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!

No comments: