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View Full Version : Scratching, Choking, hitting balls to hard..



dvsmnstr
02-17-2005, 12:49 PM
hey guys, I have a good friend on my pool league who has been playing with us for maybe 5 months now.. he is getting a little better but he is famous for scratching, hitting the balls to hard and choking on the 8 under pressure. He can play a great game but totally blow an easy 8ball shot. My teammates and I have talked to him a few times(he isnt cocky so he listens to us) but it just seems he still has some problems.. has anyone else been in his shoes? have any pointers for him? I want to email him this thread when I get some good responses. thanks for any help! just that sometimes other peoples input can go a long way.

john

Wally_in_Cincy
02-17-2005, 01:02 PM
I don't know the answer. We have a guy called "Military Dave" who plays all the time and never gets any better because he hits the balls too hard. He doesn't listen to advice.

Billy_Bob
02-17-2005, 01:09 PM
Some things just take time to learn. I wouldn't give him advise unless he asks. When he wins a match, tell him good shooting, etc. When he does not do so well, say good try.

i.e. Always be positive with your comments and don't put any additional pressure on him.

If he asks what to do to improve, tell him to enter as many small local money tournaments as possible. The more you play in tournaments, the more relaxed you become.

When he notices how well other players can shoot, tell him they practice a lot.

If he wants to learn more about the game, may suggest a good instructor or buying a book/video on pool basics.

GeraldG
02-17-2005, 01:13 PM
I don't think you can do anything about it. He isn't coming to you to ask for help in improving his game, you are asking him to change the way he plays because it hurts your team scores. There's a big difference. His problems are probably the most common problems there are in newer players. They hit the balls too hard and they are inconsistent. The only way for him to improve is for HIM to decide he wants to improve and then make the effort to improve his game in general. It may just not be important enough to him to put in the time and effort...maybe it's just something he wants to do once a week for fun but not get too serious about it. That's a choice he'll have to make, you can't make it for him. If he decides to improve, he will improve.

Popcorn
02-17-2005, 01:17 PM
He would benefit from even one good session with a qualified instructor. People need to just get off on the right foot. The truth is he hasn't been playing that long and you can't expect too much from him at this point just be supportive.

dvsmnstr
02-17-2005, 01:24 PM
sorry guys, maybe I was a little unclear.. we are not throwing advise at him.. he is asking but he seems to forget everything we say when he is nervous/whatever it may be at the table.

Billy_Bob
02-17-2005, 01:30 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote dvsmnstr:</font><hr> sorry guys, maybe I was a little unclear.. we are not throwing advise at him.. he is asking but he seems to forget everything we say when he is nervous/whatever it may be at the table. <hr /></blockquote>

Well for just being nervous, playing in more tournaments will do the trick.

And maybe stop suggesting things for awhile. Limit it to one tip/thing to work on a day, and only from one person.

Billy_Bob
02-17-2005, 01:57 PM
Maybe telling you my own experience will help...

I have played on several league teams.

On a team which did not do so well, I was just starting out and about at the level your teammate is. I ran in all my balls and was about to shoot in the 8 ball. I was trying to concentrate. Well one of my teammates yells out real loud "YOU CAN DO IT!" Well that put more pressure on me and I of course missed the shot. I told my teammate to please be quiet when I am shooting, and to just let me do my thing.

With other non-first place teams I have been on, the team captain will tell the another player they *must* win the next match so the team can win.... Well when this is done, the players frequently lose. The players are playing their best. They don't need to be told they need to win in order to win. Telling them they need to win places more pressure on them and usually causes them to lose.

There is another team I was on that was in first place in the league. The captain was one of the best players in the area. Much better than I. When I won, he said good shooting, when I lost, he said good try. When I was playing, he would not bother me with advice unless I asked (coaching OK in this league). Even though he knew I was about to make a shot which was foolish to him, he said nothing. If I asked for advice on a shot, he told me what he would do, but said to do what I was most comfortable with. Needless to say, I felt little or no pressure on this team. I played incredibly well. I never choked on anything. I think this really helped this team to be #1.

MrLucky
02-17-2005, 02:00 PM
Ive found that some folks are scared of winning the pressure bothers them! these are the folks that play well till the eight ball or nine ball comes up then they shoot too hard or miscue or just blow the shot ! for them its a mental problem that usually goes deeper than just pool ! /ccboard/images/graemlins/frown.gif

dvsmnstr
02-17-2005, 02:05 PM
thanks for the info Bob, it seems he is in your position with the first place team.. we are in first place currently last week my friend did not play and we won 5 straight, this week he played and everyone won but him.. Everyone said he played a great game nobody put him down just said you'll get him next time. (he had 2 chances to win but choked) I usally do not call a timeout for him unless he has ball in hand and is making a pretty poor move and then I explain to him a few options and let him choose what he is more conforable shooting. I did not pick my apa team to win, just picked my friends.. to play and have fun but we are doing very good and I think he feels he is letting us down and it's hurting him/his game. I'll will continue to do everything I can to help him ment/phscly and hope for the best! thanks for the info guys I like to see how other people think!

