Thursday, December 31, 2015

More About Pressure and Comparisons

I wrote just yesterday about pressure.  Explaining that I was a photographer at a wedding for a friend, and how that was so much more pressure than playing in a tough match!

I received an email asking to explain what I meant, maybe give some examples if I had any.

Boy, do I!

I guess what I was trying to say was if we feel pressure when we are in a tight match or title tournament or against a tough player, try and remember other times in your life that were MUCH tougher and full of "deeper" pressure. 

There is something to be said for comparing situations from our past.  It can actually help you.

As you are in an important match and can feel your chest tighten, your adrenaline going crazy, your breathing is super fast, and you are missing some shots and feeling embarrassed, try and think to yourself:  is this embarrassment or is this match really so tough that I'm letting pressure affect my play?

As we all know, when pressure affects us, we don't stay down as well, we tighten our grips, we shoot too fast, and we lose our control of our fundamentals which causes us to miss, which causes us to fret, and then get embarrassed, and then we just well, continue to go downhill.

I have written about many things that can help:
  • Slow down your adrenaline with very deep breaths,
  • Get mad at yourself for missing,
  • Enjoy that you get to even play pool and have this opportunity,
  • Focus on your fundamentals profoundly,
  • Exaggerate your stroke,
  • Try and turn any negatives into positives,
  • Realize pressure just means you care,
  • etc.

But what I hadn't shared before is to compare the pressure to what you have already been through in your life.  Some pressure times or scary times, or overwhelming times in your life that you made it through.  Pressure from playing pool?  pfffft.  Try giving birth!  Compare that - hey, if I can pop out two kids, this is easy!  Or, for those of us who have witnessed a loved one take their final breath?  I have, and I can tell you that is much more traumatic than any pool match.  Or how about finding a loved one passed away?  Yep, done that as well.  That is very traumatic also and I don't wish it on anyone.  Have you been through a really bad car accident - wonder how you even survived?  What about a super bad divorce?  Remember how painful it was yet here you are today just fine afterwards?  Maybe you've been in jail - how scary!  Well, all these things are situations you can try to "compare" the adrenaline of the pressure you are feeling in middle of a match.  It will calm you down to realize/remember you have survived and been through SO much already.  Pool?  pfffft.  This pressure you are feeling in a match is NO match to real life stuff. 

So remember those tough times you survived while you can't breath in a pool match from all the pressure.  It will ironically help you release some of the pressure you are feeling so you can play good pool!

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Different Kinds of Pressure

I was honored to be the photographer for a friend's wedding last weekend.

I found out that's SO much more stress than any tourney I could ever try to win lol.

Trying to capture a very special day for them, and to ensure I get their memories on camera and don't screw up sure is a lot of pressure, lol.  MUCH MORE than playing pool.

That is a friendly reminder that it's important sometimes in the middle of playing pool when you feel so much pressure in your chest and through your veins, that pressure is what you make it. 

Is it /really/ that much pressure?  Sure, feeling pressure means you simply care!  But, if you can relate it to other pressures in your life you've had, it can release some stress and adrenaline in the middle of a match.

Try it.  You'll like it.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Happiness With Freedom

I ran into a friend I hadn't seen in over a year.  We saw each other at a local monthly tournament.

I asked her how she was and she smiled back and said, "fabulous" with the biggest grin on her face.

I was very curious, "oh, okay, what's been going on?" 

She said, "I quit league last season."

I shared, "Hey, that's what I'm doing! "

She smiled some more, "Yep, drama-free, baby.  I am SO much happier, I can't even explain it.  AND, I get to do whatever I want, whenever I want and don't have to be committed to be somewhere certain nights of the week.  I feel FREE!"

I was so elated to hear these words from her and to see how happy she was is! 

I shared with her how I have been hurt at league and disappointed with some things, and that I LOVED how the last two months I could go to dinner with any of my girlfriends on any night and not HAVE to play league. I even shared I was still bitter I had to play league the week my Dad passed.

It was refreshing to see how much happier she was than I'd seen her in the past, and that the biggest reason was her not playing league anymore.

There's something to be said for non-routine and to be able to play pool when you WANT to, instead of when you HAVE to.

I decided after yearning to play pool (oh the irony) back in late October, that I would continue to play in tournaments I was interested in, but STILL not play in leagues.  Yes, I do miss seeing some of my friends at league, but I am more relaxed without that weekly commitment twice or more a week. 

It's funny the timing of this:  For whatever reason, I am getting asked more and more lately to play in leagues and in league events coming up.

But, I am so much more happier right now, just like my friend experienced this WHOLE last year for her.  I can't wait to have non-league play in 2016 - what a wonderful break this will be! 

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Played Mike Dechaine

Thanks to my friend Pan Hansen for putting me in the box against Mike Dechaine in a challenge match to raise money for Royce Bunnell's family during his Celebration of Life.

I got to break and he had two chances at the table and then I beat him!


Oh, nothing but pride :)

At one point in the game, - I shot a pretty tough 8ball and stayed down real well and I made it for shape and he said, "good shot."  Felt pretty good!  A LOT of people were watching him (and therefore his opponents) so it was nice to stay down under all the eyes of pressure.

I'm not "googlielee" at all around pro players because so many are my friends and I know over 90% of them, it was cool Pan put me up to play him to help the added monies for the Bunnell family!

Friday, December 25, 2015

Winner of the Royce Bunnell Celebration of Life Tourney

I was lucky enough to be able to attend Royce Bunnell's Celebration of Life on December 13 held at the Billiard Den in Richardson, Texas.  He passed away in November and was a huge part of the pool world. 

Along with raffles, (live and silent) auctions, free food, and a display for Royce, there was also a tourney where the ALL the money raised all weekend went to his family.  I entered the 64-person tourney and was promptly out in two.  As I wrote about before, I wasn't comfy in my clothes which distracted me.

One person who was comfy was William Howard.

Later on in the day, I walked by William and found out he was still in the tourney on the winner's side.   With only a handful of players left he shares with his heart, "It would be so cool to win this tournament for Royce.  It would mean a lot to me to do that for him."

I was impressed by his sincere-ness and wondered how that "pressure" would affect his game.  Because, he wanted to win it so badly for Royce.

William used to work for Royce at OB Cues and they played on the same league.  I could see the determination in William's eyes, and his heart was full of the loss of Royce (as it was for so many out of the 100s I saw that day).

Later on that night I read on facebook this simple and little, but powerful line from William:  "That one's for you, Royce! Miss you brother."

As I type that out right now, I have tears in my eyes.

William would later say, "Thank you everyone. Felt great to represent for a great man."

William is a shy guy with a huge heart.  For him to win a 64-person tourney in Royce's honor I would think has to be one of the top wins for William.  

And I think we will find out.  Billiards Digest contacted me about an idea for a person for their Spotlight Player of the Month. I replied, "William Howard, without a doubt, for what he accomplished last weekend."  So, we will be able to read William's thoughts on the win in the next Billiards Digest issue!  

Congratulations, William, for the win for Royce!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Blooper Reel!

I shared a video that I created to show a good drill.

You can check out that video clip here:

Of course with any video, you get bloopers/mistakes/funnies that come out of taping, lol, and I put some together for you!

