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Duckie
03-08-2005, 09:59 AM
During a recent practice session a had a major realization......I suck at pool. Funny thing, after that, it felt as if a heavy weight was removed from my shoulders. I'm not sure why this is so. I've been thinking about this alot. Reason is, that after said realization, I've started to shoot better. I don't get so upset at missed shots. I even laugh at myself when I miss a simple shot. When anyone gives me advice, since I suck, I listen with great intent to it, and even try their suggeestions. Most have been right on as to what I need to improve. Even though I still get my butt kicked tournaments, it doesn't bother me anymore. I've actually made progress though in that I get past more rounds than I did before.

All because I realized .....I suck. Strange how the mind works.

Saint
03-08-2005, 10:48 AM
I came to this realization myself some time ago. It was a major blow to the ego considering how long I've been playing and how good I thought I was prior /ccboard/images/graemlins/wink.gif.

Now I'm trying to get some lessons and more practice in so I can get to the level I would like to be at.

I thought I was good because I could beat most of the people I play against, but all that meant was I was playing the wrong people. I can't run a rack with any consistency and I've certainly never strung multiple racks together. One day!

catscradle
03-08-2005, 11:00 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Duckie:</font><hr> During a recent practice session a had a major realization......I suck at pool. Funny thing, after that, it felt as if a heavy weight was removed from my shoulders. I'm not sure why this is so. I've been thinking about this alot. Reason is, that after said realization, I've started to shoot better. I don't get so upset at missed shots. I even laugh at myself when I miss a simple shot. When anyone gives me advice, since I suck, I listen with great intent to it, and even try their suggeestions. Most have been right on as to what I need to improve. Even though I still get my butt kicked tournaments, it doesn't bother me anymore. I've actually made progress though in that I get past more rounds than I did before.

All because I realized .....I suck. Strange how the mind works. <hr /></blockquote>

Of course this is a vicious cycle ... After a while of listening to others and relaxing play, you'll start to think you know maybe I can play after all and you'll start to get serious again only to realize that you still suck but at a higher plateau than before. Of course some day you may reach your "Peter Plateau" (remember that book????) and have no hope of moving past it and then you truly will suck and can settle in and enjoy the game.

Deeman2
03-08-2005, 11:40 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Duckie:</font><hr> During a recent practice session a had a major realization......I suck at pool. ....I suck. Strange how the mind works. <hr /></blockquote>

<font color="blue"> Duckie,

Congratulations!!! It takes many of us decades to figure this out. NOw, you are on the road to recovery.</font color>

Deeman

bsmutz
03-08-2005, 12:05 PM
Can't get much worse than a sucky Duckie!

BillPorter
03-08-2005, 06:28 PM
Yep, your "realization" took all the pressure off. Now that you are relaxed at the table, your game is significantly better.

SplinterHands
03-08-2005, 06:45 PM
The opposite of what your feeling is what I call the "ED G." syndrome. It's a player who thinks he's great, but really isn't. One of the phenomenons about this game is how most players think they're world beaters. Those players reach a point and never get any better because they can't see past their ego. Congratulations on realizing you suck. Now you can get better.

JimS
03-08-2005, 08:11 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Duckie:</font><hr> During a recent practice session a had a major realization......I suck at pool. Funny thing, after that, it felt as if a heavy weight was removed from my shoulders. I'm not sure why this is so. I've been thinking about this alot. Reason is, that after said realization, I've started to shoot better. I don't get so upset at missed shots. I even laugh at myself when I miss a simple shot. When anyone gives me advice, since I suck, I listen with great intent to it, and even try their suggeestions. Most have been right on as to what I need to improve. Even though I still get my butt kicked tournaments, it doesn't bother me anymore. I've actually made progress though in that I get past more rounds than I did before.

All because I realized .....I suck. Strange how the mind works. <hr /></blockquote>

Congratulations....seriously...CONGRATULATIONS!! You have become teachable. You have seen the truth and lived to tell it and now you are teachable. You'll grow now.

Duckie
03-09-2005, 11:07 AM
Thanks for the replies. I feel that I am on the right path to grow. From each loss, I learn, as I learn I have improved, so losing is the only way to get better. Meaning play as many tournaments as I can. I have started to use them as a measure of how I have improved,what my strengths and weakness's are, not to beat anyone.

dr_dave
03-09-2005, 11:38 AM
FYI,the suggestions on another current thread (http://www.billiardsdigest.com/ccboard/showthreaded.php?Cat=&amp;Board=ccb&amp;Number=183464&amp;page =0&amp;view=collapsed&amp;sb=5&amp;o=&amp;vc=1) might be of interest to you and others.

FauxKing
03-09-2005, 03:34 PM
Man .... I really envy you, dude. At least you're getting something out of your inner ordeal. It sounds like you had yourself some sort of an epiphany. Me? There's just that crushing, balled up, achy pain of a knot in the gut feeling ... the taste of bile in my mouth ... in short, that deflating realization of: "I SUCK!"

A man who practices as often as I do and attempts to soak in advice whenever given does not remain a S/L 2 for as long as I have!

Seriously, man, you cannot comprehend the depths of my suckiness. The cosmic equivalent of the level of my suckitude would be a super-massive black hole!

Hold on!!!! I think I just hit on something here!

I probably miss so many shots not just because I suck, but because my soul is the singularity of a black hole of the psyche! This physio-psychological black hole creates a gravitational pull of such extreme magnitude that Luck itself cannot even escape the grasp of the event horizon which is my suckiness! Quite conveniently, the outer reaches of said event horizon are exactly the dimensions of a regulation pool table!

Perhaps I should take up golf ... I still get to smoke, drink and laugh ... AND I get to drive a snappy little electric powered vehicle while smoking ... and drinking ... and laughing! Not only that, there are plenty of people there who dress worse than I do!

GOOOOOOOOO GOLF!

(ps: Yes, I have gotten in touch with my 'inner 2' ... and he and my inner child have conspired against me to make me look like an idiot every time someone comes over to my house and talks me into playing them on this beautiful little Olhausen table. Fortunately, though, the folks who aren't around me much thank me for being such a gracious host and allowing them to win ... /ccboard/images/graemlins/tongue.gif )

Steve Lipsky
03-09-2005, 04:20 PM
Hey Duckie. I think you have hit on a very important, yet misunderstood, concept in improving your game.

I can only speak personally, but having the attitude that I'm pretty bad has helped me a great deal. Having the ability to miss a shot and try to figure out what went wrong, as well as the ability to shake it off (in understanding that I do indeed miss shots) has been invaluable to me. Missing a ball and immediately scolding yourself ("How could I miss that??!?!") is empirically counterproductive. It can't change the past, and it's altering your future performance in a negative way.

Here is where I think the concept is misunderstood, however. When you are at the table, and especially down on your shot, you cannot think negatively. You must exude confidence outwardly, and feel it inwardly. Missing should not be a realistic consideration, except in unique circumstances (two-way possibilities, notably).

As soon as you shoot, if you miss, it's important to remember that you tried your best, but you - like everyone - miss balls. How many you miss is a function of your skill level.

The one problem: Once you pass the A-level and start playing against professional competition, the "I suck" attitude probably hurts more than it helps. It is tough to play a match with Efren while you think you're awful.

Still, realizing that you are not a very good player, and that many things you think you know about the game may in fact be flat-out wrong, can be a very effective path to improvement.

Just my opinion /ccboard/images/graemlins/smile.gif.

- Steve

Barbara
03-09-2005, 07:16 PM
Tap! Tap! Tap Steve!!

Barbara

Duckie
03-10-2005, 12:31 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Steve Lipsky:</font><hr> Hey Duckie. I think you have hit on a very important, yet misunderstood, concept in improving your game.

