Saturday, August 31, 2013

Tournament Dues

At the OB Stop in Austin in early August, one of the newer players on the Tour was talking to Amanda and I about how frustrated she felt with her finish in the tournament.

Amanda shared that it took her years to get "in" the money.

I agreed with her, relaying the same lament from 20 years ago when I first started to play on the ladies tour, I couldn't get in the money either for years. My nickname for a while was "one-out-of-the-money-Melinda."

God, I had that self nickname for YEARS!

It's all baby steps, really. but as someone else explains, it's really about paying your dues, too.  And I truly believe that.   You can't just show up and win a big tournament your first time out, or even your first year on the tour.   It takes time, steps, and dues, to even get into the money.

After I finally got IN the money, then the next step was getting further into the money.

At this point, you also have chances to play in the Sunday-only Second Chance tournament (for those not in the main event still of the OB Cues Ladies Tour).  At this point, then you try to get in the money in the Second Chance event!   Eventually, you get in the top 3, and maybe even WIN a Second Chance tournament!   For most, this is like winning a big tournament!

Then the next step is "making" it until Sunday in the main event.  I.e. not losing late Saturday night your last match, but instead lasting (finally) until Sunday morning in the main event.

However, then it takes several events to win a match ON Sunday, lol. In other words, we finally make it to Sunday, but then we lose our first match that Sunday morning.  Ugh.  It still takes a while to win that coveted, sought-after win on a Sunday.  Trust me when I say the invisible pressure we put on ourselves is immense (just to win one match!).

Eventually, we win matches on Sunday, and then more!

And sometimes.... we even get into Sunday ON the winner's side!

Some day, a WIN is suppose to happen.   I'm still waiting on that, lol, but I wanted to show those players just starting on the Tour, that it takes steps, dues, time, patience.

Luckily, we have the passion to keep playing and fighting!

I have to say there are a few females I have known personally who can come onto the tour and kinda skip several these steps, lol, and do well; they just have more experience already before they put in years on the Tour.   Those are few and far between, because most of us start on the Tour when we started playing pool, so it makes sense we all go through our pool levels ON the Tour, if that makes sense.

But, the majority of players have all gone through the process above.  I could name names, but trust me when I say that it's normal to not get in the money, or not last til Sunday for many years.  This is not meant to discourage, it's meant to shed light on the game we love; on the game you will keep fighting to play!

Friday, August 30, 2013

Pool is Family

One of my fellow pool playing friends had a great experience at APA Nationals this month.  He wrote a kind of thank you post on FB and I wanted to share it because it touches upon how pool really is a family, and goes beyond just playing the game we love.

From Larry Nicholson:

"About a year ago, Curtis Cardwell asked me to join his Masters team. What would come from the decision to join is unbelievable - "The Story".

Each pool player starts the journey, one day, picking up a cue with timidness and looking at the table & balls with fear.  Perhaps they start at their house or on a random night out with a couple friends.

Unbeknownst to us, this is the start of an amazing journey.

At first, it's just "fun." One day out of the blue, someone invites us to play "league."  Maybe with a little reluctance, because we first think 'we aren't good enough', we are convinced to try it.

Over time, we get better at the game, and get to compete.  Then the world comes to an end - Playoffs, Tri-cups, and Cities. OMG, the nerves prohibit your legs from standing still, and everyone's watching, and "I want to go to Vegas."

Most of us can relate to this so far, and some can already express the sense of accomplishment getting to Vegas. Ahhhhh, the "Destiny" is complete, or is it?

This year, was an eye-opener, even for me.  Only with the intent on shedding some color to the testament, I've been to Vegas 6 times for APA and well over a dozen times with other organizations.

This year was very special to me personally, and an experience I'll never forget. Sure, the team performed well by finishing 5th, but that had nothing to do with it.  Our matches were played in front of tremendous supporters from all over, not only Texas, but California, Florida, and I'm sure other places as well.   Matches weren't just played against other opponents, but were played against friends and the camaraderie & sportsmanship was exemplary.

Still, though, there's more.

Outside of the event, the vision of what it is all about came to light.  People, friends and strangers coming together and forming memories and bonds that will last a lifetime IS what it is all about.

Some got to Vegas, but didn't get to play.  Another person (non pool player) was left in Vegas all alone.   The players stepped up to replace sorrow with joy, solitude with company, and made sacrifices for the sake of others.

My friends, this is what the game we enjoy is all about, and what the APA provides a portal to do.

The opportunities for friendships, relationships, and in some cases, be heroes to others surround us. It is a fact that in our world of pool -- We are a Family!"


One of the League Operators (Les Moore) replied:

Very well stated and proud to say, you are one of the family and very proud of the way Quad 7's played in Vegas and especially the great display of sportsmanship throughout the experience.

Another friend added:

"Larry those words you wrote down, the story you told was the best I have read in very long time. You have taken something that some take for granted and reminded us what "this" is all about. And you let everyone become part of the experience. Thank You."

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Twitter Fever for Pool

One of my friends on the OB Cues Ladies Tour, Emma, was so cool the other day when she told me, "pool needs more promotion!"

She said she appreciated my blog and she wanted to contribute to the pool world also, so she got her a twitter account!

We immediately started to follow each other that night on Twitter.

I think it's pretty awesome when players make moves to help promote the game we love.

Her twitter account is:

Mine is:

This is the beautiful Emma:

Unless you are on twitter, you don't realize how much this Social Media platform has increased and used by soooo many.

A HUGE Thank You to Emma for promoting pool.  Love ya, Babes!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Why Share That?