The first clip was me showing the camera woman (Tammy) where to stand and move to during the taping, but we accidentally recorded that discussion, lol.  Then you see not one, but TWO times where I mess up the drill and instead of back banking it, I kiss the ball.  And the fourth is even funnier - this drill is suppose to show how to back cut a ball back to the end rail and on the last clip, I BANK IT RIGHT IN lol.

It really is a great drill and you can tell it's not an easy one (obviously by my blooper reel, lol).  Hope you check out the CORRECT video drill, too.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

People Walking By Matches

When I was playing in the tourney last weekend in Oklahoma City, in one of my matches my opponent kept getting upset and annoyed at people walking by.

I have always been somewhat amused by this. 

The reason why is because that means my opponent is letting things get to them.  It means they are not completely focusing on the game at hand. 

Don't get me wrong - you don't want to be distracted or have people walking by interfere with your shot, but to get visibly angry and annoyed is not the answer.  To give the person mean looks or to shout at them is not the answer.  I see it as they are just upsetting themselves.

Just get back up, get ready to re-shoot the shot. 

When I see an opponent upset, I know I have an advantage.  They are letting things bother them and getting distracted.  Of course, if they are losing in the match, then we all know they would be getting even more upset than usual anyway.  So, someone walking by just escalates the fact they are losing.  I've even seen someone yell at people walking by when she was the one who wasn't even AT the table shooting, she was so fuming about it. 

And I remember CLEARLY back in 1999 I was playing in a ladies tournament in Florida.  They had one open table and it was near the bathroom.  The tournament director warned me it was close to the bathroom and be distracting with everyone walking by.  I exclaimed, "put me on that table, I'm ready!" because I already knew my opponent would get upset about it (she has a history of getting irritated with things like this), and I would have the advantage.  Yep, I won the match.

It seems only certain players get super agitated over people walking by.  Others seem to take it in stride.  I suggest if you are this player to accept the conditions around you and don't let them upset you.  That /will/ affect your game.  You want calmness in your mind and not to be distracted with feelings of upsetness.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Disturbances Affect Playing Our Best Pool

I decided over a month ago to head to Jamaica Joe's in Oklahoma City to play in a ladies tournament December 19th.  I rode with two friends of mine (my friend and her husband) as we hit the road early Saturday morning to make it in time to sign up and then be a part of the calcutta.

One of the top three pick of the litters is a player I don't know, but Amanda Lampert (a good player in her own right who went for pick of the litter), told me she plays well and that's why they wanted to buy her.  I had never heard of her.

My friend's husband bought me for $70 in the calcutta.  Not sure why he did that, but it kinda put some pressure on me, lol.  I never buy half myself, so he was in for all his own money.  Normally who buys me doesn't affect me at all.  But, it also actually gave me more to play for.  Instead of just "having fun," I really wanted to do well for him.

I have to say I didn't like the way the tourney was run - $55 entry and we had to pay quarters still, and the players were moaning we wanted the calcutta to be paid down more than 4 spots, but we just weren't listened to.  But, to play on beautiful equipment with a great staff was for sure a treat!  39 ladies and at least $1,000 added because we had more than 32 ladies.  But if they would have paid out 9-12 in the tourney and 5/6 in the calcutta, that would have made it not so very top heavy (IMO). 

So, I get called to my first match and low and behold I have to play the girl I mentioned above - the one I don't know but everyone says she plays well.  I have no idea if she knows me or not.

She wins the first game, I COME WITH IT tho and win the next game.  She wins the next, and I again return and come with it to win the next game.  Now she knows I can play.  I haven't faltered and she has seen me run out a rack twice now.  We trade games again and it's 3-3, and I can feel SO much pressure, still.  Before we even flipped the coin, a player walks by and says "wow, you two drew each other?"  And I'm sitting here like, THANKS.  lol.  I honestly have never seen her or know how she plays but people are making it pretty obvious she plays well.  Then again - they do indicate WE drew each other, not that I drew her.  So, basically, it was going to be a good match.

I wanted to do well for my friend's husband who bought me, but it was a weird feeling to be playing this player that everyone thinks plays well.

I get ahead 4-3 and then she ties it again.  Then I get ahead 5-4.  At this point, a friend of hers, but a good player that I know, sits right next to her.  I at first think, "hey wait a shouldn't get a corner man."

There is a LOT to this moment in the match.  At this point, she is missing more and feeling the pressure as she realizes she is playing a good player.  I realize that I am in control of the match and feel real good and am PLAYING good too.  Can't begin to describe how awesome it feels to get out well and play great safes in a tough match. 

As this friend sat right next to my opponent, A LOT is going through my mind already.  It's already very tough to play in an environment where it seems everyone is watching this "famous" local girl playing me and wanting her to win (because she's expected to), and they have no idea who I am.  I'm just trying to play my little heart out and not be too aware of all things around me so that I can just focus on playing good pool.

Her friend asks me, "Hey Melinda, is it okay if I sit here."  It was my shot, and as I'm walking to the table I turn to her and say, "no, it's cool." 

I have to play safe and then sit back down and tell her I thought it was really nice of her to ask me that.  And she said, "well, I am sitting close to you and just wanted to be sure."

I felt pretty cool about it until when I got back to the table, I could hear them talking!  THAT I did not like.  You see, this goes WAY back to about 20 years ago when I'm in match and a friend walks up to my opponent to talk to her.  She eventually tells her friend to leave and my opponent begins to share with me how unfair that was.  That during tense situations, if a friend comes up to talk to us, it actually calms us down.  We feel "safe" and "loved" and we get to either vent about the match or we get to just feel comfortable; or maybe use the talk with a friend to get over any embarrassment feelings.  Well, I knew RIGHT AWAY that them talking was NOT good for me; it would be good for my opponent.

I'm used to not having players be able to talk to anyone during a match.  And this proved it.  It was distracting because I could hear them talking while I was at the table, and I could also hear her giving her a little pep talk.  Although not intentionally, it is something we would just normally simply do with friends, so I don't consider it coaching, but I didn't think it was "fair."

And so, as I look back, if I would have said, "please don't talk," then THAT would have been on my mind.  You see, we don't need any confrontation during a match.  I don't want to feel bad (or look like a bitch) because I asked her to move or not talk, because then that "negative emotion" takes away from my match.  BUT, them talking was giving me a negative emotion as well.  It was distracting.  It wasn't really "right."  It wasn't really fair. And yes, it was bothering me. 

I was running out the next game, again I'm up 5-4, and I get bad on the 8 ball but it's still make-able.  But, I shoot the 8ball too fast b/c I wasn't sure before I got down on the shot and I missed.  She easily makes the 8 and 9 balls.  Score 5-5.  That was A HUGE game.  Instead of me being up 6-4, it was now 5-5.

I then leave myself a really tough shot on the 8 ball the next game but thought I could still make it, and I missed.  I heard her friend say, "there you go."  She wins that game and is up 6-4.

One of my friends asks me in front of my opponent if I am the player up 6-4 and I reply, "I should be, but I've missed the last two 8-balls" - which is now showing my frustrations, which I hate showing any emotion during a match because you don't want to give your opponent an edge letting them see you sweat.  She wins the next game due to errors on both our parts (but mine was the final error) and she makes the four balls left and beats me 5-7.

