Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Snitches Among Friends (and a Great Tip!)

I mentioned before that I sparred a few times with two friends in the spring.  It's been really fun because we get to spend quality time together not just playing pool, but we usually eat before or after, which is always nice to do with great friends.

One important part of the game I have shared with others, I consequently shared with these two ladies as we sparred.

I learned from my friend June Hagar Walter a very long time ago, don't ever tell your opponent you fouled.

She instilled in me that it's my opponent's responsibility to pay attention to the game.

Now, I'm not saying you're not supposed to fess up if you are asked, "Is that a foul?"  I'm NOT talking about lying at all! But what I am saying is, if you foul, simply walk away from the table and sit down. If your opponent asks you if you foul, you absolutely be honest and say yes.

However, she taught me to not pick up the cue ball and give it to your opponent. Nor tell your opponent that you fouled.

I'm not going to be able to truly express why this is an important part of the mental strategy of the game, but let me try. It could be because it is the opponent's responsibility to pay attention and you aren't their keeper. It could also be because it is more a 'killer instinct' kind of action. Remember on the table you are not suppose to be friends. It could also be that it might annoy your opponent, right? But it's a legal part of the game - you aren't going against any rules.

However, I fully admit to you that because I didn't get even a smidgen of the killer instinct until about 15 years into my pool journey, I picked that cue ball up or offered my blunder to my opponents all the time, lol! It was only when I got more mentally stronger and that killer instinct ramped up, that I was finally able to walk away from the table knowing I fouled without telling my opponent.

Here's the kicker: this goes completely against my grain of being a nice person!  It was actually REALLY hard to do, because I felt like it was going against my own personality and character. I am serious - it was truly difficult! I felt like I was being mean, and that's not like me. But once I figured out more about the killer instinct and to be tougher (not nice friends with my opponents), then I realized it was just part of the game.

Okay, back to my sparring friends!

I think we sparred together about four times, and so you can imagine that fouling happens often enough that it happened every session. And I would give them this June Hager Walter advice. But, they seemed to forget the advice a lot (because it was a habit) and they would always want to give me the cueball after they fouled.  I would remind them to stop doing that. Sometimes they would say, "Well we're just sparring, we're not competing, so I'm just doing it to be nice." Well, that allowed me to use the moment to remind them that even when we spar, we are to treat it like a real match. And in matches, we are not suppose to be nice!  I also reminded them they needed to get into that 'routine' / 'habit' (just like I had to) - so even when they're practicing or having fun, don't go out of their way to tell their opponent they fouled.

I know it was difficult for them, as they are two of the sweetest people you will ever meet, and so it goes against their grain to not just tell their opponent they fouled, also. I get it, I really do! But I wanted to remind them (when it came up) that this is a great tool to have in their toolbox because it IS a mental toughness and strategy thing.

Eventually, towards the last of our sparring sessions, if one of them fouled and almost grabbed the cue ball, the other one would kind of pick on them because that's what they weren't supposed to do. And they knew that I would get on to them, lol. It became really funny!

So imagine my surprise when in May I was having dinner with one of the ladies.  And she snitched on the other one!

Their teams were playing league against each other one night, and in their own match, the other friend fouled, picked up the cue ball, and gave it to her. And my friend, eating dinner with me, sharing this story, was almost like an older sister who snitched on the bad behavior to her mother! She couldn't wait to tell me our friend did that LOL!

My friends are so cute!

Monday, July 29, 2019

How a Pro Handled Nerves - The Cueist Project

Cueist recently shared with me that he was in a tournament were he was very happy with so many hill-hill wins.

I asked him why he was successful with those matches.

I've been focusing more on calming myself down lately during big moments, as well as not remembering past matches while at a current event. 
Can you explain that a little bit more, please?

See, your blog entries helped me realize the importance of staying calm a long time ago. So having a good Pre-Shot Routine [PSR] helps a lot.  
Aww, thank you for the compliment!
And on top of that, I remember seeing James Davis Jr playing a hill-hill game at a Texas tournament a few years ago. James left himself a tough shot on the final ball and immediately got down on the shot. In the middle of his 2nd backstroke, he got up and walked to his seat. He took 3 deep breaths, took a drink of his soda, then closed his eyes for a few seconds. He then walked around the table, did his PSR, and got down on the shot. 
It was so amazing to see how a top player like him was aware enough of his nerves during that situation, while he's probably been in those situations countless of times over the course of his pool career.
We are all so very lucky  - Cueist is sharing a key part of his pool journey with us and we are learning through him!  He witnessed an amazing real-time example of how a pro handled a nervous situation. Cueist is correct - even though the player has been in nervous situations numerous times, he still needed to do what was best for his game at the moment.

