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View Full Version : The mental game...or lack thereof



Nostalgia
11-16-2004, 08:51 AM
Morning, all. I just wanted to share my APA 9-ball game that I had last night. My wife can't appreciate it, and I just kinda need to vent.

The back story: I'm a SL5 in 9-ball. This season I've been having a lot of trouble with my game, and have only won one match all season (12 games). For the last few weeks I've been working hard on the basics, and my game's been turning around.

Last night I ended up against a SL2. That means he needs 19 balls, I need 38. No problem. I've played him before, I know I can win. I'm confident and feeling strong.

He wins the lag, then snaps the 9 on the break. His next break, 2 balls go. I finally get to the table and start running balls. I'm able to run 6-7 balls of each rack, but keep shanking the 9-ball. Finally, I get the concentration right and finish 2 racks. The score is now 35-17. I need 3, he needs 2. It's my shot on the 1. I play a lovely safety, get ball in hand. This is about what the table looked like:

http://endeavor.med.nyu.edu/~wei/pool/pooltable2.html
START(
%AX9H9%Bj6M1%CP7X4%Dn8O0%EM0H1%FK0T5%GI5L9%Ho1T5%I g1G5%PT1N4
%Ud1Q4%VX8I8%_W9J4%`V2L0%aT7M8
)END

I played beautiful shape on the 2, leaving myself with a dead straight, 2' shot with nothing needed but a foot of draw to get back for the 3. Can you guess what happened? I drove the 2 right into the side rail and lost the match.

I am so disappointed in myself. I could almost feel myself stop concentrating on the shot as I hit it. I know I have to just suck it up and move on, but this one really stung. That last shot is how I've been playing all season, and I've worked so hard to try to get myself out of it, and I finally thought I had it.

Thanks for listening,

-Joe

PQQLK9
11-16-2004, 09:14 AM
http://www.run-out.com/images/mens/notfor.gif
/ccboard/images/graemlins/smile.gif /ccboard/images/graemlins/smile.gif /ccboard/images/graemlins/smile.gif

wantsumrice
11-16-2004, 10:35 AM
You know where i can get that shirt? lol

Anyway...that's pool for ya man. [censored] happens.

Chris Cass
11-16-2004, 10:39 AM
Hi Joe,

Don't bring your hard work down and especially, yourself. You mentioned something that I hear many pool players say. The word perfect. The straight in shot is the hardest shot there is. Actually you'd have done better just returning to the middle of the table.

You can't try to play perfect because it's not a perfect game. The shots not over till the cb stops. So many players try to just get in the general area with the cb. That's good and all that's required to make the ball is to get into the wedge.

However, there's more to it than that. You could have even stop'd the cb and have better than drawing into the side hole. Sometimes we think too far ahead and take everything as done and finished. Like your out. You should have been out as the run was very easy looking. The truth is no run is easy. It's the shooter that makes it look easy.

The angle you wanted to get back to the 4 ball would be closer to ctr table. You could always use a left draw shot to get back for the 4 ball. It's when your thinking too far ahead in the game or rack that you take the cb for granted. You can't trust whitey. You have to know where it's going to stop. It's this thinking of hurrying up to finish the rack out that these little errors in judgement come into play.

You should have went into the inning as if your taking all the time in the world to get it right. Not so much as to let me get this thing over with. I could be wrong as I often am but I see you pumped at getting another shot and a way to walk away with the cheese and when you get to the table. It's off to the races.

My best and hope you don't give up what you've started. Next time you'll remember that shot and the best reasons why we all should try to get back to ctr table on every shot possible. It cuts the shots in 1/2 and only a few shots require you to be in other areas on the table. JMHO

Regards,

C.C.~~hopes this helps you see things a little more clear. /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif

PQQLK9
11-16-2004, 10:58 AM
http://www.run-out.com/home.html

Nostalgia
11-16-2004, 11:31 AM
Chris,

Thanks for the encouragement.
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Chris Cass:</font><hr>The word perfect. The straight in shot is the hardest shot there is. Actually you'd have done better just returning to the middle of the table.<hr /></blockquote>
When I say "perfect," I mean it in the context of: "the cue ball stopped precisely where I wanted it to." I only needed to run the 3 balls to win, and that's what I was playing to. A stop shot or a bit of draw would have left me with a very makeable shot on the 3.