To say I was deflated is an understatement.  I am seasoned (enough?) to know to not let things bother me, but I haven't been playing enough still in my lifetime to /really/ ignore things.  SUPER proud how well I handled myself to even get to five games against this good player!  I really did come with it in the beginning and overcame a lot of pressure to play well, just got distracted in the end (dammit).

Off to the one-loss side I go, but it's a race to little ole' five!  Ugher.  I play super sporty (imo) on the one loss side as well and win about 5-6 matches before finally losing steam and placed 9th.  Yep, one of the money!

I am still very happy (even elated) that I played well most of the tourney!  And I had a great learning experience.  I try to learn from every tourney, every match.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Video Diary - Drill To Practice Back and Forth a Safety


This is a drill where you practice putting the object ball on the end rail, and after you are successful, then you go to the other end of the table and repeat the shot.  On a 9 foot table, you are simply using top English.  On a bar table, you might need to use inside English. 

It's a fun drill and you'll be surprised when the opportunity will come up to use this nugget.

Thank you to my friend Tammy for being the camera woman!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Sometimes You Can't Give a Pep Talk

I played in a bar table tourney a couple of weeks ago now.

Two of my friends and I bought two top players in the tourney - split three ways seems like a great deal!  Less up money and more players we can get in the calcutta.

After I won my two matches, I'm playing in my third but have to go get quarters.

As I walk by one of the other matches, my friend leans in towards me and confides, "Man, I can't play Coy, he's tough and I'm just not playing well against him."

Normally at this point, I would give encouraging advice.  I would remind her to breath and play pool, focus on the game.

But I had to stop myself before the first helpful word sputtered out - her opponent was one of the guys we bought in the calcutta!  I can't give her advice right now, wtheck!

So, I just kept walking back to my table to play my game with no advice given.  Hurt my heart because I like to help my friends during tournaments, but I gotta think of my pockets and also of the other two guys I'm in with.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Comfy Clothes

I have written about this before, but comfortably clothes are KEY to playing good pool.

You don't want to be wondering about if your boxers are showing, if you feel fat, if your shirt is too tight, have the wrong shoes on, shirt lifts too high in the back, sleeves too long, etc. 

I could go on and on with examples.

Thinking about those things (that you could have controlled) distracts you from thinking about POOL.

So, imagine my surprise when I found myself in this very same situation I have written about before.  Ugh!

I played in the Royce Bunnell Celebration of Life tournament yesterday in Dallas, Texas and while I was comfy with what I was wearing, I did NOT think ahead about the possibility of it being too hot.

So, I had a long, light sweater on, and felt fine with it on over my sleeveless blouse.

But it got WAY too hot for me inside and I had to keep going outside to cool off because the December weather felt good for once.

I took off my sweater and immediately felt uncomfortable.  I doubt anyone even noticed or cared, but I did.  White pasty arms, non-toned arms, and THEN I had to keep pulling up my pants that were too loose, otherwise they would be too low in the back and show my crack (yes, I just said that lol).   The sweater hid that, but with no sweater, I was vulnerable.  And, it's all I thought about was my pasty arms and loose jeans; ie, NOT pool.

I am so disappointed in myself for not thinking ahead and wearing a better shirt just in case I had to take off my sweater.  It crossed my mind for a split second when I was getting dressed, but didn't listen long enough.

So, I lost the two whole matches I played, even with the chances I had in every game.  Ugher.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Photo Shows Staying Down on Shot

What's cool abt this photo from last weekend at a tourney, you can see the cueball and the 2 ball moving, but I stayed down well during the entire shot.

It's taken me years not to jump up or rush shots or lift my head as I shoot.   Game elevation, peeps.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Still Playing Pool?

Yep, I am STILL playing pool!

I am no longer on any leagues and prefer that right now, but I have sparred with a few people and have really yearned to not only do that, but have enjoyed it as well.

For those who do not know what I'm talking about, I was ready to quit playing pool and focus on others areas of my life (some still with pool, some not). 

  • Well, I ended up gambling one night.  Really had fun.
  • Gave lessons the next night.  Loved it.
  • The next weekend I played in the OB Cues Ladies Tour and placed 3rd (WOW!).
  • Two weeks later I'm itching to play and spar with a friend for about 4 hours on a Diamond bar table. 
  • Next weekend I spar with another friend for 3 hours on a 9-foot table.
  • This weekend I might play in bar table 8-ball tourney 

Looks like I'm not done with this pool playing thing yet!  :)

I admit though, I'm loving not playing league!  It's so nice to be able to make dinner plans with friends and not have to play every single week.  There is definitely a lot of freedom to that that I am enjoying.

 Fun photo from one of the days I played:

Chris Fields (JAM-up player) and I, along with photo-bomber, Keith.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Do You Play?

During my first weekend of my ladies league playoffs back in Oct, we had to wait a for a match to play before we knew who our next opponents were.

So, my teammates and I were watching the match.

One of the players, who I had never seen before, was playing JAM up!  She was kicking long rail AND making contact with her ball, and she was staying down well, too.  I was impressed.

As she walked by, I told her, "Wow, you played that great.  Nice long-rail kick to hit your ball!"  It was SURROUNDED by her opponents balls and yet she somehow hit it.

I watched another game of hers and again I was impressed with her shot making and kick skills.  I said to her again as she walked by, "Nice game again."

She looked at me funny.  I suppose it was weird some stranger was complimenting her.

She played her final game and again she played great.  She didn't get out and lost but still play smart making great shots.

This time I didn't say anything to her.  I figured I should keep my mouth shut lol.

She goes to her team and then she comes up to me, "Did you see that?  OMG I missed shape on that last ball or else I would have been out.  You didn't see it, did you?"

"Actually I did see it - it was a tough shot and tough to get shape on it.  You still played good," I comforted her.

She's about to walk back to her team and then turns back to me and asks, "Do you play?"

At this point, what do I say? 

I'm sitting next to a friend and she starts to shake her head.

I say politely to the player, "Yes, I play on this league actually."

And she replies, "oh cool!" as she trots away back to her team.

And my friend is busting out of her chair.

"DOES SHE PLAY?!  OMG DO YOU PLAY? "  Now looking at me.

"What?" I ask my friend.

"DO YOU PLAY?  Tell her!  Tell her you are a state champ and national champ and the top player on the league - tell her!  She has no idea who you are!" my friend insists.

"No, no, I don't care.  I just hope she really did hear my words and takes them to heart because she really does play well."

"Oh, Melinda....." my friend says as she turns her head away from me frustrated and in disbelief.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Option for the Flip

Hadn't thought of this before, as most tourneys I play in are even races so we want to win the flip and break first.

But when we win the flip of a coin, we actually get the OPTION if we want to break or not first.

This came up during the Omega Tour stop last month and is a good point.  Since the Tour is handicapped, sometimes you DON'T want to break first - because in a handicap race that may mean you are not breaking if it goes hill-hill.

Hence the term, "Flip for the Break."   In lieu of "winner of the flip breaks.'

