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SPetty
08-05-2004, 11:34 AM
I had occasion to watch my copy of the movie "The Baron and the Kid" last night. I found this gem in it and I thought I would share. It's the Baron's definition of The Zone as explained to the Kid:

"The Zone is a combination of what experience tells you to do, what your ego wants to do and what your nerve will let you do."

Sid_Vicious
08-05-2004, 11:47 AM
One player I know would tell you that the zone is really when you hear voices, say Minnesota Fats, telling you things, and you let yourself listen and follow that voice willingly without your normal, logical doubts. I dunno, anything possible, and to me the zone is so illiusive and so seldom that it almost has to be of a slightly supernatural event. People can state that the zone happens more and more the better one gets at this game, and yet some of the most intense zones for me was back when I was in the early and middle parts of learning. Maybe I need to listen to The Fat Man when he talks to me next time...sid

RichardCranium
08-05-2004, 01:26 PM
I don't visit the zone, I live in the Zone...all the time...24/7...Man am I HOT...

Welcome to Arizona....now go home....lol..... /ccboard/images/graemlins/cool.gif

Popcorn
08-05-2004, 01:55 PM
Sounds a little more like the thoughts of a writer and not a player, an attempt at sounding profound but it doesn't seem to encompass the real sense of being in a zone. The zone is more a state of unawareness and being detached from reality. You are as much a spectator as the player and in no conscious control of the state of mind. Once it comes to the surface it goes away though. It does provide an interesting insight into how you may actually be able to play someday. It shows the tools are there.

AndreaWilson
08-05-2004, 02:14 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Popcorn:</font><hr> The zone is more a state of unawareness and being detached from reality. You are as much a spectator as the player and in no conscious control of the state of mind. Once it comes to the surface it goes away though. It does provide an interesting insight into how you may actually be able to play someday. It shows the tools are there. <hr /></blockquote>

I totally agree and you often hear people say, "they were playing over their head" when in fact that player may have been in the zone. If that is true though, it points out a rather sad fact. If when playing in the zone, we display our true ability, then if a player only occasionally gets in the zone, it means we play a substantial amount of time without displaying our true ability. How sad.

You hear the pro's say it's 10% skill and 90% mental when you play at their level. So, "putting in the time" aside, where do they get their mental strength from? Do they have access to guidance that the average player does not?

/ccboard/images/graemlins/confused.gif Tired of playing sub-par.

Tom_In_Cincy
08-05-2004, 03:20 PM
I've heard that 'the Zone' is nothing more than a glimpse of how you CAN play if you practice correctly and compete on a regular basis. The more effort you put into the 'perfect practice' the more likely you will be in the Zone more often.

I've been playing for almost 40 years. The first 20 years I thought I was learning how to use english. Then the last 20 years I've been trying to learn how NOT to use english. (more rail and speed for position)

Competition is a great motivator. I hate to lose. I also hate to have a poor performance. I always look for interesting drills to make my practice sessions more exciting.

AndreaWilson
08-05-2004, 04:27 PM
I agree with all your points there Tom. If I find myself missing or jarring balls, the first thing I do is eliminate english and back off on the pace to keep things simple. I have never met a true competitor that likes losing. Sometimes you are forced to accept it if you are overmatched in a tourney, but the difference is whether you put your best foot forward and play to the best of your ability or kick up a fuss and mentally toss in the towel. Either way you should behave with dignity and proper etiquette around the table. Without realizing, we are often the examples for developing players. The good old Monkey see Monkey do and we can choose to control what emotions we let the monkey see. /ccboard/images/graemlins/blush.gif

recoveryjones
08-05-2004, 07:08 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Tom_In_Cincy:</font><hr> I've heard that 'the Zone' is nothing more than a glimpse of how you CAN play if you practice correctly and compete on a regular basis. The more effort you put into the 'perfect practice' the more likely you will be in the Zone more often.

I've been playing for almost 40 years. The first 20 years I thought I was learning how to use english. Then the last 20 years I've been trying to learn how NOT to use english. (more rail and speed for position)

Competition is a great motivator. I hate to lose. I also hate to have a poor performance. I always look for interesting drills to make my practice sessions more exciting.

<hr /></blockquote>

Good post Tom, much appreciated. I have a Phillipino friend who is a solid A+ 9 ball player. He told me when he was younger he used all kinds of fancy english because it was fun to use.It may be fun, however , it doesnt win games.He uses a lot of center ball now, the rails and speed control. A few months back he won the big tournament in our pool hall that had about 5 or 6 pros entered. He really got me thinking because I practice using english a lot.Although it gets you some real pretty shots happening they sure turn ugly when you miss.