[ QUOTE ]
the time in the world to get it right. Not so much as to let me get this thing over with. I could be wrong as I often am but I see you pumped at getting another shot and a way to walk away with the cheese and when you get to the table. It's off to the races.<hr /></blockquote>
This time I wasn't rushing. I just took my eye off it at the last second. I could feel it happen. I do tend to play fast, and that's one of the things I've been working on. That and my stroke. I'm finally getting a consistent, repeatable stroke.

[ QUOTE ]
My best and hope you don't give up what you've started.<hr /></blockquote>
I hope so, too. Thanks for the suggestion from the T-shirt poster, though.

-Joe

PQQLK9
11-16-2004, 11:52 AM
Quote&gt; Thanks for the suggestion from the T-shirt poster, though.

I'm glad you appreciate my attempt at humor Nostalgia. I have done what you did countless times but we all struggle sometimes.

Chris made some really good points as he always does and I have learned so much
by reading his posts. (I learned my humor from him also). /ccboard/images/graemlins/smile.gif

wolfdancer
11-16-2004, 11:56 AM
Have you considered taking up bowling?

Angel_R
11-16-2004, 10:09 PM
Great Points Chris, another thing I would suggest is take a moment and walk around the table. There is no shot clock in this league. I often walk around the table and pick the zone I want to CB to be in. As we all know, there are different ways to get the same or similar results. I didn't get a chance to see the set up you had because I still can't figure how to view those links. They don't seem to work.

But anyways, I found if I take the time to walk around the table and see all my angles, I get the big picture and also have a chance to cool my nerves off of the impending win! hahaha.

Another thing is to make your mind up where you are going with the CB before you get set. I find if I don't get that in my mind, I often think of another possible location for the CB just before I shoot. That can really mess things up if you have two different things going on in your head for the CB.

Taking my time and walking around the table has made all the difference in my game.

Take Care /ccboard/images/graemlins/wink.gif

DialUp
11-18-2004, 04:11 PM
Here is the shot -

http://image20.webshots.com/20/2/63/73/219126373hzzXBz_ph.jpg

Fred Agnir
11-18-2004, 04:43 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Nostalgia:</font><hr>
I played beautiful shape on the 2, leaving myself with a dead straight, 2' shot with nothing needed but a foot of draw to get back for the 3. Can you guess what happened? I drove the 2 right into the side rail and lost the match.
<hr /></blockquote>
There are two things that league players do that get them in trouble in the position that you're talking about. The slide and the lookaway.

The slide is when you shoot a shot, get perfect on the next ball, and rather than do your whole pre-shot routing, you slide over not even bothering to stand back up. This disrupts your timing and your viewing perspective as well as your speed control. So, when you try to draw your ball back, your entire stroke mechanics are screwed up because you've lost your reference.

The second is the lookaway which is related. I don't know why, but I just want to smack my teammates on the head when they're down on the ball and they for some reason decide to turn their head and look to the spot where they want the cueball to go. Someone has already touched on this as well. For the same reason, the moment you look away, you've disrupted your routine and break up your visual perspective of the shot.

I'm not saying you did do these or one of these, but by the position shown on the diagram and your description, many of my teammates would have been in violation of one of these.

Fred

cheesemouse
11-18-2004, 05:56 PM
Dialup,

I don't know your level of play but it sounds like from what Chris wrote that your trying hard to learn. In addition to what has already been offered I would like to remind you that even the pro's rarely look beyound a three ball run when they are playing 9ball. They simply pick up another ball in the run after pocketing a ball. The example of your layout would be to see the line you want on 1,2,3 ball packet, upon making the one ball and getting the desired position on the two ball you add the four ball to your next packet of three. If you stay in line on all the little packets of three ball runs you should be able to run the balls w/o much delay in your rythmn of play.

Angle suggested you take a lap around the table and this is good advice if you are out of line but you were still in line so there was no reason for you to interupt your rythmn(dance). You titled your post 'The mental game' and dividing your game up between thinking and shooting is one of the hurdles all players pass thru in paying there dues (Fred eluded to it when he mentioned players looking around in the down postition). What I'm suggesting is that you simplify the mental game by just looking at three ball runs, commit to the first ball of the run, and then go about your shooting routine. If you stay in line keep your rythmn going w/o much delay. If you get out of line take the lap and draw up a new plan....

