Sunday, December 23, 2018

Protect Your Table During the Holidays

Please don't let this happen with any relatives this season.

Oh, and Happy Holidays, everyone!

Friday, December 21, 2018

Mentality of Next Match After Losing

During the International 9 Ball Open back in October, I was reading some comments on Facebook about the tournament and players.

A big name player had just lost, but was still deep in the tournament.

Someone commented:  "Gonna be tough to bounce back right away after that tough loss.  We'll see."

A pro replied, "Easy to bounce back when you don't get to shoot....harder to come back if you dogged it. "

It was such an important exchange, I wanted to take a minute to talk about it.

You see, the pro was spot on.

In one sense, we can all agree that it can be difficult to bounce back right away after a tough loss.  But in all honesty, we do bounce back "easier" if our opponent simply outshot us, right?

It's when "we" are the cause of the loss that makes the next match tougher.

Because why?

Yep, because it's tough to stay in the present moment.

Plenty of players have won matches after a close, tough match.  But if a player missed balls, missed opportunities, or played bad, it's difficult to shake those ill feelings as you go right into your next match.  There sometimes isn't enough time to get over the embarrassment or sick feelings we have for dogging it in front of a crowd, or the feelings we have about ourselves for dogging it.  And therefore, it's tough to get ourselves into the "present" moment frame of mind in the next match because our body and mind are still reeling from the repercussions of the last match where we shot ourselves in our big stupid foot.

Just as I wrote about the other day - having a quarterback mentality of forgetting what just happened can go a long way to help you prevail in your matches.

Here's a really cool ending, though.  The person they were talking about was Chang Jung-Lin.  And guess what?  Yep, he ended up winning his very next match.  He was so determined because he didn't get many chances in his previous match, he actually went up 8-0 in his match before finally winning and moving on to the finals.

And then he defeated his opponent in the finals and won tournament!  $40K, baby.  Not bad, Chang!

That's some strong mental toughness that dude has!

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Forgetful like Quarterbacks

I've mentioned this before in my blog, and I'm sure you have heard this before anyway, that the best quarterbacks are the ones who have short term memories and can forget right away any interception or dropped ball.  Those are the best quarterbacks.

If you can try not to think in the past when you're competing, it will help you immensely.  Because if you're thinking about that ball you missed six games ago and that you would be on the hill already.... that's not helping you here in the present moment.

And obviously the same goes for "future" thinking.  Thinking in the past or future keeps you from focusing 100% on the present moment.  And how can you play your best if you aren't committed to the shot in front of you?  Instead your shaking your head disappointed about what the score "should be."

But today I want to specifically talk about the past.... and, well, uh, trying to forget about it!  lol

As usual I compare things to everyday life when I talk about competing in pool.  And today is no exception.  Aren't you lucky?!

I think most of you know that I am a meteorologist (ie. weather person).  The other day a colleague shared with us he tried to boost the morale of our colleagues in Oklahoma.  He shared, "They need to have the mindset of a quarterback; forget quickly and get back in the game."

You see, early in the week, the forecast models were indicating that a snowstorm was going to occur across Oklahoma.  As the models adjusted through the week, the snow expectations became lower and lower.  Therefore, the forecasters in Oklahoma lowered the snow potential towards the weekend and put less snow in the forecast.

And of course they still got hammered on social media.


Everyone was saying that they missed the forecast "bad" because there wasn't any snow covering the ground like they'd imagined, come Saturday morning.

It's funny because when it snows people don't want snow and then when it doesn't snow, people wonder where the snow is.  But that's another story.  lol

The thing is, though, just like my colleague was saying, they need to not be worried about what's going on on social media or why the forecast didn't pan out.  They need to have the mindset of a good quarterback and get back to forecasting.

You see they can't sit there and second-guess themselves and wonder what they could have done (or should have done differently) because another forecast needs to be issued; we don't have time to sit there and feel bad about a bad forecast.

Now, don't get me wrong.  We do evaluations and after action reports and check stats, run scenarios on past events, etc.  But that is something down the road that we do.

The very next day we need to come on shift and we need to forecast the weather and have that quarterback mentality.

Same thing for pool.  If you are thinking about that shot you missed, that means you're not thinking about what's going on in front of you right now.  You're mind cannot do several things at once and you got to give yourself the best chance to play your best, and therefore you need to stay in the present.

I know I've said this a hundred times.  So, now today is 100 + 1.  :)

Monday, December 17, 2018

Senior Division Thoughts

Although I have retired from competing, one of the things I thought of in my 30s and 40s while I played along side the senior division at National league tournaments was, "is that going to be me some day?"

I believe the senior division starts at maybe 55?  But you can decide when you want to play in it.  In other words, you don't HAVE to enter at 55, that's just when players become eligible.

My thoughts on playing in the senior division have always been this: I'd still be playing the same players that I am now!

The men and women senior divisions have the same players I used to see playing each other 10-20 years ago, and they are just playing each other in a different division.
The advantage may be when the 60s approach, I would play in the senior division and I would play against players who are not as agile, who's sight is not as sharp, who have achy bones, bad arthritis... etc.  And then I would be the same creakily person across from them competing LOL.

I admit, I never considered that I would be playing competitive pool into my 60s. I know many close friends that still do and I admire them for still having that fire in their belly!  I just didn't imagine still playing another 20-30 years or so back then.

And now that I'm not competing, I am lucky I don't even have to cross that dilemma path now :)

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Nicknames on Tournament Flyer

The title of this blogpost is probably confusing to you.


Because you've seen many-a flyers were two guys are in some big money match and the flyer states their nicknames. Like "T-Rex Tony versus Scott The Freezer."

Ugh, so why are you writing about this, Melinda?

Hold your horses, peeps!

Check out this flyer that lists the entrants of the Ladies Division of the Space City Open that was held in early December in Houston.  (click image to enlarge)

I admit I was pretty surprised and thrilled to see nicknames of the entrants!  So, if they did this back when I still competed, you'd see me listed as, Melinda "akaTrigger" Bailey.

That would be cool!

It's not just the pro's who have nicknames.  And to see a flyer with mostly non-pros and all their nicknames mentioned on a flyer is a nice touch!

I love neat and clever things like this!

Friday, December 14, 2018

The Green Eyed Monster

I was watching TV last month and a commercial came on. This very pretty blonde girl about 20 years old was driving an old light-colored pickup truck on a beautiful sunny day in the country. Here she is: 

A guy with a guitar was hitchhiking and she picked him up. They smiled at each other and flirted silently as she drove down the highway.

Then he notices on the dashboard a piece of paper. And the piece of paper was actually advertising a singing competition for country music. He indicated to her, as he patted his guitar, that he was competing in it too.

And then in the next scene, you see her dropping him off on the side of the road!

OMG, I love this promo for Real Country on the USA Channel!

I think most of us can agree that jealousy is not really a very pretty characteristic. Especially when it affects the relationships we are in, it's not a good thing.

But, let's face it, there are some good things about jealousy.