I can only speak personally, but having the attitude that I'm pretty bad has helped me a great deal. Having the ability to miss a shot and try to figure out what went wrong, as well as the ability to shake it off (in understanding that I do indeed miss shots) has been invaluable to me. Missing a ball and immediately scolding yourself ("How could I miss that??!?!") is empirically counterproductive. It can't change the past, and it's altering your future performance in a negative way.

Here is where I think the concept is misunderstood, however. When you are at the table, and especially down on your shot, you cannot think negatively. You must exude confidence outwardly, and feel it inwardly. Missing should not be a realistic consideration, except in unique circumstances (two-way possibilities, notably).

As soon as you shoot, if you miss, it's important to remember that you tried your best, but you - like everyone - miss balls. How many you miss is a function of your skill level.

The one problem: Once you pass the A-level and start playing against professional competition, the "I suck" attitude probably hurts more than it helps. It is tough to play a match with Efren while you think you're awful.

Still, realizing that you are not a very good player, and that many things you think you know about the game may in fact be flat-out wrong, can be a very effective path to improvement.

Just my opinion /ccboard/images/graemlins/smile.gif.

- Steve <hr /></blockquote>

I better phrase may have been that I realized where my skill level actually is versus what my perception was of my skill level.

If I ever walk up to the table with the "I suck" attitude in my mind, thats when I will quit pool. What I have gain is a realistic view of how I shoot, which is used with what I have learn from other games to affect the outcome of the current game.

pooltchr
03-11-2005, 05:18 AM
I can't add a lot to the other replies. Knowing where you need help will make it much easier to get it.
I would highly recommend that you get in touch with a qualified instructor. They are trained to spot the areas in your game that need improvement, and give you a plan to address those areas.
Scott Lee, Randyg, and several others on this board can help you work through the problems. Professional instruction was the best thing that ever happened to my game, so much so that I have become a part of the BCA instructor program myself.
It's the best investment you will ever make in your game!
Steve

datplayer
03-12-2005, 03:48 PM
Just wanted to chime in on this thread. I was an All-District Running Back/Full Back in high school back in '91-93. I thought I was the "[censored]!!!"

Needless to say, I got my scholarship and played D-one football. Guess what? I wasn't very good anymore. It took me halfway through my 2nd year that I realized that, essentiall, "I Sucked!" Looking back, it was tough to realize that I was completely uncoachable, and soon as I learned that I needed help, I became a better player.

Now, I'm a high school teacher and coach football. Some of these kids have the exact same attitude. It's extremely difficult for them to realize that they can improve and they do not know everything about football.

IMO, this applies to so many things in life. Sooner you let go of your ego, the better of a person/pool player you can become.

DickLeonard
03-13-2005, 03:09 PM
Ducky through out the history of pool there has usually only been one or two Dominant Players in each era. Frank Taberski,Ralph Greenleaf then Willie Mosconi and Irving Crane,Canton won in the 50s,Lassiter,Balsis in the 60s,Mizerak in the Late 60s,70s,Sigel in the 80s then nineball came in and that opened the field.

What I was trying to say most poolplayers sucked so it is nothing to be ashamed of. ####

BigRigTom
03-14-2005, 04:34 PM
Like several of the people who responded to this subject, I too have found out that many things I thought I knew about pool was just plain wrong. I actually get excited when ever I discover a new fact about the game that is true and indisputable. After reading (sort of) several books and some VERY good ones at that then studying the various videos on Dr. Dave's Web Site (http://www.engr.colostate.edu/~dga/pool/) at Colorado State I have learned that I know very little. This is a good thing....I have much to learn now and I realized too....It is good to learn new things. Especially when you feel like you are finally learning the way things really are instead of the way a lot of people told you they were.
If we could only learn the correct stuff the 1st time it would truely cut down on the time require to stop sucking!

Snyder1
03-16-2005, 06:01 AM
I haven't quite come to grips with it yet as you have (but I know down deep I suck). I play several times a week &amp; have been playing seriously for over two years. I love playing, and have always considered myself athletic. Pool just isn't easy for me ... its the only sport that hasn't come easy &amp; I've had to work at in my life. I see 17 year old kids that couldn't have been playing seriously for much more time than I have &amp; they'd kill me. I've read books &amp; concentrate to no end &amp; don't see any improvement (haven't run a rack yet in straight pool). Oh well, it beats watching TV ...