I am surprise this is the first time it's come up for me!  So, thought I'd share.

Monday, November 30, 2015

30 Days of Thanks

Sometimes people post a post every day in November on Facebook for what they are thankful for.  I've done this a few times on my personal Facebook page, but this time I did on my AkaTrigger Facebook page and stated each day in November what I'm thankful for POOl-RELATED!

Well, here's all 30 of them for you:

30 days in November to state what we are THANKFUL for. Making mine pool related! Day 1: Thankful for all the opportunities to play pool, which means thankful for all the hard work of the Tournament Directors!

Day 2 of 30 days of Thanks. Today I am thankful that a few years ago I finally figuring out how important a smooth stroke is, and that I do not have to hit tough shots hard ("whack" at them). Once you figure that out, it's a HUGE part to success.

Day 3 of 30 days of Thanks. Today I am thankful for all those damn 8balls and 9balls I missed in close, tough matches! Yep, I really am thankful. Missing those balls in pressure situations led me to figuring out / learning / how to NOT do that in future important matches. Learning to stroke a few more times under pressure (or else I would rush and jump up b/c of nerves), deep breathing to slowing down my adrenaline, and learning to stay down on the pressure shots.

Day 4 of 30 Days of Thanks. My absolute favorite question I was ever asked in an interview was who was my favorite player. I thought for only a brief second and then replied, "my favorite player is every competitor I have ever competed against because I learned something from every single person I played." So today I am thankful for all the players I ever played, who helped me learn something from every match to help improve my game throughout the years.

Day 5 of 30 Days of Thanks. Today I am thankful for being able to play Galaga for hours and hours on only one single quarter in my late teens. Because I eventually got bored and decided to head to the other side of the arcade room to the pool tables and see what all that was about.

Day 6 of 30 Days of Thanks. Today I am thankful for how I learned from competing to contain my emotions, which led to me doing the same in my personal life and at work. It's amazing how what you learn from competing you can apply to every day life and how they all actually intertwine.

Day 7 of 30 Days of Thanks. Today I'm thankful for all the great friends i met through the game we all love. They've had my back through many, many tough times, and also been there through amazing bright pool moments.

Day 8 of 30 Days of Thanks. Today i am thankful for learning from Phil Capelle that when you are embarrassed or thinking too much or worried about those around you or thinking in the future while playing, to concentrate on your fundamentals and 3-ball shape to distract your mind from thinking too much about non pool things at the table. That's NO good. This has helped me immensely to be much more successful in competition.

Day 9 of 30 Days of Thanks. Today I'm thankful for FINALLY staying down on my shots. TOOK years. There are so many tricks and tips to staying down and not jumping up on shots. Some wait til the cueball stops, or wait til the object falls, or just makes it part of their routine (which isn't easy honestly). I finally learned how to stay down by watching the object last. Also, the smoother the stroke the less likely you'll jump up. Watching the object ball last helped almost overnight! Tough to jump up if you're doing that. Try it, you'll like it

Day 10 of 30 Days of Thanks. Today I am Thankful for Phil Capelle and his amazing book /Play Your Best Pool/. I have mentioned prolly over 100 times in my blog how much that sole book skyrocketed my 8-ball game. SKYROCKETED. Thank you, Phil!!

Day 11 of 30 Days of thanks slipped past me. Yesterday I was very thankful for the awesome cuemakers out there! How cool is it we can have a dream of a design for a cue and then they create it for us! Or they come up with an awesome display that make us fall in love with them. I personally love Jim Buss and Jacoby custom cues the best, with OB shafts.

Day 12 of 30 Days of Thanks. Today I am thankful I always practiced on 9-foot tables. If I went to the pool room for general practice (I had a goal once to practice 1-3 hours every week for a year), and all the 9-foots were taken, then I would come back another time. I feel THAT strongly how much playing on a bigger table helped my game. Practicing on 9-foot tables prepares you for the smaller sized tables (in addition to playing on 9-foots, obviously). I felt SO much more comfortable on 8-foots and bar tables because I always hit balls on that large 9-foot table. Remember to always do what's BEST for your game.

Day 13 of 30 Days of Thanks. Today I am thankful for my blog. It became my online pool diary and I loved how I could go back and read about tournaments I played in or tips I wrote about (yes, reminders are really great!). It's one of my favorite things, honestly, about my pool journey: sharing and remembering. It really means a lot when someone mentions my blog and how they can relate to what I wrote about or how a tip helped them win more matches.

Day 14 of 30 Days of Thanks. Today im thankful for learning about 3-ball shape. Truly transformed my game to think about figuring out out how to get shape three balls ahead. Truly.

Day 15 of 30 Days of Thanks. Today i am thankful for the opportunities to play in different cities and states and locations. Pretty cool to play the game we all love in new cities we may have never been able to visit in our lives.

Day 16 of 30 Days of Thanks. Today im thankful for the amazing people we meet through competing. It's crazy to comprehend that our competitors could eventually become our friends, some become great, dear friends!

Day 17 of 30 Days of Thanks. Today i am thankful for reading /Mental Toughness Training for Sports/ in the late 90s. There was a time in my pool journey when i would beat myself up real bad after tournaments. I would even dip into depression afterwards for dogging shots and not doing well in matches. After i read that book, i learned that if i tried my best, how could i be sad for a long time after? The book gives a lot of great advice, but today I want to share how thankful i am for learning how important it is to simply play your best, give it your best, and no matter what happens, you will be okay because of that simple but very important fact.

Day 18 of 30 Days of Thanks. Today i am thankful for all the poolrooms that have great workers. When you become a regular, they take care of you, while we take care of working on our game. They are much appreciated!

Day 19 of 30 Days of Thanks. Today im thankful for Straight Pool! Even tho the game makes me cuss like golf, lol, it is a very good game to teach you focus, safeties, patience, and playing under pressure. It seems like such an easy game, but trust me, you will cuss soon too.

Day 20 of 30 Days of Thanks. Today i am thankful for the book /Winning Ugly/ by Brad Gilbert that helped me gain a killer instinct.  I didn't play sports in high school so I wasn't  competitive until I started to play pool.  And because being competitive was new to me, I didn't have that killer instinct or mental toughness that many players already had from competing that they learned from other sports in high school.  Yep, I was the type of player who felt bad for their opponent!  For example, if I was defeating them 6-0, or if I was playing a friend, or if they were having a rough time, I would cater and lose focus and care more about their emotions than me winning.  All that changed (luckily) after reading /Winning Ugly/.  This tennis book is NOT about winning ugly, it's more about being prepared to take down your opponents.  To really have that mental toughness and killer instinct to want to really defeat them, which I hadn't had for most of my pool journey.  I still re-read all the highlighted parts of my copy before each big title tournament I play in.  It helps me THAT much.  I highly, highly recommend his book.

Day 21 of 30 Days of Thanks.  Today I am Thankful for stepping out of my comfort zone and playing in tough tournaments. One way to improve your game is to play against tougher players in different/bigger/tougher environments.  It makes you tougher and gives you amazing experiences for when you play in your other regular tournaments or leagues.  Don't be scared - go for it!

