out there spilling their Color-of-money-pool-is-a-professional-sport-earl-strickland-is-a-god crapola all over the Internet at places like AZBforums.

I think the game of pool could have a much higher and respectful profile in the United States if long ago it hadn’t been hijacked by hustlers, gamblers and the pool hall culture that comes with it. Everything bad about Pool was born there. And because the people immersed in that life have no where else to go they successfully have held the game hostage. And if you don’t live their morays, values and way of life, well, you’re a sucker, loser, ball-banger or someone who wouldn’t bet that water is wet.

That last thing is the worst thing you could possibly be in their eyes. Idiots.

And if that wasn’t enough holding the game back the pool industry leaders often come from that same world or wish they would have been one of those guys traveling the country trying to rob people for a living. They want to be one of the hustlers. They wish they could have wasted their lives away in a pool hall, never working, living off women, whatever. So what’s the best thing they can be now? Enablers.

I read this recently on WPBA player Sarah Rousey’s blog. At some point she had tired of the whole pool scene thing. But something happened. The following excerpt is the TRUTH.

“And now we get to what has made me want to play pool again. I got the chance to help out at the Billiard Education Foundation Junior Nationals last week. I got to see a lot of kids that I have watched grow up and I got to meet a lot of new people that are so hopeful and excited to be playing pool. It was so refreshing to see kids that want to do nothing other than have fun playing pool. It was a reminder to me that that is what it is supposed to be about.” – Sarah Rousey

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Roller Coaster Days

I haven't been playing good pool the last couple of months.  I have been missing shots, thinking too much while down on my shots, and I am not finishing my runouts. 

It finally came to a head a few weeks ago: I finally got frustrated. 

Why can't I get out?

What the heck is going on with me?

I guessed that maybe it was my concentration.  "My lack of competition in big events has led me to not be as focused as I used to be," I told myself.

So, I tried to focus better at my next weekly tourney.


Have you ever tried hard to focus? It's makes it worse, lol!

Then the following weekend I had to play my boyfriend in one of the weekly tourneys.  I only missed three times, but he got out those three times and I lost 4-1.  Afterwards I asked him about my game.

"Was I jumping up?  What do you think is going on with me?  You saw the match, what do you think?  I'm so frustrated."

He replied,

"Well, you haven't been playing enough and also not practicing.  When we come to the tourney you don't always play in it, but more so you aren't hitting balls before hand or any other time."

I didn't reply, I just kinda sat there, taking in his words.

I won my next match on the one-loss side before getting put out of the tourney.  Then I practiced one pocket with one of my friends while my boyfriend continued his trek in the tourney.

I noticed a HUGE difference after our chat! Instead of worrying about focusing hard on trying to focus (lol), which I thought was my problem, I simply accepted the fact that yes, I hadn't been practicing or hitting enough balls. 

A huge weight was lifted off my shoulders to realize the real reason for my lack of good play lately.  I accepted the fact and then was able to play better without worries.  I know this doesn't make sense at all, but to realize it wasn't my mechanics or focus, allowed me to be more at ease with simply playing pool and getting some quality time on the pool table.

I played super good one pocket, too, that night after the chat.

The next weekend we play in the Saturday night tourney and although I still missed a few key balls, I still played a little better and again practiced one pocket. 

Then something amazing happened on Sunday night.  At the last minute we decide to go to the Sunday night tourney and we practice one pocket for an hour before.  My b/f even joked with me "you need to practice anyway" when we discussed about going or not.

I played SO DANG good in the tourney!  I was playing smart, staying down, seeing the runs (and getting out!), FEELING my body cueing smoothly... ahhh, wow!  It felt so good!

Everyone was commenting to me about my good play.  I just smiled and said thanks when they said, "you are playing really well" or "nice out."  :)

I placed 4th in the tourney.  :)

The very next night I played my first straight pool match of the season.  I was stoked to see how I would do because I had JUST played SO well!

But ugh...

I only had spurts of the previous night, and I missed way too many balls!  :(

I played smart straight pool (extremely happy about that) but I am super disappointed I started the season off with a loss due to the fact I missed way too many balls.  I lost only 97-100, too.  I could have easily ran over him if I had played most of the match like the previous night.  ;(

This roller coaster ride is getting tough!  And roller coasters are scary!

But yet I still can't get off this great ride!!  :-)

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Diagram Lesson #1 From Phil Capelle

It takes me a while to get things posted up in my blog sometimes.  This time, it was due to me trying to figure out how to get a stream to a video format that I could snip, because my ustreamed streamed match was almost an hour and 20 minutes.  I only needed about two minutes of it!

