Friday, March 31, 2017

What Do You Want From Lessons?

Lately, several players have reached out to me for advice.  I am so honored they choose me to ask my thoughts.  And I so much enjoy talking about my experiences to help others.  Been wonderful!

One friend from another state may move to Dallas/Fort Worth and was asking me about lessons. Should he get lessons from a pro (and which one?) or go to a pool school-like place?

I gave my suggestion and then he had GREAT comments/questions and worded them so much better than I ever could about what he is looking for in a one-on-one couch, that I asked him if I could share.

Lucky for us, he said yes :)

He asked me:

"How is his demeanor?  Has he taught before?  The reason I ask is because I don't want to meet up to get lessons from someone who is an arrogant ass.  I won't have enough respect to give him my money.  I need constructive criticism from someone that wants to teach me something about this game.
For Example, when I do a side job at a customers house, adding lights, fans etc., I want them to be happy with the way I just made their home look and feel. The money is a benefit of me making them happy.   
I want a teacher that wants to make me a better player in their heart with the money being a benefit of that. They can honestly say to themselves I made him a better player!  With the money secondary.  It's a mind set good teaching has.  I think some one-on-one coaches don't feel that way; they just want money...bottom line.  And that's not what I'm looking for."

His comments show he isn't just looking for lessons for just anyone, he's looking for lessons from someone who will appreciate giving lessons and not just trying to make a buck or two.  While we may all think this already, I think it's more in the back of our minds.

Most importantly, the correlation to his job and making others happy (money being secondary) really drives home this great point.  I really loved this, and am so excited to share his perspective!

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Father Son Duo

Met an 11-year old up-coming pool player over the weekend that played in the Omega Tour stop.


Cool kid - played good.

He and his Dad were wearing similar shirts - with a cool story!

His son was "Omega" and Dad was "Alpha."  Alpha (Α or α) and omega (Ω or ω) are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet.  His Dad said his son, Alex, was the last one in the family who is playing pool, so he had these cool shirts made to share the story.

Pretty neat!

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Figure Out Misses Right Away

The trials and tribulations of our pool journey are what makes us who we are at present day in that journey.

When I first started to play pool, I'd leave the tourney with no thought about my matches, really.

As time went on, I started to care more, and therefore reflect more.  And so naturally I'd leave the tourney thinking about my horrible finish (errr, outcome lol).

As more time and dedication to the game went on into my journey, I started to reflect at the end of each tourney day.

But then things started to progress and as more time was spent at tournaments, I would think about why I lost a match right afterwards.  What was I doing wrong?  How come I practiced so well, but dogged my brains out during the match?  Etc.

As our game matures, so does our reflections and learning.  Eventually, I wouldn't just think in general why I lost, after matches I would be more specific, "oh crap, I wasn't staying down."  Or, "dang it, I was too bothered by outside influences and it was distracting me."

This is all GREAT progress!

But let me share what took me years to figure out, so you don't have to go through the long process that I went through lol.

AS SOON AS YOU MISS, figure out why.  Start to think about it right then and there!  Don't wait til you're down 0-6 to realize you aren't following through.  Don't wait til the match is over to realize why you didn't play your best.  DO NOT WAIT.

As soon as you miss - think about it right away and try to figure out why, what is going on?

For me, it's pretty simple (well, after trial and error for all those years lol).  I either am not staying down, not looking at the object ball last, not looking at 3-ball-ahead shape, or thinking about future consequences.

For example, if I am missing tough shots, it's normally because I have left myself tough shots which means I am out of line because I'm not thinking 3-balls ahead.

My match winnings significantly went up when I started to be more aware of figuring out as soon as I missed what was going on and why, so I could resolve it.

The key is to pay attention early and figure out what is going on right away.  Don't wait!

One of the biggest pieces of advice I like to share.  :)

Monday, March 27, 2017

Pool Playing Hazards

The hazards of playing pool.  This happened to Omega Player Steve Raynes during the Omega stop Saturday evening.

But the ingenuity of a quick fix!  Ha ha ha.   As they say, duct tape can fix anything lol.

Afterwards Steve said, "They are still really comfortable!"

And then later of Facebook: "That was my favorite pair of jeans. Rip."

Rip or RIP?  :)

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Neighborhood Pool Lovers

I was walking my ferocious rescue pit-bull, Lily, Monday around the neighborhood because of the awesome weather (high near 90) and I noticed a garage door open at one of the houses.


I heard a familiar sound as I walked closer towards the house, which was on the other side of the street.