Day 22 of 30 Days of Thanks.  Today I am Thankful for finally figuring out how VITAL is it to have solid fundamentals and a solid pre-shot routine.  Condition your pre-shot routine and fundamentals!  Repeat after me:  Condition your pre-shot routine and fundamentals.  Repeat after me again:  Condition your pre-shot routine and fundamentals.  Trust me, you'll like it.

Day 23 of 30 Days of Thanks.  Today I am Thankful for learning to prepare for a tournament BEFORE I even get to the tournament.  It's important to realize that things may not go as planned.  The A/C might be broken.  Or something or someone at the event might really affect you.  Basically, prepare for the unprepared.  Know that it's okay if the tournament isn't running smoothly....  because you are there to play pool and not be worried about things out of your control!  You can't focus on playing your best if you are bothered by things you can't control.   Playing your best IS something you CAN control, so focus on that and don't let things bother you.

Day 24 of 30 Days of Thanks.  Today I am Thankful for realizing what I can and cannot control.  I cannot BEGIN to express how helpful this has been for me.  During a tournament, if it's too cold in the pool room, why bitch?  If it's too hot?  Why complain?  Here's what I KNOW:  If you are too concerned and thinking about the temperature (something that you canNOT control), then is your mind on the task at hand:  playing pool?  NO.  Same with rolls.  If someone shits in a ball against me, watch my reaction.  Yep, there is none.  I cannot control the rolls.  I can only control what happens when I step up to the table.  And if I'm wasting brain cells on still thinking about the shit-in ball from my opponent, then how can I give 100% to the shot at hand? 

Day 25 of 30 Days of Thanks.  Today I am Thankful for taking my time.  I figured out that when I was under pressure in tournaments, I would rush my strokes.  That affected my fundamentals and pre-shot routine.  FURTHER - rushing my shots caused me to jump up and NOT keep my head down.  One of the biggest things I learned is that under pressure, take a few more EXTRA strokes.  It really, really will help you from jumping up which tends to happen when we feel pressure or nervous.  Staying down on shots every time is one of THE most amazing feelings in pool. 

Day 26 of 30 Days of Thanks.  Today I am Thankful for learning how to slow down my adrenaline.  Let's face it, we get nervous.  We feel pressure.  We get "scared" we might lose this match.  You can feel the adrenaline rushing through your veins.  That's not good in competition!  So, you need to slow it down and I learned how to do that:  Take deep breaths in and then HOLD.  Hold your breath until you can feel your heart beating through your neck veins.  Then let the air out S-L-O-W-L-Y.  Repeat this and it will slow your racing heart and the adrenaline.  Try it - you'll notice a difference.

Day 27 of 30 Days of Thanks.  Today I am Thankful for billiard publications!  Being interviewed is something I cannot even put into words how awesome it makes one feel.  It's super cool to see our name printed in billiard magazines after winning a big tournament!  Heck, it's even cool to see our names if they are only mentioning us because the winner defeated us, lol.  We still tell our friends, "did you see my name?  Yep... made it in Billiards Digest."  Print magazines spend a lot of time caring about the players and writing articles and following the pool scene.  To do this monthly is tasking and a lot of work, but we the players are EXTREMELY grateful for their dedication to the sport.  How else would we ever see our name in lights?  Special shout-out to Mike Panozzo of Billiards Digest for becoming a great friend and mentor to me.

Day 28 of 30 Days of Thanks.   In order to do well in tournaments, you must play in as many as you can.  Please hear these words.  So, today I am thankful for playing in the plethora of tournaments available throughout the years.  You cannot learn to handle pressure or learn mental toughness with only a few tournaments a year.  You need conditioning over and over in a tournament environment to give yourself the best chance to gain experience!

Day 29 of 30 Days of Thanks.  Today I am Thankful for NOT having a pool table at home.  Sounds weird right?  Well, I would rather play pool in a DISTRACTED atmosphere.  I want to practice under the same conditions as in tournament play!  So, a table at home gives me peace and quiet, but I don't want that.  I would rather condition myself to playing under unexpected conditions around me, just like in a pool room.  Further, when we play at home we tend to not dress the same as when we would out in public.  Well, I don't want to practice in my slippers (as an example).  I really need to practice in the same shoes and clothes as I would wear in a tourney.  Don't get used to playing in the wrong conditions.

Day 30 of 30 Days of Thanks.  Today I am Thankful for all my fellow pool players who have read or commented on my blog and/or this Facebook page!  Means a lot we can share our pool journey together!  Hope these posts the last 30 days weren't annoying and instead even slightly helpful for your pool journey.  HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

Sunday, November 29, 2015

New Players and Future Matches

One of my friends played in her OB Cues Ladies Tour stop in early November.  Here Brittany and I are taking the always-required selfie:

After winning her first match, she came up to me asked me how her next opponent played.

"What is her name?"

"Terry something.  Terry P, I think," she shares.

I replied, "she has good days and bad days like the rest of us."


Terry is a BEAST!  She won one of the OB Cues Ladies Tour stops this year!  She is one of the top players, but I was not about to make Brittany nervous in her first tourney with the ladies.  I didn't want to shark her at all, I just wanted her to play pool!

I think we should all be careful how we describe someones' abilities to others.

If we tell someone, "oh they are easy, you can beat them" - That's actually pressure!  What if they start to lose, then they might be thinking "damn, I'm suppose to win," which adds more pressure and crazy thoughts in our head.

If you say, "oh, that player plays GOOD," then you have already defeated the player in their mind and they haven't even stepped up to the table yet!

I have defeated many players in big tourneys I had no idea who they were.  Once I knew, I was like oh shit!  I actually would have been nervous if I had known I was playing a top regional player.

I've seen so many players defeat a top player because they had no idea who they were playing. 

So, help your friends out and don't give them details of their opponents.  Just let them PLAY POOL.

(btw, Brittany defeated Terry and then afterwards I told her who she was.  She was like, "yea, she played GOOD.")

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Name in a BOOK?

Boy was I surprised to see my name in Phil's most recent book, Play Your Best 9abll and 10ball:

(click photo to enlarge)

"Longtime friend, Melinda Bailey" 


Phil and I have a great relationship and have a lot in common with our lives.  We are like lost souls and very helpful and supporting to each other.  I am HONORED to be called a friend.  

Friday, November 27, 2015

High School Billiards Program (video clip)

Check out one of the Omega Tour Players made the news!  William Howard, back when he was in high school.  I wrote about his awesome parents in a previous blog about a year ago.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

RIP Royce Bunnell

At a mere young age of 49, Royce Bunnell of OB Cues succumbed today to his injuries from a fatal heart attack that occurred on Monday.


I was honored to have Royce Bunnell as a scotch doubles partner in Vegas for BCAPL and we came in 5th and then 4th places out of over 400 teams those back-to-back years (2007 and 2008).  Royce always knew to make me laugh so that I would not be nervous - he was SO good at making me laugh and smile!  And he ALWAYS called me "Champ," even before I played good. 
We became great friends as I worked on his website for OB Cues over 8 years ago. 
Here he is in this pic from the the OB Cues Ladies Tour stop JUST back on Nov 8th.  I'm on the left, right next to him.  :(
You will forever be in my heart and soul and I will never forget you, Royce. 
May your family be surrounded by Peace, always.  You will be deeply missed.
 (click photo to enlarge)

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

"Biggest Win of My Life"

At the Season Finale of the Omega Billiards Tour, one of the good players who plays regularly on the Tour came up to the tournament table to give the result of his match. 

