Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Photos: Pro Player's "Grip"

I saw these cues next to a match in Reno.  I was so intrigued by what I saw, I asked the Pro Player later that week if I could take a pic of the grip/butt part of his cues!

Luckily he obliged, and now I have these to share with you all:

Yes, those are Wilson tennis grips you see!  He said the wrapping handles the deflection and absorption of the hits better without the grip wrapping (don't quote me on the exact words, please).

You can see the Pro Player in action, from these great shots from Bob Beaulieu (click to enlarge):

Stevie Moore

 Stevie Moore

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Match Preparation List

As I mentioned in the Reno Recap, I wrote some notes for myself before my very first match of the week-long tourney.  I would reread the notes every morning, sometimes several times throughout the day if I had more than one tough match coming up.  I would even read them out loud to my boyfriend over the phone to reinforce the words.

I have written down reminders in the past for big tournaments and it helped out immensely, so I'm glad I remembered to do this because it really is very helpful to calm my nerves and also to remind me of important things.  Because as we all have experienced, during stressful times we don't always think straight.  :/

Reminders are a huge part of my repertoire, and that's the main reason I started this blog, actually.  I could read back at my learning experiences or reread about the tips I received.  I thoroughly admit that I don't recall every aspect of the mental side to competing, so my blog was my checklist also.

When I played at the Oklahoma State Championships a few years ago, I played against a WBPA Pro Player.  As we were about to compete, I noticed she was reading something.  After she beat me decisively, lol, I asked her about the little sheet of paper.

She pulled it out and graciously showed it to me.  It was her Pool Prayer.  It was a mantra so-to-speak of reminders for her.  As most competitors, she also struggled with the mental game and her Pool Prayer was a great way for her to remind herself of her strengths, why she plays, how to calm her nerves, reminders that she is a good player, and that God is her strength in all things.

I read it with fascination.  I suppose all these years of having little notes around me was my little Pool Prayer, too!  I especially liked how her Pool Prayer was not a "list" of reminders, but actual sentences and paragraphs that she wrote TO herself about why she is a good competitor, why she plays well, reminders for mental toughness, etc. 

Anyway, while her Pool Prayer puts mine to shame, I thought I would share with you what I wrote down for my big Reno tournament, because these tips really did help me throughout the week:

  • Nerves just mean it's important to me
  • Embrace fear/pressure
  • Compare pressure to other aspects of life 
  • I know how to play!
  • I've played good before
  • Be happy I can even play pool and I have this opportunity.
  • Test my mental game!
  • Breathe
  • No one is the room but me
  • Take my time
  • Smooth stroke
  • Get low on the ball
  • Don't hit to hard
  • Take advantage of their mistakes
  • Goals:  (1) 3-ball shape; (2) take my time, (3) enjoy!!

Gambling in Reno

As I played my 4th place match in the ladies 10 ball division in Reno on Tuesday, it was the early afternoon, and I noticed that two of the top female players were gambling just a few tables away from my match. I had a very weird reaction when I saw them, and wanted to share.

As I watched these two great players gamble, I felt so much contentment and happiness to NOT be gambling! I was so dang happy to be in the tournament.  So pleased to know that my true happiness is in the tournament realm.

I am just not interested in gambling. I saw several others female players gamble a few times throughout the rest of the week, and while I might watch a few games out of interest, or ask who won out of curiosity, I'm just not interested in that side of pool when I'm at tournaments.

Granted, I gamble some when my boyfriend is around and I am not playing in a tournament, but I'm seriously just so very happy playing in tournaments. :)

I envy those girls a little bit because I know gambling helps their game, but not envious of all the crap that comes with gambling.

Plus, I'd rather try to win a title!  

It's just who I am at tournaments.   And I like it. :)

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Heckler in Reno

As usual, several blog topics magically present themselves when I go to tournaments, lol.  And since for an entire week I was around pool in Reno, I have numerous topics to share!

