View Full Version : Playing cold

02-20-2002, 05:48 AM
I regularly participate in a friday night 9 ball tournament. More often then not I can't make it soon enough to the poolhall to have some warmup strokes. I take my contactlenses in at work, run to my car and drive as fast as possible to make it to the ph in time. When I arrive I'm in no way prepared. I immediately assemble my cue (feels strange and uncomfortable), say hello to some friends and go to the table.
Here is my point:
I will win the lag and run out. Sometimes I run the second rack also, it depends on the time that I need to realize that I'm playing really good. After that I'm in serious trouble for 2 or three hours playing my sets even against weaker players. If I survive this timespan I can compete on a good level and possibly win the tournament. I don't know why it is like it is but it happenes to often and continuous to be without reasons.
Does this sound familar to some of you? If so, what are the reasons and how do you handle these situations?

I know from Raphael Martinez that he loves to play tournaments with scheduled matches because he plays his best pool when he is cold.
Any suggestions?
Help me out here.

Torsten ....likes the new board and hopes that all the lost posters return soon.

02-20-2002, 06:39 AM
Hi Torsten,
I am going through the exact situation as you! I battle the traffic in Manhatten to get to a pool hall, by the time I arrive, Im totally stressed, put my cue together and shoot-a friend(cuechick) advised me to try and show up earlier to get a powerplay in-so I will try that route-it has to be the "adrenalin rush" of trying to get there on time and not having a chance to calm down-the anxiety is still there!I will try tomorrow and let you know!But Manhatten is brutal at rushhour!:)Hopefully, we will find the answer!
I wish you luck and peace of mind!:)

02-20-2002, 06:45 AM
Good morning:

In playing "cold" you are more on autopilot then when you are fully warmed up. On autopilot, you tend to think a little less of all the finite mechanics of any particular shot. Needless to say we all "overthink" too many shots on the table. For some interesting, as well as inspiring reading, I suggest "The Pleasure of Small Motions". Give it a shot, I am reading it for the 2nd time.

Dr. D.

Jay M
02-20-2002, 07:58 AM
I have the same problem with warmups. In most of the tournaments that I've played, I lose the first match handily and then work my way up through the loser's bracket. I asked Buddy Hall about how to fix the problem and his answer was "shoot hard". I thought that he was ribbing me a bit saying to shoot hard and hope something falls. I laughed and said "no, really..." and he insisted that shooting hard at first would help. Not shooting hard and hoping, but shooting all the shots with nearly center english and hitting the ball rocket speed into the pocket. It worked for me. Now I still take a little while to get in stroke, but it comes a lot faster.

Jay M

02-20-2002, 08:22 AM
Hey Dr, D,
I'll try it-and if you know any truckdrivers, tell them to STOP trying to get through the tunnels-my 20. min travelling time has turned into a 3 hour ordeal and Im singing "I believe I can Fly!" a little too much!ha ha ha-have you ever seen Chevy Chase in National Lampoons vacation movies? Well, I have labelled my Thurs. evening as "National Lampoons NY Vacation!" ha ha ha-See you in WALLY WORLD!
Take care!

02-20-2002, 08:31 AM
Hey Jay,
I'll take that as "When in doubt, knock'em out!":)-thanks Jay!

02-20-2002, 08:43 AM
Dr. D

I studied Zin and my favorite game is one pocket. Some times
when my game is really working I'm totally out of my body
watching from the chair. Economy of motion is a great
reducer of mistakes but is a tough discipline for disorderly


02-20-2002, 11:39 AM
I've recommended Buddy's suggestion myself in my books, but more limitedly: when you're already into the match, and you've been in the chair for a while, make your first shot the easiest one you can find and really drill that sucker. I frankly don't know whether it works when initiating a match cold; shooting hard rarely works for me in any mode.

I think Torsten should either re-arrange his schedule or ask his team captain to slot him later in the competition so he can hit some balls. Personally, I wouldn't match up for 50 cents a game without at least 30 or 40 balls' worth of warm-up, hopefully more. GF

02-20-2002, 12:21 PM
Harry, do you mean "Zen"? (I thought "Zin" might be an author's name.)

02-20-2002, 12:36 PM
Torsten, another thing that might help--when you start "falling off the horse", try to tune into some favorite music (on the juke, on a walkman, whatever it takes).

Hopefully, you can get part of a song that you like into your head, which will keep you from 'hearing' the extra thinking 'chatter' in your head. It also puts your body in a "rhythmic state" (kind of like a partial trance), which will somewhat translate to your "shooting rhythm".

I think the trick is, if you're enjoying the music, you will be more relaxed, and that will help you shoot better, which will make you enjoy shooting, and you will continue that way.

Also, judging by your post, you've already started seeing your problem as a 'condition'--so, somewhere in your head, you're expecting to do badly, and you do. Don't do that.

Good luck.

