Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Body Art

One of my teammates joked that if we won the women's event at BCAPL Nationals, we should get our team name tattooed.


Our team name is Born Ready.

I was like, uh, no.

I then shared if that is the case, I should have got our team name tattooed last year too, since we won last year.

That team name was "How's My Rack?"

She joked I should put it across my chest in cursive like some people do.



Tuesday, July 30, 2013

National Champs!

I am so happy to share that the women's team I was on, "Born Ready," WON the 2013 Women's Open team event at the BCAPL Nationals!!

I will write a more detailed blog about it later, but couldn't wait any longer to share the awesome news!!

Me, Lisa Ellison, Tracie Voelkering, Maria Rodriguez, and Nina Stillwell.

OMG!!!  National Champions!



Get ready, because since I was in Vegas for ten days playing in the BCAPL Nationals, I have A LOT of things to share!

First let's talk about the new balls. Yep, BCAPL used new balls this year. If you haven't seen the balls yet, let me start off with that (click any photo to enlarge):

Yep, tropical skittle colors!

New colors for the 6, 7, 14 and 15 balls.

The Cyclops emblem is on the cueball and it looks raised. A friend said you could feel the emblem, but I couldn't feel enough of it to affect any cueball roll at all.

I adjust really well to tables and cueballs, so Brian and I simply practiced when we got there and I didn't notice anything different AT ALL (except the colors of course).

Then again, I'm the type of person who couldn't tell you the difference between a red circle, blue circle, red dot, or measle cueball. I just adjust well (luckily). 

I liked the new balls; I had no problem with them at all.

And they were a conversation piece because no one knew what stripe or solid was what, lol.  We would say, "I'm gonna shoot the..." (walk around the table to view the # on the ball) "....the 7 ball."  lol, it was comical at times.

My only issue, really, is there was a survey about the balls for the players and the last question asked which color we didn't like the most.  I highly recommend to not change any colors now!

A friend said the cueball reacted a little dif with draw, but I didn't notice that either.  I liked them.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

If the Shoe Fits...

I mentioned in my previous blog entry that my ladies BCAPL Nationals Team finally came up with a team name we all loved.

"Born Ready"

It really does fit us all well.

Imagine my surprise when one of my teammates ordered and designed her own shoe over at Nike.  She sent me the pics last week, they came in right before we headed to Vegas for the BCAPL Nationals:

Isn't that awesome!?!?

Monday, July 22, 2013

Team Name Process

My women's team for BCAPL Nationals was trying to come up with a name for ourselves.

We wanted something more powerful than our state name "Fab Five."  One teammate suggested Exterminators, then Executioners.  Yea, NO.  I wouldn't want to be on a team with a name like that, lol.  That's too harsh for my little heart! 

I came up with Lethal Ladies, thought it was pretty good!  But one of the teams in our league used that name just last season so we shouldn't use it.

So what do I do?


I head over to my favorite channel online to see if any of their TV shows has a name that would fit perfect.

Yep, Investigation Discovery!

I LOVE that channel.  :)

They have really good names, but none matched what we were looking for.

Deadly Women?  No.

Fatal Vows?   No.

Facing Evil?   Karma's a Bitch?  Wives with Knives?  lol, No, No, No.

I thought it was a clever idea, but it did not produce the perfect name for us after all.

BTW, we didn't like any names the team members were throwing around, and then at one tournament, one teammie asked the other, "You ready?" 

"Hell, I was born ready!"

Team name found!  Born Ready

We ALL loved a name finally :)

Saturday, July 20, 2013


This is tough for me to write.


Instead of yearning for certain people to watch me, because I want them to show they care and are interested in me and my pool matches, I have finally figured out that I can be the most important person in the room to MYSELF.

What a light bulb moment.

MY match is still important whether certain people are watching me or not.

Wait;  I am still important.

To me, caring about how I'm doing in my matches signifies that the other person cares about me personally; and I need stop that.