I wont put them all in one post, as that would just put you to sleep, lol. Even when I shared my Reno Recap, I had SO much I could have added, but the entry was already long as it was.  Instead, I will write about some topics separately.

Let me start with The Heckler story. The guy really wasn't a "heckler" but in my female, irrational, raised emotional state of mind, he will forever be over-exaggerated with that title because of this "situation."

I was playing Susan Williams on the one loss side of the 10 ball division, already a very tough match. We were on table 20, which was right in front, where the bleachers are, so people were in the stands to watch as we fought it out for either finishing in 5th place or moving on to the 4th place match.

I'm down 2-1 then 3-2, but I have an opportunity to run out this layout in front of me. As I finish the great out (yay me!) and make the ten ball to tie the score 3-3, I hear someone say, "Come on, Babe."

At this point, I'm thinking:  Who is that?  My boyfriend isn't here.  So I wonder who that is being sweet?

You be might wondering, "Well, why didn't you just look up and see who said it?"

Well, I was taught by the famous player, Joe Salazar, not to look at the crowd. It's too easy to be distracted by what you think others are thinking, but if you don't "see" anyone in the crowd, you can't be distracted by them, and instead focus on pool easier. I have used this technique successfully numerous times, and esp in big tournaments where the crowds are larger.

Okay, back to the match:

Susan breaks at 3-3 and I hear the same voice say, "Come on Williams."

Ah.... the person was pulling for Susan, not me. Lol.

I didn't let it get to me, tho, as I have learned over the years that people who cheer for my opponent are rooting for them, not rooting against me. It's an extremely valuable learning experience the sooner you learn this concept, btw.

During the next two games, The Heckler moves around a lot for some reason: behind us, to the side of us, to the bleachers, etc., all the while clapping for Susan and saying nice things after her good shots. I just keep focused, because I am playing well and trying to fight hard in this match. 

The match goes hill-hill (4-4) but I miss my out (frown), so Susan is running out. But, she misses the 9 ball!  As the 9ball rolls to the end rail, the cueball is about to get hooked behind the 10ball. The Heckler (who is now in the bleachers) says out loud (louder than anything he has ever said up to this point), "Hey look, it's gonna get safe."

I would have been fine with that. It was about to be a safe.

But he raises his voice, "safe, safe, safe!!" ....almost willing for it to hook me.

As this point, my clear-thinking, rationale-Melinda, is no where to be found. I'm PISSED at him. This is no longer cheering for Susan, but rooting for a bad roll. 

As I walk up to the table I say, "wow" in utter disbelief.

Susan replies, "I'm sorry."

I explain, "No, not at that, at him" as I point my finger loudly, directly at the guy sitting in the bleachers in his white shirt all chummy.

I'm no longer in a match.  I'm now defending my emotions.  I tell The Heckler, "You didn't have to say that. It was already going to get safe, that was obvious."

He defends himself, as I've just called him out in front of the entire crowd, "It wasn't personal."

I snap back, "Then you shouldn't have said it at all."

Yep, I'm upset! 

I kick at the 9ball, hit it, but don't make it. I'm actually surprised I could even kick successfully because I was so upset. 

Susan is left with a tough 9ball and then a tougher 10ball. I'm still very content, tho. I played my little heart out and went hill-hill with Susan Williams, didn't let my nerves get to me, and I was about to place 5th! But, the long, straight-in 10ball was missed and I was left was a very make able shot to win the set 5-4, and to move on!

I walked up to the tournament desk to turn in my score sheet, and vented about The Heckler. My adrenaline is rapidly flowing, as I don't like to get upset to the point where I speak up rudely.

As I go grab my things for my next match, he is still in the bleachers and I overhear him say, "I just got in trouble."  He shares his version, which isn't what I just experienced. I wanted to interrupt and tell the person he was talking to, "If you want to hear what really happened just let me know." But, I just walked by and let it be, because I had a match to get to.

I found out later that The Heckler actually sharked Susan with his cheers.  The whole thing was very unfortunate. 