JS

Chris Cass
03-16-2005, 06:29 AM
Hi ####,

You can't discount the players that stayed under the radar fo reasons of making money or didn't want the recognition. Cicero M. for one. I think it's no more many champions the today. Both are known and some hiding from the print. BTW Dick, what was your high run in straight pool? Was it under 300 balls? See my point? LOL

My Best Regards,

C.C.~~ Your my mentor, and you still a champion.

ChuckR
03-16-2005, 06:45 AM
I guess that I am not quite ready to say my pool game sucks, but I do realize that I probably not willing to put in the time it would take to get my game to the level that I would like. I went to a tournament this weekend in which many of the players were very strong, at the low end of the professional level, and realized how weak my game really is. I watched some players work their magic and realized that many of them have little more in life than a their playing skills. They have committed most of their life to pool and have few interests outside of the game. I have watched young players become quite strong in pool but sacrifice education and career opportunities, all for the game. Unlike golf and many other sports, pool offers little financial reward for the it's demands. I guess I will be happier admitting that I am not willing to sacrifice to that level and consequently will always play at a lower level, but will enjoy many other things in life that many of these players will miss. ChuckR

Keith Talent
03-16-2005, 07:51 AM
I agree, Chuck, that I would hate to admit my game totally sucks because there have been some rays of light in there, along with the mixed metaphors. But I do realize that continuing to do things the same way I have for the past couple of years will guarantee I'll only be a fraction less sucky, if at all, a couple of years from now.

So I determined last night, in fact, that my sloppy play of the past 2 weeks -- after hitting sort of a new peak --- had to be a result of slacking on the drills, etc., just not working hard enough. And man did I come up against it, seeing just 3 drills all the way through last night ... dogging it in practice! Finishing the last one -- a fairly routine runout drill from the back of Capelle's 9-ball book -- long after I would normally have called it off and started running balls or some such was a weird accomplishment. Took me way longer than usual, but not giving up when I was struggling and finally getting through was some consolation. And I did shoot a tad better in the last half hour before closing time. /ccboard/images/graemlins/tongue.gif

Sid_Vicious
03-16-2005, 08:09 AM
"I guess I will be happier admitting that I am not willing to sacrifice to that level and consequently will always play at a lower level, but will enjoy many other things in life that many of these players will miss"

You and I share the same place on the "pool food chain" for the same reasons. I recently cleared of my home table after more than a week of no pool whatsoever, and I didn't hit the ball all that badly. Taking this sport too seriously is a subtraction from real life, and real life is going on, with or without us. This is the choice for each of us to come to, and I feel that eventually most everyone will soon or later find that being consumed in pool is good and bad. It's the happy, and happy being the key word, median which counts. Winning relentlessly is nice, but I've seen very unhappy strong players. Life has to have a balance...sid

Duckie
03-16-2005, 11:19 AM
Last night was a weekly 8 ball tournament I play. I played the best I ever have. Did I win the tournament, no, but I made it further than I have before. I played with confidence and authority. My speed control and shape was right on, mostly. I wasn't in the "zone", I was playing good solid pool. I was making 5-6 ball runs, which I normally don't do.

I feel good about the way I played. I used safety's where necessary, but not as a way to shoot play. I could hear, "nice shot" from the gallery. I could watch my opponent run out and enjoy it. Fine shooting is fine shooting.

What did I learn. Two things, I need to practice several types of shot more, one I missed on the 8 ball and the guy ran out on me, second, go with my first idea for a shot.

I had one ball left, guy ran down to the 8 ball and missed a cut into the corner pocket but the 8 ball was in the pocket but just right of center. Thing is the cue ball ended up behind my ball with a almost straight in shot into the corner where the 8 ball was. My ball was too far from the oppisite side corner pocket to cut it in there. First idea was to play a little one pocket. Nudge the 8 out, put my ball in place, leaving the cue ball against the close end rail. Changed my mind, went cross corner, but as with that shot, the cue ball went to the end rail, rebounded and hit my ball as it was heading for the pocket. Match over.