People say when I enter a pool room, everyone notices because I'm akaTrigger.   Sounds silly typing that out.  While I don't really understand that, however maybe if I absorb it, I will no longer feel the need to want certain people to watch me play in my matches.

I'm already important. 

I don't need someone else there to care.  I need to care most, right?

Gosh, sounds SO easy. 

But it's not. 

I admit it; I like my significant others to watch me play pool. 

But, pool is so very important to me and I'm lucky to even be able to play this game we all love.  I don't need affirmation of them watching my match that it (or I) am important.  If they are busy, I can easily compete without them around. 

It's when they aren't busy, I want to come first and feel important.

But I need to remember, I'm already important to myself!

I really don't truly NEED anyone.  Sure, it's nice.  But I need to stop getting upset about and/or searching the room for them to see how I'm doing.

Friday, July 19, 2013

No Free Pool

I'm not the most moral person in the world; I have swiped a few salt shakers when I was a poor person in college, or lifted some gum as a child (which my Mom made me return when she caught me chewing "something," grabbing my arm and scolding me to the grocery store manager, lol), but when it comes to table time, I'm kinda a bitch about it.

For some reason, when players find malfunctioned coin tables at national or state tourneys for instance, the info spreads like wild fire.

"Hey," they whisper, "Table 49 in the back doesn't need coins; you can hit balls for free."

When I hear this, do I don't walk to the free table?  Lol, no!  I walk around to where the TD is and tell them Table 49 is broken.

I also don't like people practicing for free at pool rooms.

When a tournament is winding down for the night, players think they are being clever and sneaky by walking over to an empty table and hitting balls.


As a TD, you don't think I know we are only using two tables now at this point in the tournament?

When I see players doing this (who aren't in the tournament anymore), I either pick up the balls and rack them up, or I ask the barkeep if they can pick up the balls.

I don't know why these two things bother me most, esp since I really am not the most pristine person in the world.

But, these irk me. Mooches.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Better Late Than Never

I wrote before how the BCAPL Texas State TDs saw some trophies in a garbage can a few years ago when they were packing up the tables after the tournament was complete. They decided that maybe the players didn't want trophies after all.


So, they made a decision to only order plaques/trophies if the 1-3rd places asked for one.


Well, this message wasn't passed on to the players. So, for two years, we all just waited for our plaques to magically arrive in the mail after the event.


The players asked about the plaques and we were told the above, and further - we didn't ask for the plaques.  Well, we didn't KNOW we were suppose to ask for plaques.

However, when SO many people complained that they did indeed wanted trophies, the BCAPL Texas State TDs made it right for the players.


They got trophies made for all the players and teams who placed 1st-2nd places for the past two years, and they gave them to us back in April at the event!


Local ref and now-hero, Steve, helped picking out the beautiful plaques and the players were once again happy showing their metal.


Since our team event requires 4 ladies, but we had 5 on our team that placed 2nd last year, I was allowed to order that fifth plaque at the April event.  As I did this, I decided it wouldn't hurt to ask for one more plaque, for a friend of mine, who won the BCAPL Texas State ladies event, back in 2011.

She never got a trophy and she wasn't even aware what had happened.  She just figured she would never get one; but didn't really know why.

I asked.

I received!


So at our women's league individual tournament in late May, I gave a little speech about her title from 2011. I truly felt she deserved recognition for her accomplishment.

I basically said that out of all the female players in Texas, our league had a BCAPL State Champion; out of every player in Texas!

I then shared how she never received a plaque and I thought it was such a HUGE honor and honestly - a life goal that I yearned for - and so I thought it would be awesome she finally got a plaque that she so deserved.

And then I surprised her and presented the plaque to her in front of her colleagues and teammates!

Later I would find out she doesn't like the spotlight, but on FaceBook when she said..... "I won that tourney 2 yrs ago and never rec'd a plaque. A truly amazing women, Melinda Bailey, got it for me. Thanks Melinda, you're awesome!" .... I figured I did good and my surprise, genuine speech worked! :)

Congrats to my teammate, Connie Kovarcik-Svoboda!!