As I got closer, yep, it was a pool table!  I was hearing the beautiful sound the balls make as they drop into the pockets.

I think it was a WalMart brand.  And that's okay!  The three guys in the garage were obviously new to pool (didn't hold their cues level at all) and in their early 20s.  They didn't care what table it was, they were happy to just play pool and have a table to play on.

I just sneaked a peek as I passed by and kept walking.

*Maybe* if I was an extrovert I would have yelled and waved my arms, "Hey, I play pool!"  lol.  But I'm not really one to talk about myself.  Heck, when people try to make small talk and say, "how about that weather?"  I just reply normally, and don't even open the door to let them know I'm a meteorologist.  lol

I just don't talk about myself to strangers whether an introvert or not hahaha.

I did walk by proudly, though, knowing they were playing pool.  Aww, the love of the game right in my neighborhood!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Billiard Buzz Interview: Robley Fontenot

As I mentioned in late January, I will be a regular contributor to the online magazine, Billiard Buzz.

In the Feb/March issue, I interviewed the awesome Robley Fontenot!

Check out his interview HERE.

Really enjoyed getting to know this fine player over the course of a few weeks of the interview process.  Enjoy getting to know him, too!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

ABR, March 16: Are you Being Watched?

I am now a regular contributor on American Billiard Radio (ABR).

Here is the latest: 

March 16:  I share the thought processes of those of who don't love playing on the stream table, against those who welcome playing on a stream table (and tell all their friends beforehand).  

Are you Being Watched?

Monday, March 20, 2017

Music To My Ears

Some songs really hit home with us, right?

Just as music can make us go back in time to when we were little, or think of loved ones who have passed, or think of current or previous love interests, so can certain songs take us back in time to certain pool instances in our lives.

On the way to work I heard Justin Timberlake's, LoveStoned, and it brought me right back to my dedicated practice sessions days.  I had a goal one time to practice at least 1-2 hours every week for one whole year by myself on a 9-foot table.  I had a certain playlist and listened to it every single time.  And the first song was LoveStoned, which is about an 8-minute song.   And very upbeat and "fun," too.

When I hear that song now, I remember vividly the dedication to the game I loved and how the effort and time I spent practicing really helped me become my future-self of a great player.

Funny how just a song can do that, huh?

I saw Justin Timberlake in concert in Vegas 2-3 of years ago.  If he didn't sing LoveStoned, I promised myself I would walk up to him on stage and kick him in the balls.  Luckily for him, he sang the song :)

A friend of mine all of a sudden will start to play lights out when AC/DC comes on while she's competing.   She would be more carefree and happy and had a spring in her step when the AC/DC songs came on.

I like hip hop music and I also get a little spring in my step and play more comfortably being able to sing the song in my head to some great hip hop, happy-to-me songs while I'm competing.

I remember VERY vividly the song that was playing when I won my first Fast Eddie's Tour stop - I was /almost/ singing it out loud, as I skipped around the table (not really skipping lol) and won my first-ever big tourney.  I had no awareness of anything else (I was completely in the zone) and so when I Can Transform Ya comes on by Chris Brown, I smile big and reflect on that awesome win.

Music has an amazing effect on us.   Sometimes it makes me change the channel, lol, other times it makes me turn the volume up!

We’re all familiar with how certain pieces of music can change our mood, get us  motivated, or help our concentration.  Enjoy the happiness is causes you inside when you play pool.  And, enjoy the memories.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Playing on Live Stream - Love it or Hate it

I find it very intriguing when players eagerly announce they will be playing a match soon on a live stream, yet others do not.

I am intrigued because I am one who does NOT want to share that information, so I'm curious why others do.  They seem to welcome the attention; while I shy away from it.

I would hardly ever let others know if I was about to play a match on the stream table.  I think it had a lot to do with confidence, but more so - increased embarrassment if I played bad.  I shied away from letting others know because I was scared of the negative ramifications.

I fully admit that I am not mentally strong.  Why?  Because I sometimes would start to play worse if I began to think about others judging my bad play, which means I wasn't focused on playing my best pool, right?  I do agree at the height of my pool career that I was mentally very tough and could deflect negative thoughts and focus solely on the shots at hand and not get distracted.  That's when I was winning a lot of trophies for those couple of years.  But, I still didn't share with people even then that I was about to play on the stream table.  I will also confide that's hard to be mentally tough every single match, every single tournament; it's truly exhausting.

My point is, during those trophy years (lol) I didn't mind I was on the stream and it didn't bother me, but I still didn't advertise when it was about it occur. But when I wasn't mentally strong or confident in my game, I would be nervous to be on the stream table.

