I have learned after playing on the OB Cues Ladies Tour for over 15 years, that each little baby step in the tournaments comes with a little heartache and disappointment.
I am seeing many guys go through this same situation as they play in more and more Omega Tour stops.
Since I run the tour, I see and hear a lot from the players. They remind me of myself when I tried to climb the ladder of the regional Texas ladies Tour.
You play a few years or times and you are "one out of the money" a lot.
My nickname, personally for myself, was "One-of-the-Money-Melinda."
Then finally a breakthrough!
I got in the money!
Sure, it was last spot that paid money, but I got that envelope finally, even it was only $25!
Then, your goal is to get in the money again.
Then to get further into the money.
Then, your little goal is to last until Sunday.
But, once you finally GET to Sunday, Sunday is a whole new different tourney it seems. You come in to the pool room and the caliber of players are MUCH better than all the ones you saw just the day before. It's more intimidating to see the good players left. They all made it to Sunday, too. And they are TOUGH.
I found that it was tough to win that first Sunday match, too.
Tough to last until Sunday on the winner's side, too.
I honestly think it was a bigger hurdle to win that first ever elusive match on Sunday. To finally make it to Sunday is one thing, but to keep playing well the next day and win a match (or more) seemed to be tougher for some reason.
Here's the heartache and disappointment part, though. You finally make it to Sunday but you fall apart and don't play well. I can't even begin to explain how awesome it feels to make it to Sunday, but then your nerves get to you and you can't even function enough to play pool, even half-assed, and you lose.
You finally make it! then you lose.
Or, you finally win that elusive match on Sunday and then lose to a weaker player due to mistakes and nerves, and you get ticked and upset about it all. You could have done so much better!
What you don't realize is EACH time something happens that does NOT advance you, helps you to advance in the future.
I would make it to Sunday (on the Ladies Tour) and then finally win several matches, then lose because of nerves trying to out-do my previous high finish.
Or, I'd finally be on the winners on Sunday but then lose because of expectations.
To win a match on the winners side on Sunday took a while.
And each loss, was really an accomplishment - it was one step closer to a better finish! But I never felt ecstatic about it. I still didn't feel good after my "best" finish yet. Why? Because I lost.
See what I mean?
I had made mistakes. I was nervous. I didn't play well like I had in the previous matches, etc.
But then you make more progress the next tournaments because you learned from those losses.
Next thing I found myself playing FOR the hotseat. I didn't win that match.
Then the next tourney, I advance to the hotseat for the first time!
And even those successes, comes other things to think about that get in your head. You relax. "I made it. I finally made it into the hotseat. Whew."
And the it's really your first time in the finals.
Crap, you don't play well. You might lose.
They say the second place finisher is the real winner because they learn SO much more than the first place winner ever will. and I believe this 100%.
So, don't get discouraged after each successful baby step because you feel like you faltered and should have done better. Realize it's a learning step for the next event. Realize that it's a process. Each step forward comes with a learning experience that will help you in the future!
So, letting you all know it's normal to feel bad after placing even better than before, even though it doesn't make sense sometimes.
(It just means you are learning.)