Can you think of one?

Okay let me just tell you, so I get to the point lol. It's actually opposite of the funny commercial.

I personally think that jealousy is a good thing when it comes to improving your pool game.

When you see other players excel or working on their game, it kind of makes you self-evaluate your own game and it can actually make you work on improving yourself. If you were playing even with someone for a couple of years, and then you see them placing better in tournaments all of a sudden, you are happy for them, sure! But you also wonder, hey, we played pretty even, why are they doing so much better than me now? And what can I do to join them in the winner's circle?

You see?

I, myself, have worked on my game to try and improve after I saw certain females excelling around me. It was the exact push I needed! Had I not seen them improve so much, I doubt I would have had the desire to work on my game.

So, being jealous isn't always a bad thing or negative situation. Sometimes you can use it to boost things in your own life! 

Monday, December 10, 2018

December 2018 Interview - Chip and Joey!

Well, Christmas came early for me... My DREAM interview came true! I've always wanted to interview these two guys together and this month it became a reality! HUGE thank you to Chip Compton and Joey Gray for allowing me to interview them both for this month's Billiard Buzz magazine. I had so much fun and thoroughly enjoyed getting to know them better! I have been a huge fan for years and I am truly happy you all get to know them better, also! 

Friday, December 7, 2018

Cake Too Good to Eat?

Gabby is a teammate of a friend of mine in Houston who happens to make phenomenal custom cakes (and cookies, and cupcakes, etc.). She custom made this and it looked even more amazing in person I was told. But let's face it, even in the photo it looks pretty damn awesome!

Every detail was accounted for, right down to the Diamond decal, the cue ball return on one side, and the rack slot and ball return on the other!

You can find "Slice of Confection Cakes by Gab" on Facebook via this link.

If I'm ever in Houston and need a cake, I'm contacting this chick.  WOW!

Almost looks too good to eat.  I said *almost* lol.

Friday, November 30, 2018

League Players and Tournaments

Katniss sent me a message the other day, "I have a quick question for you."

Being who I am, I got all excited!

I replied, "I love questions!"

She asked, "Do you believe that players get comfortable with league play and not so comfortable competing in big tournaments?"

Wow, what a question!

"It really depends on who you are asking about.  Some league players stay league players and never really improve, and therefore don't do well in big tournaments.  They are perfectly fine with that - they love playing in league with their friends and they have a lot of fun.  While other league players want to work on their game and improve, and when they do that, they become better competitors in tournaments.

So, the answer is really yes and no."

Katniss replied, "I was asking because of a certain player who is in the top spot of my Tuesday league...he did not place well in singles at the State tournament this past year. I mean, we can all have bad days, so maybe he just didn't do well this year. But the top players on my Tuesday league never miss - either against me or my teammates. So, I think highly of their game and expect top performance at all times, so that is why I was surprised of their finish. Or maybe they do not do well in big tournaments with "other" top ranking players? Hmmm."

I told her I had wondered that exact same thing before about top players in league who don't finish well at the state tournaments. I never really understood it, either.

But.... then I did.

She is exactly correct.  You see, many of the top league players get super comfortable and quite content in their weekly leagues.  But if they don't work on their game, don't want to, or don't play in more non-league events, then they wont be competitive in tournaments.

"For some people, it's a natural progression to go from league play to big tournaments and/or playing on tours.  For others, they only stick to league (or only have the skills or means to do league play) and aren't interested in playing in other types of tournaments.  Or, they might want to improve, but they haven't really done anything about it for years.

So, again, the answer is yes and no."

I shared further my opinion (I know, you are all surprised, lol!):  "The top league players that only play in league will always be a league player.  If they would play in bigger tournaments more often, their game would improve from all those experiences and they would be more than just top league players (if that's what they want)."

She said she understood and also defended them saying, "Oh well, everyone has their own feelings and reasons as to why they do what they do."

And she has a good point!  Some people are perfectly fine with only playing in league; there is nothing wrong with that at all.

This is a good time to share something I witnessed when I ran the Omega Tour.  A couple of good friends of mine who were top league players finally wanted to play on the Omega Tour when it was being hosted by one of their local pool rooms that they were used to playing in.  It was close to their house, they felt "at home," and it was a comfortable setting.  So, they took the plunge to play on a Tour stop!

Although these two guys were extremely successful on their league teams and the type of player we all feared at league, they quickly discovered they were a fish out of water playing on the Tour.  They were no longer the top player in the room.  And the feelings and pressure they experienced were pretty rough on them.  Neither lasted until Sunday, and they were very disappointed and disheartened.  But, they simply didn't have enough experience away from league.  One of the two guys played in another stop, but by the end of Saturday night he was out of the tournament and then he wanted his money back for the events he had paid for in the future; he recognized he just wasn't competitive.  He was so deflated - I felt very bad for him.

Sharing this story is not to deter anyone, it's to share with you that we all start out this way and it just takes time and experience playing in different types of tournaments often to become competitive.  It doesn't happen overnight.  I truly believe if they would have kept playing on the tour, the next year or two they would have been lasting until Sunday.  But, while one was interested, his schedule didn't allow for that and the other was just too frustrated to keep trying.

But her question leads to the EXACT tip I have stated over and over in my blog that one of my all time greatest pieces of advice to improve is to play in as many tournaments as you can. 

"In order to do well in tournaments, you must play in as many as you can. Please hear these words. You cannot learn to handle pressure or learn mental toughness with only a couple of tournaments a year. You need conditioning over and over in a tournament environment to give yourself the best chance to gain experience."

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Giving the Last Two - Danielson Series

Danielson mentioned the other day that he was gambling a few guys in the city he lives in, to help him stay in stroke.

He told me he gave a couple of his opponents "the last two." I thought it was kinda weird, as all the guys he played were about even, but he brought up a really good point I hadn't though of, and wanted to share.

Because I don't gamble, this hadn't really crossed my mind before I guess.

He shared with me, "They wouldn't play even, so I figured I would offer the last two because I really wanted to play. Plus, the way I see it, if I can't win giving the last two, I probably can't win even."

And what Danielson learned was, "If I'm playing good, they have no chance. But I really have to play smart at the end of the rack to not give away games. That's how I lost one of the sets."

And he's right - giving the last two will help him focus more because the end of the rack is crucial when giving up the last two. And in turn, all of this experience will carry over when he competes in tournaments.

After a few weeks of doing this, he was kinda giddy, lol. He shared, "These guys really think getting the last two is a"

Then he got serious and reflected, "But giving those guys the last two really makes me bear down. I still need to work on my 3 ball patterns to stay on the correct side of the ball... but I feel like I played well and these matches are really helpful." 

Love hearing good news!

Friday, November 23, 2018

Project Idea In Honor of Dave Faver

I was watching tv and a commercial came on that gave me an idea that gives back to the pool community... in Dave's honor!  And it would be an alternative to a tournament, to carry on Dave's legacy/name!  It's currently percolating in my mind, but when I figure out more details, I will announce it here on my blog. :)

I am super excited about it, honestly!