I can tell you it's a pretty awful feeling to play badly on a stream, in front of everyone live on the internet for all to see.  There's not a worse feeling.  And, if you start to play bad and then add to it by thinking about all the people watching you play bad, everything goes downhill.  And it just becomes a car wreck. 

Just last month a friend of mine lost 0-7 in a match that was streamed live.  Her heartbreaking reflection right after was, "How do I recover from that?"

Instead of guessing on this blog post why some people easily announce they are about to play on a live stream, I decided to ask one of my friends about this!  No reason to sit here and try to guess - let's find out for sure!

My dear friend, and fellow player, Tina (Pawloski) Malm, is one who always advertises when she is about to play a match on a live stream.  Every time I would see this I thought, "Wow, look at her.  How is she able to do that so easily?"

And this is what she said during our great convo about the topic:

She said she figured out that her friends WANT to see her play.  Whether she plays good or bad, they still support her and want to see her play pool on a live stream.

She continued, "my friends are my biggest supporters.  And when I didn't tell them I was on a stream, they would ask me about it later and tell me they wished they had known.  I then started to let my friends on Facebook know ahead of time when I would be on a steam table because they like to watch me play."

I asked her, "but.... but... what if you play bad?"  (thinking of how I feel when I play bad in front of people)

She replied, "I just shake it off.  I know I don't play well every time; I know I can't win every time.  And I don't think about what others are thinking of me.  Do I want to win every time?  Of course. But, I know I will have some off days and I also know my friends still care about me, no matter if I play bad or not, win or not. "

Here is what is intriguing to me about her last statement:  She knows her friends still care about her and want to see her play no matter if she wins, losses, plays good, or plays bad.  Why is my mental makeup so different?  If anything, I worry about being embarrassed about playing bad in front of others.  Is it because of all the negative experience of crappy comments I have received in the past after matches?  Is it because I am not mentally strong enough yet every single match?  WHAT?

What I DO know is I love her perspective and welcome the attitude she has about it.  I think we can all learn from her thoughts and I'm very thankful she was happy to chat with me about this.

Here is another interesting thing:  I stated above, "I can tell you it's a pretty awful feeling, though, to play badly on a live stream, in front of everyone live on the internet.  There's not a worse feeling."

Pretty drastic difference comparing my concerns with her lack of worry about playing badly on a live stream.

Intriguing, huh?

She also shared another perspective and example.  She said she has a friend that plays a lot in different tournaments and although she isn't a top shooter, she still enjoys to watch her friend play on the live stream.  As she put it, "What else would I want to be watching on the weekends?  A friend playing pool is perfect."

I love her perspectives and thoughts!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

McLlroy Quote About Leads

From August 2014, during the PGA Championship:   Rory McIlroy (Professional golfer) comments we can all learn from:

"Look, I went into protection mode once in my career, and it was the 2011 Masters," he said. "That didn't work out very well. So I said to myself, 'I'll never do that again.'"
Comfortable now with the lead, he said his game plan for the weekend was to try to put as much distance between him and his pursuers as he possibly could. 
"If I'm two ahead, I'm going to try to get three ahead. And if I'm three ahead, I'm going to try to get four ahead. And if I'm four ahead, I'm going to try to get five ahead," McIlroy said. "I'm just going to try to keep the pedal down and get as many ahead as possible."

Reminds me of something I read YEARS ago in a magazine when Jeanette Lee said her goal going into every match was to defeat her opponents 7-0.

Both of these players are sharing a signification insight with us - their great mentality of a killer instinct.  Further, both players think this way before they even step foot in the arena or on the golf course. They think of these things ahead of time - major killer instinct, baby.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Fundamentals Rule

I held a lesson the other day on 8-ball strategy with a friend.  She has been frustrated with her game and wanted a little boost.

Her safes are a mean son of a @itch and she was a tough opponent for those 3 hours on the beautiful Diamond Bar Table at Rusty's Billiards in Arlington, Texas.

I hadn't played pool in so long, I missed ball-in-hand the very first shot!  LOL!

But, the bad play didn't last long - I played so good and ran out so well while staying down, makes me wonder sometimes why I am trying to step away from this game.


Felt great I can still play well, even after taking almost a year or more off of playing regularly/often.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Personalized Towel

A friend of mine made a personalized pool towel.

She showed us all on Facebook her materials before she started:

Then she showed us her masterpiece:

I pointed out to her that she bettr be careful, as players will start making requests!  It was super cool!

