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!

Monday, October 5, 2015

Scared of Me?

During my ladies league playoffs last weekend, the toughest player told me she was scared of me.  That's pretty funny because I used to be scared to play her!

She is a good friend of mine now, but I was always intimated by her.  Well, everyone is intimidated by her, lol.  She plays jam up and has the attitude to back it.

She's a beast on the table.  And off the table if you don't know her, she's intimidating as well.  Once you get to know her and become a close friend, she is one of those friends-for-life type of people who would drop everything to help you out.  And she genuinely cares for her friends - no fasleness going on at all.

So, to hear she was scared to play me, was her way of complimenting me, after she beat me Sunday.  She said, "And I ain't scared of nobody!"  lol

She's sweet :)

Friday, October 2, 2015

Foul Language Alert, but Clean Hit (video)

From my Tuesday league a couple of months ago - one of the best jumpers I've ever met, my teammate Mike Stankiewicz