I just have to figure out the many different aspects of the project/idea before I share what I'm mulling over, lol.

But, wanted to give you all a heads up something is a-brewing!

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Inner Turmoil Doing the Right Thing (for Myself)

One of the things we discover as we start to reach our mid 40s, is we want to be around less drama, to be around more positive and influential friends, and we want to be around people that bring us happiness.

Hold on now, folks...  This doesn't mean we haven't felt this way much of our life; we have!  But what is different as we age is we start to actually act upon different choices and decisions based on yearnings for peace.  We start to make more conscientious decisions that are best for ourselves.  Finally, right?!  For so many years we made a lot of decisions for others.

Let me provide one little, quick example.  You have a family member you hate to be around because he's so rude and obnoxious, but you continue to still go to the family functions and put up with them.  Then comes your mids 40s, and you have a epiphany about wanting less stress in your life and you realize you actually have a choice, lol.  "You know what, I'm not going to go.  I get upset for days after I see him and I simply want to have a good time around the holidays."

And btw, many decisions take time to finally make a change.  It's actually uncomfortable to start looking out for ourselves because it seems selfish.  So, it's not an easy transition at first, honestly.

My friend Dave Faver (as you all remember) passed away in May. He was a road player his entire life and I shared many things about him earlier this year when I posted the interview I did with him.

What I have been struggling with lately is Dave deserves an annual memorial tournament in his honor.  The annual "Dave Faver Memorial Tournament" or something like that.  Doesn't that sound awesome?!  And as one of Dave's best friends who happens to be a seasoned Tournament Director, it makes perfect sense that I would lead the effort to set up a memorial tournament for him and also run it every year.

He deserves that more than I can even express.  And that would also mean the world to me because he would be remembered every year (as he should be).

I've seen several memorial tournaments that have become annual events in honor of those who have passed.  And it honestly makes my heart ache because I have not done this for Dave.  But to be honest…. I cannot do this for him.

You see, this is the part of the story where I explain to you that I'm suppose to look out for myself. Which is something I only started doing recently.

What I have alluded to in my blog a couple of times is:  I don't drink anymore.  And I have not drank exactly 2 years of the posting of this blog entry (Nov 21).  Yay!

What this means is, tho, as hard as this for me to say in writing to people I don't know personally and to admit to those I do know personally, is to let you all know that I'm kinda scared to go into the pool room at certain times. I know it doesn't really make sense because, sure, I ran the Omega Tour the first year of my sobriety and I didn't drink any of those 12 weekends I was stuck in a pool room.  But, it wasn't really a choice for me - I had to be there and run the tournaments.

Running a tournament for Dave would be a dream come true for me, and you would think I could handle being in a pool room for only two full days out of a year without worrying about drinking, lol, but... I feel apprehensive.  And I need to listen to my instincts.  And I have to look out for myself and my well-being.  I'm nervous about hanging out in the pool room over two days around a lot of people drinking around the atmosphere where I used to drink frequently, often, and for numerous years.

It's not to say I would start drinking, but it's not to say I wouldn't be tempted, either.  I have always been a social drinker - I've never drank at home or by myself.  So, to do what's best for my health, my mental stability, my depression, my job, my friends, etc., I just believe it would be best if I don't put myself into situations that used to be the catalyst for excessive drinking.

You can go ahead and think that I'm weak, but literature will tell you to stay out of the element that can initiate those feelings of your addiction.

This may not make sense because you all know I go to Vegas 3 or 4 times a year (heck, I'm writing this blog post FROM Vegas right now lol!) and even though I don't have to pay for drinks there nor have to drive, I still don't drink there anymore.  So why can't I be in a pool room all day?  It's not that I CAN'T, it's that I don't want to.  In Vegas, if I feel uncomfortable or get nervous about any situation I'm in, I can just walk away.  But I get anxiety sometimes thinking about going to a pool room and being in that environment again.  Probably because I associate the pool room with me drinking too much.  And if I run a tournament for Dave, I can't just up and leave during it if I feel uncomfy.

Also, when I give/gave lessons in a pool room the last two years, I would always intentionally go in the mornings and be out of there by 1pm. You see, my drinking didn't start at night in pool rooms, it ended at night. So, I don't want to go into a pool room in the afternoons right now, either.

Even I admit I don't quite understand how I wasn't nervous about going into the pool room the first year of me not drinking, and yet now I am apprehensive about it for some reason.  I guess because I am more aware for some reason that relapses can happen in the blink of an eye, and I want to help myself by not being in situations where that might occur for me.

It may sound like I'm not having fun being sober, lol.  So I think it's important to state that I am only sharing this single trepidation of my life because it's related to my pool journey.  And btw - how cool is that??  I mean seriously, how many people have only one trepidation in their life?  I feel very blessed!

And this would be the perfect time to share something crucial: one of the fears of becoming sober (or clean) is that you wont have fun anymore.  And you may be thinking this to yourself right now about me, "Gosh, is Melinda even having fun?  She's scared to go into the pool room so how can she be happy?"  Well, I am here to tell you that I'm actually much happier than I've been in a VERY long time!  I have more fun in life and enjoy things so much more!  This isn't about the pool room making me sad - it's about the more substantial things I do now in life that bring me much more honest, memorable, and refreshing joy (drinking too much was getting in the way of those things).

Plus, there have been SO many benefits to not drinking anymore!  Read mine here if you wish.

But, if I felt like I was in a better spot mentally, I would be able to hold a Dave Faver tournament in his honor.  But, I think even Dave would understand my apprehension and would want me to do what is best for my well-being.  Dave was so very happy for me when I started down this road, and then proud of me when I reached my one year anniversary (he was still alive then) and he knew how important it was for me to remain this way.

Temptations, I feel, I must avoid.

I know plenty of people who can eventually go back into the environment of their addiction.  But right now I have a choice - and I am choosing what is best for me at the moment and I just don't want to put myself in that situation.  Maybe it means I'm not strong enough yet?  Maybe it means I just need more time?  Maybe it means I'm just trying to be careful?  Maybe it means I am glad for my decision to stop drinking and want to continue up this great path I'm on?

Whatever the reason, whether known or unknown, aware or unaware, I want to listen to myself and do what is in the best interest to stay sober.  And I know Dave and my other friends would approve. :)

I know I try to be honest in my blog, and this is may be a little too honest. But I'm hoping that maybe at least one person can relate to what I'm going through, and therefore know you aren't alone.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Mike Howerton Interview

Well, well, well... the elusive Mike Howerton of actually let me interview him for the November 2018 issue of the online magazine, Billiard Buzz

Even in the interview, he states just 5 years ago he wouldn't have agreed to this. So, we are pretty fortunate of our timing :) 

I am so excited for you all to learn how AzB became the most popular billiards website! And, we also get to find out more about my good friend, Mike - the man behind the creation of AzB, his thoughts on the industry, and all he does for the pool community. I know this wasn't easy for Mike to come out of his shell, so I was very thankful!