And then she texts me this surprise:

She made me a blue M!  Omgoodness, I couldn't believe it!  And I loooooove it :)

Thank you, T!

Friday, March 10, 2017

Cue Case Gift Surprise

The other day I received a message that someone wanted to send me a gift that someone had ordered for me.  I quickly gave them my work address, as you never know with these stalkers nowadays :)

And I was COMPLETELY caught off guard!

Omega Billiards Supply bought me a case!  BUT!  They handed the hot pink case to fellow player, entrepreneur, and artist Tam Trinh (Mz Tam) so she could get her creativity grove on.  And boy did she ever!

She took a plain hot pink case, stalked my Facebook page, and created THIS amazing gift:  My first-ever custom cue case!

She added a bling elephant (bling for me, duh!, elephant in honor of my Mom), and also a blue M in beads (hello M!):

And she added all of the black cue design over the case as well!

And she creates pool case sleeves and check out what she made for me:

I can't thank Mike Hoang of Omega Billiards Supply enough for thinking of me and getting me this case and then stepping it up to have fellow artist player Mz Tam to turn it into a custom case for me!!  My first custom case, and I've been playing pool for over 25 years.

I am speechless.

THANK YOU, Mike Hoang!!

I sincerely suggest you check out Omega Billiards Supply for all your pool needs, and then when you want any of it custom, contact Mz Tam.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Article Knocking

As a Tournament Director I get a lot of complaints.  A lot of kudos, too, but also some complaints/concerns.

I heard this the other day:

"Well, since you sent the article in so quickly after I won the Omega Tournament, now people know who I am."

I replied something like, "Come on, everyone knows you already and they can look up your Fargo Rating by name anyway."

He laments, "I was hoping to sneak around for a little while longer.  And I have a big tourney this weekend."

Sneak?  Everyone around Texas and Louisiana already knows him, and he only plays tournaments.

I tried to express everyone already knows who he is, but he really seemed to think that article hurt him.  And I suppose to did up his calcutta bid during his next big tournament because they did announce he had just won the Omega, but still.... isn't that a normal cause and effect?

Although I felt a little bad about it, I then wondered, if you are worried about people knowing who you are, then why are you playing in the Omega in the first place and snapping it off?  lol

It's funny, when I don't send in the article timely, I get complaints.  When I do, I get complaints.  I already know I can't make everyone happy, but I was honestly taken aback because he already plays so good and his really high Fargo Rating proves it.  I was surprised he was even concerned about the article.

Some players are ecstatic of their write-ups and announced accomplishments, others, I guess not.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

What a Chat Led To

I mentioned that I am now a regular contributor of American Billiard Radio.

My purpose is to contribute by chatting about a topic I've written about in my blog.  And my goal is to help at least one person each time I'm on the program.

Simple goal, right?


But, I never really know what I am going to talk about and sometimes decide on the fly what the topic will be for that day.  I try not to spend a lot of time thinking about it, I'm much much better on my feet.

So when David Bond (the host) contacted me late last Thursday, I looked at the topics from the recent week of blog topics from my blog to figure out which one might be good to chat with him about:
Every topic was actually interesting and I really wanted to talk about them all, lol, but I decided on "Talking After You Miss."

Basically, I explained that after a player misses, the extroverts (more than the introverts) sometimes don't sit right down in their chair, and instead make small talk to someone in the crowd, and that's not really fair.  Although not normally intentional, it's still a distraction to your opponent.

I told David, "let's say I'm the introvert and you are the extrovert..."  And I went on to explain that when he, as an extrovert, talks to someone in the crowd after he misses it's actually a distraction to me who is now at the table trying to shoot.  Further, he doesn't even realize that it's really not fair he gets to talk to someone, because in reality it can have a calming effect to vent.   And yet I sit down and take care of my emotions internally.  Further, after I miss I give him the courtesy of being quiet and not talking to others.

He then shares that he is indeed actually an extrovert (I didn't know lol), and that now he felt bad reflecting on the topic because he's prolly done this in every tournament he's played in!  LOL.  He felt so badly about it, he labeled the episode, "Are You Rude?"

Are Your Rude? 
Tonight Mr. Bond chats with Melinda Bailey, author of Pool is a Journeyabout "table talk" and how it may effect your opponent during a match. Did we forget how to be courteous to our fellow players? 

I got quite tickled that I indeed helped at least one person DURING taping!  lol.

Check out the broadcast for yourself HERE.

We talked more about it after the taping ended and he really was affected by the topic and wondered if he bothered a lot of players unintentionally all the years.  Poor fella.  RUDE.  Just kidding.  :)