Was a fun night, looking forward to the next one.

Stretch
03-16-2005, 11:25 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote BigRigTom:</font><hr> Like several of the people who responded to this subject, I too have found out that many things I thought I knew about pool was just plain wrong. I actually get excited when ever I discover a new fact about the game that is true and indisputable. After reading (sort of) several books and some VERY good ones at that then studying the various videos on Dr. Dave's Web Site (http://www.engr.colostate.edu/~dga/pool/) at Colorado State I have learned that I know very little. This is a good thing....I have much to learn now and I realized too....It is good to learn new things. Especially when you feel like you are finally learning the way things really are instead of the way a lot of people told you they were.
If we could only learn the correct stuff the 1st time it would truely cut down on the time require to stop sucking! <hr /></blockquote>

There's a lot of great information out there, but a lot of MISSinformation too. St.

You think however you have to think to maintain your confidence and get the job done. Depending on your skill level you know your going to dog a few. You can't go through a match without a few bad strokes, that's just the way it is. You have to accept this and believe that it's only an aberation, not the norm. Kind of like "OK, now that i got that one out of the way, the rest of the match will be great". I know a lot of recreational players who don't even wait for a bad shot to stop trusting thier stroke. They show up ready to play with a dozen or so mechanical concepts and "tips" that they got from friends, books, the internet /ccboard/images/graemlins/wink.gif. Even a lot of good amateurs tend to stop trusting thier stroke after a bad shot or two. Then the fixes start and all natural rythem and timeing end. Your far better off just reolizeing that, yes your human, as such it's highly unlikely that you'll make it through a match without making mistakes. Your much more likely to play your best when your trusting (feels like being completely unaware of) your stroke, flawed as they sometimes are. When you continue the training then trusting mentalities it will surprise you how often the brain and body respond by doing things right when it matters the most. St.

CJ_ATX
03-17-2005, 06:02 AM
Have you ever considered reading a book or two? After I read "Robert Byrne's Complete Book of Pool Shots: 350 Moves Every Player Should Know" I was a SL2 and went to a SL4 in a session. After that I got "A Mind for Pool How to Master the Mental Game" by Phillip Capelle. No drawings of pool tables or how to hold this and how to do that, just ways to get you mentally prepared for battle. These books are fantastic and gets me very motivated. Last but not least "99 critical shots" lets you set up shots right out of the book and it makes setting up drills easy. I have been playing for a yr and a half and I am a SL6, it is because of what I read and O yeah lots of practice.

Good luck &amp; Carry on....

dr_dave
03-17-2005, 09:51 AM
For links to threads with other book recommendations, click on the links under "books" at: online thread summary (http://www.engr.colostate.edu/~dga/pool/threads.html).

Duckie
03-17-2005, 12:16 PM
Technical knowledge is not enough. One must transcend techniques so that the art become an artless art, growing out of the unconscious...Daisetu Suzki

This is from Zen in the Martial Arts. Not a thing about pool in it nor very much about actual martial arts, but alot of useful info on the mental aspect needed to get to the next level in anything really.

I do have Ray Martins book, kinda well used, /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif. Long time ago, I read Willie Mosconis books. One of the best educations in pool I got was while in the Navy. The barracks had two 4.5 x 9 slate drop pockets table. this was a training barracks, so alot of people would come and go. I saw alot of unreal pool games. Saw true hustling. Although that was a long time ago, what I saw, and learned still applies today.

I truely love a good pool game.

dr_dave
03-17-2005, 02:02 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Duckie:</font><hr> Technical knowledge is not enough.<hr /></blockquote>
I think most people would agree with you 100% on this one. Intuition, feel, confidence, and good (consistent) technique are critically important to being a good player, and these things can come only through lots of practice and experience. However, in my opinion, knowledge and understanding (from books and instruction) can help strengthen all of the things mentioned above, and can help someone progress faster. If one does not know all of the fundamental principles of the game, books can help speed the learning process. Practice can then be more efficient, allowing a person's game to develop faster.

