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View Full Version : Those little muscles that twitch...



Cane
11-18-2004, 02:28 PM
I posted this on another site, but I thought the CCBers would get a kick out of it.

I've been playing this great game most of my life, with a quite long sabatical in the middle, and thought, if nothing else, I had mastered controlling my nerves during competitive play. Well, about three weeks ago, I was playing in a regional pro tournament and was at Hill-3 in a race to 9, 9-ball. This was my first shot back at highly competitive pool (by that I mean playing in a tournament with the likes of Dave Matlock, Buddy Hall, Paul Guernsey, etc.). I was calm, cool, feeling no anxiety and had everything under control. My opponent breaks and blows whitey off the table, so I have ball in hand. I take the cue ball, lay it on the table close to where I want it. I look at the shot and decide I need it just a fraction more to the right. I put my index finger, the one attached to my calm and "in control" body, on top of the cue ball to roll it slightly to one side and when my finger touched it, ball and finger both start wobbling back and forth like the arm on a sewing machine! I was shaking and didn't even realize it!!! Shaking BAD! But... I abandoned the finger, formed a high closed bridge and used the shaft of my cue to position the cue ball delicately to where I wanted it, then ran out to win the set.

Point... yeah, I had my nerves under control, but seemingly ONLY when my cue was in my bridge hand. When that hand went out there by itself to position that cue ball, things got really shaky!

I guess I had the "right kind" of nervousness going on. I didn't feel nervous, I didn't feel anxious, I just felt calm and confident, but when I got out of routine... in other words, I used my hand to do something instead of my cue, then that nervousness came through big time. When I bridged and used the shaft to move the ball, and I could move it only a hair with no wiggle or wobble whatsoever.

Anyone else every experience anything like this? I like a competitive nervousness, but man, it was embarrassing to not be able to hold my finger still on that cue ball.

Later,
Bob

Angel_R
11-18-2004, 09:41 PM
Yes! but it probably wasn't as bad. All I know that when it happened to me, all i could think of was what everyone watching the game was thinking about my shaking. Afterwards I found out, no one noticed the shaking like I remembered it. It's amazing how things get bigger than they are when the room is quiet and all eyes are on you!

Wally_in_Cincy
11-19-2004, 07:01 AM
Cane, if you watched the finals of the US Open, Gabe Owen v. Thorsten Hohmann, when Gabe had BIH on the hill and an open table, Billy Incardona remarked how Gabe was "cool as a cucumber".

Well we were sitting within 10 feet of his chair and while he did look steady at the table every time he walked over and took a drink of water he was shaking like a leaf /ccboard/images/graemlins/smile.gif

Personally my problem in a tight match is lifting the rack from the balls without disturbing them /ccboard/images/graemlins/smile.gif That's the only time I twitch

Williebetmore
11-19-2004, 07:34 AM
Remember, though, that this is not a mental problem, but a physiological phenomenon. When the quantity of adrenalin in the bloodstream exceeds a certain amount, it will cause involuntary trembling of the "fast twitch" muscle fibers. It isn't realistic to think you can always prevent this from occurring - much better to learn how to play through it, and accept it for what it is. Its not a sign of weakness, its a sign of arousal (fight or flight).

cheesemouse
11-19-2004, 08:59 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Williebetmore:</font><hr> Remember, though, that this is not a mental problem, but a physiological phenomenon. When the quantity of adrenalin in the bloodstream exceeds a certain amount, it will cause involuntary trembling of the "fast twitch" muscle fibers. It isn't realistic to think you can always prevent this from occurring - much better to learn how to play through it, and accept it for what it is. Its not a sign of weakness, its a sign of arousal (fight or flight). <hr /></blockquote>

Williebetmore,

I understand the nerves/shakes thingee when it's all on the line but what the hell is the braindead thingee. In the blink of an eye I have gone from thinking clearly, seeing the table properly, and confidently running the balls too being unable to pick out a simple three ball run even with ball in hand....what physiological phenomenon is that???

