Friday, December 29, 2017

Danielson's 2017 Year!

Danielson had his best year of the last three years on the Omega Billiards Tour.  I joke it's because of me - you know because I was giving him mental advice starting in the Spring.  But, alas, I suppose I should give some credit because he was the one who was actually shooting in the matches and competing in the games.  haha

Let's go over his stats real quick, and you will be very excited for him!

In 2015 he played in 6 stops of the Tour and cashed only one time.  That means 5 of the events he never lasted until Sunday.  He ended the year ranked in the 60s.

Last year (2016) he played in 8 stops of the Tour and did not one time cash or last until Sunday.  Not one!  Poor guy.  Because he played 2 additional stops, he did finish the year ranked in the 40s.

This year was spectacular!  Presenting 2017 stats:  He played in 12 stops and cashed/lasted until Sunday 6 out of 12 events!  This is a HUGE transformation and improvement!  He went from no money to cash money, baby!  And he finished the year ranked in the mid 20s in the end-of-year standings!

We started to talk about the mental game in March/April and in the April Omega Tour stop he cashed for the first time in two years.  And then went on a great run.

What did we talk about?  Just about many aspects of mental toughness, really.  Why some feelings of pressure interfered with performing his best, how he can overcome mental obstacles, etc.  All the topics are HERE.  You are welcome to read them for yourself.  There are gems in there!

I am glad he had the idea to share his progress and learning experiences with you all.  I think it shows how valuable it is to talk about the mental game, the what and whys of why things happen, and the feelings/pressure that can affect us (or not).

Danielson's stats not only rose, but I noticed his thoughts and words did, to.  In the beginning he was more worried about how he should finish and what people thought about him.   At the end of the year he said inspirational things that impressed me, and proved how far he had come in his maturity of the game and his mental toughness.  Like this he said after his final tourney in 2017:  ”3 things you should never take with you to a tournament:  fear... compassion and expectations.  All of these will get you beat before the lag."

After hearing that, i suggested he start blogging himself!  He said, no... he's leaving that to me, lol.

Danielson wanted me to share this with you all:

"I want the readers to know that all these things didn't get me back on track... it got me ON track.  From countless 0-2s to winning my first 5 matches and making it into the money consistently.  This wasn't a stepping stone... this is a major milestone."

Danielson finished in the top 20-25% of almost every tournament he played in this year, not just on the Omega Tour.  That's a heck of a feat!  And proves how much he has improved.  Also proves just how effective mental toughness is to our sport.

CONRATS Danielson!

And don't worry - the series will continue into 2018 for all you fans!

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Effective Teams are the New Successful Business Model

Another leadership post!  Stop reading now if you hate to read about leadership in my blog, and save yourself some time.  Or, if you are like most motivated peeps, read on :)

I have learned the most about leadership through my job - through classes, required reading and on-the-job training that has led to leading and running well the Omega Billiards Tour. 

But, the overall success of running the Omega Billiards Tour was several key things that helped:
  • I multi-task very well
  • Those leadership classes at work
  • Am extremely consciousness about duties (e.g. writing articles timely, updating standings right away, posting photos right after event, etc all on website and Facebook)
  • Had 9 years of experience running the OB Cues Ladies (/Hunter Classics) Tour 
All 4 of those things combined created the person in me to be able to run the Omega Tour well.  I have heard I have created a great foundation for the new Tour.  Which leads me to my topic today.

I just read this article passed on to us from one my boss's at work.  Long story short it discusses how an effective and trained teamwork of teams is the new leadership model, in lieu of the single leader running a business.  Success has transitioned to effective and powerful teams.

And the new tour in Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) will be run by a team of individual experts all working together to run the new tour:  the DFW 9 Ball Tour.  

I had several people help me AT the tournament stops (run the brackets, photographer, stream, etc), but all the behind the scenes work was a solo act.  Looking back, it probably wasn't the best idea to do all that myself.  But in the end, it really was ideal as it allowed me to step away completely and transition the Tour to someone else.

I am very excited that a group of players will be running the new Tour.  That will help any overwhelm-ness, fatigue, and the load will be shared by all.  I LOVE this idea and am very excited for the players in DFW to have this new tour to play in!

Teamwork, Baby!

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Sparring on Video

My friend Tina and I had a sparring session yesterday.  I really love our time together - it's nice to get to know her better every time we play.  She has a great heart and soul, and I love learning from her about life-things.