As far as getting in the zone, you are right on about perfect practice.The more we load up the hard drive with shape shots (learned by doing drills) in practice, the less we have to think in the big match. We can just visulize the shot and let the hard drive take over and do its thing.My bestpool ever is allways been when I just shoot and seem to intuitivly know what to put on the cue ball.That's the essence of Dead stroke.RJ

ps. I hate losing as well.

Rod
08-05-2004, 07:47 PM
The zone eh? Well here is my 2 bits. Players play, practice, and mentally make smart or poor choices, under different conditions and settings, all in the name of experience. When you play you draw from past experience to play your best game. That is what we all do. The difference is, the zone is nothing more than using all of your best past experience. I say itís mostly mental.

What? Revolutionary you say? LOL Not hardly and you know it. We all have our shortcomings except that day we had fewer. If you watch a player that normally makes 3 balls and they make 5, well I guess they hit a zone of sort. Better players make say 8 balls but this time they make 12 etc. However with most players it will be very short lived (confidence factor) while others (usually much better players) it may last for hours. Then again with even more experience it can go on for days, months or even years. So who is in the zone? Pros or even many good players just practice and play that way. Is that a zone? I suppose it is, but itís a normal zone. What makes them in a zone? Well if they normally miss a ball every hour, then the zone is not missing for two or more?

The level of the player obviously has a lot to do with our perceived zone. I think this elusive zone for many is a moderate, but not always, increase over how they normally play. Those people may think of it as a zone but really itís just a good day. They need to draw from those good days to possibly hit their supreme zone, if you will. So practice quality more, if you want that zone to be a reality. Then take the next step.

It has been mentioned before were in a trance or hypnotic state. While I think thatís partially true, I donít relate this to not being aware. You are or can be very much aware even in a hypnotic state; itís just that most of us donít pay attention to details. In this case I think itís the focus on the main goal, could be winning, (letís hope so) self improvement, pride or what ever drives you that day/ days etc.

Boiled down, I think itís a goal, with a well focused Individual; who draws from past experience and plays with a high confidence factor.

Rod

Vagabond
08-06-2004, 04:33 AM
Howdy Ma`m,
That is a good one and I liked it( Baron`s).cheers
Vagabond /ccboard/images/graemlins/cool.gif

BillPorter
08-06-2004, 11:08 AM
Here's a nice little article on playing in the zone =&gt; http://www.tothenextlevel.org/old_site/docs/mental_skills/playing_in_the_zone.html

bluewolf
08-06-2004, 02:09 PM
The zone is- when you are above your body watching yourself play...haha /ccboard/images/graemlins/tongue.gif /ccboard/images/graemlins/tongue.gif

Laura

bluewolf
08-06-2004, 02:18 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Popcorn:</font><hr> The zone is more a state of unawareness and being detached from reality. You are as much a spectator as the player and in no conscious control of the state of mind. Once it comes to the surface it goes away though. It does provide an interesting insight into how you may actually be able to play someday. It shows the tools are there. <hr /></blockquote>

Popcorn, I was teasing in my last post, but IMO, you sound like you have it right here.

Laura

Sid_Vicious
08-06-2004, 03:07 PM
"I've heard that 'the Zone' is nothing more than a glimpse of how you CAN play if you practice correctly and compete on a regular basis"

I respectfully disagree with this concept because I find it unbelievable that you can DO THINGS out of the blue while hitting the zone which tells you your true abilities only after proper practice. Seriously, it's like the chicken and the egg, and I believe that in ability levels, the egg had to mature before the total abilities present themselves to become the chicken. Now if you were saying that you're practicing mental control, I'd believe that, but I'm not buying that people show their future abilities to be learned through practice during the zone, just don't. The better chance IMO is that nearly everyone has a natural ability to everything, and sometimes the brain chemistry exists to let that level "happen." I've seen kids pick up skills in many sports real fast, get bored and quit, such a shame. I'm thinking that what we hit in pool with the zone is a-kin to that juvenile, un-worried, confident feeling. Life's built up a level of BS in us, and daily concern breeds unsurety in most everything we do, especially in a sport like pool, 10% ability 90% mental.