It doesn't happen often but when it does it is a mind blowing experience....
/ccboard/images/graemlins/confused.gif /ccboard/images/graemlins/confused.gif

Stretch
11-19-2004, 08:03 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote cheesemouse:</font><hr> <blockquote><font class="small">Quote Williebetmore:</font><hr> Remember, though, that this is not a mental problem, but a physiological phenomenon. When the quantity of adrenalin in the bloodstream exceeds a certain amount, it will cause involuntary trembling of the "fast twitch" muscle fibers. It isn't realistic to think you can always prevent this from occurring - much better to learn how to play through it, and accept it for what it is. Its not a sign of weakness, its a sign of arousal (fight or flight). <hr /></blockquote>

Williebetmore,

Yep, I always play better when i'm nervous. I wish i knew how to really focus and concentrate when i'm NOT nervous. Along with the nerves of course come the trembling hands, pounding heart, forgetting to breath. You wonder "what the heck is wrong with me?" It's no wonder you can get a little freeked out about it when it happens. With anxiety comes douhts, second guessing, fear. Next thing you know your steering shots or jumping up on them then blaming the nerves on the resulting bad shot. Well it's NOT the nerves, it's how you react to the nerves, and get distracted by them. The way i handle the situation now when i get a little yippy is to reolize i'm a little jazzed up but not to get distracted about it. Lot's of pressure shots get made with shaky hands. At worst it's just another factor to add in like a slow cloth, dead rail, tight pocket, that sort of thing. That and i might end up rolling the cue ball a little long on the leave. No problem, if i still get the angle. These are just some thoughts about "nerves". Everyone gets them. The best learn to play with them, and love it! St

I understand the nerves/shakes thingee when it's all on the line but what the hell is the braindead thingee. In the blink of an eye I have gone from thinking clearly, seeing the table properly, and confidently running the balls too being unable to pick out a simple three ball run even with ball in hand....what physiological phenomenon is that???

It doesn't happen often but when it does it is a mind blowing experience....
/ccboard/images/graemlins/confused.gif /ccboard/images/graemlins/confused.gif <hr /></blockquote>

Cane
11-20-2004, 02:24 AM
Wally,
For the first time today I got a chance to see the taped final between Gabe and Thorsten Hohmann. I, like Billy Incardona, thought Gabe looked very calm and collected, and from the TV end, he did, but when he made that final 9-Ball, man he jumped up out of that shot before the cue ball was halfway to the 9! I was taping and reviewed the match and the rest of the set he froze like a dead man at the end of his stroke, but that final shot, you could see the nervousness just release like a blast of steam. I've watched Gabe play in Tulsa many times and NEVER have I seen him jump up on a shot like that. When he first did it, before it registered in my mind that the 9 ball dropped, I thought "Oh S#!t!!!". Sure was proud to see an Okie do that well.

In any case, I guess that just proves that any player at any level has to deal with stress and nervousness. I just need to learn how to make it work for me, not against me. Truthfully, until that "finger on the cue ball" episode, I really didn't realize that I was nervous. Thank God that was the last rack, because I was thinking about nothing but that for the rest of that rack. Next time, I think I'll just move the cue ball with my cue and be on the safe side! /ccboard/images/graemlins/smirk.gif

Later,
Bob

Williebetmore
11-20-2004, 10:36 AM
The "braindead thing" is part and parcel of the same adrenalin phenomenon. The adrenalin makes it very difficult (but not impossible) to focus on complicated tasks. This leads to your/our inability to think properly in tight situations. It's not just strategy that can suffer; you can also forget/neglect to go through the proper and usual pre-shot routine. Fortunately, anyone can learn to defeat these tendencies, but it takes lots of practice in competitive situations (or extreme talent at ignoring stressful conditions).

SPetty
11-21-2004, 07:19 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Cane:</font><hr> ...but when he made that final 9-Ball, man he jumped up out of that shot before the cue ball was halfway to the 9! ... I've watched Gabe play in Tulsa many times and NEVER have I seen him jump up on a shot like that. <hr /></blockquote>Hi Cane,

If you watch the tape again, notice that Thorsten Hohmann had thrown in the towel at that point. As Gabe's lining up on the 9-ball, you can see Thorsten in the background with his white towel ready to throw, and he threw the towel in just as Gabe was stroking.