He gives me the score (he won 7-4) and then leans in towards me whispering (and kinda nervous-acting, but very happy), "That was the biggest win of my life.  Wow."

I look glance at the chart to see who he had been playing and he just defeated one of our top players on the tour, a local player who has lived in the area for years.

He continued, "I have so much respect for him.  So much.  I've admired him for years."

I replied, "That's a great win."

He shared, "I can't believe it.  I am shaking!"

It was so cool to hear the happiness from this player, as he reflected right after his big win - pretty much defeated one of the most respected top players in the area that he's known for years and years.

It was a really sweet moment that I was lucky enough to hear.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Gift from World 9 Ball in Qatar

One of the Omega Tour players went to the 25th World 9 Ball Championships in Doho, Qatar and surprised me and got me a gift!

It's a six ball key chain with the event title on it!  (click photo to enlarge).

It was SO cool to be thought of!

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Watched My Play and Slowed Down

One of my friends watched me play all my matches on the first day of the OB Cues Ladies tour stop at the beginning of November.  Oh, and also the first match of the day on Sunday.

I lost my next two matches, and he hadn't watched those.  So, I blame him.  JUST KIDDING.

He posted on Facebook afterwards that he learned some things from me, by watching me play (he had never seen me play before), so I was anxious to find out what it was.

I was hoping he saw me as the epitome of 3-ball shape, because I walk around the table before every shot to see where I need to be that would help me out best for the third ball ahead in sequence.  This gives the best chance for a run out.

Instead, he told me he learned from watching me that he needs to take his time.

He said that when it was his turn at the table, he would normally just jump up and go and shoot the ball.  After watching me and some of the other girls in this regional tour, he recognized that we don't do that.  We instead take our time to see where we need to be on the table, not just jump up and go shoot.

He said a player he spars with has been trying to tell him to take his time and it hit him like a light bulb after watching over that weekend, what his friend had been trying to tell him.

He was actually pretty excited to share with his sparring buddy, "Hey, I finally figured out what you were trying to say!"

And then he cashed in his first Omega tourney the very next weekend!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Personal Issues Set Aside as a Leader

As a Tournament Director, it doesn't really matter if I am upset with a player or not, I MUST be professional and treat everyone the same and with respect.

I fully admit I did not do this in the past in my 30s when I ran the OB Cues Ladies Tour.  I was upset at a female player that spoke bad about me behind my back.  Instead of talking to her to try and resolve the issue or find out what was going on, I instead (mis)treated her like I was taught as a child:  You ignore them when they have upset you.

It was NOT right or correct and looking back I see how wrong I was and I am downright ashamed for acting that way.  

I apologized to her many years later (TOO many years later, honestly) and we are now cordial with each other.  I found out it was all a miscommunication of why she was talking about me, but let's face it - anyone can talk about us and say what they want behind our backs; they have that right, really.  We don't have to like it, BUT, as a leader of an organization, I should have still treated her with respect instead of being hurt and acting like a child not talking to her.  I WAS WRONG.

So, fast forward to ten years and me now running the Omega Billiards Tour.

/personal feelings turned on/

So, I was running an Omega Tour stop about two and half years ago and I was very un-confident and overly concerned about myself as I had gained some weight.  Towards the end of the tourney, one of the regular players at the pool room and I were talking and I confided I was having some back spasms.  He replied, "well, maybe you should lose weight and that wouldn't happen."

To say I was mortified is truly and absolutely an understatement. 

I literally cried all the way home.

/personal feelings off/

About a year later, this guy started to play on the tour.   Yes, it sounds stupid but I was still hurt and couldn't forget how upset I was.  But, I am running an organization, and I had to be a leader and treat him with respect even though he hurt my feelings.  (sorry, but you can say a lot of things about/to a woman but weight should be off limits IMO.)

I admit (again) that at first I didn't really talk to him at all.  But then I put on my leadership hat and treated him like all the other players and at least would speak to him.  I also ALWAYS contacted him if he was on the standby list.  I never skipped his name, I was doing the right thing at all times, just wasn't really very friendly to him. 

But, I have changed that though and even say hi to him if either of us walk by each other and am very cordial with him now. 

I'm actually proud I have matured enough to recognize running the Tour comes before my personal feelings. 

Bottom line is, yes I have gained weight.  But, NO it's not a reason to not speak to someone who plays on the tour just because they helped point out my weight gain to me, lol.

Leader at all times, no matter what.

This is just one personal example.  There are a thousand other examples of situations that have or could come up where someone upsets us.  But, we have to put those feelings aside and still run the best organization we can.  And still treat everyone the same.  Running an organization is about the people, not ME.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Gift From the Heart - the Buddha

One of my dear friends was looking at chalk holders at the OB Cues Ladies Tour stop.

I walked by her and she stops me and says, "look how adorable" as she showed me this bright chalk holder with a Buddha on it.

I was like, "wow, that's cool."

I have been looking for more peace in my life and a Buddha sure does represent that.

Then the sneaky little b!tch surprised me and bought it.  She handed it to me a few minutes later (I had no idea) and I could NOT believe it!  How thoughtful!

I used it the entire tourney very proudly, and even placed 3rd out of 36 players in the OB Cues Season Finale!

Love ya, Julie! 

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Prepare to Compete - Routines

A lot of people ask my about my routine for tournament play.

SLEEP:  Well, honestly, THE most important thing for me to do to ensure I play my best is to get sleep.  SLEEP I say.  I don't really know what consistent sleep is in the last 5 years, but I can tell you the odds are more in my favor to play good when I get sleep, more than absolutely anything else I could do.

BREAKFAST: Honestly, whether I eat the morning of, doesn't matter.  If I do eat, I don't eat too much though - can't play pool on a full tummy.

THOUGHTS:  What am I thinking about?  What am I going to wear so that I feel COMFORTABLE.  Being in comfy clothes is key, too.

MUSIC:  I DO like to jam out to hip hop on the way to the tourney,  Jamming in my car and singing keeps me happy and joyful and not thinking, just enjoying the drive singing.

But again the most important thing for me to do to help me play my absolute best is to get sleep.  And not just the night before - a couple of nights before ensure you get good sleep.

Sleep can however sometimes be affected.  At my last tourney, I didn't get much sleep because one of my dogs passed away in my arms at home the morning of the tourney.   I was still on the winner's side on Sunday but obviously didn't get much sleep.  I won my first match.  Then I was playing for the hotseat match and in the middle of it it hit me like a tone of bricks, "Omg I'm exhausted."  I should have taken a break and gone and done some jumping jacks but it was a rough weekend and I admit I was content to be in a position to place 3rd (when I didn't really even want to play in the event in the first place).  My 3rd place is dedicated to lovely Izzy.  May she RIP.

But, get some sleep if you have the power to!  You'll thank me, I promise.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Ethics Versus Right or Wrong

What are you suppose to do when someone you are playing is about to shoot the wrong ball in 8 ball?

