View Full Version : I Choked
12-20-2003, 04:10 PM
Lately I've been challenging myself by taking on the best pool players that come into our pool hall.I've been told the better players you play, the better you become.Do you guys agree with that?I'm rated a B+ in nine ball (getting close to A rating??) and last night I took on an A+ who spotted me the wild 8.
Anyways I came out roaring and coupled with some luck I took the first set 7-0.The second set went hill-hill.It got into a classic back and forth saftey battle when I finally froze right up to a ball getting ball in hand and needing only needing only to run 4 well spread balls to close out the match. To make a long story short I choked.I did SO WELL in that epic safety battle finally winning it only to choke on the finish.VERY DISSAPOINTING!!!Anyways onto the third set.With renewed confidence he pulls ahead 5-2.I dug down deep and brought things once again to hill-hill.In the final game he misses the seven ball leaving it on the rail near the corner pocket leaving me a long shot.I decide to put inside english (to get shape) on the long shot to win and I miss.In hindsite putting inside english on a longshot wasn't smart and I could have synched it however leaving a much harder shot on my game ball(the 8).The shot I missed was moderatley hard and very makeable even with the english. He collects the garbage and wins.Overall I win 19-14 in games and still end up losing the match, cash and pool time.All I got for my time and playing was a nice compliment from him on how much I've improved.I will continue to challenge the better players and hopefully the experience I gained from this match will carry me to greater heights and next time I will FINISH better.I guess as players we have to go through these experiences of heartbreaking losses to get to the next level. Looking back on the match, I played great even though I lost the two big (hill-hill) games.Please share some simuliar experiences and/or any feedback on how one can take these situations to the next level. Thanks,RJ
12-20-2003, 05:14 PM
its a very honest person who turns around to his contemparies and says " I chocked" even though we all all have and all will again .The fact that you have said it in your subject line says to me that you have the character to learn from your experiences . Put simply you have to play like it means nothing , even when it means EVERYTHING.
Experience gives you that as long as you stay focused on where you want to go . You can lie in bed and swim in a cesspit of your own making or you can GROW. Make the choice
12-20-2003, 10:04 PM
Its good to read such an honest and open post. The main thing to take away from this is learning how you should have shot that seven ball, or excepting the fact that you chose the right shot and simply missed, which is going to happen from time to time.
I can remember one of my biggest let downs, I had played a guy all night long and had him stuck $1500. My backer had agreed to play one last set for $1550, I said I didnt want to give him a chance to overcome what I had done all night in one set, but then agreed to play (first mistake). Anyway we were into the set, racing to 7, I think I was up like 5 to 2. Shot the 8 ball in the upper left corner letting the ball come 2 rails for shape on the 9 to be shot in what would have been the lower right corner. I just hit center ball and the cue ball went perfect two rails into the side pocket. The whole momentum of the match changed and he ended up winning. But to this day I never forget to put a little draw on the cue ball when shooting that shot and make sure it gets to the side rail before going far enough to reach the corner.
12-20-2003, 11:08 PM
did you choke, or make the wrong choise? you said you could synche the shot, if you had you give your self a chancs to win!!!! think positave. give your self achance to win, then if you miss the nine then I will say you chocked, shoot straight STICK
To get better when you play better players than you, play them even. People get weight when they are trying to make money, not to gain experience.
12-21-2003, 03:20 AM
Well if you are intent on improving, I suggest you get very confident with shooting long shots with inside English. It is not very difficult if you know where to aim. The only time you should cinch the shot is if you dont have a natural bridge and have to use center ball. I would suggest you practice the shot you missed until you are sure how to make it and get position. If you can't get the cue ball where it is supposed to be for the next shot you will never get to be an A player so you shot the right shot you just didn't hit it in the right place.