 Connie and her trophy (they made me get in the pic, too, for some reason). 

Connie looks so pleased!  I am so proud of her!  HUGE accomplishment.  :)

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Wrist Photos

As many of my frequent readers know already, my dear friend and fellow pool player, Lisa Marr, has tattoos on her wrists for inspiration.

Here is her story (might want to get a hanky):

I also got tattoos on my wrists.  I was so inspired by hers, and had just lost my Mom, that it made sense to me.

I have the Japanese symbol for the word "Live" on my left wrist.  It's red in color, because it's a power color.  I have the Chinese/Japanese symbol for "Today" on my right wrist.  That one is blue because it's my Mom's favorite color.

My FAV saying is "Live Today."  Meaning, don't worry about the past or the future; live in the present; that's the only thing you can control. Live in the moment.  Live life to the fullest.

But, because I wanted to share these tattoos on my new FaceBook page, "Pool Players and Their Tattoos," I needed someone to capture the wrists tattoos while I played pool.  Which is VERY difficult to do, lol.

(go ahead, try it, I dare ya!)

In comes my friend Zeke!

Zeke is a professional Foosball player, wanna-be-pool-player (lol) and also a photographer.  He captures great shots and so I asked for his help one night at a weekly tournament.

And here they are!

Thank you SO MUCH, Zeke!

(click any photo to enlarge)

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Shark Infested Waters

The other night, my boyfriend (Brian) was gambling in a match.  He has played his opponent many times, so we felt comfortable with the "atmosphere."

One of the railbirds (JB) wanted to side bet, which was unusual for this guy because he never has money to bet.  But, Brian of course said yes because he wants the action. So, he's playing $50 sets, and betting $50 on the side with JB.

We lose the first set, and we play again (btw, even though Brian is the one playing and doing all the work, lol, we are both in on the bet, so I am going to use the word "we" lol.)

We win the next set, so we are even, so of course they play again.

At this point, Brian asks his opponent if he wants to raise the bet and he is told no.  So, $50 sets again it is.

JB runs up to Brian and asks him if he wants to bet $100 on the side (instead of $50).  Brian responds defiantly, "yes." 

We lose that set and so we are down $50 on the set and $100 on the side.

Flip it.

We play another set. 

Brian asks his opponent again to raise the bet and again his opponent says no.  We are both surprised, as he normally bets more than $50.  With my boyfriend acting perturbed, his opponent finally admits, "I'm being backed by JB."

What??  JB never has money!

So, Brian goes over to JB and asks if they can bet $100 on the set "and stop being a nit" (or something like that).  JB says no and Brian gets perturbed again.

They are about to flip for the next set and JB comes rushing up to to Brian and finally says, "Okay, we will bet $100 in the middle and $100 on the side."

Sheesh.  Finally.

So, if we lose this set, we owe $350 total - $150 to the opponent and $200 for the side bets. If we win this set, we earn $50.

After we find out JB is backing Brian's opponent, JB is cheering and more verbal all of a sudden.  He's also talking to me; which I really don't like when Brian is playing.

I finally get our things and move to the OTHER end of the table - way away from JB. Away from all the verbalness that is distracting us.  

Brian tells me, "Thank you" and immediately we both feel more comfortable being away from the "collusion."

Brian and I are now able to sit more comfy next to each other and also not hear JB being the cheerleader.

Now, being a cheerleader is fine, esp from the backer, but it was annoying and I'll be honest, I could tell it was downright sharking.

That's what JB does.

Does it well, I'm afraid.

As a matter of fact, JB barked at me across the table as Brian is shooting, "want to play some one pocket?"

Really, Dude?  "I've told you 100 million times /slight exaggeration/ that I like to watch my man when he plays."  Deliberately saying the word "man" to his stupid question.