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Less Knowledge Can Lead to Improving

When I played in the BCAPL Nationals Master's Scotch Doubles event in 2010 in Las Vegas, my partner was a mere 25 years old and one of the top one pocket players in the state of Texas.  I was 15 years older than him, but he was much more experienced at pool than I was.  His name is Sylver Ochoa and he had been playing one pocket for over 10 years or so and so he was very knowledgeable and talented about all the games of pool way younger than I ever was, lol.

What I learned playing scotch doubles with him (read my blog report of that tourney here) was just how unknowledgeable I was about 8 ball/patterns, lol.  You'd think that is a negative thing, but eye-openers are not usually a negative thing, right?

You see, after the break, he would walk up to the table, look at the layout of the balls, and then almost immediately know the best pattern for a run.  He saw the whole table so much more differently than I did.  I walk up there, and then stand up there wondering what should I shoot next for him, or how to get on the next ball.  He instead saw the patterns for the entire rack.

Don't get me wrong, I knew strategy of 8ball well, and so we played really well together and actually beat a lot of tough teams.  I had enough experience under my belt to know when to run out and when not to.  But it was the obvious patterns I still lacked quick knowledge of.

I realize that his top skills, fast improvement, and becoming a top pro player quickly at such a young age allowed him the luxury to see the layout of an entire 8 ball layout much easier than I did.

But it was still so impressive to witness him almost automatically see/recognize the proper pattern to  connect each ball naturally to run out.  At one point, I wasn't sure if I should have shot the 7 ball or the 6 ball, and his response was so obvious lol.  "You make the 7 first because that naturally connects to the 6 ball which then sets you up for the 2 ball and that will lead you easily to the 8ball.

pffft.  "easily."  Whatever, dude.  lol

As you know, there are a ton of different ways to run out 8 ball; there are so many choices!  But he saw the "correct" paths and connected the proper pattern to each ball so well and quickly, that it really proved to me I needed to work on my patterns lol.  It was a great experience to find out I had so much more to learn about pool!

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Perceptions During a Match

I'm sure you have heard this before where two people see or hear different things even though they both saw/heard the same thing?

Similarity, when people witness one situation (like a car accident), they all kinda reflect differently about what they saw.

Another example is if you go to a doctor's visit with a family member.  You each hear something different from the conversation with the doctor.  It's really very normal.

And of course this also carries over into pool, too.

Case in point.  I remember distinctly playing against a friend a mine from Arkansas during the Champion Stop of the Texas Ladies Tour about 8 years ago or so.  I barely got to shoot!  I only had a few chances and the biaatch kept running out!  I was pretty agitated, lol.

Afterwards, I told her, "Man, you played so good - you barely missed!"  And she lamented, "Thank you.  I didn't think I played all that great, but appreciate the kind words."

I was kinda stunned - how did she think that when I hardly got to shoot the entire match and she kept running out?

Back then, one of the guys would attend the tournaments and video tape some of our matches (we affectionately called him "Video Mike").  And we happened to have that match recorded.  I bought a copy of the video and watched the match when I got home and I was STUNNED.

She didn't run out one game!  I had plenty of chances!  I just didn't play well and she played better, but she missed a lot too.  How in the heck did I think she ran out most of the match?

But, this happens all the time to players, lol!

As a Tournament Director, I not just run a tournament, but I get to watch a lot of the matches because of where the Tournament table is normally located.

And almost once a tournament, some player will come up after they lost and lament in a loud voice to me, "That guy never missed!"  And I stand there thinking to myself, "Hmmm, I just watched the match and you both missed quite a lot."

The player will go on, nipping at me about his opponents' handicap, "That guy shouldn't be a 5 - he was ran out every time I missed!  That's not a 5.  Fives don't play that good!"

But, I simply realize that they witnessed something different than what actually happened.  Part of the reason is emotions, as we don't see clearly or think clearly if we are upset.  But, the other factor is we all simply don't always see the same things, even if we are involved in the same situation.

So, I didn't usually rush to change someone's handicap based on one player who just got beat, because it's usually not what they really experienced, lol.

Monday, November 5, 2018

Special 10-Ball Helmet

This is my little friend Ezekiel! (Zeke for short):

Ezekiel is the beautiful boy of Nicole and Joseph, who was born Jan 10, 2018. 

I asked Joseph about Zeke's cool 10-ball helmet.  No, no, he's not getting ready to ride his bike into the sunset with a new girlfriend, haha!

Joseph shared that basically nowadays they recommend babies sleep on their back.  At 3 months, they noticed the back of Zeke's head was really flat.  They moved him from rocker to basinet and from 3 to 6 months, no matter what they did, he would always sleep on his left side.  Joseph shared, "Move him, he would move back. lol"

The result was a flat head on the back and left side, and they also noticed his ears were uneven "by a lot."  Zeke was diagnosed with Plagiocephaly.  It's actually a very common problem, and some fix on their own, some do not.  Nicole and Joseph decided (rather than hoping it would correct itself), and "knowing how mean kids are, we didn't want him getting teased about his head shape," to look into options.

So, they got 3D images and a custom DOC band made.

For those like me who don't have kids nor around kids:
"The DOC Band is the only custom cranial helmet with nearly 35 years of documented outcomes. It’s been used to safely and successfully treat more than 175,000 babies with moderate to severe plagiocephaly.  Each DOC Band is custom made using our state-of-the-art technology and one-of-a-kind manufacturing process to ensure it delivers the best possible outcome for your baby."

He will wear his helmet 4 to 6 months, 23 hours a day.  And Zeke will have head band adjustments done every 2 weeks to evaluate his progress.

Then one day they were eating out for Nicole's birthday dinner and having an awesome conversation about billiards with their server.  Turned out their server (Brandon) also loves pool and Joseph shared information about the tournament scene in and around Houston during their dinner.  Joseph used to play on the Omega Tour here in Dallas / Fort Worth and he's still on the pool scene down in Houston and many other places when he travels.

Joseph and Brandon would soon become friends on Facebook and that's when Brandon also started to ask questions about the DOC band.  Then he asked if he could decorate it, as he is an artist.  Because it has to be worn 23 hours a day, doing awesome detailed art work was not an option, but Nicole and Joseph had already agreed what they wanted.  Because he is a pooloholic and Zeke was born on Jan 10th, "Logically a 10-ball was the design we wanted."

Well, logically to us pool players, right?!  :)

Turns out Brandon's family runs a sign and wrap company, so he hooked them up!  They got two decals created based off dimensions, and when the decals were ready, Brandon went over to do the install.

"With a blow dryer, a lot of patience, and business cards, we installed it together which was a really cool experience."

And they still have the other decal if this one gets too messed up.

"Brandon offered to do it for us, no charge, just looking forward to having a friend he can shoot pool with.  I believe everything happens for a reason, and divine meetings like this take place all the time."

Rather than spend hundreds of dollars to get it done at a place elsewhere, they had a chance meeting, talked about billiards, became friends, which set in motion for how Ezekiel got his 10 ball design.  "And Nicole and I gained a friend that likes billiards."