12-21-2003, 05:41 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote nhp:</font><hr> To get better when you play better players than you, play them even. People get weight when they are trying to make money, not to gain experience. <hr /></blockquote>
Hi friend, I agree with your quote to a point however not in full. Yes playing a player straight up is definitly a stronger challenge then receiving the wild eight.....I agree with you 100%.However I did not go into this match for the purpose of making money as the second part of your quote would seem to indicate.Well its true some players sanbag and seek spots in order to make money, please don't paint everyone with the same brush. I was challenged by him on HIS terms and I mearly accepted the challenge.The other player offered me the weight as I did not ask for it.We were both happy with the spot and the close match proved it was fair.Secondly I played the match of my life and almost took this guy and for me PLAYING GOOD is whats important, I give two shits about the small amount of money I lost.I'm not a hustler, sandbagger, or anything else like that. I just love to play pool, plain and simple period.Judging by the last two sets going hill-hill ,it was a fair spot and the bottom line was we both thouroughly enjoyed the match, except for that last big miss of which I didn't.Every now and then you get that great match with someone and its an awesome experience.I think its a myth common to a lot of pool halls that weaker players need to open up their bank rolls by playing big money games and fill the pockets of better players in order to improve.I've never heard a weaker player state that, as only the superior players will tell you that.....why....BECAUSE ( in a lot of cases) THEY WANT TO TAKE YOUR MONEY.My game is getting stronger by heading to a table at the back and setting up those boring drills practising hard and entering tournaments.One day I'll take that guy on straight up for cash and table.That day will happen when I at least believe I have 50-50 chance of winning.In the meantime I value making smart desicions and just throwing away cash to someone better than you in my eyes isn't very smart.In fact I think it's plain stupid.It's almost as dumb as the person who goes to the casino and expects to beat the house when the odds are stacked so highly against him.I'll play anybody straight up for table time for the experience no problem....throw away cash needlesly....no way.On the other side of the coin I allways spot players weaker than me according to their handicap rating and everyone else seems to do the same thing in our pool hall.That way both players have a chance to win and everyones challenged.To me this game is primarily about having fun, challenging yourself and improving.Playing and observing better players at the table will only help one learn that much quicker.Take care, RJ
12-21-2003, 06:09 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Wayne:</font><hr> Well if you are intent on improving, I suggest you get very confident with shooting long shots with inside English. It is not very difficult if you know where to aim. The only time you should cinch the shot is if you dont have a natural bridge and have to use center ball. I would suggest you practice the shot you missed until you are sure how to make it and get position. If you can't get the cue ball where it is supposed to be for the next shot you will never get to be an A player so you shot the right shot you just didn't hit it in the right place. <hr /></blockquote>
Hi Wayne, I agree with your post 100%. I did make the right shot selection last night and I mearly missed.Today I went back and hit that shot 3 times and came off two rails and perfect (on the long side) on my game ball which was on the opposite end of the table (same side rail) about a foot away from the pocket on the end rail.The sinch shot would of had to be done with almost perfect weight with the cue ball stopping on the short side of my game ball. I was just second guessing myself last night ( with my post) because it was an intense and great match that I had with a very good player.I will make those kinda shots and I WILL one day be an A player.Thanks for your feedback.RJ
12-21-2003, 07:32 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote nhp:</font><hr> To get better when you play better players than you, play them even. People get weight when they are trying to make money, not to gain experience. <hr /></blockquote>Or to cut their potential loses as they step up to face decidedly tougher competition. My personal feeling on handicaps is that even with the handicap, the better player should still be slightly favored -- not even. The better player has earned that advantage, and furthermore, the weaker player has no incentive to push themselves, when given a spot that doesn't require them to.
12-21-2003, 09:33 AM
You didn't choke.
12-21-2003, 10:40 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote tateuts:</font><hr> You didn't choke.
Chris <hr /></blockquote>
I agree. He didn't choke. He missed. There is a difference.
12-21-2003, 02:14 PM
How did you arrive at the fact that he didn't choke? He says he choked, he had an easy 4 ball runout to win the match and he didn't get there. It is quite possible that he is correct and he did choke. Also in the last set when he missed it is possible that he choked again, based on his post it would have been a big win for him and maybe the pressure got to him a little.
Being able to handle pressure is the nuts. If in fact he did choke and is willing to confront it and work his way through it he is going to come out the other side better for the experience. If he choked and finds other reasons or excuses then he is doomed to being ordinary.
12-21-2003, 02:20 PM
Hey nhp I might be a better player than you but we can play even so you get lots of experience, bring lots of cash, the more you bring the better you will get and you will gain tons of experience.
12-21-2003, 02:22 PM
To determine if it was a choke or not would probably have to be based on past experiences. People normally know if they play better, worse, or the same when the heat is up. Really only he would know if these four balls are ones he should get out on most of the time, and then determine if he didnt get out because he simply got out of line or if it was because he was feeling too much presure.