If I was playing Chris on a barbox and he had this layout I would give him class after he pocketed the four ball and save some quarters...... /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif

DialUp
11-18-2004, 07:14 PM
cheesemouse, I was just posting a pic for those who could not see it. Nostalgia is the choker... I mean original poster /ccboard/images/graemlins/smile.gif

cheesemouse
11-18-2004, 07:26 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote DialUp:</font><hr> cheesemouse, I was just posting a pic for those who could not see it. Nostalgia is the choker... I mean original poster /ccboard/images/graemlins/smile.gif <hr /></blockquote>

Ahhhhh...what the hell...'there is always bowling'... /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif

Keith Talent
11-18-2004, 08:59 PM
Ouch ... in addition to those classic flaws Fred pointed out that also are an integral part of my game, is it possible you heard a little voice say, "Whatever you do, DON'T draw it into the side." So, maybe, like anybody might do unconsciously, you altered your aim a hair to the right (so you'd draw back below the side) and ended up cutting the 2 into the rail? I know how to do that, for sure, avoid a potential problem by missing a shot.

Angel_R
11-18-2004, 09:03 PM
You're right Cheese. If you got a good rythym going, don't mess around walking around the table. I study the table pretty hard at the beginning, but after I get going, I probably spend more time making sure where I want the cue ball to go. Once I figure that, I may look at that location from a different perspective to make sure I have selected the best spot. I also never shoot for a particular spot, but rather a zone. It offers less chance of error.
My zone is often very generous. What I mean is when I select a zone that the cueball should go to, I always play for the larger area of the zone. Less chance for messing up leave. If you do this, I believe you'll see the results you want. /ccboard/images/graemlins/cool.gif /ccboard/images/graemlins/cool.gif

Nostalgia
11-19-2004, 07:47 AM
Thanks to everyone for the suggestions. Even the one about bowling /ccboard/images/graemlins/wink.gif (although I'm pretty bad at that. 120 average, anyone?)

To the poster who suggested the slide and lookaway, I may have been guilty of the slide, but DEFINATELY was guilty of the lookaway. That's why I was so angry; I know better. I let my head get out of the game, and paid for it. And yes, I was worried about the scratch in the side, and may have tried to cheat the pocket.

As for the 3 ball strategy, that's as far as I look ahead. I was looking at the 1-2-3, and that's it. After the 1, I wasn't even looking 2-3-4, since I didn't need the 4 to win.

Thanks again, all. It's really theraputic to be able to talk shop with people who have been there. We'll see how my games go on Monday.

-Joe

Williebetmore
11-20-2004, 10:57 AM
Nostalgia,
Not that I can add anything to what CC said, but I will tell you that I saw Efren Reyes miss 2 shots in ONE GAME, easier than the 2 ball you missed (DCC this year against Jim Wych). After surviving that match, Efren went on to play lights out, finishing in second place. The pro's know to not let these things bother them; to learn from them.

Someone asked Luther Lassiter why the top pro's miss these easy shots much less often than regular players and he responded, "because the top pro's have figured out there is no such thing as an easy shot." Words to live by. Rather than making me worry about missing easy shots, this philosophy helps ease the worry on all shots, especially the tough shots. If you relentlessly stick to your pre-shot routine (no matter the difficulty of the shot), and rely on your mechanics; then all shots become the same, and the pressure of the match or the pressure of the shot just fade away. You don't have to worry about anything, just shoot the way you are supposed to and accept the results. Let the suckers have the stress and mental problems. JMO

Stretch
11-21-2004, 08:47 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Keith Talent:</font><hr> Ouch ... in addition to those classic flaws Fred pointed out that also are an integral part of my game, is it possible you heard a little voice say, "Whatever you do, DON'T draw it into the side." So, maybe, like anybody might do unconsciously, you altered your aim a hair to the right (so you'd draw back below the side) and ended up cutting the 2 into the rail? I know how to do that, for sure, avoid a potential problem by missing a shot.

<hr /></blockquote>

I know all about those little voices. The mind works in funny ways. For one thing, it does not compute the word "don't". You think "don't come up short", it hears "come up short". You think "don't over cut" it hears "overcut". Any, and i mean ANY mixed message between what you want, and what you don't want will spoil the shot. There is only one way to approach a shot. With Total commitment and decisivness.

I also believe that as far as shape goes, it's a mistake to think "area shape", not good enough. You need to pick a spot (within your desired area) and put it right on that spot. You may not always get it perfect on that spot, but it's the best way of insuring that you do get there somewhere. St.