Unlucky for me, I would see him every single day the rest of the week, sometimes several times a day in the tournament room.  I never made eye contact with him and would instead ignore his entire presence and just walk by him like the exchange never happened.  I did not know who this guy was before the week in Reno.  Turns out he's been around pool for a while, but I don't recall seeing him before.

I am not happy I reacted like that in the middle of a match and in the front of people.  But I am human and make mistakes and react to my emotions and feelings in the heat of the battle sometimes.

Dang hecklers!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Reno Recap

As I ventured my way to Reno for the U.S. Bar Table Championships, I was full blown nerves!  Seriously, what the hell was I thinking spending a whole week away from a good paying job to play in a tournament I had no chance in?  Yep, full blown nervousness, unconfidence, and uneasiness.

I was so consumed with
  • who was there
  • who entered the tourney
  • what big names were going to show up
  • who I *might* have to play
  • what was I thinking?!
  • which opponents were pros
  • which ones had played on the pro tour
  • I'm out of my element

I wouldn't look at the chart, not the entrants... nothing.  And, I talked to anyone who would listen Sunday night and Monday morning about how nervous I was;  how much pressure I felt; how unconfident I felt in this group of great competitors; how I shark myself in big tournaments over invisible pressure.  That's been my M.O. for years:  I cave in big tournaments.

I was a fumbling mess, really.

My boyfriend thought he was cute on Monday morning, sending me this text:  "You are the only female Texan playing in the tourney. So represent!!!!!"

No pressure or anything, lol.

I received quite a bit of advice from friends and people back home about my nerves, perceived worry, and the pressure I put on myself, as I wondered what I was doing in Reno in this big tourney?  Even several people said to me throughout the week, "You came all the way from Texas?  By yourself?  For the entire week?"  Like it was weird or something.  ;)

I arrived in Reno Sunday night, then hit balls about 8am on Monday morning.  No one was there then, just me and the tables, because the Players Meeting wasn't until noon.  I had been up for hours already and I also wanted to hit balls before the crowds showed up.  My body remained on Texas time the whole week, so I woke up every day between 5-6 am (7-8 am Texas time). 

I then returned a few hours later for the Players Meeting and saw the likes of Nicole Keeney and Susan Williams.  I got nervous just realizing they have played so much on the women's pro tour!  What I didn't realize at the time was there were A LOT of Grand Masters and Masters playing in this tournament, whom I didn't know (thank goodness), but it turns out there were a lot of excellent, talented players in this tournament I had never heard of before.  Not just the people I knew, but the semi-local players who may not travel to big tourneys, but in their own states on the West Coast or in Mid West, they are formidable opponents.

Tourney Format.

The ladies tournaments went like this:

Monday/Tuesday - 10ball (24 entrants)
Wed/Thu - 9ball (28 entrants)
Fri-Sun - 8ball (46 entrants)

Each tourney started at 4pm for the ladies (while the guys started at 1pm) and play lasted until the evening that day, then play continued the entire next day (10am til early evening) until the finals were set.

I wrote down some notes while laying in bed on Monday morning.  Reminded myself of the tips people were sharing and what I "know for sure" from my past experiences in tournaments.  The list helped reaffirm it was okay to be nervous and to focus on my game.

More importantly - the whole reason I wanted to play in this big event was to get EXPERIENCE.  I was faltering lately in tournaments due to the mental aspects of competing, and WANTED to put myself (back) in tough situations and competition so I could learn/reaffirm.  That was my overarching goal.  Just realizing why I was truly competing in Reno helped me out a lot!

10 Ball.

I won my first 3 matches!!  Including a hill-hill match again Stacy Allsup.  I didn't know at the time what a great player she was, so I wasn't nervous against her (lol).  I focused so much on being focused, I found myself on the winner's side on the next day!

Tuesday morning at 10am sharp, I lost to Rebecca Wagner 5-1 (ouch) but she played EXCELLENT safes and ending up winning the 10 ball and 9 ball divisions.  She was the toughest and best opponent I ran into the entire week. 