12-21-2003, 09:24 PM
Hi friends, thanks for all the compliments on the "I choked" post.I respect everyone on their own individual commentary on my post.In the first hill-hill set I lost ( the simple 4 ball run out)I distinctly remember lifting my head before finishing my stroke......THAT'S A CHOKE!! On the seven ball in the last hill-hill set I distinctly remember glueing my chin to the stick and mearly just missing.That's not a choke and I barely missed and arrived right on shape perfectly.If I stay down on shots like that they are going to go in more often than not.If I lift....THAT'S A CHOKE and to make it is a fluke.Besides the A+ player missed the seven just before me so he had his key misses (chokes ??) as well.Summing things up it was the best match I've had in a long time and it's just unfortunate that the last miss by both of us was mine and it was hill-hill. I also have come a long way in improving as a few months back I wouldn't have stood a chance against this guy or any of the other A or A+ players in our pool hall even with a much bigger spot.I've beaten everyone one of them except for this last guy with a small spot.It's good to know that they have to bear down to beat me and its not a walk in the park for them anymore.One thing I noticed is that if you bring it....they start to miss.I will now challenge some of them straight up for table time and maybe a very small wager.I'm not going to throw big bucks their way with the misguided knowledge that losing a lot of $$$$$$ is going to improve my game.If I keep doing those boring drills and practice hard there will come a time when I will match up good with them as a lot of them seem to have plateued and show no desire to practice.I will take all the postives with me from that match and leave the negatives behind.Thanks to everyone for your commentary and have a great Christmas,RJ
12-21-2003, 10:37 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Wayne:</font><hr> How did you arrive at the fact that he didn't choke? Also in the last set when he missed it is possible that he choked again, based on his post it would have been a big win for him and maybe the pressure got to him a little.<hr /></blockquote>
You can call it whatever you want. I don't call it choking.
They were as even as could be, 1 set to 1 set and hill/hill. He missed an inside english long shot on the 7 trying to get better shape on the 8 (I assume trying to avoid a long cut shot on the 8). Don't tell me you think this type of shot with that kind of position is a hanger late in a match?
I call choking a catchall derogatory phrase for making tactical mistakes. The smart thing for the player to do is figure out what happened and correct it for the next time.
12-21-2003, 10:49 PM
Well said Tateuts.
12-21-2003, 11:00 PM
If you miss a couple of shots in a match because of jumpy nerves, that's not choking. That happens to all pool players at all levels. Everyone misses. Expect to dog some pressure shots because of nerves and laugh about it to yourself.
Ever see Efren laugh after he misses what he thinks is an easy shot or shape? It happens to everyone - yes, even him. I have some tapes where he's dogging his brains out. The difference is he recovers and comes back to usually figure out a way to win anyway. Talk about nerves. I have a tape of Fong Pang Chao the Taiwanese champion, where his hands are literally shaking and he can't pull back the cue.
Picking yourself up and recovering during the match - which is what your opponent did by the way, is what your goal should be. Saying "I choked" is just beating yourself up and may set up a pattern impairing your ability to compete for years to come. Good luck to you. I know you will be beating them all pretty soon.
01-07-2004, 08:42 PM
I ran a tourney in Vegas back in '74. Boston Shorty and Luther Lassiter are sitting with Earl Shriver and are talking about choking. Lassiter said he was talking to Jimmy Moore a couple of months before a big tourney to be held in New York. Lassiter said he "NEVER" choked.
Jimmy Moore said it's hard to imagine.
During the New York event, Luther missed a shot...went over to Jimmy Moore who was sitting in the crowd, and said "Now I know what you guys are talking about!"
01-07-2004, 10:34 PM
It's really important to take tough action to improve your game, win or lose. It's good that you're being honest with yourself, but you also need to have a short-term memory with stuff like that. Take the lesson you learned from this match and turn it into a winning experience. When I was first coming up, I used to play the heavyweights in one-pocket getting a spot. I played hard and paid attention to their successes and mistakes as well as my own. The most important thing I learned gambling with those guys is how much a single mistake can cost you. Sometimes it changes the direction of your and your opponent's momentum, and sometimes (as was in your case) leaves just enough room for them to squeak by. Anyway, recently I had the chance to teach the lesson (maybe 6 months or so ago) to a road player from the DC area coming through town. We played a race to 3 one-pocket for $300 and he went up 2 games to none. He had the break for the third game and broke the balls bad and let the corner ball float in front of my pocket. I ran 8 and out, won the next game in similar fashion, and turned his break around on him the last game and finished him off. It's important to make your opponent pay the absolute maximum for his mistakes as often as possible. It leaves them less room for error. I remember Grady once said (on a tape if I recall), "Expect every mistake you make to cost you the maximum amount of money."
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