You can see in the photo above Zeke already likes billiards!  And, he watches tournaments streamed all the time with Dad, too.

Here is Zeke and his parents:

Thank you for sharing your story, Zeke, Nicole, Joseph, and Brandon!

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Publicizing Local Gambling Matches

I noticed that a pool room (Putters) in Las Vegas advertises matches on Facebook.  You might think, so what?  So do other people.  Well, what I find more interesting is their matches are showcased.

You see, sometimes matches are "announced" on Facebook, but no details are given.  I am sure there is a good reason for this.  But it never fails - people will ask who is playing, for how much, etc?  And instead of responses, we are Ghosted.

(damn, I hate being ghosted!)
"Ghosting. While this term is relatively new, the act of ghosting existed long before the dawn of the Internet. But what does it mean? Ghosting occurs when someone you're seeing suddenly stops making any contact, giving no signs at all that they're no longer interested."
And we aren't told who is playing or any details.  Just "big names" and "you don't want to miss it" so "come on out."  Well, crap, just tell me who is playing for how much and what is the race??

However!  Check out alternatively what Putters does: they create graphics for their match ups that contains photos, times, race, game, how much they are playing for, etc:

Now honestly, which advertising gets you more interested in the match ups?

I know - it all depends on who is playing if you want to traverse to the pool room to watch them gamble.  But at least we know who is gambling at Putters!  lol

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Too Much Love for Pool?

Okay, I think this might be over the top!

But, I suppose to die-hard pool fans, this is true love:

Friday, November 2, 2018

Increase Your Confidence During Adversity


Isn't this true?

I really like this cartoon.  Proves what we all already know - we are our own worst enemy at times, right?  lol

So, when people try to bring us down or say negative things about us or our game, man go away!  We have enough going on in our own minds!

But it's a great opportunity to remind you of a post I wrote about back in 2014 about Facing Fear.  Well, should have worded it more positive, now that I just linked it to those two words haha.

But, the blog post is about how to overcome negative thoughts while we are competing and also how to increase our confidence during matches.  hmm, I see now that would have been too long of a title.  ;)  Oh, and that blog post has several links in it to other pieces I wrote about increasing our confidence and overcoming negative emotions.  I highly recommend the light reading if you have some time.


Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Watching Smart, Correct Pool

I was watching the stream of the SidePocket Open at times this past weekend.  I know, I am shocked, too!  But, when I tuned in one time on Sunday, I noticed a guy on the table from a few months ago that I really liked his game.  He's the one I wrote about before from the previous SidePocket Open tournament where I diagramed his "correct" shot to move "into" his next ball.  Here is the link.

If you don't know already, the SidePocket Open is a big tourney held about 4 times a year in Shreveport, LA.  It's held on bar tables and gets some HEAVY hitters, along with the die-hard fans, and has a large Calcutta (two of them I believe).  I've never been, but have watched the results from afar for many years and it's a great tourney if you want to either get your feet wet with the big dogs, or you already are a big dog, lol.

So, this guy was fighting his way through the winner's side and when I noticed him on the stream a couple of times I would keep watching.  Why?  Because he chose the correct path on almost every shot.  Even if he happened to miss good shape, he would get back in line soon after.  Further, he safes were on point, AND his kicks were on point.  I'm not saying he played perfect, but it was a joy to watch him play because his shot selection was "correct."

Wait, what do you mean by "correct," Melinda?

Good question!

"Correct" means basically he plans for the next few shots by moving the cueball along the best, proper (more correct) path toward his next shot, to set him up for the shot after that (what I refer to as 3-ball shape).  It's basically good, solid, pattern play.

Also, he studied his options, he took his time, he walked around the table to ensure he was on the correct side for his next shots, and he played good, solid, smart pool.  It's the type of pool you want to watch, to help yourself.

I noticed a few guys he competed against played smart at times as well, but didn't keep it up the entire match.  Further, one opponent in particular got out of line a lot.  IMHO, he was not shooting the correct paths, and he was a shot maker and just making balls.  He kept getting out of line and then he couldn't get back in line.  Don't get me wrong, he still got out most of his games (and even won the match hill-hill), but it wasn't as fun for me to watch.

Now, don't think I'm being partial or playing favorites, it was just a fluke I tuned in when this guy was on the stream and then he played on the stream right up again.  I'm sure there are many other players who play smart and correct, I just didn't see them on the stream over the weekend because I only checked it a couple of times.

I'll be honest, I'd rather watch smart, "correct" pool all day long, not shot makers.  Sure, if you have your money on the shot makers, then you don't care how they are getting out as long as they are winning, right?  lol.  But I give lessons, and *I* was getting a lesson every game I watched the other guy.  And so it will help me when I help others.

Further, watching "correct" pool helps your own game.  As you have heard a million times already, watching pool improves your game.  But if you are just watching shotmakers, how is that helping you?  I mean, it DOES prove to you that you can make balls from anywhere (so don't be nervous if you get out of line), but I want to watch repetitive shot making from the correct side of the ball, I want to watch someone go the proper path to get on their shots, I want to watch someone take their time and walk around the table to see where they need to be, I want to watch someone stay down and follow through, I want to watch someone consistently shoot the correct or proper shot to get on their next ball.  Watching all of these key things repetitively will help us make better choices at the table, which in turn will help us win more games.  Watching a shotmaker wont help me win games.  Strategy, smart play, correct paths will!

Now, I'm not saying there are not different options to each shot.  We could have ten different players shoot one shot differently to get on the next ball.  But, most of the knowledgeable, seasoned players will shoot the same pattern to get to the next ball.

That's what we need to be striving for!

And that's why I loved watching this guy play "correct" pool.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Are You Playing Too Slow?

I don't know if many players have gone through this in their pool journey, but I've noticed this in a couple of friends of mine so I thought that I would write about it.  If you are one of "these people," then the experience I share in this blog entry will be your friend and help you out!  :)

I remember there was a time in my pool journey when I played slow.  Well, let me be more clear... it's not that I played slow - it's that it took me awhile to make my decisions which looked to others like I was playing slow - like a sloth, lol!  But in reality, I was standing at the table looking at the layout and all the options that could possibly happen, thinking about what I should do, what was possibly best, and therefore it took me awhile to finally get down and shoot a shot.

I actually played like this for about nine months of my pool journey and that happened to tumble over into a nationals tournament in Vegas.

I was playing so slow, that it actually pissed off my scotch doubles partner!  I didn't know his personality, and he actually snapped at me in front of everybody about it.  Yea, that was a lot of fun.  NOT.

I asked one of my friends who is watching, "Hey, was I really playing that slow?"  You see, I didn't think I was!  And she confided, "Yeah, you really were. But what it looked like to me was you're standing up there and you don't really know what you should do, and that's why it's taking you so long to shoot."

Man, I had no idea I was taking that long.