I really, truly don't understand when people share shitty things about their teammates or partners.

Here's a perfect example.

In Vegas, I ran into a male pool player from the Dallas area. He had played Scotch Doubles with a female player from the same area. She was very excited about their partnership, she would tell me the day Scotch started.  She was excited about the possibility of them doing well together in the division.

The male partner asks me how Brian and I did in Scotch Doubles and I tell him we placed "just in the money, so we got about $100." 

"How did you two do?"  I ask politely in return.

"Well, we didn't even place half the field. We were down 1-3 at one point and then we tied it hill-hill."

"Oh yeah?!"  I exclaim.

"Yeah, and I left her straight in on the 8ball and she missed it. She dogged it so badly."

I replied, "oh, hmmm, well, that sucks," as I don't know what else to say to that.

He added he was shocked and disappointed and that she played bad.

As I walk away, I'm just disturbed.  Why even explain she missed a straight in ball?  Why say she dogged it?   Why tell me that at all?  Why not just say, "we placed about half of the field."

Not, "My partner dogged it for us."

I just don't get it.

If the guy was a close friend, maybe you could say he was "confiding" in me, but because he's only a pool acquaintance, I presume I'm not the only one he told this to.

Now, I realize I'm re-telling this story, but I'm deliberately not using names to save face for both peeps.  I just wanted to share the story to show how I personally don't like to hear such "mean" things about others - keep these details to yourself.

I think it shows the character of the person speaking. 

Just MHO.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Sports Gene

From my dear friend, Phil Capelle.  He aid this to me the other day in a chat; thought I'd share so we can all learn/absorb:
I have just started reading a book titled Sports Gene, which tackles the question of whether or not champions are born or made. After reading 20 pages, I can conclude that there is a lot more than goes into making one versus being born one. So, this means that you can, and likely will continue to get better as long as you stay the course. Onward and upward.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

BCAPL 2013 National Champs - All the Detais

Finally have time to write about the BCAPL Nationals Women's Open Team WIN!

Warning, long post (just like last year) lol.  Hey, I have a lot to capture!

As many of you may remember, last year my Women's Team "How's My Rack" won this same event. That year on my winning team was with Monica Anderson, Jennifer Pavlovick, Lisa Ellison, myself, and Connie Svoboda. We had to split the team up, due to BCAPL rules, and so Monica and Jennifer started a separate team, as did Lisa and I. Connie did not play BCAPL this year.

Lisa and I picked up Maria Rodriguez, Tracie Voelkering and Nina Stillwell.

Maria would end up being Top Shooter on our all-women's league, Nina was in 3rd place (I was 2nd), Tracie was BCA Texas State Champion, and Lisa and I had experience together on a winning National team.

We were very happy with our team's talent, ability, and mental toughness.

This year, our team name was Born Ready. And it was perfect!

As most teams do, we had superstitions/routines that we carried to each match. 
  1. We HAD to use a pink pen to take scare (we had the same pen at Texas State BCAPL where we won)
  2. I always picked the Visiting Team if given the choice (we were "visitors" on the scoresheet for every match)
  3. We had our mascot with us:  Duckie!

We get a bye and win our second match against a really nice team, 9-2. They told us they would have preferred to play us in the finals. They were very sweet.

The next team was from California. I know two of the players on this team really well. One is my friend Vicki and she's a fantastic women - always having fun, yet very competitive. She also runs the large APA league in her city and is well known in the pool world. Her blond hair and beautiful smile are tough to miss.

The other player I know well is kinda like my internet twins. Her name is Melinda also, and she has a blog, also. We both frequent (or used to) the AZB forums. People confuse us all the time online, but in person we are pretty distinguishable - she's Asian, I'm white with blond curly hair, she is rail thin, I'm not, and she wears cool heals and I don't. LOL.

We know each other because of pool and blogging and it's cool to run into her; except on the pool table. She is an Advanced BCAPL player and it shows how well she plays.

Here are Melinda (left) and Vicki (right):

Personally, I lose both my matches against Melinda and Vicki. I was still trying to play well again from my bad playing experience from singles, and so I lost those two matches, but they played great on me. My teammates really fought hard and even tho we were down 1-4, they stepped up and next thing you know we were 8-8!

I get to play Melinda again, this time for the hill-hill game.

There were A LOT of people watching. It was right before dinner time and so a lot of people were watching their team because they are well known from California, and we had a lot of support from numerous friends, as well.

Melinda and I have a mess of a table and I capture my stripes right away, as they were not runnable, but better looking than solids. She shot a few times and so did I. Next thing you know, I kinda see a run, altho tricky.  I decide this is the time to go for it. I tell myself if I don't win, my teammates will still love me, and that calms me down.

I shoot a ball in side, come back nicely for another side pocket shot in the same pocket; then shoot a tricky shot in the cross corner; somehow NAIL it. Altho, it's a tough shot, at least I can see it, as she has most of her balls still on the table. I decide to try to and cut the next tough ball and hit her 5 ball on the way back so it stops my cueball for the last cute little stripe on the table before the 8. I study it for a while and then cut the ball nicely (tough cut), BUT I don't hit the freaking 5 ball at all!! Ugh! I slip right past the 5 ball. I couldn't believe it. Now, I don't have a pocket for my last ball. Oh wait, yes I do: a long rail bank! I call the bank, don't take a long time to think about the shot, but still freaking MAKE it!!!

The place goes wild! I even had a shot on the 8ball after the bank and smoothly make it. We won hill-hill!!

I couldn't believe it!