I then had to play Susan Williams.  Playing for 5th.  I wasn't nervous (thankfully), just happy to be able to test my mental game against a great player.  Susan is extremely nice and an extremely good player.  However, she missed a few times and I was able to get some games!  I admit, I played good.  :)  The match went hill-hill and although we both got sharked from the crowd (that's a whole nother blog entry), I won hill hill!  I was then playing for 4th place in the first division!

I played VERY well in the next match again Cindy Silva (who also turned out to be a great player), but towards the end of the match, nerves got to me and I lost because of it.  I wasn't nervous because of my opponent; instead, I didn't focus on the balls in front of me toward the end of the match.  Although I lost THIS match because of that, that learning experience would help me immensely in the 9 ball division.  I missed a some-what easy 9ball to get on the 10ball and should have won 5-3.  Instead, it goes hill hill and I hook myself on the 10ball with only the 9ball left in the final game.  I had a huge opportunity, but my adrenaline was too much for me and I faltered.  BUT, I placed 4th!!

Everyone back home was so proud of me.  And I was proud of myself!  I couldn't believe it!

9 Ball.

I received a bye at 4pm.  Again, didn't look at the chart, and Pro Player Melissa Little has now arrived to compete.  The tourneys are getting tougher!  Then 20 minutes before my match, I get a text from CSI and it told me I was to play Nicole Keeney at 530pm.  "Oh well, I figured.  Another test."

But Nicole wasn't playing like I've seen her play before (kinda like Susan Williams) and luck was not on Nicole's side because I made THREE 9 balls on the break against her.  Yikes.  She wasn't happy with me.  I also missed a lot of side pocket shots on these tables so at one point with ball in hand, I get bad shape from the 8 to the 9 b/c I don't want to miss it in the side.  Then of course I miss it b/c I leave myself so badly, lol.  But, she scratches on the tough cut and it's now tied 5-5.   Then it goes 6-6 in a race to 7 and she scratches on a fluke collision of the balls.  I find myself with 5 balls left on the table with ball-in-hand.  My adrenaline is pumping but because I dogged it by jumping up on the final match in 10 ball, I am VERY determined and focused on staying down.  I run out!

I'm so excited about that win though, I falter the next match against Canadian Andrea Wilson and lose 7-3.  I just ran out of steam.  :(  I had a few chances, but couldn't capitalize, plus she got out very well.  I was bummed to be playing on the one-loss side on Thursday morning for 9th place.

However, I won my 10am match and found myself playing for 7th place!  But, I had some crazy shape problems and just couldn't pull things together.  I lost 7-1 against Beth Fondell (who had placed 2nd in 10 ball) and was simply shocked how weird the match went.  But, I placed 7th!  OMG!!  Second tourney of the week, second time in the money.  And I was testing my mental game SO much!

I was pretty stoked, I admit!  :)

8 Ball.

Oh, how I LOVE the game of 8 ball!  I think I play it best out of all the divisions, so I was pretty happy and confident going into Friday's matches.  :)

I admit I could have got a much tougher draw, but I STILL had to not let my nerves get the best of me.  I STILL had to play well.  I STILL had to not dog it, lol.

I won my first three matches 4-2, 4-1, 4-0.  :)  I was VERY happy!

I then played a friend of mine and when I was up 2-0, she tells me, "I just can't play well against you."  Whatever.  I then find myself 2-2 and she takes a break. I am playing well, but I got out of line twice in two games and it cost me.  Dearly.  It goes 3-3 in a race to 4 and she breaks and runs to win the match!  I am so freaking sick, I go to my room at 10pm at night and just stay there all night (yes, me, casino, in my room?  I know, doesn't make sense.  But I was upset).  But I was severely deflated.  I HAD that match.  Two missteps and that's all that was needed for me to lose.  Very sad; very deflated; very upset.

