Wednesday, November 30, 2016

4-Ball Run Video Review (Amos Bush)

4-ball run?  What's the big deal?  Ahh.... but so much to see in just running these 4 balls.

Hopefully this helps even one person see maybe some things we hadn't considered before:

Monday, November 28, 2016

Remembering Connie O'Heron

I was very sad to hear of Connie's passing earlier this month.  She was a fierce competitor and yet the nicest woman at the same time.

She'd kick my ass, and then I'd give her a hug because she did it so eloquently because she was so dang sweet.

As I have been away from tournaments, I did not know she had been sick with cancer.

I remember her as this:  (3rd on the right, standing next to her daughter).

She loved every minute of pool and she had such a great talent for the game.  While I hated to run into her on the table, I loved seeing her smile in the aisles as we would pass each other and give smiles and waves.

She will be terribly, terribly missed.

I can't fathom what her daughter and family are going through.    May they have peace.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

City Council Experience

I attended my first-ever City Council meeting earlier this month!

Can you say Mayor Bailey?  lol

Although I live in the Dallas-Fort worth metro-plex, I physically live in a very small city so we have our own small city hall, with a Mayor, and once a month they have city council meetings.

It has been on my (what I thought would be a very distant) to-do list to attend one of these to get more involved, and I finally had the time to attend my first time.  I attended more readily because my next door neighbor is the mayor and that helped break the ice walking into something completely new - I wasn't alone and sat with his wife.

It was a pretty interesting experience to say the least.

And ironically, it's just like running an Omega Tour!  Meet once a month, some people give kudos, some people get upset, issues are looked into or resolved, and it's for the people.


Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Do You Influence with Info?

I have been working on a the last couple of months looking into adjusting a few players' handicaps on the Omega Tour to reflect more their known ability.  This would take place starting with the new 2017 Season in January.

After careful and many discussions, the Board and I decided after research and evaluation, that the Fargo Ratings are the best way to go.

I had been losing sleep over all the complaints about certain players and wanted to do something about it, and using the Fargo Ratings is the way to go.  Every person the Board considered moving up did indeed move up when we looked at the cut-offs for the handicaps for the Fargo Ratings compared to the Omega Tour.  It was quite remarkable.

And as one player told me,
"Players will complain about anything. But the biggest complaint I always heard about the handicapping for Omega before was that there wasn't a set methodology to determining a players handicap.  Now there is, so it'll come down to them whining about Fargo and not the decision makers on the tour.  There are some people who moved around but I think overall they were all moves in the right direction."
I had known about this new change (using Fargo Ratings) and had a lot of background information provided by Mike Page of FargoRate and was ready to announce this but wanted to wait until after the Season Finale so we could flush a few more things out and get some graphics that explained well the system/criteria.

But there I was Sunday morning of the Omega looking around the room and saw a few key players that I knew would be moving up come January.

I knew I wouldn't say anything to them, but I DID wonder what effect that would have had on them?  Would they have be consumed that they were going up in Jan and in-consequence not perform that well by being distracted by the news?  Or, would the info propel them to try even harder this one last event at a lower ranking?  (that's pressure in itself, tho, and can back-fire)

One player told me after he finished the tourney that he things it will push him harder to do well being ranked higher (as he knows he needed to be moved up).

Still - interesting, huh?

Such a mental game!  And I didn't want to affect the players in any way with the new news.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Ego Breaking

I wrote a few months back how a friend of mine pulled me aside to talk to me about my break.  It wasn't a solid break because my stroke was all over the place.  I didn't put a lot of dedication to the strokes (like I have with all my other shots/stroke)... and I needed to do that on the opening shot he reminded me.

That same player, went hill-hill with a tough player on Sunday last weekend of the Omega Tour Season Finale.  He was down 0-4 and came back hill-hill.

He confided that when he broke on the hill, that he had too much adrenaline and wanted "to be the hero" and instead of breaking like he normally does (solid and controlled), he broke too fast and hard... and the cueball flew off the table.