A week later, one of my friends from California stated this about the game in the AZB forum:  "I was there to witness her in a hill hill match. After getting a shot in a great defensive match she ran the remaining five or six balls. None of the shots were easy. One great shot after another. She wound up with a straight back bank shot on the last ball with perfect shape on the eight. It was one of the best pressure outs that I've seen in a long time. Any miss would have surely been loss of game. Congratulations Melinda on some fine shooting."

Awwww!  :)  Thank you, DaBarbr!

Then we play fellow friends from San Antonio and I knew it was going to be a tough match because they play so smart and are talented.  Sure enough it was a close one and we barely won 9-7.

This meant we were off all day Thursday (that's a scary thought in Vegas, lol), Further, we don't play til 4:30 pm on Friday. Yikes!

We play that 4:30pm match against another San Antonio team, who we all know and are friends of ours. They are super tough, also, and I admit I was scared.  And it showed:  I played terrible, timid, nervous, and so I didn't help my teammates much.  BUT that's what teammates are for and although we were down 0-3, we made a comeback and won 9-5 somehow! Whew - they are such a good team and it was tough!

We then played a team from Tulsa and we all just weren't' really clicking and we lost 9-6. We don't really know how it happened; we felt confident and felt like we were the better team, but we just didn't pull off the win. We were all disheartened.  The other team played good (they are solid) but we just didn't play well against them.

Instead of playing another match that Friday night, our next match would be at 9am Saturday morning. As I sat at the Crazy 4 Poker table game in the Rio casino before heading to bed, teammate Maria asked me so innocently and yet with strength in her voice, "so, how matches do we have to win tomorrow to make it to the finals?"  I looked at her surprised and yet SO pleased with her mental toughness and desire, "Just 3 honey, just 3."

"Okay, let's do that."

"Okay," I said, as I gave her a hug.

The next morning, I could already tell I was going to play better this day than on Friday.   On Friday, I was still trying to recover from the great out I won for the team and had a lot of invisible pressure on me.  It was stupid, but that day was over with and I could already tell THIS day I woke up feeling much more confident and ready!

As I get to our table about 8:40am for our 9am match, teammate Lisa says to me in front of the entire team,  "You know, of all the teams I have ever been on, I know that this is the one that can get to the finals."

I was so impressed with her attitude as well! And glad she said that in front of the entire team so they could all hear.

However, I had to tell the team that I would be watching players and if anyone was struggling, I would have to pull them (including myself) and send in reinforcements. I discussed it with everyone and everyone was fine with it, "Do what you got to do to win, Melinda."  I think they were all happy with that decision as the previous days I had not pulled players I might have should.

We play yet ANOTHER Texas team, this time from Houston. This is for 5th place at 9am on Saturday.  They are a really good team and super sweet, but deadly on the table.   I play the Advanced player first and she runs out on me!   I knew we were in for it, lol. She was playing so good!

Lisa came with a real tough win her first match, making tough shots after another after another.  She asked before the next round, "Did she take me out?" asking to our team in general.  I laughed, I told her, "hell no, that was a nice run!"

"I didn't want to be pulled," she laughed, lol.

We found ourselves down again, I think about 1-3 or so, and we already knew we had come back before from a worse deficit, and we just kept at it and found ourselves in a another close one as we inched back 7-7. At this point in the tournament (on Saturday), we use three (3) tables instead of 2 and it is tough to get used to, because we play back to back, but that's what happens on the final day - 3 tables, fast play.   It does make if difficult for the smokers who are used to be able to smoke during the "long" break which is now not even a short break, as we have to call the matches back to back.

And we win 9-7!


We then play for 4th place, against a team from the Oklahoma City area.  I have tunnel vision and all I can see on the team is Liz Lovely, a REALLY good player that just placed 3rd in the Advanced singles division.  She is pretty much a pro player; maybe not even 21, if that, and she has a very strong game (and she is actually very lovely).

I play her first and I somehow freaking defeat her!   Man, I'm on cloud nine, lol. The score goes back and forth for both teams and next thing you know we are in the same predicament: 7-7.  This time, Nina wins to put us on the hill, and teammate Maria is still playing while I play Liz again. Liz takes no prisoners and squarely defeats me; she ran out impressively well.

This means 8-8.  And Maia is in the hill-hill game.  It's an extremely long safety game. We are all pacing, watching, sweating, as the two players keep playing safe after safe as there is not run at all with balls tied up with the 8.

Eventually, her opponent has a shot on the 8abll, and we all hold our breath, and she barely misses it.  It's so close, the 8ball is sitting in the hole, such a tough miss.  Maria now has only one option, as no safe is available.   She has to long rail bank her last stripe.  She gets down, takes her time, and NAILs it!  The place goes wild!  We all run to hug her and we congratulate the other team for a great match and strong finish.  Then we all run to hug Maria again!  She's shaking because her adrenaline is so going so fast, but she is so happy!  It was awesome!  There were several people watching before they had to take their flights and one even videotaped it. Check this out!

So now we are playing for 3rd place!

At this point, Tracie on our team now has decide what to do about her flight.  Her and Hubby (Mike) were waiting it out to see what would happen - I suggested not to change the flight until they knew for sure because changing a flight can cost up to $500.  I also mentioned the obvious - we had 4 players - but I could tell Tracie wanted to stay and be apart of the team.  It was SO awesome to see that in her!  We would be playing next at 1pm and their flight was shortly thereafter.  Turns out Lisa and hubby were driving back, so they offered to drive them back as well.  It all worked out!  No change fees, staying til the end, and getting back safely.

Team spirit!