Then it's time to hit the table and get good practice in!

When we spar, I talk about shot selection - reasons why to go for outs or why not, lol.  We talk about runs, break outs, safeties, etc.

We mentioned in passing a few times in the last year about video taping our sessions.  So, I finally came through with our idea, lol.  I brought my camera tripod that my friend Janet gave me last year as a Christmas present, and I captured 10 games on video this day.  But, am only showing one right now.  Main reason is I miss in most of the other games lmao!  And the other reason for not showing more right now is Tina hasn't even seen them yet.  So, need her permission first.  Gots to be proper, ya know.  So, since this one mostly shows me, I figured I was safe.

On the video, you can hear me (hopefully) talking about why I chose stripes and some of the difficulties that were on the table.  I happened to somehow run out this game; not sure how - especially considering I made it tough on myself lol.

One more thing - this is a great example of why I like to practice in the pool room.  Normal distractions all around us, like in a real tournament.  You can hear people around us and even see someone talk to me during the run.  I love it!

Friday, December 22, 2017

Top Golf and Pool

I went to Top Golf a couple of weeks ago for the first time.  It was a lot of fun!  I highly recommend going with fun friends if you ever get the chance.

Here I am trying to earn points for my team:

I also went downstairs snooping around and look what I found:  Other ways to make money!  (j/k, I didn't hustle anyone).

Really cool colors and looked like great shape! 

I just love it when random places have pool tables.  All helps our sport, right?

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Male Vs Female Spending

I had an interesting conversation last weekend with one of the managers of a pool room.

He mentioned to me the difference between male and female pool players and their spending habits of a tournament weekend. 

Here's the kicker - not their spending habits during a tournament, but after the tournament.

As we stood there and talked on Saturday night of the 2-day weekend tournament, there was a ton of players still there (male players), even though they were already out of the tournament.  They were hanging out with theirs friends and drinking, watching/betting on gambling matches, or gambling themselves, as there were a couple of sets going on and also a ring game.

He told me that the female players don't really stick around.  And he's right!  I don't hang around the pool room after I get kicked out of a tournament.  I drive my ass home with my tail between my legs.  Or if I'm out of town, we get a group together and head out to dinner for some girl time.  Some have even gone to a different bar where there is karaoke.

He explained it in simple terms as to why the difference, which made me laugh out loud from the truth of the words:  "Male players don't leave the pool room after they get kicked out of the tournament.  They want to stay and try to make their money back!"


Wednesday, December 20, 2017

No Pressure Proven Well - Danielson Series

Danielson played in an 8-ball tournament back in November. 

He doesn't know 8-ball well, he didn't prepare for the event, and playing in it was a last minute decision.  And yet he finished 4th!

So, what does this prove?

It proves that feeling no pressure can do wonders for our game.

Danielson had a lot of things going for him this tournament. 
  1. Since it was a last minute decision, he didn't have time to over-think about the tournament and the "what ifs." 
  2. It was also an open event, and he feels less pressure in open events.  He has said, "Maybe handicaps put a weird pressure on some of of us.  If you think you're the best or the worst at a particular ranking maybe it affects your pure game and ability.  One handicap tournament I dogged my brains out cause I thought I was stealing. And not just playing pool."  While funny, it's very true!  We are too worried about what our ranking means in matches instead of playing pool.
  3. He felt no pressure playing 8 ball because he doesn't know the game well.  While knowing 8 ball well is obviously an advantage, it can also make one (like me) over confident.
  4. And he didn't practice:  "I put zero preparation into that tournament. I didn't play the day before and haven't played 8 ball in forever. "
Let's expand on the last point:

Sometimes we can practice too much.  Sometimes we can prepare too much.  If you think about it, if you do all these things you are suppose to do to prepare for an upcoming tournament, then when we get there we find ourselves under this invisible pressure of "I should do good, I prepared so much."  But, that mentality is actually not good.  It adds pressure to us.

I am not saying not to prepare.  But I am saying that if you put too much preparation into a big tournament, it can have reverse effects because you feel like you must do well, right?  You took all this time to prepare right before the event, so you must do well!

What I have found is the times I finish best is when I reviewed my checklists, reviewed my tabbed pages of Play Your Best Pool and Winning Ugly.  We already have our fundamentals down.  We have already been playing a lot - either in leagues or sparring.  But to over-prepare right before a tournament is not helpful.