It's also a good reminder we aren't alone in our nerves - yep, even the top players have those feelings. It's how we deal with nerves that is key!

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Sleep Tips From Pool

I was talking to a coworker a few months back about my problems not getting enough sleep.  He had a suggestion that I wanted to pass on to you all.  Maybe it will help one of us out!

He is a golfer and I related his suggestion to pool.

He said what he does when he can't fall asleep is he thinks of a past golf match.  He added, "because I'm not thinking of actions or what to do, it calms me down and I fall asleep."

I have written before how imagining running out can help our pool game when we can't get to the pool table, but I hadn't considered thinking of a previous pool match to help me fall asleep.  I suppose that is better than counting sheep!

Let me know if this works for you.

Friday, July 5, 2019

Team Building - The Cueist Project

So I announced the new player I'm following (The Cueist Project) and mentioned I already had a topic to write about.

Because Cueist has emailed me for a few years, I was going to write about something he mentioned in one of his emails awhile back about food (yum!).  But I asked him real quick, "Hey, do you still do traditional team dinners in Vegas before the team event starts?"

He replied, "Sorta. We do a team dinner at some point during the event."

Once I knew that, I was ready to blog!

I was going to share how cool I thought this was. A lot of teams could really learn from this.

Team building is HUGE. It's really a kinda new concept in the corporate world. Nowadays you hear about 'leadership retreats,' or work place teams going to Escape Rooms (working together to get out of the room), outdoor friendly competitions, or even just events out of the office that get the members together building bonds and friendships. It really can be helpful!

So, to hear his team had dinners before Team events in Vegas was something I really wanted to showcase as an example you all could maybe do with your teams as well.

Getting together before an event really sets the whole mood. Of course, please be careful who you invite. One year my team had a team dinner and then I got a text, "Hey, team (insert a ladies team name here) is coming with us." Well, myself and another teammate didn't necessarily get along with everyone on that other team. So, instead of it being a bonding event, I chose to not go to avoid uncomfortableness, and my other teammate sat at the end of the table not engaged. Had it just been our team only, the whole dynamics would have been so much better. So, be careful - think of the PURPOSE of the dinner. Was it to just eat with friends? Or have a team building moment?

So, that's what I was going to write to you all about, that I thought would be very helpful.

But wait, there's more!

Cueist, I now realize, is more talkative than Danielson or Katniss. I mentioned last month someone had emailed me a novel. Well, that person happened to be Cueist. I just didn't know at the time he would be my next undertaking, err, project via my blog.  Well, his characteristic of writing novels is already flowing over to this first topic, lol.

After I emailed him, "Hey, do you still do traditional team dinners in Vegas before the team event starts?"  and He replied, "Sorta. We do a team dinner at some point during the event."

The next day, I hear from him:

"So, uh, I just thought about something...is this my first Cueist assignment? LOL. If it is, then I'd like to expound on my previous email. :D :D :D "

Oh shit....

And then here he goes...

(while I'm picking on him and trying to be funny, you will LOVE this additional information and you can tell already we will be learning so much through him!)

"Yes, we do a team dinner at some point during all tourneys that we travel to as a team. Obviously, that's state and national events, however, we have actually traveled out of state a few times as a team as well and did team dinners then, also."

(Hey, wait. His team has gone out of state for team events?  I might have to delve into that some day.)

Back to his dissertation:

"My first experience with full team dinner was w/ a new team I had joined many years ago [a REAL good team he joined], and it was a little awkward b/c I was the youngest on the team by a longshot. LOL. However, the captain made it a point to include me (and my girlfriend) in the conversation throughout the dinner. It was super cool of him to intentionally do that. The whole team (and spouses) all laughed a lot, shared war stories, etc. It really helped get everyone comfortable before the "battle" of the tourney. As you know, tourneys are a grind, so it's nice to have a relaxing night with the guys before we're consumed w/ bad rolls, run outs, and the ups/downs of tourney play."