Wally_in_Cincy
02-17-2005, 02:13 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote dvsmnstr:</font><hr>

...I did not pick my apa team to win, just picked my friends.. to play and have fun but we are doing very good and I think he feels he is letting us down and it's hurting him/his game....<hr /></blockquote>

Remind him that, until he improves, (and if he keeps playing he should improve at least some), he is helping your team just by being a low handicap. For the time being anyway.

Rod
02-17-2005, 02:23 PM
We all make mistakes. It's just at higher levels of play less mistakes are made. Playing league, or pressure situations can cause quick jerky and sometimes hard motions. Many will settle down and some don't. It just depends on how serious he takes the game and how much effort he put's into the game.

One thing for sure, most people who play pool have motions that are far to fast. They need to slow down but haven't learned exactly how. Well that and they don't understand why it's so important. I could write a book on that subject but I'll spare you all. LOL If he is interested, have him take a couple of lessons for a better understanding. He may not want to go that far but it is his option.

Rod

Keith Talent
02-17-2005, 02:29 PM
Maybe you could lend him a few Efren tapes. Let your friend watch how calmly he walks around the table and never overhits a shot.

Billy_Bob
02-17-2005, 02:31 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Rod:</font><hr> ...One thing for sure, most people who play pool have motions that are far to fast. They need to slow down but haven't learned exactly how... <hr /></blockquote>

That's for sure. I did find a way to get a friend to slow down. I played him for a few jellybeans. Boy did he ever slow down and get serious! /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif

GeraldG
02-17-2005, 02:38 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote dvsmnstr:</font><hr> sorry guys, maybe I was a little unclear.. we are not throwing advise at him.. he is asking but he seems to forget everything we say when he is nervous/whatever it may be at the table. <hr /></blockquote>


OK..That's a little different, then. That is also a common problem with just about everybody. You get into a pressure situation with everybody watching and everything you ever knew about pool goes right out the window. You stand there and look at the balls...they look familiar alright, but you can't really remember what they're there for or why you're holding that stick in your hand.....well, OK...it's not quite THAT bad, but you do have problems remembering exactly what you intended to do when you stepped up to the table. It's too much pressure for the moment, you want to get it over with and get away from the table, so you rush. It's all in learning to take one shot at a time and treat every shot just like every other shot. He's just not as used to it as everyone else is...experience will help that. He needs more time in tournaments and league nights and he'll learn how to focus and not let closing the deal freak him out so much. I'd say just be patient with him and encourage him. When he screws up, find something he did right and point that out instead of dwelling on what he messed up on.

Ives
02-17-2005, 02:54 PM
If you have a copy of "pleasure of small motions", let him borrow it. It has helped me alot.

Chris Cass
02-17-2005, 04:07 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote dvsmnstr:</font><hr> hey guys, I have a good friend on my pool league who has been playing with us for maybe 5 months now.. he is getting a little better but he is famous for scratching, hitting the balls to hard and choking on the 8 under pressure. He can play a great game but totally blow an easy 8ball shot. My teammates and I have talked to him a few times(he isnt cocky so he listens to us) but it just seems he still has some problems.. has anyone else been in his shoes? have any pointers for him? I want to email him this thread when I get some good responses. thanks for any help! just that sometimes other peoples input can go a long way.

john <hr /></blockquote>

Hi friend of John,

I hope this might help you out a little, come game time. Remember, this as John put it, is just a few replies that might be able to hit at home. The ones that don't? Just disregard. Kind of like a trouble-shooting chart. lol

I've seen this happen many times with not only beginners but experienced players. It's not about pointing faults. More like, recognizing what's going on. When the heat is on so, to speak.

Where I think, the problem might lie. Is in, getting down on the ball. There's so many things that point to it mechanically and mentally speaking.

When a shooter seems to hit the balls too hard and especially missing or what some might say gagging the key ball, in a game. The stance is what's critical when shooting any shot. If your stance is straight in line with the shot and where your suppose to be. All the rest, fall into place.

As you walk into your final shot for the win. You should be right on target. If one misses due to, hitting too hard or raising up on the final stroke? Which is, most of the time the player hits too hard.

They're actually what I call, anticipating the shot. In other words. They've shot the shot before actually shooting the shot. So, it's fast and unpredictable. They've let the cue ball go before, actually shooting the shot. In the mind. Make sence?

That still isn't the problem but, it indicates the source. The problem I think is, getting down on the ball to shoot it. When, you do walk into the shot and lay your cue down in line to shoot. You must get your body comfortable into, your stance. That's the first thing you must do on every shot, get comfortable.