If you are running a marathon or playing football, preparing for those physical sports is different.  Being mentally prepared for our sport is key.  Sure, playing pool keeps us consistent, but too much playing pool right before a tournament makes one think, "Well, I should do great!"

Even if you look at the preparations of the Mosconi Cup teams - you didn't see them playing pool hour after hour days on end, instead we saw them participating in team-building exercises.  Things that help their mental side.  They already know how to play pool.  And so do you!  So, don't over-prepare.

If Danielson had played 2-weeks straight of 8 ball before the tournament, I would bet money he wouldn't have placed so high.  His head would be full of options of what to do, lol, and he would be over confident.

Instead, as Danielson said after that great finish, "I never really felt any pressures yesterday. Which seems odd considering it's a game I never play and know very little about. lol."

Monday, December 18, 2017

Appreciation for Running Omega Tour

I admit I was scared of the potential of the Omega Tour ending with just a kick out the door, lol, but I found myself on Saturday morning of the very last (forever and ever) event of the Omega Billiards Tour era receiving a gift from some of the players.

It was an award/plaque for my years running the Omega Tour!

I'm so ecstatic and happy to be honored!  Means so so SO much!!

Appreciation goes a long way, and this meant the world to me!

Bet you can't tell in these photos :)

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Introducing: Capelle's Columns - 21 Years of Pool Instruction

Phil Capelle's new book is out!

Phil has been a columnist in Pool and Billiard magazine for 21 years, and EVERY SINGLE column is in this book!

And, oh, hey, look:  My name is on the first page!  (click photo to enlarge or buy your own copy via his website)

Okay, okay, enough about me.

This book is huge!  512 pages to be exact!  Photo doesn't do it justice, at all:

It contains:
  • 430 Diagrams​
  • Discoveries from Capelle’s research
  • Cross referenced
  • Position play
  • Shotmaking
  • Fundamentals
  • Safeties
  • 9&10 Ball
  • Eight Ball
  • Straight pool
  • Pro’s analyzed
  • Mental game
  • Much more …
Order yours today to get it by Christmas!

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Guest Contributor - Author Stan Popovich on Anxieity

Stan reached out to me a while ago and said I could share some advice he had written.

Here is the first piece:


By: Stanley Popovich

At times, our worries and anxieties can overwhelm us. In addition, our worries can distort our perception of what is reality and what is not. As a result, this may interfere with how you play billiards. Here is a brief list of techniques that a billiards player can use to help gain a better perspective on things during their anxious moments.

Sometimes we get stressed out when everything happens all at once. When this happens, a person should take a deep breath and try to find something to do for a few minutes to get their mind off of the problem. A person could read the newspaper, listen to some music or do an activity that will give them a fresh perspective on things. This is a great technique to use right before your next event.

Remember that our fearful thoughts are exaggerated and can make the problem worse. A good way to manage your worry is to challenge your negative thinking with positive statements and realistic thinking. When encountering thoughts that make you fearful or anxious, challenge those thoughts by asking yourself questions that will maintain objectivity and common sense.

Remember that all the worrying in the world will not change anything. Most of what we worry about never comes true. Instead of worrying about something that probably won’t happen, concentrate on what you are able to do.

Another technique that is very helpful is to have a small notebook of positive statements that you can carry around with you. Whenever you come across an affirmation that makes you feel good, write it down in a small notebook that you can carry around with you. Whenever you feel stressed before your event, open up your small notebook and read those statements. This will help to manage your negative thinking.

In every anxiety-related situation you experience, begin to learn what works, what doesn’t work, and what you need to improve on in managing your fears and anxieties. For instance, you have a lot of anxiety before your event and you decide to take a walk to help you feel better. The next time you feel anxious you can remind yourself that you got through it the last time by taking a walk. This will give you the confidence to manage your anxiety the next time around.

Take advantage of the help that is available around you. If possible, talk to a professional who can help you manage your fears and anxieties. They will be able to provide you with additional advice and insights on how to deal with your current problem. By talking to a professional, a person will be helping themselves in the long run because they will become better able to deal with their problems in the future. Remember that it never hurts to ask for help.

It is not easy to deal with all of our fears and worries. When your fears and anxieties have the best of you, try to calm down and then get the facts of the situation. The key is to take it slow. All you can do is to do your best each day, hope for the best, and when something does happen, take it in stride. Take it one step at a time and things will work out.