As we take our things over to our next set of tables to play on, their Captain asks me if we can just use 2 tables, since 3 would be difficult.   I kinda thought with that question we might an edge - means we had been playing all morning and this would be their first match of the day (and worried about tables).  I reassured her that 3 times wasn't tough at all.

I wasn't looking at the score sheet too much this match, but at one point everyone clapped louder than normal when I made an 8-ball; turns out we won the match with that win!   I was like, "Oh, I had no idea we were even close to the hill!"

We won smartly, 9-5 :)



After that win, we walk over to our next table assignments (yes, they kept us moving around), and as the Captain, I continue to turn in our winning score sheets, and pick up the next score sheet a that Tournament Director podium on the other side of the large conference room.

We walk up to the table and our opponents are waiting for us.  It's 2:50pm, match starts at 3. The Captain of the other team (this is the team that put us in the loser's bracket the night before from Tulsa), walks up to me and immediately wants to flip a coin.   I reacted a little funny, and said, "we have ten minutes still, but we can flip so we can start working on filling out the scoresheet," and she shares, "Sorry, we have some players who have flights."  I return and share, "well, we just got finished and I have to let my players at least go to the bathroom and smoke a cigarette.  And she was fine with that and understood completely.  

I would hear later that one of the players who needed us to rush was upset and thought we were deliberately not playing right away.  Her Captain told her, "we played them last night and they were all very nice, they aren't doing this on purpose."   Glad she defended us.  If we had finished 30 minutes earlier, I would have started early to help them out for sure, but as Captain I have to let my players take a small break before the finals.  We still had 10 minutes before Go Time.  I didn't think 10 minutes was a make or break situation.

Nina comes up to me and tells me, "I see a Brahms in the future." Meaning, double dipping.  I loved all my teammates confidence!!  I was so impressed with them! 

Their best player is really good and she is tough to beat. I lose to her the first match. Ugh. But, I already knew she was tough and my other teammates were winning their games.

Toward the end of the first set, one of our opponent's teammates gets real upset.  Turns out a ref told her she had to sit inside the playing area.  I was like, "are you serious?"  She was very mad at the ref.  I couldn't believe it, as we were all doing that (we pace a lot, lol).  The ref said another ref noticed it and so he had to say something to her.  We were so confused and miffed we were interrupted during our Finals for that.  


Next thing you know, after some good play by both teams, we freaking win 9-5!!!!  We won the first set. OMG, we won the first set!

We all take a quick break, as I have to turn the sheet in anyway and wait for the next print out.  When I come back, one of our friends rushes up to me and tells me one of the teammates from the other team left.


What do you mean left?

"She had to catch a flight and so she left."



I spoke to their Captain and she explained that everyone knew the situation about when the finals were and everyone made rearrangements or adjustments to their flights, except this one player.  The whole team was very, very upset she left them.  We could hear them discussing the situation even after the match began; they were just so.... mortified...... if I can speak for them.

This meant a very different second match.

I want to state up front that Born Ready was ready - and my whole team fought with all their might and huge hearts and talented play to win the first set.  WE won the first set; we positioned ourselves to even be in the second set.

However, as a friend said who was watching,. "the second set it didn't even seem like the finals."

And, it didn't.

She was right.

The other team didn't play as well; didn't play as hard.  I personally think they were so upset at their player leaving, that they didn't play the same for some reason.

Luckily, they had a 5th player, but the other girl that left them high and dry had been playing the entire 4 days in the team event and this girl didn't even know she would be playing (in the finals no less!) and wasn't prepared.  I have to say, though, that she played her little heart out for her team! 

As I was playing my 3rd match of the 2nd set, I turned to ask our lovely scorekeeper, Michelle, what the score was.  She said, "8-1."  I was like, OMG, really?  We are on the hill??

I start tearing up and I have to FORCE myself not to cry.  I was already getting emotional.  "Don't do it, Melinda, it's not over yet," I tried to tell myself so I wouldn't cry at the possibility we might be National Champions.

But I was so emotional that we were on the hill.

I look around and see who is gonna win the match for us.  But we lost the next two games, and I was in a safety match.  I see an out, but get bad on my planned bank on the 8 and miss it.  My opponent is running out, but she missed the 8ball.  It hung in the hole.  I felt bad, as I knew this win wouldn't be quite like last years win when I ran out for the close win; this was literally just a tap-in on the 8ball.

I made it and we shook hands and then we all hugged and smiled!!!  All our fans (who were watching) were clapping for us and we were elated!  WE DID IT!

One of the players on the very first team watched us in the finals.  She said she was pulling for us so she could tell people, "well, we lost to the team that won it."  She was really sweet to support us!

This year was much different from last year, as we had double dipping duty, but we did it!  Nationals Champs!

I was SO excited for Maria, Tracie, and Nina most - they were now National Champions!  Lisa and I were two-time champs!  And this year Born Ready won BOTH BCAPL Texas State and BCAPL Nationals.  Woo-woo!

After we take photos at the pool tables, I walk to the podium to turn in the final scoresheet.  And that's where I truly lost it.  I walked back crying and told my teammates, "don't go anywhere alone, it makes you cry!" I share weeping.  Lol.

We then took the "official" BCAPL pics (below if the fun pose!) and collected our monies (a whopping $760 each - yea, don't worry, we aren't quitting our day jobs)

And then we toasted to our win!

BORN READY, I am SO freaking proud of you ladies!  You kept on plugging away and capturing wins and you all stayed so positive about winning.  I was impressed with your mental toughness - every single one of you!  I didn't play up to par every match, but we are a TEAM and each of you proved it!!

Later on, I would celebrate with Michelle, Nina and Brian at Martorano's (Italian restaurant in the Rio) and at the biggest shrimp I've ever had in my life! 

Then we went to the strip, visited Planet Hollywood one more time, and tried to sleep as newly crowned National Champs.  ;)

Thank you to BCAPL and CSI for making dreams come true and holding this awesome event!  And thank you to Carl at Diamond Jim's for sponsoring us!   


Monday, August 19, 2013

Five Pillars of Mental Toughness

No reason to rehash a great article, instead, SHARE it!

5 Pillars of Mental Toughness - article in


And, in case the article disappears or the link gets removed, here is the article pasted:

Want to take your game to the next level and reach your full athletic potential? Physical training will only take you so far. Success in sports also depends on many aspects of mental toughness, including the ability to increase self-confidence, improve focus, sharpen your mental preparation, control arousal (or energy level) and develop resilience.

Although it is invaluable for sport success, mental toughness is often a misunderstood part of athletic development. Yet how you develop your mind will directly impact how well you play your sport—for better or for worse.

The reality—and the good news for athletes—is that mental toughness can be learned. The "Five Pillars of Mental Toughness" are skills you can develop and improve. Using them will lead directly to future success in sports.

1 Preparation
Mental preparation includes how well you pay attention to details, your level of self-discipline, and the attitude you develop that helps you stay positive and optimistic. Mentally prepared athletes achieve success in the classroom, train regularly, and avoid negative influences that can interfere with their athletic development.

Use the following questions to gauge your level of mental preparation:
  • Are you fully aware of the expectations placed on you by your team?
  • Do you know your role on the team?
  • Are you keeping up with all of your responsibilities—and not just sports?
  • Do you make it a point to adopt a positive attitude every day?
  • Are you working hard every day to become the best player you can be?
2 Focus
Another vitally important component of athletic success, focus is often the difference between two equally talented athletes. Even elite athletes can lose focus, both on and off the field.
Here are three ways to improve your focus:
  • Ignore irrelevant distractions
Identify the things that are critical to your future athletic success—like staying in top physical condition, eating right and getting proper rest—and block out irrelevant factors—like what is being said about you on Twitter and in sports chat rooms. Remember, the only play that is important is the next play, so focus accordingly.
  • Journal your progress
Keep a journal of your goals, accomplishments and notes about how to continue to improve. Since human memory can sometimes be sketchy, developing a journaling system will help you improve your focus.
  • Balance your time
It's tempting to devote all of your free time to sports, but your focus will actually improve if you maintain a more balanced schedule. Prioritize family, school and other important parts of your life as much as you do sports. When you balance, you will increase your motivation, feel fresher when you play and lower the risk of burnout.
3 Arousal Control
To achieve athletic success, it's important to know how to calm down when you're nervous (high arousal), and how to get pumped up when you're flat (low arousal).
The "zone" is the state of optimal arousal. Athletes who are "in the zone" don't have to think when playing their sport; they simply react. Learn how to modify your energy level and find a happy medium between high and low arousal.

Calming Down
  • Take one or two deep breaths into your stomach and hold each one for four or five seconds. Deep breathing is the best way to calm your nerves and lower arousal.
  • Use imagery to generate positive, calming thoughts
  • Starting with one muscle group, tense and relax it for 4 or 5 seconds, then go through the rest of your body
Pumping Up
  • Listen to upbeat music on game days
  • Increase your heart rate with a dynamic warm-up
  • Review your personal goals
Confidence and athletic success are closely correlated, and they reinforce each other. When you play well, your confidence increases, and when you improve your self-confidence, you tend to play better.
Here are some techniques that improve confidence:
  • Goal setting
Set goals you can control and that are specific and measurable; and be sure to keep track of your progress. Set short-term, mid-term and long-term goals. You will be creating a goal ladder to future success. Short-term goals will lead to long-term goals.
  • Consistent, healthy training
There are no shortcuts to success; and hard work, healthy living, motivation and perseverance will lead to greater self-confidence.
  • Positive self-talk
If you tell yourself you stink, your confidence will suffer. Positive and
productive self-talk will boost your confidence.
5 Resilience
Resilience is the ability to handle stress, adversity and failure. Regardless of how talented you are, there will be days when things don't go right. This is where character develops. You either overcome the adversity or succumb to it. When you learn ways to deal with stress and adversity, you improve your chances for athletic excellence in many ways.

Athletes who allow their emotions to take over usually end up playing below their potential. It's your choice what to do the next time you drop a ball, strike out or miss an open shot. You can either view negative events as threats to your athletic development or as challenges to make yourself better the next time the situation occurs. Feeling sorry for yourself, throwing tantrums or taking your aggression out on others won't help, but learning from those experiences will.

Creating a bounceback technique will help in moments of failure and frustration. A bounce-back technique is a ritual you perform during a game that allows you to quickly turn things around in your mind. For example, after a bad play you might pinch a few blades of grass and throw them into the wind—a symbol for letting that last play go. The technique should be quick, unobtrusive and linked in your mind to letting a bad play go.

Knowing what you will do when failure occurs will prepare you for times when you do come up short.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Jumping Video

Sometimes you come across a video you don't want to forget.  Hope this helps someone else, also.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Text Help

Is this coaching?  Is this cheating?

"Michael Phelps Helps Poker Player Win Championship"

After you read the article, you wont think so.  At least, I presume you wont think so.

Even tho the article clearly states, "....the swimming superstar sent his pal several tweets and text messages before and during the closing session of the final table."