02-20-2002, 01:10 PM

I tend not to play matches cold since I can usually arrange my schedule to have adequate practice time to warm-up. However, I've noticed that, when I fall out of stroke, have sat for a long time, etc., shooting hard does help me to loosen my joints and muscles. The explanation I give to myself goes something like this: I have accumulated all of this pent up energy-aggression that I have not managed by taking practice shots. When shooting softly during match play, this aggression wrecks my concentration and throws monkey wrenches into my stroke. Shooting hard helps to release this aggression and relieve whatever tension has accumulated so far. I've also heard that shooting softly exposes stroke flaws as does shooting extremely hard. Just some guesses.


02-20-2002, 01:17 PM
When playing at home I find that after a hard workout (weights)and my muscles are fatigued and burt out I play my absolute best. Its like there is no tension and my stoke is smooth as it gets.

02-21-2002, 05:50 AM
This is a GREAT suggestion-I have a CD "gentle sounds to soothe stress"-I will listen to this on my way to the city!(Im not driving, so I can close my eyes also!:)

02-21-2002, 08:02 AM
Wow, that was a lot. Next time I will lift weights and listen to zen music while driving to the poolhall. I want let my disordered mind overthink the shots and shoot them hard while singing my favorite songs.
No ,seriously you gave me a lot of usefull advice. First, I will give "The Pleasure of Small Motions" a second try (thanks Diana). Even if I'm used to read technical documentations written in English, it is not easy for me to follow Dr. Fencher (and to accept his statements). For sure I am a candidate for "overthinking" shots.

I read "Advaced pool" some time ago and I remember the shooting hard statements but I never applied them to my game. I don't know why I never did, it seems to be logical. I will definitively give it a try. The best with it is that the concept is very simple, avoids fears and the overthinking point. It reminds me to something my first mentor said: "If you have to take a shot, take it. Don't care if you make it, just go for it. If you miss, miss with confidence." As for the warmup, this tournament is not a team event, so I have to take the schedule "as is" (thanks Jay, thanks George).

The chatter is always in my head, dead stroke is not a typical tournamentsituation for me. I gave that "music in my head" concept a try, it does not work for me. Same for zen music. This stuff makes me agressive. Listening to it while driving will likely destroy my car. If someone has alternating techniques for relaxation please share it with me (thanks heater, Harry).

I will play my best after a workout, too but this does not work for my friday night.

Regards, Torsten ...has to finish this stop smoking book first.

02-21-2002, 08:28 AM
So Carol, how was it going?

02-21-2002, 09:23 AM
George and Jay, When I think about it shooting hard at first may serve a purpose. If a person comes to the table all pumped up, with the adrenalin flowing, and the fight or flight response triggered, shooting hard may expend some of this energy and get the person to the natural, relaxed state. Jake

02-21-2002, 09:34 AM

Thanks my hands don't always do what I want them to.

Yes, "ZEN" Japanese, Religious Meditation. (Date 1727)
A Japanese Sect of Mahayana Buddhism that aims at enlightenment by direct intuition through meditation. Since you know how to spell it have you ever studied it. The mind
control is great to add to your pool game.



02-21-2002, 11:13 AM
The only 'official' study of it was what was included in a Junior college "Intro to Philosophy" class. Anything else I know about Zen, I attribute to perusing books at the B&N, reading on the 'net, and general thinking and analysis.

I posted about "mushin" and "zanshin", a few months back, which you could consider "zen mind" stuff. I still have a copy on my local, if you're interested.

Also, I have a friend, who is degreed in Philosophy (yet, studying to be a lawyer--go figure), and he highly recommends "Zen and the Art of Motorcycling", which is patterned after the ancient "Zen and the Art of Archery"--I've read neither of them. I have wondered why there's not a "Zen and the Art of Poolplaying". . .at least, I've never found a copy.

Oh, getting back to the 'Mental Game', I've always been curious about the Monk's views (www.themonk.com). The way he writes seems to head up the same alley.

02-21-2002, 11:33 AM
Yup, there's your Zen in pool. Check out "Point The Way" by the Monk. (the book). Good read

02-21-2002, 11:44 AM
Thanks heater451,

www.themonk.com (http://www.themonk.com)

Sounds like a good bet! When it comes to 9-ball pool I am but a humble grasshopper as Master Po knows so well I need all the help I can get.



02-21-2002, 03:55 PM
Forgive me Torsten, I wrote tomorrow by accident-I am leaving for 'Wally World" right now-I'll let you know-Thanks for asking!

#### leonard
02-23-2002, 09:46 PM
True story, I entered the poolroom I was managing in Troy, playing on the first table was a mid thirties, well dressed man. The owner was behind the counter watching him play. He greets me with I was teling him how you can run 100s without using English. The fellow moves into the conversation. The owner said to me show him what I mean. The player gave me his house cue and I proceed to run 158 balls telling him every shot I was going to play and by getting angle on the shots, you could play the shots with center ball and let the angle create the English. Now after I accomplish that the owner has a grin from ear to ear and the player had nothing to say. A month later the salesman was back, this time I was there alone and he told me he was from Buffalo and he played at the Hippadrome and thought the owner was full of Bull, but what I had done was the most remarkable fete he had ever witness in pool. Taking a house cue from the cold and running that many balls and explaining ever shot and the theory behind every shot. ####