And she was absolutely spot-on. And once I heard that, it actually help me to stop being so indecisive at the table.

You see, when we are learning a lot of things that get in our head that we didn't know before, it can slow down our decision process. And so there's a ton more new options that we didn't know before and so now we kind of stand there and wonder, "Uh, what I should shoot and what would be the best shot to take?"

Even though I still had some indecisiveness, because that doesn't go away completely right away, her pointing that out made me realize that I do need to make my choices faster.  Not that I do need to SHOOT faster, but have more confidence in my decision and the shot that I do choose so I can go for it.  The reason why I say this, is we could stand there for several minutes trying to decide what to do and in reality that doesn't help you, your percentage to win or help your opponent.

I actually believe that taking too long to make a decision can actually hurt our game.  Why?  Well, it throws off any rhythm we have.  If we go from normal shooting (whatever that is for you and I) to being super indecisive, that slows down your rhythm, which is detrimental to your game.

But, like I said, I think this might be part of most pool players' journey and so it's something that in time we eventually just stop standing up there at the table being indecisive.  So, don't fret if you do this right now!  Things will change for the better soon. :)

And I admit, when you find out people are getting upset or agitated because of how slow you play, you really don't want to keep being slow.  Yea, yea, I know some people think that it's a good thing to agitate your opponents lol, but in reality, a lot of us want to have a smooth match.  And if that means I stop playing sloth slow or being super indecisive, that will actually help me anyway, right?

I think if I hadn't asked my friend that and she wasn't honest, or that guy hadn't snapped at me, or our opponents didn't call a ref because I was playing so slow, I wouldn't have known that I had that issue.  I was in the moment and I'm standing up there just trying to make a good decision, not realizing how long it's actually taking me, lol.

So, obviously, unless someone tells you are playing super slow or you see yourself on a stream or some video tapes, you may not realize just how long you're taking at the table.  Now I'm not saying that you should rush through any of your decisions and that you should rush through any of your shots at all!  But what I am saying is there does come a point where we sometimes take too long in every single match with every single decision with every single shot. And when that happens, that's when you need to have some self-reflection and make a change. Because I promise you, when you do make the change (ie decide to accept your decision and be confident with your choice), I promise when you do this your game will actually go up.

Again, I'm not saying to rush your shots.  I'm not saying to rush your decisions.  But sometimes standing at a table looking at a layout for too long is something you should eventually try to get away from.

Again!  Your game is going to go up after you stop doing this.  Maybe it's because when we finally start making decisions, we are more confident in ourselves and with our choices.  And whether they're right or wrong, at least you're learning each time that happens instead of standing there wondering, "What the f*** should I do?!"  lol.

Enjoy peeps!  (but don't take too long)  lol

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Jerry Olivier Interview

The October issue of the magazine 'Billiard Buzz' is out and this month I interviewed custom cuemaker Jerry Olivier from Houston! You've seen his cues across the country, now meet the man behind them. 

I have to admit, I have wanted to interview Jerry from day one that I started doing interviews a couple of years ago.  There was one question I was curious about.  
"I heard a story a long time ago that it was your dream/passion to make cues. I heard you left your job to pursue that dream. Tell us about that."
Turns out it was a true rumor and he answers it for us in the interview. :)

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Great Golf Advice from a Pitcher about Not Practicing

I know, I know, the subject of this blog post is interesting (or confusing, right?!  haha).

I have mentioned a few times now that I work on blog articles after work at my desk in my office.  Well, I took a much needed vacation the first full week of October.  So, that kept me from my office, right?  Then I was busy catching up at work and now I find myself with not many blog posts this month (October).  So, I'm trying to catch up and write several before the end of the month to meet my personal monthly quota lol (10-15 per month).

Where did I go for this much-needed, stress-free vacation?  Well, of course Vegas!  My fave city.  :)  I even saw a show this time.  Being that I have been to Vegas a lot, I have seen most shows, but this time my friend Robin and I went to see Barry Manilow.  It was a really great show and she and I had a great time!  Barry is now 75 years old, but you would never it know based on how he moves all around the stage, dancing and very active, for the entire full 2 hours of his show.  Heck, I lost close to 20 pounds before going to Vegas and he STILL had more energy than I did at 75.  Pretty impressive!

This time in Vegas, I actually found a boyfriend!  He wasn't very talkative, but we hit it off:

Don't be jealous!


I also used a new app called "Relive" and it's super cool!  It creates a video of hikes/runs/walks/biking/etc and puts your route on a google map, and you can also add photos along the way.  Here I am walking from the Peppermill to the Flamingo Casino along the Vegas Strip and here is another video when I walked from NYNY casino along the Vegas Strip back to the Flamingo.  It can show how many miles, how fast you went, and how long it took.  Pretty cool app, right?

So, I flew Southwest Airlines for the first time in about 15 years this trip to Vegas.  I normally fly American because DFW is a hub and that's who all my airline miles are with, lol.  But, it was about $200 cheaper with Southwest this time and therefore I found myself at a new airport (Love Field) and a new airline.  I normally watch the movies on AA through my tablet (if they don't have screens in the chairs) but because I hadn't flown SW in so long, I didn't know I needed to download their app to watch shows BEFORE I got on the plane.  Oopps!

However, always the prepared person that I am (smile) I brought along my ipod for music, sudoku puzzles and a magazine, "Golf."  I somehow have a subscription to Golf magazine, prolly from some online thing I signed up for and then got a free magazine.  I normally stop any free issues, but I have been sharing the mag each month with my coworkers.  However, I took this issue with me in case I needed some time to kill on my flights (SW had a layover on each leg of my flight - well, "stop over," not switching planes).

ANYWAY, lol.

Archie Bradley (pitcher for the Arizona Diamondbacks) was interviewed in the Golf magazine and I really enjoy when different sports and athletes cross each other in magazines or interviews or articles.
Towards the end of the interview he shared some great advice a golf pro shared with him.  And now I am sharing it with you all :)

Q:  What's the best advice you've received about your golf game?

"I played with Lucas Glover, and he gave me a bit of advice.  He said, "Hey, man, you don't practice, so when you come out here don't expect to shoot a 75, because you're not good enough to shoot a 75.  If you shoot an 85, you shoot an 85."  Ever since then, I've loved golf 100 times more."

Great advice for our pool game, too, right?

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

PLEASE Re-Read "Play Your Best Pool" for 8 Ball Strategy

One of my clients (friends? students? - heck, I still don't know what to call them!), anyway, one of them reminded me of something very important that I would like to share today.

Basically, I was told they forgot some of the key things that we went over the times we practiced together.  As reminder, I don't talk about English or things like that or even how to hold a cue or bridge - what I do talk about is strategy and the why's of choices.

The reason I feel my clients' admission is important is because I erroneously thought that talking about strategy during the entire 4-5 practice sessions was enough to retain the information.  And I was wrong!  And then I remembered why (read below for the many examples).

I was thinking about writing about this last month, but I hadn't had a chance to yet, and then I noticed that fellow blogger Darius talked about something similar at the end of September.