That gave his opponent ball-in-hand and he consequently ran out.

He was very forthcoming with what happened and took full responsibility. He knew right away what he did, why he did it, and he was reflecting on the tough loss.

This blog points out two important things:

  1. Remain calm and try and stick with your normal stroke during all shots even when under pressure or anxious.  We tend to shoot faster - instead, stroke more to slow yourself down a tad.  (read more here)
  2. Reflecting right away about what happened will be HUGE for your game (as it will for his for the very next time he's in this situation).  Learning and reflecting after each match is crucial for your future self in future tournaments.  It goes A LONG WAY.  

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Raised My Voice

I wrote just last month how a friend of mine suggested that I'm too nice sometimes to the players of the Omega Billiards Tour that complain a lot or cause issues.  My response and explanation I shared in this blog post (appropriately entitled:  Tournament Director Punching Bag) stated:

"I am of the opinion that it's not me being too nice, instead I am in a leadership role.  I am showing empathy and showing respect.  I am treating the players like I am a friend or maybe a mentor, and show understanding and let them talk and express themselves.
I think it's like running a business or being a supervisor.  And I wouldn't bitch out my employees or treat them with disrespect if they were upset.  I would show empathy, listen, offer advice (if a good moment to do so), etc."

Well, he was right.... I am too nice.  And, this past weekend I wasn't nice.

While I want to pat myself on the back for being the nice leader and treating everyone with empathy and respect, I found myself instead raising my voice over the past weekend.  I had two players "lay into me" and I couldn't take it anymore just standing there being a "punching bag," and I finally reacted.

I finally got fed up and raised my voice back at them.  Unfortunately the "discussions" were back-to-back so that didn't help matters at all.  While I might have HATED that I raised my voice, the reactions from the twp players were something I hadn't planned on:  they each stopped bitching at me as I "retaliated" and defended myself.

Basically, I let them vent to me for a while and just tried to be nice and calm in response, but inside I was upset and honestly, fed up.  I finally just couldn't take it anymore and raised my voice in defense of the tour and the decisions.  And told those two players that if I had the control to make things better, I WOULD.

I can't control mistakes, I can't control if a table rolls off;  there are just some things I can't control.  I feel like I am trying so hard and to get beat up on is tough to take sometimes.  If I could fix any of their concerns, I expressed to them passionately and with frustration that I would in a heart beat.

Because I was verbally abused for 25 years, I DESPISE raising my voice.  However, I simply couldn't handle the complaints, grumbling, and bitching at me any more.

I am disappointed in myself for raising my voice.  But I couldn't take being a punching bag that morning.  I just find it ironic, weird, and confusing that raising my voice finally stopped them from bitching at me.

Don't worry, this experience wont cause me to raise my voice a lot, lol.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

To League Or Not to League

...That is the Question.

While I have enjoyed not playing league for the last year or so, when I watched a whole day's worth of league playoffs, it did hit me I might want to get back in.

This particular league has a lot of benefits to me personally.  The most important one is it is NOT a traveling league and it is fairly close to my house.

However, I just don't know what to do.

I should write a list of pros and cons to help my un-decisiveness lol.  

I do think it would be good for me to get out more.  And I have the itch to play again and when I do, I can tell my game is off from the lack of play.

However, I still adore the non-committalness since I don't play any leagues.

What seems like a tough decision is really not an easy one for me.  Do I play again, or do I not?  Do I be around smoke?  Or do not worry about that and be around friends?   Why do I want to play?

Decisions, decisions.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Helping Others Through My Blog

I started my blog for myself.  It was easier to type online than write out my thoughts on paper.  It became my new pool journal.

Eventually I opened up my blog to a few friends.  Then they suggested I open it to the world (lol).  I was very hesitant, but eventually did.

But, what has happened through sharing my learning experiences is, a lot of tips, learning experiences, tough lessons, or key lessons other players are reading about.