Hmmm, I know on EVERY tour or tournament I have ever played on/in we cannot use our phones and we definitely are not suppose to text people. 

Why?  Because people could be coaching us.

Coaching?  Via Text?  Come on.

Yes. Coaching isn't just about what shots to shoot, it's also providing confidence, giving mental advice, trying to lift your spirits, or calm you down, or pump you up, or remind you something about your ore-shot routine.

You all have seen the friend run into the bathroom behind a player who took a bathroom break so they can offer encouragement.

Is that coaching?  That's a break - can we talk to whoever we want to or text whoever we want to during a break.  There's no rule about that.  Right?

A friend of mine plays a league in another city and their league has no rules about texting during matches.  She has texted me during her matches to get advice or vent to me.  Is that a form of "coaching" even though texting is allowed on this league?

I had to handle an extremely difficult argument once between two female players because one accused the other of getting coached from a friend across the room via text.   I eventually refunded the one player her money, and then the Tour instituted a new rule that cell phones were not allowed during matches anymore (to solve that problem). 

BTW, I found out the player was indeed receiving texts like, "calm down, stay down, breathe," etc. during that match.


I think we all do it unintentionally sometimes - we see a friend who's jumping up, we motion to stay down; we tell a friend in passing to breathe; we tell another who is taking her break next to you that they seem distracted and to focus better. 

We don't do all this to "coach" someone per say, but we do do it to try and help out.  Ooops, COACHING.

Side Note:
As I Googled "text coaching" for an image to use for this piece, turns out there are some companies out there that text messages as a form of coaching.  Oh, technology.

Friday, August 16, 2013


Gosh, I sure am playing badly right now.  Well, not just "right now," but honestly, in the last month. 

I know it doesn't make sense, rationally:  Let's see, I was on a team that WON the Women's Open at BCAPL Nationals, I just placed 7th at the OB Cues Ladies Tour last weekend, I won 4 out of 5 games at league on Monday. 

But, it's the matches in-between that tell the real story.  Or, some of the luck I had in the matches I won.

I can just tell I'm not playing well.

I don't know exactly when it started, but I know it was either right before my trip to Vegas or it started IN Vegas.  I didn't play well the entire time in Vegas.  I lost matches I never should have lost in every single division I played in - singles, doubles, teams.  I missed shots I never should miss.

On my Thursday night league, I have played the first two weeks and already have a terrible stat of only winning 5 out of 10 games.  For me, that's TERRIBLE! 

I keep missing shots, thinking of shape, not taking my time, etc.  My pre-shot routine is out the window!  I'm even practicing at home, but that's not helping.

When I placed 7th at the OB Stop last weekend, I got lucky I got that far.  I barely even felt like playing at first because I felt so out of place playing pool.  Luckily, I had a decent draw on the one-loss side after losing my first match hill-hill.  I got in dead-stroke ("in the zone") for my last match on Saturday night, but other than that, I can't remember the last match I played well - only all the games I gave away and all the shots I keep missing.

If it IS a rut, then I can't wait to get out of it, because as all pool players know, when we come out, we are playing better.  I just hope that's what it is; I am hoping it's not my confidence. 

Something is off, though.

Scary, sucks,and frustrating.


While we can never "plan" ruts, the timing isn't good for me - I have a big tourney at the end of the month I'd like to play well in.  While I would get lucky to get in the money based on the tough field, I more want to play well by Sept 20th when I play in the next OB Cues Ladies Tour so I can remain high in the rankings on that tour.



Thank you for listening.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Move That Chalk

I have always found it fascinating when someone is looking at a shot, and before they even get down on the ball, they walk over to the other end of the table and move a piece of chalk that is on the rail near the ball they are about to shoot.

This has amazed me for years.


I have never, ever moved a chalk away from a ball I was about to shoot.  Never.

Yet I see SO many other people do it before they take their shot.

In Vegas, I was practicing a shot with someone and they told me, "move that chalk first."



"Because it's a distraction."

It is?

To you maybe, not to me.

So, I got curious and asked another friend about it to get further clarification.  She said, "Yes, I move chalk too.  I just want to concentrate on the shot.. don't want anything "unnecessary" in my line of sight."

I find this so fascinating that I never do this.  I might nudge a coin further under a rail if it's too far out, but I haven't moved chalk from one rail to another.

I wonder why some people do this and others don't?  I'm wondering why it doesn't bother me, is really my question.  I just don't even notice chalk on the rail when I shoot.

I think maybe part of it is habit for some people and that is cool; I'm all about habits.

Still, interesting to me!


Monday, August 12, 2013

Proper Salutations

During one of our team matches in Vegas, I told my opponent, like I have a thousand times, "Good Shooting" as we shook hands before she broke.

One of my teammates tells me, "You don't says 'Good Shooting'."

I was like, huh?  I have always said that.  What's wrong with that?!  What does she mean?  What's going on?  Did I offend someone?

What is wrong with the nice salutation of "Good Shooting" ??

Then she replied, "You are suppose to say 'Shoot Well'."

I was like, huh?



So, when I come back from Vegas, I look up the Grammar Girl, (yes, there is a Grammar Girl) and sure enough the most correct grammatically way to say "Good Shooting" is actually "Shoot Well."

Here is an excerpt from the post about using GOOD versus WELL from Grammar Girl:

Finally, it's very important to remember that it's wrong to use "good" as an adverb after an action verb. For example, it's wrong to say, “He swam good.” Cringe! The proper sentence is "He swam well," because "swam" is an action verb and it needs an adverb to describe it. Remember, you can only use adjectives such as "good" and "bad" after linking verbs, you can't use them after action verbs.