Also, it is always nice to be able to check one's intuition against known principles. The gut feel people get from intuition can sometimes be a little off. Knowledge of the principles can help support or correct what you feel. Knowledge is good!

Regard,
Dr. Dave

nhp
03-17-2005, 02:42 PM
I'm surprised how many of you think that this state of mind is good. If all you do is tell yourself that you are horrible at something, where is your confidence? If I recall correctly, mostly every top player has mentioned the importance of confidence in yourself.

If you really look at all the up and coming players today, most of them have one thing in common- when they were "paying their dues", most of them thought they played better than they actually did. I know the feeling, and in the first year or two when I first started playing at the age of 16 I would gamble away my last $10 or $20 to ANYONE, no matter how good they played. No matter how many times I lost I just had this desire to play and a wild imagination of barbecueing the best players. I think that played a significant role in the learning process, because with that desire, and that feeling of being 'invincible', I was eager to learn and soaked up any bit of information about the game much faster than anything else I could learn.

So now I compare that frame of mind to the "I suck" frame of mind, and all I see is myself back in time thinking that I sucked, and I would be to afraid to play anybody, wouldn't have a burning desire to learn and practice and beat everybody, therefore I can't see myself improving from then. 'As you believe, so shall it be unto you'.....whatever you believe becomes a reality to you.

I understand where most of you are trying to make a point, in that one needs to lower his defenses, switch off his ego and realize that he/she needs to be open minded when it comes to taking lessons, instead of acting like he/she knows everything. So lets say you do this, and you just take lessons. Where does the development of heart come in here? If you think you suck, and your opponent has you down 6-0 in a race to 7, there is no way you're going to make a come back, unless your opponent gives you 7 games in a row. You've gotta have confidence to do that, and you've gotta have heart. One develops the other. The "I suck" state of mind has no place with either of these valuable attributes to a good player.

My honest opinion.

FauxKing
03-18-2005, 06:34 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote nhp:</font><hr> I'm surprised how many of you think that this state of mind is good. If all you do is tell yourself that you are horrible at something, where is your confidence? <hr /></blockquote>I *know* you're not referring to my post! If so, bummer ... that's my sense of humor: nothing more, nothing less. I play at the level I do because I still have a lot to learn.

All the same ... I think what's been going on here has been more akin to "I'm learning I'm not quite the badass I once thought I was."

Who know ... ?

CJ_ATX
03-18-2005, 09:50 AM
I totally agree with ya there...the mind does what you tell it...you tell it you suck enough times you will never get over that. At my local bar, you hear all the time from other people "man I suck" all the same people you hear are all skill levels 2 and 3s, they have been the same rank for a couple of yrs, I think they will stay there. I tell myself I want to be the best there ever was...I reinforce that thought by practice practice practice.

Good luck

Steve Lipsky
03-18-2005, 11:47 AM
nhp,

Just to clarify my own position... having the attitude that I am a pretty bad player has nothing at all to do with heart. I don't care what the score is of a match I am in... I will never give up. I've run 'hundred-and-out's when my opponents have needed only a few, and done similar things in nine-ball.

It has nothing to do with heart. It's more that there are some people who naturally believe they know and can do things they cannot... and then there are some who naturally see their own shortcomings.

I also believe that when you were that cocky kid playing anyone for $10, that when you lost, you went to the practice table, told yourself you sucked, and worked on some key shots you missed. I've never seen a good player not go through this as he was rapidly improving.

In contrast, it's the ones who DON'T go through this thought process that continue to, well, suck. If I watch a shooter misplay a position/pattern badly and lose because of it, I can tell right away if this kid's got a shot to be a good player by what he tells me afterwards. If he brings it up and says, "Man, I didn't know what to do there...", goes to the table and starts working on different solutions to the situation, he's got a future. If he says "Man, I can't believe I missed the 7 at hill-hill... I gave you that match.", I know he's got a much tougher road ahead of him. From my experience, that cocky attitude ("how could I miss there?") brings with it much more trouble than it can help.