I play for 9th place the next day, at 1pm on Friday afternoon  and I am playing SO well again.  However, the first game I miss a bank on an 8ball.  The match goes hill-hill and I foul on one of those close-to-the-cueball shots and she gets out.  I was sick.  I had my chances and AGAIN, just two missteps cost me the entire match.  :(

My opponent was such a good player and I have known her for years via the internet but never met her in person.  She has a GREAT game and I was SO happy for her!  She said she was nervous against me and I thought that was very cute.

I placed 9th.  In the money, but not really all that happy.


Overall, I should be ecstatic!  I really should be.  I conquered fears; tested fears; learned A LOT; had a GREAT vacation; got "in the money" in every division; and had fun!

Wait - I really am happy!  :)

Concluding Thoughts.

My overarching goal was to gain knowledge and toughen up my mental game.  I DID that.  I can already tell I am more confident.  I played a weekly tourney Sunday night (the day I returned to town) and placed 4th.  Then played  two straight pool matches the following day and I can tell my mechanics are solid, and I'm more mentally tough.  I can still feel pressure, but I handle it better already.

I'm SO glad I went!

I honestly feel like a competitor.  I was found out to be a force to be reckoned with. 

And this tournament gave me the ammo I needed for myself.  Not just "experience," no.  Not at all.  But instead and more importantly, the confidence gained by knowing I have more experience. 

Yes, I am a good player.  I just needed affirmation;  a reminder;  and I got it.

It's not to say I wont be nervous, or have some stumbling blocks...but I will look back on this experience as a tool; part of my arsenal of knowledge. 

Everyone already felt I am a tough opponent, but *I* have been my worst enemy because I haven't been competing the last few years like I used to.  I felt like I lost some of my mental toughness skills.  But I didn't - I just needed to work them (like a muscle); muscle memory.

I'm still no pro, nor pro-level, but dammit, I do play good!

Wont mean I will win every match, but it means I have more confidence.  Which *will* help my nerves in the future!  :)

Right?  Yep - positive affirmation, peeps.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Video Tour of U.S. Bar Table Championships in Reno

This year, the U.S. Bar Table Championships was held at the Grand Sierra in Reno, not at the Sands Casino, like in previous years.

Let me just try convey what a HUGE improvement this was!  Not only is the casino/hotel better, it has more amenities for the patrons, but more so, the room that held the tourney was 100% better!  It was not crowded, easily held the 50 Diamond tables, TAR booth, fans, and vendors.  At the Sands, the vendors were not located in the same room as the tourney AND some of the tables were in located another room, even.

Here is a video tour.  Sorry I'm not better yet at slowing down the view from the camera.  I will work on that!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Straight Pool Feb Stats

You'd think after being in Reno for a week I'd want to write about that right away, but I have SO much to share!  Plus, I played a straight match right before I left and then played two the day after I returned.  I'm antsy to share what happened in those 3 matches.

Feb Match 1

The Friday before I went to Reno, I played an opponent who has improved drastically the last two seasons in straight pool.  So, I knew this night would be a tough fight for me.

He asked if I wanted to hit balls, and as usual I said no.  I play at this pool room 2-3 times a week, so already feel I know the tables.  But, his reaction was like most: surprised.

Long story short, he couldn't catch a gear.  He joked early on, "I need a new cue.  This one is broken."

But then he got more and more frustrated, "I even practiced before hand."

Long story short, I won 100-34.  His lowest score yet.  I felt SO badly for him.  He just didn't have a good night.  My high run was only 9 three times, so it wasn't like it was ME; it was unfortunately him having a bad night.  :(

Feb Match 2

The day after I returned from Reno was a holiday for me (President's Day) so I scheduled two straight pool matches.  I needed to catch up because I had been out of town for work for 4 days and then for a week at the U.S. Bar Table Championships in Reno.

Because I had played on Diamond bar tables for a week straight, I definitely hit balls on the table before this match!