Esteemed billiards author, Phil Capelle, watched one of my streamed matches from a year ago (yes, it's taken me THAT long to put this up) and he had a few suggestions for me.  He wrote up these diagrams and gave me some advice.

I fully admit I was nervous to see the advice.  I thought it might hurt my game, because I had been playing well.  I'm so silly!  Of course it didn't hurt me- it HELPED me.  :)

When I told Phil I was nervous to even open the document, he was shocked and replied, "wow, Jack Nicklaus never missed an opportunity to learn something."

Yea, he makes a lot of sense and can really open my eyes.

I have TWO Learning Lessons from this match that Phil graciously wrote up for me that I wanted to share with you all.  This is the first one. 

I will share part of the match via youtube video, then below I will add his diagrams / tips he shared with me.  Click on images to enlarge.

Hope you enjoy these as much as I did!

In this match I am playing for 5th place in the Oklahoma Women's State 9Ball Championships (and an OB Cues Ladies Tour stop), July 2010.

BTW, although I missed the 7 in this match, I won that game because my opponent (Belinda Campos Calhoun) missed the 9 ball.  That tied the score 3-3.  I also eventually won the match 7-4 and placed 4th in the tourney!

Also, I apologize in advance - you will notice I played slow, but I do that sometimes when I'm nervous!  Luckily this video clip below is under two minutes, lol. 

From Phil Capelle:
Diagram 1 - You played a soft follow shot, which left you straight in on the 7.
The problem: you need to cross the table for the 8.

Diagram 2 - Solution A - bunt in the 6, leaving an angle on the 7. Though its not a big one, it is enough to at least send the CB to the top of the ”B” in Cue Table.
Solution B - I like this better. Draw out so you have a bigger angle, which will enable you to more easily cross the table for the 8.

Diagram C - This shows the correct route to the 8. And the margin for error so you don’t scratch in the side. Notice the angle on the 8 allows you to easily come out for the 9.

Thank you, Phil!!

Friday, July 15, 2011

PoolSynergy - Advice for Older Players

This month's PoolSynergy host is the awesome PoolBum!  Yep, I said pool bum.  Surely that's a nickname  ;-)

His topic:  Advice to older players who are taking up the game or coming back to it after a long hiatus. (This is a request he received from a friend who is retired, which I thought was really cool.)

I wasn't sure what to offer or suggest, tho.  Being as I'm not retired yet from work, haven't taken a hiatus (yet) from pool, I wasn't sure what to say or what advice to give.

So, what does one do in these situations?  Yep, they punt!  Or to keep it pool related, they give back the push out.

I wanted to ask my oldest pool player friend, Fred, and capture him on video.  He ventures into my previous pool room throughout the week and either sits and watches one pocket for a couple of hours or sometimes plays a game of one pocket himself.  At 88 years old, he's pretty impressive still!  I had my spies text me when he showed up to the pool room finally over the weekend, but it was too early for this "need-more-rest-at-my-age-now" girl and I wasn't able to interview him for you.  :(

So, instead of asking Fred via video, I went to my new pool room later that night for a tourney and asked three retired pool players what advice they had to offer.  Of course, at first they were offended I asked them.  "What are you saying, we are old?" one quips at me.


Yea, I was lucky to get any answers from them at all, lol.

But, they obliged and wanted to help out PoolBum's friend.

I asked Dennis first.  Dennis is a straight shooter and plays in the weekly tourneys and also the straight pool league (he's in the highest division - he's a strong player).  He's also a vet and a retired American Airlines pilot. 

Dennis suggested for the older players who are taking up the game or coming back to it after a long hiatus, to practice.  He also suggested to watch pool videos.  He went on to suggest the player should join a league - it will get them around others and they will have some success in a league.  Dennis reminded me that some leagues offer free pool to league players, so that's an added bonus.  Finally, Dennis offered they play at senior citizen centers - they also have free pool and they would be "shooting the shit" with other old timers there as they played together. 

Next, I asked Lowell.  I happen to want to interview Lowell some day for my blog.  Lowell used to play pool more but now he's focused on shuffle board.  He found out one night he has mad, mad shuffle board skills!  He now sticks to their weekly tournaments to earn extra cash, instead of the pool weekly tourneys.  Lowell is retired, like Dennis.  Lowell is also the famous painter you would see on PBS on Saturday and Sunday mornings!  Yep, THAT guy.