Stan Popovich is the author of “A Layman’s Guide to Managing Fear Using Psychology, Christianity and Non Resistant Methods” – an easy to read book that presents a general overview of techniques that are effective in managing persistent fears and anxieties. For additional information go to:

Monday, December 11, 2017

Pool Players and Snow

What do you get when pool players get around snow?

A hustling snowman, of course!

The south U.S. had some unprecedented snow last week (click to enlarge and view the snow accumulations):

And one of my fellow pool players (Yvonne Ramirez) from Victoria, Texas created this great snowman, who btw, is looking for action!

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Checklist Report - Danielson Series

If you have been following The Danielson Series I bet you are chomping at the bit wondering if he used a checklist during his last tournament, right??

I was wondering too!

Quick background, checklists can be an amazing resource to a player as reminders before and during tournaments and Danielson and I talked about this before his last big event, as he didn't have a checklist.

So, did his checklist help him? 

Wait, did he even write a checklist?

I figured he didn't write a checklist, I admit it.  So I surprise him Saturday morning of the Omega tournament and gave him one.

Here is the list:

The only thing I added that I felt would be helpful was "walk around."  Otherwise,  the three other  items he had told me he wanted to remember.

As I handed him MY list for HIM (lol) he told me, "I already wrote a list."  Oh?  Embarrassed that I didn't have faith in him, but so elated he listened to my advice, I then asked him, "Oh cool, well let me see yours.  What is on your list?!"

He responded, "It's in the car."


You have to have it on you at all times during an event!  He countered that he went over the list several times in the car, though. 

But, he then carried my list around so he had something on him that weekend to go over reminders.

He told me before the tourney started that he never plays good at this certain pool hall, so I think that helped any of his expectations - ie reverse psychology - because he felt no pressure.  So, he ended up lasting until Sunday!

I asked him if he looked at the list at all and he said, "I did look at it during some matches... and I think it really is a good reminder."

So, while the checklist isn't the all-knowing-quick-fix-solve-everything-tool, it is a GREAT tool in our toolbox to have.  And certainly doesn't hurt to re-read important reminders before or during a tournament!

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Must Do Well to Move Up

As a tournament director of a handicapped tour I hear a ton of complaints when a player finally has their first real good finish. 


Not because I can't handle the whining, but because do people not really realize that in order to move up you have to have a few good tournaments first??

Seriously - we don't know to move some up until they have a good tournament or two.  And the data (like Fargo Ratings) wont have the stats to prove to move someone up if the player hasn't a few good tournaments.

People don't seem to truly grasp that in order to move up, you need to place well a few times or place real high one time to finally be moved up.

Instead, everyone complains and bitches about their handicap when they finally have a good finish, "They aren't a 6" I hear over and over when a player is finally having a good finish.  Further, people don't see that the player themselves are trying hard to move up, too.  They practice, read articles, watch videos, all they can to move up.  And then instead of getting compliments of their great finish, they get complaints instead of kudos.

It's such a crazy thing that people don't really recognize or comprehend you can't move up without first doing well, lol.

Monday, December 4, 2017

What Would Your Hobby Had Been?

My fellow online billiard activist and friend, Tam Trinh, had a really cool question the other day on her Instagram account:

Tam asked, "If pool was never invented, what do you think your replacement hobby would be?"

I have pondered this question a few times and the answer is still the same for me:  I have no idea!

Seriously, I have no idea.  I started to play pool in arcades that had pool tables.  Eventually, I started to test my skills at playing pool since I had over-exceeded on the video games and they were no longer a challenge for me (I was top gamer on all the popular video games in the place).

So, not sure what I would be doing. 

Some people commented: darts, sewing, poker, skateboarding, school/studying, archery, shooting range, etc.

I mean, I can see a natural progression for me might be playing darts, since I did that sometimes at the bar, but otherwise, though I wasn't very interested in darts.  So, what would I be doing?  Sure, I love poker, so maybe I would be doing that, but I wonder if one is out of the pool room, how do you get into a poker room?  It seems they are all related and intertwined.

I did dabbled in arts and crafts out of college, but eventually stopped doing that and can't see that leading anywhere.

I guess I'd be only working?  Nooooo, can't see that.  I'd have to be doing something in addition to working, right?

I can't believe I have no answer, lol!

However, what I can say is, I'm SO glad pool was around and was my hobby!

BTW, you can follow her on Instagram by searching for "mztamcom" and you can follow me on Instagram by searching for "mellbers."