I'll wager that if every professional player were to have to adopt a day job and/or begin caring for family in some way, juggle bills and have to time manage themselves, that we'd find those players to shrink from zoning out, not because of the lost practice and play time, but from the mind chatter they weren't used to. Give me the freedom to never have a worry about Monday morning and work and I'm sure I'll get to the zone a whole lot more...sid

bluewolf
08-07-2004, 10:15 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Sid_Vicious:</font><hr> "I've heard that 'the Zone' is nothing more than a glimpse of how you CAN play if you practice correctly and compete on a regular basis"

I respectfully disagree with this concept because I find it unbelievable that you can DO THINGS out of the blue while hitting the zone which tells you your true abilities only after proper practice. Seriously, it's like the chicken and the egg, and I believe that in ability levels, the egg had to mature before the total abilities present themselves to become the chicken. Now if you were saying that you're practicing mental control, I'd believe that, but I'm not buying that people show their future abilities to be learned through practice during the zone, just don't. The better chance IMO is that nearly everyone has a natural ability to everything, and sometimes the brain chemistry exists to let that level "happen." I've seen kids pick up skills in many sports real fast, get bored and quit, such a shame. I'm thinking that what we hit in pool with the zone is a-kin to that juvenile, un-worried, confident feeling. Life's built up a level of BS in us, and daily concern breeds unsurety in most everything we do, especially in a sport like pool, 10% ability 90% mental.

<hr /></blockquote>


Tying to explain the zone, from an analytical point of view, IMO is like trying to explain falling in love. The zone is an altered state. I have hit shots in the zone that I am only 50% on or less in regular play. I cannot explain it, and if it only happened once (that type of shot) I would have said that it is a coincidence.

The problem with learning from the zone is that I do not remember what I did in there. I certainly do not remember what shots I made, what shapes or how I did them. So how can I practice something I do not remember. It was more like moving from shot to shot with no emotion, thoughts or fears running through my head. Nothing else exists there except the shots. It is very like deep meditation only you are doing something, playing pool.

Like I said, I cannot explain it, nor have the sports psychologists been particularly successful at this. Coaches of olympic atheletes try to use techniques to change the electrical signals in the brain of the athletes to approximate alpha waves. The problem has been is that sometimes it works and sometimes it does not.

It does seem that some visit the zone more frequently than others, but for me, I am happy when I come to the table relaxed, focussed and ready to play my best. In that state I am then able to learn from my mistakes as well as observe good plays by others, and learn to do better next time.

If a person like me enters the zone, having not achieved that very high level of play, it just makes me more inconsistent and makes others complain about my sl LOL. I can see why this would be a great thing for a pro or an A player, more so than for someone like me. In fact, a good player told me to try to NOT ZONE, since nothing much is remembered in there and it reduces my ability to learn from what I did.

Just my .02

Laura

cheesemouse
08-07-2004, 12:18 PM
SPetty,

I'm zoned out all the time... /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif

Say girl, what the hell is that picture of anyway...LOL

Wally_in_Cincy
08-07-2004, 12:22 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote cheesemouse:</font><hr> ...Say girl, what the hell is that picture of anyway...LOL <hr /></blockquote>

read about SPetty's pic here /ccboard/images/graemlins/smile.gif (http://www.billiardsdigest.com/ccboard/showthreaded.php?Cat=&amp;Board=npr&amp;Number=150039&amp;page =5&amp;view=expanded&amp;sb=6&amp;o=7&amp;fpart=1)

cheesemouse
08-07-2004, 12:27 PM
Holy sticky lips Batman...LOL...Back to the cave Robin...

Tom_In_Cincy
08-08-2004, 12:07 AM
Sid,
Good point, 'out of the blue excellence' is highly unlikely in any field. Especially with the very novice players.

A great baseball pitcher Charlie Lea (Played for the Montreal Expos, played with me and my brother-in-law on a public golf course back in the early 80s.

While my brother-in-law and I were hackers, Charlie was playing for the 1st time with borrowed clubs. He just wanted to join in the fun and have a good time. He shot a 76 playing the 'ball down' and never 3 putted one green.

As far as I know, he's never played again. He said it was "too easy".

To me he was in a ZONE. But to him, he really didn't know how tough it really was to shoot a 76 for a lot of hackers, let alone break 100.

The Zone is relative to all skill levels. Novice players stinging 4 balls together can feel a 'tinge' of the Zone. When they are use to just making no more than two at one time at the table.

For players that have had experience, the Zone might be running out their first rack of 8 or 9 ball. Other players, might consider the zone to be winning 4 games in a row.

But I do respect your opinion and it does have validity.

If you get a change to read 'Golf is not a game of Perfect' By Dr. Bob Rotella (SP?) please do. I thought it was a good eye opener for the players that like to compete, yet have a block for some reason.

landshark1002000
08-08-2004, 11:51 AM
Thanks Bill:

That article on the zone was great.

Every point made was true to my own experience.

The zone really is a non-verbal world. You experience your game rather than describe it to yourself.

Your senses are focussed on the game -- almost limitted to it alone but really its even more like a screening out of unnecessary sensations so that only those needed to play are primary and important.

Thanks again for the article.

--Ted from Phoenix