Lowell said it's important to build confidence so he suggested to "practice by yourself to regenerate old skills that you had before."  He also suggested to get involved with a league, "and more than one a week" he added.  Finally, Lowell wants to remind the player not to get discouraged in the beginning; have patience. 

The third person I sought advice from was Ed.  Ed runs the weekly tournaments at the new pool room that I hang out at, and he is there religiously on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights to run them.  He runs them well, too!  Ed talks about his grandchildren, but I admit I am not sure what he is retired from.  But, he's an extremely nice guy with a great, fun attitude.

Ed suggested the player should "play by yourself at first to get your stroke back."  Next, he advised they should play people above their skill level against someone who is patient and cordial, so the retiree can ease back into the game.  I asked Ed to explain why he suggested the player play someone above their skill level and he said it would make them progress and it would "keep them interested isntead of bored" because it gives them goals.  Finally, Ed suggested to play in lots of tournaments to get their confidence back.

After I heard all the advice from these fine players, I admit I was surprised that their advice would be right along the lines what I would tell a new payer to the game.  I guess I could have offered advice after all!

I want to thank Ed, Lowell, and Dennis for taking the time out to help my article which will in turn help PoolBum's retired friend! (and hopefully many others who are in this same situation!)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Can't Just Wish and Hope

My new straight pool season has started. 

Last season I was 10-4.  you'd think I'd be happy.  Nope. 

Not happy.

My goal, still, is to win my little race-to-100 division some day.  Would I like to this season?  Sure.  Will I?  Dunno.  Can't just win on wishing and hoping.  I gotta do something about it.  I gotta put forth some effort and not just hope I somehow miraculously win the division.  I gotta hit balls.  I gotta practice.  I gotta watch straight pool videos.

I need to be proactive.

It's all on my mind, but I'm not doing anything about it.


Then my friend Mike comes to the rescue!  He sent me a note today to check out his latest straight pool video.  He has a home table and can video tape his runs.  Much to my surprise, it's an instructional video!  It was his first attempt to run 50 balls while talking out loud through his shots and thinking process. 

And, I loved it!

He actually ran 84, and in only 30 minutes (wow!).  Thanks for the vid, Mike!  It will definitely help me start my 14.1 season off right!  I already have more confidence after watching it.  :)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

My Second One Pocket Video - The Break

I don't know how many know this, so let me share.  I am one of the contributors over at  I am honored to have my very own little section!  And I focus on one pocket over in my little corner.

My little section is me talking about my journey with one pocket - but the clever catch is, it's only via video!  The whole site smartly focuses on video - the dream of the originator of the site.
So, my first one pocket video was my introduction to the segment and why I LOVE one pocket.

In the first "chapter" (my second one pocket video), I focused on the one pocket break.  I gathered tid bits on video from players at the pool room and then practiced the break for them. 

This second video was only possible because Steve Elzinga of edited all the footage of the numerous videos I took, and then created the final product.  Thank you, Steve!

The video was up on the website only a week or two when I got this awesome email from a guy named Carl:
Just watched your video on the one pocket break.
If your following videos are as good as this one I think
that many players might improve their game level.

Good Job.

Wow, what a HUGE compliment!  I thanked Carl profusely for his kind words and smiled ALL weekend because he took the time to tell me this.

Now of course I'm under some major pressure for the next chapter.  ;)  Just kidding!  I will continue to simply have fun and hope people learn as much as I do from this beautiful game.

BTW, I hadn't considered blogging about the video until Carl emailed me his thoughts.  So, thank YOU, Carl.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Why Say Something At All?

I realize Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus, but I still don't get how guys can so easily offer their opinions at the wrong times.

Seriously.  I don't.

I was always amazed after a guy shot bad in a tournament his guy friend could easily tell him, "Dude, you shot bad."

If a guy (or girl) told me that, I'd be crying in the bathroom or snapping back at them (depending on when this occurred in life - in my younger days, crying).

Because I didn't hear a response from that male player that played bad in that tourney, maybe I'm wrongly assuming he didn't care what his male friend told him.  Maybe he really DID care and WAS ticked, but just didn't reply to his friend.

So, my assumption could be wrong on how I TOOK his non-reaction.

However, my assumption is not wrong about women offering negative opinions.  You wont hear a female tell a girlfriend, "gosh, you played terrible!"

It just doesn't happen.  At least not in my experience.

Granted, most people are taught "if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say it at all."

But I'm beginning to realize it just doesn't work that way in sports, or competition, and esp with males.

When a guy at the pool room is about to match up against another guy, people not associated with the match have something to say.  And they (for what-ever-damn reason) say it.  They will come right out and state, "you shouldn't beat this guy."  Or, "you aren't suppose to win."