I still didn't say it properly the rest of the team event nor in my tourney last weekend; because bad habits are very hard to break.  And I've been saying this for over 25 years now.

But, I know now I'm not using proper grammar. 


Saturday, August 10, 2013

The Great Pool Experiment Pool Reality Show

I heard about this Pool Reality show from a friend of mine, one of the players in the Omega Billiards tour, David Franklin. 

He has is one of the few in the entire country that has been selected to participate in this reality show!!

It's called '14 Days-A Great Pool Experiment' and it's put on by Tor Lowry at Zero-X Billiards. 

The concept is he can take an average player, "like myself," David told me, and in 14 days make them a pro status player. 

David says, "I am honored and thrilled to have this opportunity, as pool is a passion of mine."

If anyone is interested in David using your pool equipment or wearing logo'd shirts or hats, just let him know.  You will get advertisement out of this!  He would greatly appreciate any sponsorships, as several of the players already have sponsors so he would welcome some, also!

Please email me if you are interested.  Let's help David out!

Here's an excerpt from their FB page:

It's been a long time coming but excited to begin filming of pool reality show, '14 Days - The Great Pool Experiment' beginning in first week of June. Great participants from several states. First episode in Vegas, a very determined to get better pool player who's ready to take on a difficult challenge to reach the next level in his game - to become a "pool monster."

Two more participants from Vegas with some exciting league play, interviews, game play. Watch them all achieve what they set out to do after performing my non-stop custom drills to perfect their fundamentals.

Best part is that it's not from what I'll teach them. It's because of what's already inside of them and how they'll discover that during the '14 Days' they'll train with me. Can't announce yet when first episode will be ready to view but when I do, it'll be right here first.

I'll also announce soon which cities I'll be filming in after first episode. IThanks everyone for your patience while I've been filming my upcoming release and preparing for the official start of '14 Days.' Thanks too for your great support! Official reality show trailer coming soon.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Sign Language

One of the founding members of the Ladies tour in Texas, Lucille Donahue, was riding her little scooter in Vegas for the BCAPL Nationals.

A spit-fire of a woman, who is always so cheerful with a huge heart, I enjoyed seeing her again.

She shared with me some pics of her now-grown grandchildren.  The youngest is about 12 now, and she wanted to watch Grandma play in her singles tournament.  This particular granddaughter lives in Vegas with Lucille's daughter.

Lucille was very clear, "You can come watch, but you cannot make noise or talk!"

So, problem resolved!

Her granddaughter made a sign that said "GO NANNY!"

Love it!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Name in Lights!

We finally made the big times!

Just kidding, but this is freaking awesome! 

I can't begin to express how cool it is to be able to approach a pool room and ask them to help sponsor us, and they say yes immediately.  

It's not just that they said yes, it's that we had 4 other pool rooms that wanted to sponsor us, too, and it felt wonderful to realize our team was that good and therefore could even ask for sponsorship.  

We only asked for our entry fee to be paid but it was still super cool that Carl from Diamond Jim's said yes.  Last year, he bought our shirts, this year was a step up and he paid our entry.

Last year my team won* and we presented Carl with a gift - a large framed photo of the team for Diamond Jim's.

This year, Carl presented US with a gift!  What a nice surprise! 

He added this to the Diamond Jim's marquee sign after he heard our team "Born Ready" won at the BCAPL Nationals!!

(Click photo to enlarge)

* Because we are in the Open division, we had to divide our team up after we won last year.  2 members started their own team, and Lisa Ellison and I started a new one, also (Born Ready) with Nina Stillwell, Maria Rodriguez, and Tracie Voelkering.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Captain Bailey

Being captain is not fun.

Not fun at all.

I truly am okay with being captain and making decisions.  But I can also admit that I think my heart is too big for the role.

In some tourneys, I have played teammates so they can get experience and feel part of the team in big events.  I have sat out some of the better players in those cases. Why?  Because I know those players will not get hurt and they will understand why I did that; while at the same time giving other players experiences they may not have had before.  I am all for learning experiences and making memories.

When it comes to "stacked" teams, I play all the good players all the time. I don't mess around; I play the correct players to win.

However, I have found out two important things while doing this in the past year:

  1. I should always play to win and play the top players MORE, even if experience is the goal for others.
  2. It's tough on my heart to sit out any player; even the good ones who might be struggling or the good ones who should play.

Every decision I made - who to sit out or leave in, is tough on me.

I have had several teammates recommend I play certain people or take others out and I was SO thankful they spoke up!  But at the same time, it also pained me to do it.  I eventually I rearranged some players because it was best for the team to win, but it doesn't mean my heart didn't feel some pain to sit them out or even mention I MIGHT have to sit them out.

While I CAN be a good captain and I think I'm good at it for the players, I don't always make the strong decisions right away because my heart gets in the way. 

I do eventually overcome my heart tug-of-war and do what's best, especially when I get feedback from other teammates.

But, sometimes I waffle and don't make the right decisions right away.  I'm a work in progress, though!

One of my friends has no problem sitting anyone out and doing what's best for the team to win at all times.  My little heart stops me from being at that level right now.

I am still proud to say I have captained TWO first place National teams and one first place State Team.  I am doing somewhat okay.  :) 

But, being captain means listening to others; and that I do very well. 

And, I also have great teammates!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Riv Versus Rio

The biggest complaint I heard from others about The Rio was the cost of everything. The second biggest complaint was the distance to the convention room where the pool tourney was held.