Basically, he said he likes to reread his favorite books because he then remembers something he had forgotten:
"Once I realized that knowledge disappears quickly from our minds, I’ve been re-reading and studying at least one good book a week. We must arm ourselves against the challenge of life by repeating the things we learn so often that they become a habit."

I can completely relate to this and I wish I would have remembered it for my client, as well. I think if I did, I would have had more sessions with them.

The reason I say this is, the first time I read Phil Capelle's Play Your Best Pool, that was when I realized that there were so many aspects to the game of 8 ball that I knew NOTHING about.  And, I just didn't know that until I read his book. But, I didn't retain everything I read the first time I picked up the book.

Luckily for me, for whatever reason, I decided to reread the 8-ball section of Play Your Best Pool before every single state and National Tournament 8 ball tournament I played in.

And what transpired was every time I read it, I as reminded of things I had forgotten.  Further, my game would improve in between those big tournaments and then things would make more sense when I read his book again.  And then I'd read it again before the next big tournament and again realize I forgot a certain strategy or proper sequence of shots.  My client was right - we do forget things.

I promise you that I read the 8-ball section of Phil Capelle's Play Your Best Pool before every single 8 Ball State and 8-ball Nationals tournament for almost 10 years straight.

So for me to think that my client would pick up strategy in just a few sessions, even though some of the strategy was the same, was completely incorrect thinking on my part.

There's so much to learn about the game, and there's so much to learn about 8 ball, and there's so much strategy that can come up every time you play, that you actually can learn something new all the time, right?  Even before I retired from competing when I would watch 8 ball matches, I would still learn something.

There's so much to the strategy of 8 ball that it is important to go over certain things often and or to be reminded of those things.

The thing is, when I started to play pool the first 15 years of playing, I didn't know any strategy about 8 ball.  I would make my stripes or solids.  Simple as that.  NO, Melinda, not as simple as that!  lol.  Therefore, reading Phil's book one time wouldn't help me.  Heck, reading it 10 times wouldn't help me.  BUT - continually reading it a few times every year would definitely help me.

That's why it's actually key for my clients to keep learning somehow - either lessons with me or other people, watching videos, or simply talking about 8 ball matches with your friends to discuss all the options and the why's.

And of course the final, obvious suggestion is to read at least 1 time by the end of the year the 8 ball section of Phil's Play Your Best Pool, and then several times every year after that.  One thing I can guarantee is your game will not go down - it will go up. So the risk versus the reward is golden for you to read that section over and over every year throughout the year.

Darius added:
"...I forgot almost everything I learned more than a year earlier (of the book I read). And there’s no way you can remember even a quarter of a book you read three years ago."
Of course what I want to do is grab a hold of my clients and have a ton more sessions with them so I can personally help them remember.  But, since that isn't feasible (we all have to work at our day jobs, right?  lol), my advice is to AT LEAST re-read Phil's Capelle's 8 ball section of Play Your Best Pool at least 4 times a year.

I want to reiterate (see what I'm doing here?) that I didn't become an 8 ball champion overnight.  I didn't win my first 8 ball tournament overnight.  I didn't win my first 8 ball tournament after reading his book.  But! I did learn more and more each time I read that section of his book - because I either forgot some things, or because my game got better and things made more sense.  

One final tidbit - I didn't read word for word the entire section 4 times a year the last few years, but I would go over all the pages I starred, or dogeared, or the parts I highlighted - those are the things I would go over before big tournaments.

Give yourself an even better opportunity to do well in your 8 ball tournaments.  Understanding the strategy of 8 ball is a repetitive learning of new things and old.

If you don't even listen to anything I say in my blog, please at least take this advice to heart.  I promise it will help you.  And I don't make promises lightly!

Monday, October 22, 2018

New Relationships and Talent

I don't know if y'all have ever heard about this before, but there's some unwritten philosophy (or maybe there are a ton of technical papers written about this for all I know lol) that people feel if you find yourself in a new, strong relationship that it might affect whatever it is that's going well in your life.

Okay hang on with me people, hang on, lol!

Let me think of an example maybe you've heard before.  How about like.... a prodigy child who is amazing at music or the best baseball pitcher anyone has ever seen at 11 years old.  All of a sudden, they start to be interested in girls and then they are no longer focused on music or baseball. That's the only example I can think of right now.  Have you heard of something this before?  I sure hope so or you may think I'm off my rocker, lol.

And the point of this blog post is to share with you that this happened directly to me.

No, I wasn't a great pitcher or music prodigy (sorry to disappoint, lol), but in the mid-90s I started to date one of the top pool players in Texas.  His game was so good, people were talking about him all over the country.

However, when we first started going out, some of the guys in the pool room (which I feel they shouldn't have done this), told him that he should not go out with me. They told him that having a new girlfriend would be a distraction and it would affect his game (and all the work he put into it).

That actually caused him to have some doubt in our relationship, because there were these little voices chipping at his ear telling him their thoughts.

And you can understand that for someone who was top of his game, when he would play badly all of a sudden or not finish well, he wondered, "Are those guys right?  Should I not be with her?"

And as you can imagine, when you have that much skill and when you're that talented and you're all of a sudden at the top of your game and finishing well in almost all of the big tournaments you're playing in, and you're all of a sudden all over the magazines, the one thing you don't want to do is derail that.  Especially since playing pool was his dream.

I'm not saying I wasn't worth it, but even I would say I wouldn't want to get in the way of his dream career.

We eventually would break up a couple of times while we were together for 5 years and part of the reason was because I was a very immature girlfriend.  But, the other part of it was because it did seem like I was affecting his game.  At first it was because he wanted to be a good boyfriend and didn't want to travel and be away from me, but eventually it was because I wasn't a mature enough girlfriend for him at the time.

You see, I wasn't a strong woman in my late 20s.  I was also still treating people like I was treated growing up in a verbally abusive house - I yelled, instead of talked when I was upset.  I was also extremely jealous.  And being that I didn't understand most of the emotions I was feeling, I overreacted with crying and getting upset at him.  Not realizing that I had a ton of inner turmoil and learning to do to become the stronger, more mature, happier, and confident woman who is typing this out today.

I'm lucky that he was SO talented that he kept playing top-notch pool - heck, he even skyrocketed to 2nd place in rankings on the pro tour while we were together!  (so, I couldn't have been that bad of an influence, right?  lol.)  While I didn't necessarily affect his game detrimentally the entire time we were together, I do admit that if I had been a more mature, more understanding, less emotional girlfriend, he might have won even more tournaments - instead of trying to play his best pool while having to deal with a crying girlfriend back home lol who was overacting about stupid shit.

But, this blog isn't about me crying or being a bad girlfriend - that's for another time, right? haha - but what I am saying is I have experienced directly the affect a new relationship can have on someone who's very talented.