Has anyone heard of leadership courses?  Does anyone else know the worst thing to do is to tell someone such a negative thing like that right before they are about to play?

Now, maybe you are thinking, "hey, calm down, maybe they are just trying to offer 'advice' that they shouldn't play that opponent for money"  I can understand why you would think that.  BUT - the games were already set; the players were already gonna play.  It wasn't negotiation time; it was GO time.

Instead of pumping them up, it just puts doubt in their head!  They question themselves the entire set(s).

Why do guys do this unprovoked?  Why would anyone offer their opinion when it's so negative and only hurts the situation?

I can understand the sweaters talking among themselves.  They will anyway.  I can understand if someone asks you what you think about the game or their opponent.  But I'm seeing more and more guys just spouting off their negative opinions about their friends' opponents when they are about to gamble.

We are talking about potentially losing/winning $500 a session here.  So, pump up your friends, or simply keep your damn mouth shut and stay out of it.

Do I sound bitter?  Yea, I do.  Part of that $500 is mine.

I have to admit a few very rare times a guy has said positive comments.  You should beat this guy" Or "You are suppose to win."  So, i have faith in the male species!  lol.  :-)  But why when money is on the line in a gambling match (or even in a tourney) why offer negative comments at all?  Seriously?  If it's gonna be a negative comment, then don't say anything unless asked.

Maybe I'm just around leadership courses too much so I don't understand.  Maybe it's because at my work I cannot send out one crappy or negative email and have to show professionalism at all times no matter how ticked I might be at someone else's crass email.  Or maybe it's because I watch my tongue and don't hurt other people's feelings.  If I have to say something negative, I try to very carefully word any ill advice (in all aspects of my life).  Aren't others this way?  Evidently not.

Men really are from Mars.

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

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Interesting Freebie!

I went to Clicks Billiards in Waco,Texas in early June for a monthly tourney that is sometimes held there.  I went up to the bar to order a Diet Coke for my chips and queso that I bought from nearby Chili's and all of a sudden my eye catches these three clear containers holding objects.

One had chalk - that was normal.  One had matches - that was normal.  And the third?  It had sandpaper!

I couldn't believe it.  I think this was the first pool I had ever seen this!  Check it out:

Friday, July 8, 2011

Pool is a Natural High... and so is Poker

Why do you like pool?  What draws you to the game?

Why when you first started to play pool you started to dream about it?  Or skip classes to play pool?  Or stay out til the sun came up, even though you were dog tired?

Why does pool do this to us?

I call it a natural high.  Playing pool and learning shots increases my endorphins.  Competing allows me to become excited over little balls on a green felted, smooth table.

Playing also allows me to socialize.  Being the social butterfly that I am, I love to be around my friends and enjoy life.  Playing pool also allows one to travel to places and meet new people, have adventures in new towns in new tournaments.

A natural high is something difficult to describe.  It's something you enjoy doing, gives you pure bliss, increases your heart rate, and causes happiness.  All the while those endorphins are increasing, your knowledge of the game is improving, and you are becoming one with pool.

Ironically, pool can easily be an addiction and yet I consider pool to give me a natural high.  For someone like me who hasn't done drugs, my drug of choice is pool.

And guess what I figured out so easily the other day?

Poker has become my new natural high; my new addiction.

I am seeing so many similarities, too:
  • Increased endorphins
  • Meeting new people
  • Socializing
  • Competing
  • Reminiscing about certain plays/hands
  • Dreaming about possibilities
  • Yearning to play again
The similarities between any sport and poker is obvious.  But here are some points made from folks on the AZB forums in a post where I asked "Why did poker become hot and mainstream?"
  • Poker players don't have to be burdened with having to play 10 hours a day for 5 years to be good at something. 
  • Poker is hot and mainstream because it's so accessible. 
  • All you need to play poker is a deck of cards. You don't even need a table. 
  • If you want to bet, fine, bet money or potato chips or french fries or whatever. 
  • Nobody ever complains about the quality of the cards unless they're marked or torn. 
I can find numerous poker games in town, easily. If I want to test my skill level, I can play in a higher cash game of lets say 5/10.  But I stay with the small fish right now and play 1/2 and only dabbled in 2/5.  In pool, I have no choice to play with the big boys in the weekly tourneys.  In poker, I have a choice.

I have only been playing "seriously" for 6 months, but for fun off and on about two years.  It's easy to pick up and easy to get addicted to, just like pool; just like golf.