Do you be nice and stop them?

Do you not say anything at all and let them shoot and then you get ball in hand?

What if it's a friend?

What if it's just league night?

What if it's in league PLAYOFFS?

Or a big National tournament?

What do you do??

What is right or wrong?  What is ethical or unethical?

There isn't a correct answer, is there?

During one of my league playoffs, we were on the hill and the other team was making a charge as they were now only slightly behind.  My teammate had just fouled and her opponent got ball-in-hand and proceeded to shoot the wrong ball.  My teammate stood steadfast and didn't say anything.  Her teammates were practically jumping up and down because they could see she was about to shoot the wrong ball.

She shot it.

My teammate said, "foul."

Her opponent stood there at first confused.  Then STUNNED.  Then cried.... ;(

They lost.

I had this happen to me hill-hill at ACS Nationals in 8-ball b/c I didn't put the cueball behind the line.   My opponent let me shoot and told me sweetly (lol) "foul" and ran out for the 7-6 win.  It's like a dagger to your heart.

That player from playoffs, a dear friend of mine, was able to overcome the embarrassment and the feelings of let down of her team and played good for her team the rest of the playoffs. 

And I commended my teammate afterwards:  "That was a super tough decision there, wow."  She shook her head feeling absolutely horrible, "but it's part of the game and we were in a team event" she explained sadly.

Not easy. 

What would YOU do?

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Learn to Refocus

One HUGE thing I learned from being diligent about competing in tournaments was I found out how vital it is to refocus during a match.

I wrote about this before and I still think it's a huge, important thing (link here) to increasing your winning percentages. 

And I experienced this just the other day in league playoffs.

Basically, a match can go by in a instant!  And then afterwards, you think, "what happened?  why did I lose?"

Although you should always evaluate your game and learn after each match - how about after you miss a few times you ask yourself those questions right then and there (what's going on, why am I missing?).  Don't wait til after the match to finally realize why you were missing.  Figure it out before the match is over so you can try to resolve it.

Probably over 200 times over ten years after a match, I realized, "oh crap I was nervous" or "dammit I wasn't staying down" or you were worried about someone watching so you felt funny and were concerned more about that than focusing on three-balls-ahead-shape.

After a match, it's TOO LATE.  So the key is it REALIZE early that your game is off and to figure out why during the match so you can resolve it before the last ball falls and you lose. 

Sucks to figure out later what was going on. 

However obvious this sounds, it's really not.  It's really about training yourself to recognize that something is off.  As soon as you miss a few balls - what is different?  Why am I missing?  What am I thinking or doing?  And then resolve it - right then and there - to give you a better chance at getting back into the match at hand.

So during league playoffs, my opponent ticked me off b/c she said we didn't need a ref even though I wanted one.  It took me about 5 missed shots (in 8ball with a tough table, luckily) to realize I was missing because I was upset with her.  And since I was upset with her, how can I possibly focus on pool?  (multitasking is something our brain cannot do well - read another link here).

So, as soon as I realized what was going on in my mind and with my body being upset, I was able to refocus back on my fundamentals and not miss again to win for my team.  Can you imagine if you were in a race to 5 or 7 of a match?  Figuring out what is going on can easily get you back in the game even if your are down 0-2 or 0-3. 

It's normal to get distracted at times, the key is getting you back on track as soon as possible.

I got lucky I had time to regroup.  That's why it's important to really recognize right away that something is off so you can resolve it to give you a better chance of winning. 

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Played Like Me

The other day I was talking to a female captain of one of the ladies leagues. 

She was talking about the strengths of her players and also what they should work on. 

And then she shared that one of her players needs to work on being patient and see more of the strategy of playing 8-ball. 

She added, "I beat her the other night and I told her afterwards, "I beat you by playing like Melinda.""

I was like, "omg, really?"  lol.  But I admit that was such a huge compliment to me!

This captain knows how much I love the strategy of 8ball (her and I have practiced together a couple of times just talking 8ball strategy) and that is why I win almost 95% of my games.  I am always recommending Play Your Best Pool by Phil Capelle because it has helped me THE MOST with 8ball strategy.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

I Gambled

I gambled the other night. 

Yes, I'm just as surprised as you all are, lol.

I met a friend at a local pool room and while I was sitting there, an ex league mate was egging on this guy to play me. 

I don't know who the guy was, he didn't know me.  I offered him the breaks and he offered me the 8 ball playing 9-ball on a diamond bar table.  I heard he was good on the bar table, but I happen to love diamond bar tables.  :)

He asked, "since we don't know each other, do you want to play for $5 or $10 a game?"

I reply, "$10 is fine."

I had $50 on me and I decided that amount would be my limit to try to play this guy.

I had to borrow a cue!  I had no idea I'd be playing pool, or even be in a pool room this night, much less gambling lol.

We went back and forth for a long time, and even my league mate made fun of me because I wasn't pulling ahead or he saw that I was down a game a lot, lol.

Eventually, a few hours later, I pulled six games ahead and he quit, and I won $60.

But what's more important about this story is how GOOD it felt to play because I played really good.  A few people watching said to me, "I had no idea you played that well."  LOL. 

Sometimes I think that is the coolest thing to hear.  :)

Friday, October 23, 2015

Getting in the Zone is Not Key for Me

I read in Mental Toughness Training for Sports how to get "in the zone."  I read it in my mid 20s, and will never forget it. 

I have known how to do this for years.  Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.  But what I know now is even more valuable:   While everyone thinks getting in the zone is huge, I think being confident and being in control of your fundamentals are MORE important.

I prefer to have confidence in my abilities and to feel confident about them.  I prefer to know that staying down and following through is more valuable than being in the zone.  I prefer to know that having a smooth stroke and taking my time helps me make more shots.  I prefer to recognize that I need to breath under pressure.  I prefer to recognize that if I'm focusing on fundamentals, that also helps my mental toughness as well

Sure, being in the zone is amazing.  And it's a feeling like none other. 

But that cannot be achieved every time.  You know what can?   Knowing that staying down and solid fundamentals are what you can bring to the table every time.  Obviously, knowledge is KEY, also, but the combo - wow - is priceless. 

And THAT feels better than being in the zone.

I want to be clear.  BEING confident is one thing, but being confident and in control in your fundamentals is quite another.  It's one the best feelings in the world is focusing on staying down with a smooth stroke on every shot of a match. 

I recall how my ex boyfriend had a real big money match the following day that was set up.  He was playing a set for $5,000.  I was at home back in Texas and he was to play a guy in Alabama I think (this was 20 years ago).  *I* could not go to sleep.  I wondered, "how could he sleep and not wonder about the match or how it would go?  How could he not be nervous?"

I know now.  He was confident in his ability. 

I get more sleep before big events now than ever before.  I don't fret about how I might do or worry about it.  I don't get nervous because I'm the clutch player in all my team events.  Nope.  I sleep like a baby because I'm confident with my fundamentals and the knowledge of the game.

Zone?  pffft.  Even the best athletes in the world admit that they have only been in the zone a handful of times.  Wish I had instead the last 20 years the knowledge that focusing on solid fundamentals would win me more matches. 