It is so freaking cool when someone mentions my blog, or one of my topics, or something I wrote about.

But what makes me most happy is to see that my LONG pool journey and sometimes tough learning experiences, others are learning from.  I can profess certain things til I'm blue in the face, but when people act on it and work on things little 'ole me mentions, I get super tickled!

It took me 20 years to be the competitive player I am today.  I am thankful to help others through the pool journey we are all on together!

The reason I share all this today is because a fellow player from the Internet World reached out to me again and emailed me this:

One of the things you mention in your columns is about getting experience in more events to help you with your game, particularly the mental side. 
This past weekend we had a local 'fun' mini tournament. There were three person teams and each person played a game against one player on another team. It drew a different crowd than our normal tournaments. It was more casual but teams still playing their best. My team came out 2nd of 16 groups. It was non-handicapped. I'm glad to have that experience.  
This coming weekend I'm stepping out of my element though. Going to play 9-ball in an out of town tourney, handicapped. I'm a 5 (5 lives matter) and I know there will be a number of 8s and 9s in the tourney as well. We have four 8s from my league going and I was talking about it with them and thought you know what? this is exactly the kind of step I need in my game to keep improving. But without the confidence I see you speak of in your posts, I wouldn't be sure that I'd be ready for this. But I'm going to go there and do my very best and not fret over results. 
Wish me luck and thanks for the inspiration!

Made my whole month!  :)  It's very crazy that I might be an inspiration to others or that "without the confidence I see you speak of in your posts, I wouldn't be ready for this.... "

Wow, just wow.


Friday, November 11, 2016

Standing in Front of the Light

I hear a lot things being a Tournament Director.

This particular instance still has me  a tad baffled.  Baffled as in, what would I have done in this situation?

A player reports his score to me and says, "I won hill-hill."  And then he pauses, thinking, and adds, "I think my opponent is mad at me."

I look up from the chart and ask him, "why?"

He shared, "Well, we were playing by the window and he was shooting the 9-ball.  The glare was bad from the sun through the window and he asked me if I would stand in front of the sun."

I asked him, "well, what did you do?"

He says, "I told him no!"

I then asked, "had you two been stepping in front of the sun during the match?"

"Nope.  And that was the only time the whole match he asked."

Even to this day as I am typing this up a month or so later, what what I do in that situation?  Could I live with myself (you know what I mean) if I decided yes and lost or decided no and won?  Could I sleep at night peacefully if I didn't help out a fellow player who asked for help?

The thing about the decision is - it can haunt you not matter what.  You say no even though it may be right, but it's not a comfortable decision.  You say yes, and then you lose hill-hill.


Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Watching And the Effects

I eluded that I was helping a friend by sparring with her a few times before a big state tournament.

She mentioned a couple of weeks later that she was going to play league playoffs and I surprised her and showed up to support her and her team last Saturday.

I didn't think much of it, really.  I show up, I watch her play, I go home.

Well, let me be honest, there is A LOT to this situation that I hadn't considered.

As I walk in, I sit over by her team and everyone else I know there is poking fun of me to sit in the middle between teams, as it looks like I'm playing favorites.  lol.

I'm not there even 15 minutes and my friend is up next in the line-up and has to play a game for her team.  Little did I know it was the hill-hill game.  That can be pressure, I don't care who you are.

As I'm watching her play this game, it hits me pretty strongly.  OH SHIT, am I a distraction?  Will she be able to play in front of me?  Or will she be wondering, "What would Melinda want me to do?"  Or, would my presence remind her to walk around more (one thing we talk a lot about).  Or would she be thinking about not making a mistake in front of me?

I am happy to report she BROKE AND RAN!  For the team win, too!  Pretty awesome to always witness that :)

After her well-deserved accolades from her team (and the other team), I waited a bit and then we chatted about this very thing.

"Uh, did I bother you?"

She shared that she was aware I was there, but it didn't bother her.