I won this first Monday match 100-49.  After the win, the guy said I had a very nice stroke.  Normally when people lose, they aren't full of compliments, lol.  I played pretty good tho (I thought).  :)

Feb Match 3

My next match started at 5pm.  We didn't finish until 830, but it felt like a 4-5 hour match, lol.  It seemed to take forever because we had many many innings with safeties.  Further, we had a LOT of distractions.

I really enjoyed this tough match.  Last time he annoyed me; this time I could tell the straight pool videos continue to help me, and more so - the experiences from the competition in Reno helped me be mentally strong in this match.  I never got upset at him or if I missed, and I played really, really well.

However, many people got in my way to shoot, were oblivious to the match, moved chairs or tables while down on shots, even talked to me during shots.  I tried not to let things get to me, and just simply waited for them to move (or stop moving).

At one point, this guy was in my way over and over again, not even aware of people around him.  I finally said, "excuse me" as I prepared for a really tough, long, key ball shot before the break out shot.  He said, "sorry, let me move out of the way."

He moves to my RIGHT, and is now in my peripheral vision.  He is now standing in front of OUR table, not HIS table.

I was like, "okay..."  I'm eyeing the shot and his friend tells me, "He doesn't normally play pool, so he doesn't know."

I reply. "Really?  And yet you are now talking to me while I'm trying to shoot?"

Yea, bit perturbed I was.

I nail the shot, and even my opponent says, "nice shot" knowing it was tough AND with the distractions it made it tougher.

I'm playing really well, I promise, but at 58-58 I intentional foul back at his foul, not realizing I was already on one foul.  I then tried a tricky safe and SCRATCHED!

Omg..... 16 point penalty.  Score now 42-58 him.  ;(  I never fully recovered after that... even though I tried.  I never got emotional or upset, just played pool and fought back.  But his safes were much better than mine and he won 68-100. 

He told me after that I had really great fundamentals and a really good stroke.  He asked if I ever thought about my elbow and I said no.  He said it was perfect, and that was something he was working on.  He said I played great and made many very tough, long shots and stayed down well when I shot them.  It felt great to hear about my fundamentals because I have been working on them.  But I also know I played well and had a lot of confidence because of the week-long competition in Reno just last week!  I can feel the difference in my mind, body, and soul.  :)

It was already a great match, but I think if I didn't get that 3-foul 16-point penalty. I might have had a shot at actually defeating this tough player!

Different Approaches to Teaching a Child Pool

Back in late January, my boyfriend and I went to practice some one pocket on one of the beautiful nine foot tables at Rusty's Billiards in Fort Worth.  It was about 4pm on a Saturday afternoon and hardly anyone was in the place.  It was a great day outside and I'm sure many others were taking advantage of that, while we worked on our one pocket skills.

Then an older gentlemen and (I'm guessing) his grandson come in and get a nearby table, about 4 tables down.  Each had their own cue, three generations apart playing pool - I thought it was very cool.

Then I hear a loud voice, "If you are going to act like that, then we can just leave."  I turn around and the young bog (about ten) has his arms crossed as he sits on the chair with a scowl on his forehead, on the verge of tears. 

"But I want to play," the boy retorts loudly.

"Well, get up here and listen to me then."

The boy hesitantly gets up and then tries to hold the heavy cue awkwardly while Grandpa tells him what he should do, what he shouldn't do, in a very -un-child-like-way-to-talk-to-a-child.  I felt so bad for the kid.  He kept getting scolded for trying to play pool.  It was all very unfortunate.

The kid was SO happy when he first walked in, ready to hit some balls, just have fun trying to make contact.  Instead, he gets ridiculed and scolded for not holding the cue right or not making a ball in the pocket because the cueball took off funny.

He's a child!  Ever heard of "handle with kid gloves," Mister Grandpa? 

My b/f would look at me a lot while Grandpa got onto the boy and he could not believe what was happening either.  He would ask me, "Did you hear that?" 

"Yea," I'd reply disturbed.