Cueist continued, verifying the importance of Team Building:

"Ever since then, I've made it a point to try and keep the team dinners going after I started my own team. Even though we're all already friends and see each other weekly for league, it's still nice to hangout without a pool table around. It really helps the team 'gel' together."

And then he said, "Ok, I'm a little more satisfied w/ that answer to my publisher. LMAO."

And we are, also, Cueist!

I think you all are going to enjoy The Cueist Project, am I right??

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Scotch Doubles Help from the Pros

One of my clients/friends/students that I spar with, her name is Tina. She calls me her "Mentor" which is super sweet and flatters me to no end.  We have become great friends through this "sparring" and so it's really cool that the first time I reached out to her a few years ago to spar has led to a beautiful friendship today!

Okay, put down your Kleenex's, lol.

Well, the other day she was going to play in a scotch doubles tournament and she posted a quote from a pro to her social media account that she said she loved. When I read the quote, I thought to myself, "Yikes, that's not good advice."

Evidently there is a big scotch doubles event going on somewhere in the world with the pros.  I admit I have no idea about this tournament, as I don't follow much pool anymore. Don't judge, lol!

But I can tell based on the few posts I see on Instagram something is going on (I don't really go to Facebook that much anymore).

I wanted to find out why she liked that quote, but more so, did it help her? (why or why not?)

So, I dug into my little keyboard on my phone and inquired for us, because as you know inquiring minds want to know!

I honestly figured Karl wrote that after he or his partner had a fantastic rescue! I personally don't think rescuing your partner is what scotch is about. I think it's more about having fun, trusting your partners' skills, and shooting shots you would normally play (not shots you think your partner wants you to play).

But, who cares what I think, let's see what Tina's thoughts were as to why she loved that quote.

"Well," she confided, "that quote by Karl really change my way of thinking. I was always trying to leave my partner perfect position on every shot, when all along I needed to just trust in their skills."

Hey, that sounds familiar!  (smile)

I found it so interesting she gathered that from his quote.  I became excited!

I continued in inquisition:  "Did you notice a difference when you played in your scotch tourney?"  (hoping the answer was yes)

"Absolutely.  That little phrase has changed my scotch doubles playing life!"

(So cool, right?!)

I replied, "Wow, that's pretty powerful. I'm so happy his words helped you so much!"

She shared, "I was happy, too. I have been watching the World Cup of Pool all weekend..."

[edit to add, oh that's the pro tournament that was going on hahaha]

"..... and I see how the partners in the scotch doubles format we're struggling - even though they were pros. Plus, the quote really did change my way of thinking."

I can imagine how relieved she feels - no wonder she played well in her recent scotch tourney (they placed 4th!). That is a lot of pressure if one thinks you have to leave your partner perfect shape every shot, wow! And, what a relief for her to see pros miss in scotch doubles - seeing them make mistakes makes us realize we are all human.

I get so tickled when words penetrate and they impact people deeply. And I also loved how my interpretation of the quote was completely different from hers - I love learning!

Monday, July 1, 2019

Announcement: The Cueist Project!

I would like to formally introduce, The Cueist Project! 

As I alluded to a couple months ago, I had a prospect who might replace The Danielson Series section of my blog. While I didn't want Danielson to leave my blog (RIP Danielson!), but because he's no longer playing pool, I obviously can't blog about his pool journey anymore.

Today, though, I am super excited to share that I will be following a new player with their journey in pool!

Just like with Danielson (of the Danielson Series) and Katniss (of the Project Hunger Game Series), I will be following a player and sharing through my blog his cheers, tears, heartbreak, joys and learning experiences as he competes on the pool canvas.

As I have mentioned, following players and sharing their lessons has been very beneficial to the reader because you all get the opportunity to learn through them. And the same will happen with this new player.

As usual, they will remain incognito, which means he and I came up with a name for the project. We decided on "The Cueist Project."  No, don't read that too fast and think it says "cutest," lol.


"Cueist Project" is now already listed on the top of my blog as a menu item, so you can find it easily.

I haven't met him in person, but he has kept in touch with me via email for years because of my blog (which is super cool, right?!).  He has written in the past to either ask questions or share some of his tournament experiences.  So, am I excited he said yes when I approached him about this idea!

Therefore, because he has written to me in the past, I have a couple of topics already and I will share at least one of them this month for you all.  It's about eating - one of my fave subjects!  hahaha.

I'm excited for all of us about the newest member that you will learn through.

Welcome aboard, Cueist!