Brian was down 4-2 in the race to 5 but all of a sudden got on fire and they went hill-hill.  Then they played "win by 2" and Brian won the next two games with confidence and good play to win that set at 3:30 in the morning.

We win the $50 (pretty crucial to win that $50 instead of being down $350 total, lol).  And they flip again.

They play one more set for $50, and JB now doesn't want to side bet anymore all of a sudden! 

Brian loses but we are now completely even and so we decide to quit since it's 4:30am.

I am tired of dealing with JBs' antics.  I didn't go into all the details so I know it doesn't make sense why I got so annoyed with JB this night, but suffice it to say I just don't want anything to do with him anymore.  Brian and I just want to play pool.  No mind games, no sharking.... just pool.

I know that's tough to ask for in gambling, but JB makes it very difficult to just play pool. 

Monday, July 15, 2013

Pregnant Belly Photo

Like you've never seen before - pregnant belly photo, but pool related!  How cool is this??

Check out my friend Veronica (due any day now, CONGRATS!):

9 ball, 9 months!

(photo used with permission.  Copyrighted.  Please ask before reposting or sharing).

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Conversation Piece!

One of my friends, and a player on the Omega Billiards Tour, took the day off from work one day this week.

Why you ask?

To audition for the television show Who Wants To Be a Millionaire!

He took written tests for two different shows: the general knowledge show and the special Movie Mania show.  After passing the general knowledge test (30 questions - 10 minutes - 40 people passed) he got a call back to talk one-on-one with a producer.

After a break, he came back and passed the Movie Mania test (also 30 questions - 10 minutes - only 11 people passed) and then had ANOTHER one-on-one with a different producer.

His day began at 5:00am and he was done about 8:00pm.  Now, we don't know if he made it or not, we are all now waiting for communication from the show about whether he made it into the "contestant pool" or not.

But, he passed all the tests, schmoozed with the brass, and even got souvenirs.  :)

He would tell me later he wore his "lucky Omega Billiards Tour polo shirt" (his exact words) for both producer interviews.

So, of course I had to ask him about it!!

He said, "Figured it would be a conversation starter if they asked me what it meant.  And, both of them did ask."

Details, Sir, details!

He said, "The first one caught me right before I went in to interview and asked, "What's the Omega Billiard Tour?"

He told her and she said "We'll talk about it inside." 

He then told her he used to play a lot and that if he won $, he'd probably use at least some of it to get more serious again.

The second producer had read his bio which mentioned pool and the Omega Billiards Tour and she asked him what it was like, etc.

She also added that he was remarkably calm and he replied, "that is probably a byproduct of high level pool."

I thought it was super clever/smart to wear a shirt that would be a conversation piece.  It was even cooler that it was of the Omega Billiards Tour in the area that I happen to run.  :)

My friend said he's not guaranteed to be on, "but it was a great experience and a lot of fun."  People have told him his whole life he is good at trivia, but this proved a lot to him by passing both the tests.  "There were people there who have been trying for years just to pass once," he shared.

Funny thing was, he didn't even really want to go... but we are all lucky his wife talked him into it!

Good luck and vibes to our friend!  Hope he makes the show!!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Beer Koozie

Saw this guy the other night "holding" his beer in an interesting way!

The future of beer koozie's? 

Well, at least he doesn't have to worry about anyone spiking his drink, taking off with it, or drinking from it.  I guess this is how he "protects" it. 

I admit, it was easily reachable while he played pool, lol.

(Click photo to enlarge)

Friday, July 12, 2013

Stickers on Cues

I am ashamed to admit I know who this person is (and he's a good friend of mine).  He put a freaking Apple symbol sticker on his break cue!

OMG, Really?

(Click photo to enlarge)

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Shirts for Female Players

Tournaments affect my over-all wardrobe. 

Blouses aren't allowed at State or National tourneys or Regional tournaments.

Even though your blouse might be the coolest, cutest, trendiest blouse since sliced bread, if it doesn't have a collar, you can't wear it. Collared shirts are required at these tournaments - and that's about 6 tournaments a year for me.