Then another older gentleman came in and he put his cue together and started to spar with Grandpa while the boy watched them (bored).

The care taker in me wanted to go get him and bring him to our table so I could just let him hit balls.  I would show him how to shoot and hold a cue by ONLY suggesting to the boy, "look how my b/f is standing and holding his cue.  Try to imitate him if you can."  I would encourage his shots and tell him how great he was doing, even if he wasn't.

But, I didn't have the opportunity to ask him to come over because we had to leave.  :(

Two weeks later, I'm watching my boyfriend gamble a couple of sets in the wee hours of the morning at the sister pool room, Rusty's Billiards in Arlington, Texas.

After the first set, a friend comes in and has a young girl with him.  After a while of listening to them two tables over, it was obvious it was his daughter.  She could be either 14 or 20 (you know how it's tough to tell nowadays, lol).

He would shoot normal 9ball shots, but she was allowed to get cue-ball-in-hand after she missed.  I overheard him say time and time again. "It's okay.  Shoot it again."

Or, "You're doing great."

Or, "Good shot." 

"Good try."

"Nice one."

After about an hour or more, I finally couldn't stand it anymore.  I went over and expressed how much I appreciated the support he showed her.  I tried to convey the story of Grandpa and the little boy, and expressed to her that I hope she appreciated how encouraging her Dad was to her.  I also told him how impressed I was that he was was so supportive.

They both thanked me and genuinely seemed to be grateful I came over.

I had to, I was impressed!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Feb 2012 Posts

I have only posted 3 time so far in February and today is Feb 21st?!  Eeeek.  Guess that's what happens when I go out of town for work and then to a big week-long tourney without internet access. 

I will catch up on A LOT of topics, tho.  :)  I have so much to share, that I can easily write a blog post every day for the rest of the month!  (and still not be caught up, lol)

You all know my goal is 12-15 blog posts a month, so that might help get me back up to par.  :)

In the meantime, check out some pics from the 2012 U.S. Bar Table Championships from Reno, NV!

Practice time!  Bright and early Monday morning (before everyone showed up to hit balls).  :)  Beautiful set up and room!

 Bob Beaulieu captured me during the 10 ball division.  He helped run and promote the WorldPPA part of the Reno tourney.
Andy Chen captured me during the 9 ball division.

 SNOW!  This was the view from my hotel room in Reno.  :)

Friday, February 10, 2012

16 Characteristics of Greatness

Back in November I sat in on a talk by motivational speaker and author, Don Yaeger, who has several books out, one entitled "What Makes the Great Ones Great."

He interviewed numerous champions and found that they had many similar characteristics.  His book explains what "makes the great ones great" and shares their similar characteristics. 

You can read more about him and his books at

In the meantime, I thought it would be cool to share the 16 Consistent Characteristics of Greatness with you all.  I think it's fascinating and gives an insight we wouldn't normally be aware of:

Bookmark of the 16 Characteristics of Greatness

How They Think
1. It’s Personal – they hate to lose more than they love to win.
2. Rubbing Elbows – They understand the value of association.
3. Believe – They have faith in a higher power.
4. Contagious Enthusiasm – They are positive thinkers….They are enthusiastic….and that enthusiasm rubs off.

How They Prepare
5. Hope for the Best, But…They prepare for all possibilities before they step on the field.
6. What Off-Season?  They are always working towards the next game… The goal is what’s ahead, and there’s always something ahead.
7. Visualize Victory – they see victory before the game begins.
8. Inner Fire – They use adversity as fuel.

How They work
9. Ice in Their Veins – They are risk-takers and don’t fear making a mistake.
10. When All Else Fails – They know how and when to adjust their game plan/
11. Ultimate Teammate – They will assume whatever role is necessary for the team to win.
12. Not Just About the Benjamins – They don’t pay just for the money.