She then said if she did something wrong, she knows I would say something.  I expressed that when it comes to shots, I wouldn't say anything because I wouldn't want to put any negative thoughts in her head about what I might be thinking.  I would, however, offer any type of pre-shot help though - you rushed that shot or didn't stay down (for example).

But more so, she already knows what shots she should and shouldn't do, even if she doesn't choose the shot.  Which I love about her awareness of the table already.  So because of that, there's not really a way for me interfere negatively with her mental game if I'm watching from the sidelines.  Whew!

I should have told her right up front that I wont talk about any shot unless she is curious about something that happened during a game and she asks me about it.  Otherwise, I'm not there to second guess, I'm there just to support and watch and be near my friend.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Pre-Shot Routine is a Habit

A friend of mine lost his chalk holder one Saturday night during a big tournament in October.  However, he didn't realize it until the next morning when he was about to play his first match of the day on that crisp Sunday morning.

It's the type of chalk holder that has a long end, where you can tuck it in your pocket, and the chalk hangs out.  Kinda like this:

I remembered another friend asking me if I knew who's this was, as he had found the chalk holder that Saturday night on the floor.

I immediately texted my friend Sunday morning, "Hey, I found out who's chalk holder that is and he needs it back."

The player said he would be okay that morning without, but I knew how uncomfortable he would be all day.  I knew that if his pre-shot routine included him tucking his chalk holder in his pocket after every shot (which he does), then he would be doomed....

Habits are hard to break.

And your pre-shot routine is a huge habit.  If that habit is broken or altered, it will very most likely affect your play just by the distraction of not doing something you've been doing every shot for years.

The player did not get his chalk holder back that day, but will at the next tournament.  He told me he has had it for 10 years or something and it means a lot to him.  Can you imagine a pre-shot routine for 10 years and then one day you have to change that routine?  

Here is another important point:  IF that did not affect his play, then he needs to work on his pre-shot routine.  Pre-shot routines are essential, critical parts of our game.  The more routine it is, the better chance we have at focusing on the ball in front of us the same every single shot.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Funny Team Names

I love looking through the brackets of team events.

Team events are kinda tough to follow if you don't know who is on what team, but sometimes I just like to look because the names make me Laugh Out Loud.!
Check out this group of names I saw from Texas ACS State just last month in October:

(click photo to enlarge:)

It still might be tough to read, but here are some of the men's team names on just this portion of the chart that made me laugh at their cleverness!

We Can't See
Lucky Cowboys
G Spots
Usual Suspects
Slow Death
Wild Misfits
Los Borrachos (which is actually my old team and it means "The Drunks", lol)

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Omega Tour Purpose Reminder

I have struggled a lot in my life the last few years with "purpose."  Well, I have eluded before that running the Omega Tour is one of my true purposes right now in my life.

And when I read things like this, it reinforces this elusive thinking for me:

(Click photo above to enlarge)

Omega Tour player George Merchan said:

"I had two main goals coming into this years Omega tour. Don't go 2 and out, place in the money for at least one event, and crack the top 50 by the end of the year. Done, done, and done. I'm excited about what I'm going to accomplish in 2017 "

I responded:

"Congratulations, George! This is one of the many reasons having the Omega Tour for the players in DFW means so much!"

I started the Omega Billiards Tour along with Mike Hoang of Omega Billiards Supply and we both wanted to provide an avenue that allows all levels of players to play the game they love to improve their skills and where they can make some money at it, too. 

It's been a dream come true for me personally, and the tentacles of the tour have spread throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex billiard community.  As Mike has always said, starting this tour helps not just the players want to improve and play more, but also has impacted positively the billiard businesses in the area.  From increased attendance at pool rooms to the needed table mechanics to the billiard supplies, etc.

George placed 43rd this year out of ~230 players, and that's with missing 2 stops, too.  

GREAT job, George!  And thank you for the lovely reminder about the purpose of running the Omega Tour (and of my life).