I do not feel comfortable in polo shirts. I just don't think I look best in them, and as we all know, it's most ideal to wear clothes we feel super comfortable in when we play pool.

If you are worried about your panty line, constantly pulling at your sleeves, your shoes keep getting untied, wondering if people can see down your shirt when you bend over, etc., then you are not thinking about the shot in front of you - your own clothes are distracting you.

So, since I don't feel comfy in polo's, I don't wear them.

However, it's still required at a lot of events to wear collared shirts.

What this means is, when I go clothes shopping, I lean toward collared shirts/blouses so I can wear them in almost every aspect of my life. Unless I come across a cannot-live-without-it top, I don't buy it.  I can wear collared shirts everywhere (work, weekly tourneys, state tournaments, nationals tournaments, movies, etc), so I might as wear save my money and buy shirts I can wear 100% of the time, instead of blouses I can only wear some of the time.

Lately, I've found some "dressy" sleeveless blouses.  That are collared.  What?!  Yep.  Collared!  :)

Here is one example (below while I'm trying to sing karaoke, lol) - you can't really see the collar, but this a collared shirt and I can wear it at all tourneys and also work. 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Practicing and Drinking

You know the saying, "Can't walk and Chew Gum at the Same Time"  ?

Well, I can't play pool well and drink alcohol at the same time.

I see other people do it all the time, and yet I don't know how they do it!  Lol.

I simply can't play pool well with alcohol.   My fundamentals go out the window and all the training and conditioning I've done over the years magically goes away.  And that upsets me, since I've worked all these years conditioning my pre-shot routine.

Therefore, when I mentioned I practiced the other night at the pool room, which hardly ever happens, I only practiced because I wasn't drinking.

It's one.

Or the other.

Not both.

Even one of my friends there said, "I've never seen you play before."

"Yea, I don't drink and play pool at the same time."

She added, "Seriously; I've never seen you play before."


It's true - at this particular pool room, I don't go there to practice; I go there to watch a gambling match or I go there to drink with friends.

So, when she saw me playing pool, she was surprised.

However, what I felt bad about was, I normally only practice by myself.  So, when others asked that night if they could join me, I told them no.  I actually felt really bad for trying to explain, "I'm getting ready for a tourney and like to practice by myself."  It sounded so selfish and actually hurt my little heart to say no, because NO ONE does this at this pool room.  Everyone jumps on a table with others and hits balls together.

That's just not me.  I don't just hit balls; I am fully engaged when I practice, which I do alone by trying to run racks.

If I play with someone, it's to help each others' game (which I will do occasionally).  I do spar with my boyfriend, but even then, I wont drink during that.  But, I don't just hit balls to socialize.  It's one of the very serious things about myself. 

So, if I'm drinking, you wont see me socializing by hitting balls with others.  It actually brings my game DOWN to do that.  If I can't focus on my fundamentals, there's no point to hit balls.

(click photo to enlarge)

Drinking makes me jump up, miss balls, etc.  I practice like I'm in a match, so why would I want my fundamentals compromised with alcohol?  It defeats the purpose of a dedicated practice session.  I want to WORK on my fundamentals, not hurt them. That's what practice is all about imo.

Now, have I drank during a tournament?  Of course, lol.  I have taken a shot (or more) when I am tired or nervous.  It's not smart to do this a lot, but I don't want to come across like I never drink and play pool.  I drink during weekly tourneys, too.  It depends on how serious the event is, honestly.

My point is, when I practice, it's pointless for ME to drink because I can't work on my game.  Practice is to help us improve.  :)

It's one or the other when I practice.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Keeping Blogs Going

Google Reader was a really cool contraption on the Internet, where one could have all the blogs one reads in one convenient location.

While I admit I didn't go there often, when I wanted to look up what a friend had written recently, I could go there.

Well, Google Reader met its demise and went away on July 1st.  :(

So, the week before, I went to Google Reader and moved all 50 blog links to a file, so at least I had the URLs still in one location.