But, what if I had been a strong girlfriend? What if I wasn't so emotional and unconfident? Yep, I still think I would have affected his game somehow.  I'm not saying every new relationship affects a young music or sports prodigy, but what I am saying is having a new, deep relationship for the first time in your life does cause a certain amount of distraction. It's a normal thing, really.  And that's why all the Mom's and Dad's want their kids to stay far away from the opposite sex for as long as they can lol.  How many kids do you know who were on their way to college and got derailed because they "fell in love."

His friends were correct. I distracted him from playing top-notch pool like he had been playing before he met me. But again, he was talented enough to overcome the obstacles, still became a top pro, and is still today, actually.  Thank goodness!

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Distractions May Shark

I think I've written about this before, but wanted to shed a little light on something that can potentially shark me.  Maybe you can relate?

Some tournaments have scorecards to keep the score, while others use coins, and yet other tournaments have score sheets you fill out to mark each game.  Whatever scoring apparatus is used, most fans cannot see the score of the match from every vantage point in the room.

Yet, so many people, friends, fans, potential future opponents, etc want to know your score.  And when they cannot see the score, they either walk over to check it out, or send someone over to read the score.

Either way, this is actually something that used to shark me. Let's be honest, checking the score isn't as simple as slyly walking by.  The person sometimes has to step in front of the score card, or bend their body around to see where the coin is, or has to read the paper scoresheet that is sitting on the table between the players.  It's pretty obvious when we are playing matches when people check the score.

I know it sounds kind of outrageous, but if I'm losing badly and then I see someone check the score, it can make my embarrassment factor go up.  And if I'm winning and someone checks the score, I can sometimes get overconfident.  And finally, sometimes the score doesn't even matter - and instead, I become distracted by a person all of a sudden in the area of my match checking out the score - and that distraction can interfere with my rhythm at the table.

You all can relate to one or all of these, right?

(gosh I hope so, or else I sound pretty weak, lol!)

This is part of what I've been talking about lately - that if you have a strong mental game or you are in the zone, someone checking the score won't even bother you.  Heck, you may not even notice!

Eventually, things like this didn't bother me, as my mental game got stronger and stronger, but I admit it took a long time to get there in my pool journey.

You have to be in a good mental spot or you have to already know to not to let things like this bother you to help you become less distracted by things.

Wait, how do I not let things bother me, Melinda?

Good question!

Well, personally, one of the things that helped me was when I finally came to the realization that some things are just facts. And facts aren't normally tied to emotion.  The score doesn't represent if someone likes me or dislikes me, or judges me, or thinks I should win, or anything like that. If you look at it as it is, which is really just a score of a stupid game we love (lol), it wont affect you as much.

It's kind of hard to explain, but if you accept something as a fact, you're less likely to react to it, right?

Instead of wondering what they're thinking and why and starting to add doubt or anxiety into your head, just think to yourself, "Well..."

Everyone has something that sharks them more than other things. Some people don't want you moving around, some people want you sitting at all times, some people don't want you to talk to them during the match, some people don't want you to talk to the crowd, others hate when you use your phone in a match etc..

There's always one thing that kind of rubs us the wrong way - and it's different for each person.

Mine happened to be people checking the score.

But!  Because I'm not competing anymore, you can't use this against me when I'm playing, LOL.  :)

Friday, October 5, 2018

Diagram of an Important Shot

I was watching a stream a couple of months ago.  Mostly because I was trying to see someone in the crowd, lol, not because I am still interested in watching pool.  Don't be shocked, friends!

But I'm glad I tuned in, though, as a great benefit came out of that.

I was watching a young player, I think from Mexico, who kept running racks.  I noticed he was deep in the tourney, and also the player he was beating was a top player, so I already knew he could play just based on the unexpected score of a guy I've never heard of, lol.

What I am about to point out is something I didn't learn for the first 15 years of playing pool.  I want to stress that this is VERY important, yet I had never been shown, told, or knew this for the first 15 years.

Now, I'm not saying it propelled me straight to earning trophies my very next tournament, but what it did do was give me a much better appreciation for the decision for shape and it DID help me immensely.  It makes so much sense and has helped me out so much, I sure wish I knew this earlier than 15 years into my pool journey, lol.

I remember distinctly I was just hitting a rack of 9 ball at Rusty's in Arlington one afternoon and one of the top players says, after I shoot the 8 ball, "Hey, why not shoot the 8ball instead like this, so the cue ball can come "into" the 9 ball."  And then he showed me what he meant.  My boyfriend at the time was standing there and he didn't say anything, but a HUGE lightbulb showed up above my head.  Ahhhhhhh!   HUGE learning experience.

And, when I saw this particular shot on the stream, it reminded me of that day about 7 years ago, and I have been itching to share this with you all!

So, as I hope you all do, too, as I was watching the stream, I think about what I would do or what I should shoot or how, while watching them play.

So, the guy gets to something like this:

And I presume he's going to either stun back for the 7 ball or go to the rail and come back to where he is about in a straight line with the 7 ball.

And then he would just draw back for the 9 ball.

But!  He surprised me and did something else.  Before you scroll more, what other option would you do?  Or, would you do the way I envisioned?

Don't cheat!  What would you do?


So what he did was just as I described in the intro about "coming into the next ball."  (that I had obviously forgot about lol.)  There are several benefits to this I will mention below, but let's see what he did that was smarter than my initial thoughts, too:

Instead of getting straight on the 7 ball to draw back for the 9 ball, he instead got UNDERNEATH the 7 ball to give him a good angle, something like this:

He then made the 7 ball and the cueball went to the top rail, side rail, and then down toward the 9 ball (ie, INTO the next ball).

I can't recall exactly where the balls were, but you get the drift of what I'm trying to show I hope.

"Coming into the next ball" is a more NATURAL way to get position.  Further, let's look at pros and cons:

Cons if you try and get straight on the 7:

  • You may not get straight in the 7 ball and then have to maneuver the cue ball more than you expected.
  • Drawing from the 7, you could over draw or under draw and then have a tough shot on the 9
  • Or, drawing from the 7 you could even scratch in the side.

Pros of going three rails Into the 9ball:

  • Less chance of scratching
  • You have an entire area to shoot from as the cueball moves down the table, for a good shot on the 9ball
  • Shooting 3 rails to get to the 9ball is a NATURAL pattern.  Drawing is not really a natural flow.  You aren't forcing anything or risking with draw, it's all natural rolling of the cueball.
  • It's much easier to control a 3-rail shot than it is draw.  
  • You have a larger area for the cue ball if it's going INTO the 9 ball.  With draw, the area to shoot from is much smaller.
Coming into the 9 ball like this guarantees you shape on the 9 ball.  Drawing is risky and doesn't guarantee you anything.

Sure, drawing it doesn't mean you will lose or miss, right?  BUT - going three rails ensure you will have a good shot left for the 9 ball. 

I'm probably not stating this all correctly, easy, or using the correct vernacular, but I hope my points came across.  

If you don't believe about you set this shot up and try each way 10 times each.  See which one you can get on the 9 ball easiest, which gives you better shape, and which one gives you more confidence.

I bet I know the answer already!