But, it's more accessible.  And I don't need a lot of talent to hang with the other weekend warriors.  Yea, some luck is involved.  Yea, I could read some books and increase my skill.

But, I walk into the poker room at the closest casino and they have 45 tables.  Forty Five!  I know a lot of the dealers, just like I know most of the staff at my pool room.

I recognize many of the players, but there are so many new faces every single time we go.  It's a lot of fun to watch and learn, listen and test the waters, chat and yet compete.  Yea, I get scared at aggressive hands just like nervousness in stiff competition.  But it's a different type of nervousness.

I'm also using poker to help my "embarrassment factor."  I'm trying to learn to not care when I get embarrassed when I lose a bad hand I shouldn't be in (just like when I miss an easy shot in pool), and poker is helping me with that. 

I don't foresee poker taking over my pool addiction, though, any time soon.  So no worries, friends!  :)  But it sure is a very cool natural high!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Mika Verus Cleary

Although you'd think I would be referring to a pool match, instead I'm referring to a friendly grudge match of push ups!!

Yep, I said Push Ups!

Everyone knows the pool champion Mika Immonen and a lot of people know Andrew Cleary (aka Big Tony). 

In May 2010 in Las Vegas, they had their second push up competition outside the Riviera Casino and little ole me got it on film!  Ahh, I was so proud of myself and my small, little video camera.  :)

I mentioned that I had the captured this on tape and my dear friend Nathan (of asked that I not show it yet.


But I had the goods!


But, I knew he was working on a special project so I told him I wouldn't post any of the footage of the Big Push Up Competition between these two fine players until he said I could.

Move forward a year and I run across the footage cleaning up some files on my computer.  I swiftly emailed Nathan and asked him if I could now show the footage.

He said of course and thanked me for waiting.

He also showed me the link to his footage - to his "little piece" he put together.  Suffice it to say, he hits one out of the ball park with this!  The graphics, collection of footage, sound effects, interviews, angles, etc., etc., make my stupid raw footage look like a pebble.  LOL!

Check his out here (and be impressed!!):

Runout Media Video Magazine - Mika Immonen VS Big Tony Push Up Battle Round 2

Don't even look at mine here, lol:

EXCELLENT work, Nathan!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Literally ByStanders

The other night I was watching my boyfriend gamble at the 24-hour pool room and noticed this group of guys.  I grabbed my phone camera and tried not to be obvious taking their photos, lol.

WOW were they rudely standing around the pool table while their friends were down on shots!

Obviously, these are weekend warriors and not competitive pool players that know pool etiquette.  I can't blame them - I didn't know golf etiquette the first few times I played until someone told me.  But why does it seem obvious that this is something they should not do?  Maybe I'm just more consciousness at my current age or something.

Check out the proof!

At first I thought it was just the guy in the red shirt, literally standing at the edge of the table in this shot, standing in his opponents line of sight. 

But then this guy did it, too!

Here he is again; he's even touching the table, not just "standing" next to it.

Don't even get me started about the cigarette in his mouth....

And here is another one of the friends standing close to the table.
Me <---- shaking her head in disappointment.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Thinking Ahead Versus Believing

When I was at the OB Cues Ladies tour stop last weekend, I was about to play my second match (I had a bye, then won my first match) and before I started the match I walked up to my b/f and told him,

"Uh oh, That's not good."


"I already think I'm going to win.  That's not good."

"Why" he asks in disbelief and with confusion.

"Because I'm not suppose to think ahead."

"Well, that's better than thinking you are going to lose!"


What a perspective!

I know I'm suppose to play in the moment, not think ahead when I am down on the shot, don't think of my next opponent before I finish the game I'm on, etc.  I'm not suppose to think "I"m gonna win" if I'm ahead 5-2.  I know all this.  I know I'm not suppose think about an outcome before it happens - I need to stay in the moment (focus only on the shot in front of me) and not get ahead of myself, or else I (you) get complacent, lazy, and lose focus on the task at hand.

But wow was he surely correct in his statement to me! 

Even Denis Waitley in the Psychology of Winning talks a lot about positive affirmation and positive self expectancy and positive self motivation.  "These are the keys to a winner," he states.  I love his self-help audio tapes and even tho I listen to them with all my might, I still agonized with this:

I have struggled in believing I'm a winner when I walk into the pool room for a tournament, and yet not getting ahead of myself to play in the moment.  As we all know, thinking ahead can be detrimental to your game.  But believing in yourself is cleverly similar but shockingly very different.

That moment he told me that - I finally was able to separate the two!

It was an aha moment for me, for sure!