Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The Tiger Woods Effect

Everyone has heard (or felt), "I player better when I play a better player."

Well, the same is also true for the OPPOSITE.

Sometimes when we play a really good player, instead of player better, we are overcome by nerves.

"OMG I'm playing Allison Fisher, top pro for over a decade."


"OMG I'm playing Dennis Hatch, the Mosconi Cup MVP Player."

So, I'm very aware that people can get nervous playing me OR they can play a little bit above their game against me.

I'm not trying to say I am special or a great player, but I have seen where my opponents are nervous against me or "I know who you are" type of attitude.

But I'm simply another female pool player, just like you!  Nothing more.  Nothing greater.

But, I am aware of the Tiger Woods Effect and have seen it my whole life, and also have been through it myself against better players.   I falter instead of playing my game.  I do BEST against them when I realize they are suppose to beat me, because then I sit there and try to learn from them.  Then they make mistakes and are human and next thing you know, I get close to beating them (or beat them).

Anyway, because I am aware of the Tiger Woods Effect, I was very uncomfortable with a conversation I had with my first-round opponent in the Ladies Singles 8-Ball Division at ACS Nationals a few weeks ago.

We had to wait on our table because a match was still playing on it.  My opponent and I sat there, waiting patiently.

Finally, she starts with small chit chat.

"How long have you been a Master player?" she asks me, as she hasn't seen me play in this tourney.

"Oh, I'm just Advanced.  I only played in it the first time last year."

So I try to be nice, "How long have you been one?"

(not really wanting to know, but since I don't recognizer her name or face, I figure she isn't one of the TOP players there.)

"Oh, since it started," she replies.

"How long is that?"

She says, "About since 2005 I think."

Oh cool.

I this point I am BEGGING her in my mind not to ask me any more questions.  I can see where this is leading.

"So, did you play in the 9-ball?" she finally asks.

"Yea, I did."

She shares, "I don't care for 9-ball so I don't play in it."

(please stop now, please don't ask me anything else.  PLEASE).

"So you played in it, huh?  How did you do?"

I shyly say almost in a whisper, "I won it."

"You what?"

"I won it last night."

"Oh wow, good for you."  She says as she turns her head and no longer asks me any more questions.

I really felt bad.  I know if *I* personally knew my opponent had just won a tourney I prolly wouldn't fair too well against them and would be nervous.

Sure enough, I won 7-1 because she was playing kinda timid.  I figured she would have played better being a Master all these years.

That's another reason why I don't ever look at the charts and ESPECIALLY do not look up my opponents.  I have friends that look up stats of their opponents.  Well, now you know they play well.  Play the table.  WHO CARES what they finished before or placed in some big tourney.  Don't look up anyone.

I always play better if I have no idea I'm playing a champion, lol.  If I recognize their name, YIKES, I might already have mentally psyched myself.

You might think I could have WANTED to share my recent win with my opponent to maybe get an edge, but I did not.  I would rather have her A game against me.  Not win b/c of the Tiger Woods Effect.  I really wanted to STOP her from asking me questions, lol.

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