How They Live
13. Do Unto Others – They know character is defined by how they treat those who cannot help them.
14. When No One is Watching – They are comfortable in the mirror… They live their life with integrity.
15. When Everyone is Watching – They embrace the idea of being a role model.
16. Records Are Made to be Broken – They know their legacy isn’t what they did on the field.  They are well-rounded.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Another Scotch Tourney

My boyfriend and I played in another scotch doubles tournament last Saturday. We played very well together - again!  They had a calcutta and my b/f bought the pick of the litter... and then chose us! I was a very proud girlfriend :)  (even thought that's pressure, lol).  We bought ourselves for $65, and my b/f then asks me "did you want to buy half yourself?"  Pecker, lol.

There were only 13 teams, but with a calcutta and the entry fee $30 a team, first place was a nice $225 and $220 respectively.

We won 3-0, 3-0, 3-1, 3-1, and 3-1. We went undefeated!

We then entered the 9ball tourney they held, and evidently we play better as a team because he went out in two and I went out in three, lol.  I *almost* got last lady, but I missed late in the rack and thought too much while down on my shots again.

But, another scotch doubles tourney win for our resumes!

Everyone states how it's tough for couples to play pool/scotch doubles together, but we play really well together (except that only one time).  Otherwise, we have placed 1st, 2nd, 1st, 3rd, 1st and 1st now.


I was reminded just how badly some couples are together when one of our opponents started to mouth off to his female counterpart during the tourney.  I tried to ignore it, but they were arguing so loudly, it was difficult not to.

It was very uncomfortable for everyone who could hear, but esp for her.  She tried to explain to him she makes mistakes and she tried to express how sorry she was.  He was so mad; it didn't matter what she said or what she tried to explain. It was an unfortunate exchange we overheard.

I am very lucky my b/f and I play so well together.  We both know the game very well, and he knows to fist pump me gently (to console me) if I miss (instead of getting on to me) and we both compliment each other's shots out loud.

He played really good this past Saturday and got us out of a few bad spots.  Whew!  Glad I didn't have to carry him this time - I bet he's heavy. ;)

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

ReThinking Streaming

Phil Capelle sent me a note after I wrote a blog entry where I shared I don't care to watch pool streamed online anymore.  He begged, "I hope you reconsider!"

Turns out, I was a tad bit wrong and a tad bit correct in my blog entry.  I said I wouldn't pay to watch the streams anymore (that's still true), and I said if I had time on the weekends, I *might* watch straight pool, but even if someone famous was on, I could care less.

Well, Inside Pool streamed live at the Derby City tournament in January --> and proved me wrong! 

My dear online/forum friend, Bob (aka CMBWSU) posted on Facebook that Bill Incardona was gambling at pocket, and it was being streamed free by InsidePool.  Billy!?  Omg, I was stocked.  The one person out of three in the entire world I asked for one pocket lessons (he turned me down, but I still asked!).  I was very excited to watch him gamble at one pocket.  And, it was free!

Then Bob posted that Jeanette Lee was gambling on the stream.  Jeanette Lee gambled a LOT last year at Derby, but she was never on the stream because of some rule the WPBA had with its Players and streaming.  While I'm not entirely sure why she was able to be on a stream this year, I enjoyed watching her play.  She's talented and can work a crowd.  She also played some straight pool (although she didn't do very well in that tourney) but it was cool to watch such a mainstream "star" gamble. 

Then, I was in for even MORE of a treat when they had numerous straight pool challenge matches on the free stream! I saw the most talented straight pool players on the planet compete in a tourney of my new favorite pool game.  There I was at night, during the day, whenever I could watching the free stream, in awe of the straight pool matches (which is the one game I mentioned I would love to watch on streams).  Darren Appleton, Ralf Souquet, Alex Pagulayan , Neils F, John Schmidt, Johnny Archer, etc.

So, turns out if the stream is FREE and there is gambling matches and/or straight pool competition and/or interesting players on, I *will* watch streams.

There you go, Phil! 

P.S.  A HUGE thank you to Inside Pool for streaming the event live and free for so many days for the fans.  Thank you!