While I did this, I clicked on every single link. And I was shocked and disappointed what I found.

About 10 links didn't even work at all (the pages were empty and no blog were even there anymore), about 5 links were current and had fresh blog entries, 10 links hadn't been updated since 2012, 10 more hadn't been updated since 2010, and 10 others hadn't been updated since 2009.

It got me thinking about a question a fellow blogger (from Cali) asked me one time, "How do you find time to blog? How do you come up with topics?"

The topics part of her question was super easy:

I play so much pool, that topics just jump out at me to write about. I honestly have a list of topics I have yet to even write about because I haven't had time yet. I don't ever seem to run out of topics. Further, when I see relate-able things on the Internet or TV or magazines, I write about them, also. So, I see topics literally everywhere.

I love to share and get my thoughts down, so it's pretty easy for topics to jump right at me.

As a matter of fact, I have to write myself little reminders of what I want to write about b/c I forget a lot. I can easily have 3 topics I want to write about from every weekend tourney I run or attend, or during league things will crop up, or watching my boyfriend gamble, or even just sitting with friends drinking at the pool room, I truly "see" a lot of things I want to share.

I truly think it helps to get feedback, tho. While I admit I write b/c I want to get things down for myself, the feedback from friends or fellow-pool-lovers really inspires me to write even more.

And then when people tell me they learn from my blog entries, I get even more pumped up! So many people tell me they relate to my stories, that it makes me feel like I'm contributing to our sport somehow.

Now, the other part of her question is actually the meat of why my blog is one of the "alive" ones and why others aren't, imo.

As a reminder, she also asked me "How do you find time to blog?"

I actually look for and seek opportunities to write.

For instance, my b/f and I go to the casino about an hour and a half away, and I will ask him to drive so I can write up some blog entries. As a matter of fact, I'm doing that right now. My laptop is on my lap, I'm typing these words while he is driving. I have an hour or so to get the meat of several blog entries typed up, then when I have time later (when I can log onto the Internet), I review my entry, check for errors, add more things, etc., then post it when it's finally "prime-time" ready.

It is very helpful for me to get things typed out, then go back later to proof read it, and then finally post it.

Proofreading is the quick part, so I'm able to get more blog entries completed this way if I type the bulk out separately. I can easily type up the meat of 2-6 blog entries in an hour and half if I really set my mind to it.

So, for example, I typed this on Thursday July 4th, but am just now able to get to the blog entry again to proofread it today (July 9th).  This is was my first opportunity to get to it.  But, it isn't taking me a lot of time to "prepare" it to post it b/c the bulk was typed out while my boyfriend was driving that day.

When I fly, I ALWAYS blog. I do the same thing: grab my laptop, type my main thoughts down, then put it online later when I get connected to the Internet.  I also try to capture a lot on the flight back from a big tournament or else it will take me a while to catch up on all the topics that came up.

I take my laptop to my hairdresser, or when I know I will have long waits somewhere. I don't like to waste time, and so if you ever see me just resting, it means I'm super exhausted lol.

I hardly ever type blogs at my house, but I do sometimes stay late after work and use my desk because it's much more comfy and accommodating.

Monday, July 8, 2013

What Is This Practice You Speak Of?

On Friday night, I ventured to one of the local pool rooms where my boyfriend had a match.

I watched them spar (and learned from these two good players), but they only played two sets and decided to stop.

All of the tables around us were taken and being played on, but theirs remained unused, lonely, with only a few balls left on it.

I had brought my cue in (I despise leaving my cue/case in the car due to thieves) and there it was, also lonely, leaning next to me, against my chair.

My friends were all drinking and I was the designated driver this night.  But that was a HUGE bonus for me!  Since I don't (can't, lol) play pool and drink at the same time, this was a great opportunity to hit balls by myself; to practice well.

I asked if the table was free for us still and was told yes. 