Once, in a comfortable position and relaxed you can go through your warm-up strokes if any and before the final stroke is taken. You have to double check your cue alignment from the cue ball to the object ball. Once this is done and it's comfirmed, in your minds eye.

Then, you can shoot the ball with the confidence needed to complete the shot, the best you can. When the body is comfortable in the stance and mind. There's no, anticipating the shot. There's no, hitting harder than needed and it's done with a smooth delivery.

I hope this might help in your situation. If not just see what does fit from the other responses given till one does. Good Luck with your game brother and it's nice to have a bud like John to help you out.

I think it's great to have someone like yourself on a team too. There's guys on my team you just can't help. They take it like your trying to tell them what to do. So, with me? I just let them go on doing the same things for yrs. No skin off my back.

Regards,

C.C.

GeraldG
02-17-2005, 04:59 PM
I agree that what Chris is saying here is probably mechanically what's happening at the time of execution, but I think it's really the symptom, not the root problem.

The guy obviously has good enough mechanics to make the shots up to the "last two". Then he falls apart. I think the problem is that he's approaching the shots differently. In his mind, he recognizing that if he can just sink these last couple of balls, he'll win. Then he starts to feel the pressure...his preshot routing goes out the window and he essentially just gets up there and fires.

You know, playing some 14.1 might help him learn to disregard the fact that he's at the end of the rack.

He has to learn to treat every shot on the table just like every other shot on the table. One shot at a time. Make your plan and execute it.

Billy_Bob
02-17-2005, 06:22 PM
And also there is the "over confidence" thing. Last easy shot - straight in, bang it in without taking time to be careful and missing.

Or ball-in-hand on the 8. You know you have won and whack it in, then miss.

Amazing how many times I have seen someone in a league miss on the 8 with ball-in-hand...

GeraldG
02-17-2005, 06:53 PM
That's exactly right...and it gets down to the same problem. Not approaching every shot exactly the same way.

JimS
02-18-2005, 05:20 AM
Charge him $10 every time he shoots hard enough that the object ball hits the back of the pocket. /ccboard/images/graemlins/wink.gif

Fred Agnir
02-18-2005, 06:49 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote dvsmnstr:</font><hr> hey guys, I have a good friend on my pool league who has been playing with us for maybe 5 months now.. he is getting a little better but he is famous for scratching, hitting the balls to hard and choking on the 8 under pressure. He can play a great game but totally blow an easy 8ball shot. <hr /></blockquote>

Sounds simply that he's a beginner and needs to improve. That comes with playing, watching, and getting used to league competition.

FWIW, normally when people say "he shoots too hard" when they're talking about beginners, they really mean "they can't make the ball when they hit harder." You'd never notice how hard he hits them if the ball goes in the pocket. Most good players hit the balls at a pretty firm speed. My point being that it sounds like he needs to work on pocketing skills as well.

Lastly, choking on the 8-ball comes in two flavors. One is simply nerves. The other and more common, IMO, is the fact that players tend to forget to play position (while playing the 8-ball) and focus too much on making the ball. Suddenly, they're no longer shooting in the same manner that got them to the 8-ball in the first place.

Fred

cheesemouse
02-18-2005, 07:24 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote dvsmnstr:</font><hr> hey guys, I have a good friend on my pool league who has been playing with us for maybe 5 months now.. he is getting a little better but he is famous for scratching, hitting the balls to hard and choking on the 8 under pressure. He can play a great game but totally blow an easy 8ball shot. My teammates and I have talked to him a few times(he isnt cocky so he listens to us) but it just seems he still has some problems.. has anyone else been in his shoes? have any pointers for him? I want to email him this thread when I get some good responses. thanks for any help! just that sometimes other peoples input can go a long way.

john <hr /></blockquote>


I was on a team once that was fairly solid across the board but...we gave up lots of easy outs. Being the teams best player (no brag) and knowing that the real problem was one player inparticular but also not wanting ot squask his delicate ego I suggested that the team incorporate a drink round penalty. What this drink round penalty consisted of was this: when a team member reached the last three balls of his run he had to take a full lap of the table before continuing the run no matter what. If he failed to do this he owed a round of drinks to the team...the results were amazing. No one was singled out and all of us improved our closing percentages...no one else knew what we were doing or why, we also had fun with it in our own special way...LOL JAT

Billy_Bob
02-18-2005, 09:41 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote cheesemouse:</font><hr> ...when a team member reached the last three balls of his run he had to take a full lap of the table...<hr /></blockquote>

Hummmm.... I heard that sharks will circle before an attack! /ccboard/images/graemlins/cool.gif

bluey2king
02-18-2005, 10:42 AM
I have been there. I would ask him not during a match. What goes thru your mind on the 8? Then talk to him about a pre- shot routine no to much detail yet. Stress not to think about the 8, just another shot keep your mind clear the 8 is a distraction for him. Remember to focus on the object ball not the cue ball and shoot it expecting to make not hoping to.
My .02