I didn't think it was that far, but then again we stayed in the closest tower, the Ipanema. The Masquerade Tower was much much farther.  My elderly friends did use scooters and they said were lifesavers. They told me they would not have made it back and forth without them.

Most players didn't really complain about the distance, though.

A lot of people complained about the cost (of everything, really).  I had a Player's Card already and even tho I hadn't gambled at a Harrah's establishment in a long time (years), I was able to get 10 days at only $250. While that was not common, it was a hell of a good rate. The rooms in the Ipanema tower were updated/renovated, the Masquerade tower was much older (and again, farther).

While the food was expensive, I admit, there were A LOT of choices and every meal could be shared no matter which restaurant!  But, they had a Burger King and snack areas, too, but also high end restaurants. I was VERY happy with the food, though. It was all very, very tasty (except the Seafood Buffet).  I anxiously couldn't wait to try every restaurant again, but we ran out of time.  I didn't get to eat at any of the Asian places (there are about 3-4 dif ones).

Every room is a suite, which is real nice.  PLEASE NOTE: Rooms with 1 bed have a pull out coach, rooms with 2 beds, the couch does NOT pull out. $30 a night for a roll away, fyi.

One thing I noticed remarkably different was the cell-phone service. At The Riv, I could never get a signal to text or make phone calls from the room.  At The Rio, I had cell service EVERYWHERE; great service in the rooms and everywhere else.  It sure was nice to be able to use my phone and not have my battery life go down fast trying to find a signal.

The rooms were huge and the bathrooms super nice. We didn't pay for the upgrade; not sure what that would have brought us, but we only slept (barely) in the room anyway.

While many other complaints were that nothing was close by to stay at cheaper or that we weren't on the strip, we would simply dedicate certain nights to go to the strip. And we would get cabs when we were at the Riv, also, so that wasn't anything unusual for us.  While you couldn't walk to the Slots of Fun or the Peppermill (which I missed most, lol), the Gold Cost was cheap and next door and the Palms was close, too.

The Riv was already starting to change a lot and didn't feel "comfy" anymore; and outdated.

I went to the pool one day and it was awesome!  Waterfalls and two separate pools. There was even another adult pool only open on weekends that I didn't even get to see.  Nor the TWO clubs they have on the premises.  The pool doesn't allow you to bring your own drinks in (like the Riv did) but I admit I didn't know that was an option at the Riv (but my fellow pool-side enthusiasts weren't happy about that part).

I honestly felt like it was about time us pool players got an upgrade and were treated with respect. I felt good to finally be in a modern casino with fine amenities. I felt special; catered; it felt good to be respected.  We deserve it finally!

Overall, I was VERY pleased.  I can't wait to go next year!!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Teachers Note

After my shirt debacle, I want to be absolutely sure what I could wear, so I wouldn't be removed from the tourney.

I asked a ref if I could wear a shirt underneath the sleeveless collard blouse and was told yes.

However, before I played on Monday morning, I got to the pool room 40 minutes early to get confirmation from even another ref, just to be safe.

This is what I wore the second time:

He said he wasn't sure because it looked like a t-shirt underneath my blouse, even tho it had sleeves. Luckily, Bill Stock, Head Ref, walked up and said, "That's perfectly fine."


Then the ref at the desk said, "here, let met write you a note in case another ref comes up to you during your matches to question your clothing."

Wow - a teachers note!


(click to enlarge)

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Dress Code Violator

So, lol, I wrote about blog entry before I headed to BCAPL nationals about how when I shop for clothes that always look for collared blouses so I can wear them at the many pool events where a collar is required, and also so I can wear them at work.

I then bragged I found me some great sleeveless shirts! I was a happy camper :)

So, imagine my surprise when during my first singles match at the BCAPL Nationals on July 20th, after I run out BEAUTIFULLY, a ref approaches me to tell me I'm out of dress code.



He said sleeveless shirts aren't allowed and one of the other refs informed him of my rebelness.

I stood there in shock, and shared like a sad puppy, "But I brought like 6 new collared sleeveless shirts."  Like he gives a fvck lol.

He said my opponent would get a game.


Even tho I was up 1-0, I didn't want to give up anything. I asked if there was any other option and he said since I hadn't had a break, I could take 5 minutes to go get a shirt somehow, if my opponent was okay with that.

Luckily, my opponent didn't object and I ran to the "Play Your Game" booth from my friend Frank and bought a shirt. While they didn't have my size in my color, I only had 5 minutes to run there and back.

I was SO upset after this.

I missed balls and was really struggling because of what happened.   I was flustered.  Agitated. Distracted with this new shirt that I didn't like, hot b/c my blouse is still underneath it, too.

I played like crap now, even though the first game I played beautifully.

I found myself down 2-1 when she missed an 8ball.  Whew.   I won that won but in a race to 4, that was a crucial.  I could have been down 3-1!

My b/f suggested I take off my blouse underneath my shirt and I did and could focus a little better.  I was still distracted but told myself to get it back together and stop being flustered about it.

I started to play better and luckily won 4-3. I am SO thankful I didn't give up that one game - I would have lost!!!

I was told I would be given a warning for this clothing infraction and if I wore something like it again I would be disqualified from the whole tournament. YIKES!

BTW, I suggested they add my banned outfit as an example to their "what not to wear" posters, because it wasn't on there for sure.  Only a female in a tank top was shown as an example:

(Click to Enlarge)

BTW, this is completely my fault.  I recall sleeveless blouses being allowed before but didn't read the dress code rules for this year and it CLEARLY states sleeveless shirts are not allowed.