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Steps Help with Pretending to be Drunk

One of the local pool room owners, when he first came into town decades ago, was going around town trying to hustle local pool players.

He would act drunk and hustle the money right out of their hands.

He tells this story much better and funnier than I ever could, but he went to this one local bar one night to see if he could make some money.

As he walked in to this bar he had never been to before, he had no idea there were stairs to walk down as you walk in the place:

(I took this pic during my ladies league one night)

So, as he walks in, he falls down the steps!  He didn't even have to pretend to be drunk - everyone already thought he was by the way he stumbled literally into the room!

But, it back-fired.  Usually you want to show you have been drinking after awhile, not right off the bat.  So, it actually hurt him - no one wanted to play him because they just thought he was super drunk, had no money, and didn't really want to play some serious games, so no one wasted any time on him.

He doesn't even drink at all, and he tried to tell the players that, but they weren't believing him at all, lol.

Oh to be the fly on the wall that night.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

PitBull Pool Agrees Competing is Important

I was shocked the other day when I received an email from PitBull Pool asking me to review an article entitled, "The Essential Guide to Pocket Billiards."

Me?  You want little ole' me to review it?

I figured there wasn't much I could add, but then I noticed while the article talked about body mechanics, fundamentals, different shots, a glossary, and types of games, it had a full section on practicing, but what about competition??

As you all know from reading my blog, I feel competing is one of the major ways to improve because you learn something (physical or mental) every single time you compete that you can't possibly get from just practice.

So, I wrote them back and shared that's the only thing I would add, but that it's a BIG addition (imo) to the wholeness of one's improved pool game.

And I noticed today they added a section about competing after my long-winded email:

While practice is a great way to work on your game and establish solid fundamentals, competing is also very important (even if you don’t feel ready). Earlier, I mentioned establishing mental targets, another way to think of this is mental toughness. According to Melinda, of Pool Journey, the only way to truly establish mental toughness is to compete in as many tournaments as you can. How do tournaments help solidify your mental toughness? Tournaments are full of distractions and noise, not to mention your own nervousness and embarrassment. The more you participate in tournaments, the more chances you will have to steady your breathing and shut out distractions. You’ll make mistakes, but with patience and dedication, you will be able to learn from those mistakes and continue to improve your game.

I am so honored!  And I am so thankful because I am such a HUGE believer in the more you compete, the better you will get faster than just practicing by yourself.

Now, let's go check out the other areas of their website.

Friday, October 16, 2015

How to Get Rid of Embarassment Feelings

During the Best of the Rest playoffs for my women's league, in the middle of the second day, during a tough, close match, I noticed one of my teammates walked briskly outside after she lost her match.

Being the person that I am, I went outside to talk to her and see how she was doing.

She sat on this cement ledge and was pretty much in tears.

I asked her what was going on and she wasn't sure.  She had just lost another match of the day, though, and was trying to figure out why.  She played timid today and didn't play like her normal self, but she couldn't figure out why.

And she was so upset at herself for losing because we were in a tough, close match now. I tried to explain to her that it is a TEAM event and that I personally had just lost a match, too, and so we had both contributed to the lopsided score.

She was in tears, "but I play better.  And now we are losing...." her voice trailed off and she had to look away from me.  She was sad, upset, and ashamed.  I felt so badly for her to be in such turmoil.

I told her we haven't lost yet!

She was then trying to figure out, while talking out loud with ideas, what the hell was going on with her.  Why was she missing so much.  Why was she not playing like usual.  After brainstorming together, she finally realized that she was embarrassed.  That something had happened earlier in the day and now she was not confident (like she normally is) and she was missing and worried what others were thinking or judging her.

I IMMEDIATELY shared with her what Phil Capelle shared with me when I went through this for a several brutal, tough months many years ago.

I told her the only way to get through this was to keep her mind busy.  You do that by thinking ONLY about your fundamentals, only about the balls on the table, only about what your options are on the table, only about staying down, and the execution of your stroke.  I explained that concentrating on those "items" keeps your mind preoccupied and wont give it enough space/time in your brain to feel embarrassed because it will be busy.

I know - embarrassment is a very negative feeling that can almost paralyze you.  IT SUCKS. lol.

She let the words sink in and then we had to go back inside to play.  Her and I were both up.  We both had to win our matches.  It was GO time. 

I looked over at her table and I saw her playing with more confidence and making more balls!  She wasn't timid anymore, she was in control and confident.  And she played GREAT - like she had the whole year.  After she won, she looked over at me and she was smiling SO big, and then she blew me a kiss with extreme happiness!  I don't think I've ever seen her smile with that much passion and happiness before!  She was ECSTATIC.

I won my game too and since that was the hill-hill game (that she handed to me to win because she won), we were still on the winner's side of the playoffs!.

I joked with her later that I helped her from jumping off the cliff to her demise (since she was sitting on that cement ledge that was 2 whole feet off the ground, lol).  She hugged me tightly and whispered. "thank you so much."

Hope this helps others someday, too!  Enjoy!

Here is another tip about reversing those feelings into positiveness (click here from a past blog entry).

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Believe - Temporary Tattoo

I wrote about this ladies team before, how they meet up to practice together, have their own facebook group page where they can share ideas and inspiration, and they pump each other up more than any other team I've ever seen.

I wrote how their shirts aren't just a design, but have a motto and encouraging words on them, too (click here).

So I should not have been surprised when one of the teammates on the final day of the Best of the Best playoffs shared with me this:

They all wrote the word "believe" on their bridge pinkies to show they have heart and to believe in themselves.

They were down 6-1 the previous weekend and came back to win.  They wanted to remember that faith and desire and how they never gave up, how the BELIEVED.

I LOVED this.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

No More Separation of Coinage

Now that I am not re-joining any of my previous leagues or new leagues, I no longer have to do this:

I had to separate my quarters from the rest of my change for years so I would have quarters available at league nights for the bar tables.


I actually feel like a guilty rebel what I'm about to do - mix them all together!

Thursday, October 8, 2015

GREAT Reminder (photo)

Saw this on a door of a pool room, as you walked out!

One of my league mates said, "That should be a on the door at home as a good reminder before I leave the house, too."  LOL

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Hill--Hill Win (diagrams)

Found myself on the hill-hill game for the second time in two weekends for my ladies league.

This particular match was more crucial as it was to see who would move to the finals or not.

Here is what happened in diagrams, I was strips.  Click any photo to enlarge.

I played safe and she did the correct thing and made my 9ball.  

I then had ball-in-hand and I tried to break out the 2/8, but failed to spread them apart like I wanted to do even with ball-in-hand on the 15 ball.

 I then decided to use the 12 ball to get shape for a short rail bank on the 8 ball.  

 I failed to get that shape and then had no choice but to bank the 8 in the cross corner.  I made it!

I was really trying a two-way shot - leave the cueball nestled up against her 2 ball in case I missed (it wasn't one of my favorite bank shots that I felt comfy with).  I did not accomplish that, so I got lucky I made the 8-ball for my team hill-hill.

We then found ourselves in the finals!  We lost that match because we were all so tired, but super proud we placed second again!  Second year in a row!