I quickly took my cues out, and proceeded to swiftly walk to the table; I was excited!

With my two leagues on hiatus, no recent weekly or weekend tourneys, I was SO excited to be able to hit balls!  I don't practice hardly at all anyway, and with BCAPL Nationals literally around the corner, I was super stoked at this opportunity!

I practiced 9 ball for almost two full hours by myself.  It felt so wonderful.  :)

I was surrounded by weekend warriors so they either got in my way a lot, were ball bangers, or were drinking a lot and didn't even notice me, lol. 

It felt so awesome to practice.  I didn't stroke enough at times, but glad to be aware of that going into a big tourney.  The practice was definitely quality.  :)

Monday, July 1, 2013

Handling Nervousness

I have learned a few very good tips over the years about how to handle nerves.  I thought I would share those today.

First and foremost, if you find yourself nervous, by all means, freaking BREATHE!


Seriously, the best thing I have found to slow down my adrenaline is to take a very deep breath in, then HOLD IT.

Hold it in.

Then slowly let it out.

Repeat it.

Don't keep doing this til you pass out, lol, but do it til you feel your heart rate slow down.  You will know when to stop.

You will notice when you hold your breath in, you can feel your heart pulsating, usually in your neck and chest loudly.

But as you let go slowly, you can feel with just the very next deep breath in, your heart rate has been lowered.

I do this a few times in a row when I get nervous and it really, really helps.

The other thing I do doesn't necessarily stop me from being nervous, but it HELPS my play.

When I get nervous, my arms get wobbly.   Tough to play pool well and make great shots when your arms feel like butter.

When I am nervous, I tend to rush my shots.  I'm not really thinking clear when I'm nervous anyway, so it's very easy for my old habits of shooting too fast and jumping up to creep their ugly heads up.

So, instead, when I'm nervous, I stroke MORE.  A lot more.  Not 100 times, but more than normal. This is my second biggest tip for nerves.

I know what you are thinking, you shouldn't adjust your pre shot routine and fundamentals.  And that's fine.  But if I'm too nervous, my fundamentals are out the window anyway.  Might as well use something to help me stay down and combat the nerves a little, which for many is to stroke a few more times than you normally would.

#3:  This may seem to conflict directly with the above paragraph, but when I focus my thoughts on my fundamentals, it actually distracts me from being nervous anyway.  It's a beautiful thing!  So, stroking a couple of extra (or few) times more when I'm nervous allows me to stay down better, and reminds me to look at the object ball last.

Fourthly, of course the other thing to consider is, the more pressure situations you put yourself in (or find yourself in), the better you do each time.  My biggest learning experiences are the ones where I did NOT win; the ones where I fell right on my face in front of everyone.  Those experiences allowed me to do better under the pressure the next time.  Allowed me to have another change to keep my nerves in check with breathing and stroking more, and to learn from the mistakes I made under pressure in the past.  You will get better and better each time you get to "practice" these techniques under pressure.

Cinco: I try to remember if I'm nervous, it just means I care.  And it's a beautiful thing to care about being in the finals or playing in a big tournament or against a tough opponent. It means it's important to you.

And finally #6, if I get really nervous, I sometimes compare it to other things.  Is being in the finals of a tournament really something I should be nervous about?  Heck, I've witnessed death, been through a divorce, lost my best friend; you get the point.  Now, don't bring yourself down!  But perspective is a good thing and can help with your nerves, too.  Nerves = scary.  Don't be scared; be happy you can even play this game we all love!

As I overheard my friend Suzanne Osborne Smith say on a live stream once, "the pros don't ignore the pressure, they just know how to handle pressure."

I'm not saying I'm a pro, but what I do know from experience is you can't ignore nerves or ignore pressure; accept them and try to control them a little bit. And the pieces of advice above have helped me the most. 

Hope it helps you, too!

It's funny, when I started this blog entry, I was only going to mention the first two items (they are the most helpful out of all of them for me right now).  But then I remembered more, lol.