Feeling I "suck" is all relative. Some people would consider themselves weak players if they miss 3 balls a rack. Others might consider themselves weak if they miss 1 ball in 3 racks. Personally, the reason for my "I suck" attitude is simply because I know that I am capable of aiming at a ball, feeling loose, knowing what I want to do for position... and then having the result look nothing like what I imagined, lol. It doesn't happen all the time but it happens often enough that I just don't feel like a good player.

Finally, this attitude might hurt if I believed that most of my opponents were any good. But I think almost all of them suck too, just like me, lol /ccboard/images/graemlins/laugh.gif.

Just my opinion...

- Steve

BigRigTom
03-18-2005, 06:24 PM
Steve, I think you have a really good view of the big picture. I started playing pool when I was about 12 years old and now have 42 years under the belt (along with a sizable gut). I joined the APA in 2000 and I swear I have learned more in this past 5 years than I did in the previous 37. In the past year I find that even some of that was very misguided to down right WRONG!
Wow!
What a waste of a great positive attitude, a lot of hard practice, a dose of strong confidence, a bit of money here and there, and I even wasted a lot of excuses for NOT playing better....not to mention all the hours, days and years of playing a fair game of "Bar Pool" for a dollar or a drink. For years I would drink all night on Friday &amp;/or Saturday for the price of a few racks on the bar table.
I thought I was a good pool player for many of those years and I could beat most of the "Bar Flys" for a dollar or a drink.
I saw the Staight Pool US Open in Chicago a few years ago and got to see Steve Mizerak win that match like a walk in the park. AMAZING!
Later after moving to the West Coast I joined the APA and started hanging around with a couple of Skill Level 9's in nine ball. I began to see a glimmer of light shinning through my ignorance...As I mentioned earlier I partially read several books and most of them have good points and advice but until I read Dr. Dave's Illustrated Principles of Pool and Billiards (http://www.engr.colostate.edu/~dga/pool/) I was like a blind man in a razor blade factory.
Only a month after reading and studying that book along with watching the videos on line, my game went up several notches. (I am now at APA skill level 6 in 8 ball and skill level 7 in 9 ball).
Some one earlier said that technical knowledge can only carry you so far, and that may be, but with out it you are really only guessing and MAN!!! you can guess a long time and still not get a lot of things right.
Practice is only fruitful if you are practicing the correct things......believe me...practicing and not knowing what you are doing wrong usually does more damage than good.
I suppose someone will say that you need to get proffessional instruction and I supppose in a perfect world they would be right but I don't know too many people who have gone that route and the couple that did had already wasted many years like I did before they realized it was a viable option or even desirable for that matter.
My best friend who is better than I am used to say "Man I Suck!" all the time and me being the positive thinker that I am, I told him that he should not do that. I told him to believe in him self and he would live up to his own expectations. I just didn't realize that he was really reminding himself that he could be better and that was just his way of doing it. I worked for him too as he is now an APA skill level 7 and he was only a 6 just a year ago.
Every one has his own way of motivating himself that works best for him at any given time. We all just need to remember that we can learn more if we keep an open mind and at the same time don't believe everything and everyone you hear because there is a lot of misinformation out there and usually it is free advise for the taking, worth just what you pay for it. If it works for you use it and if it don't ignore it. Shut up and play pool /ccboard/images/graemlins/cool.gif

nhp
03-19-2005, 02:14 PM
[ QUOTE ]
Just to clarify my own position... having the attitude that I am a pretty bad player has nothing at all to do with heart. I don't care what the score is of a match I am in... I will never give up. I've run 'hundred-and-out's when my opponents have needed only a few, and done similar things in nine-ball.

It has nothing to do with heart. It's more that there are some people who naturally believe they know and can do things they cannot... and then there are some who naturally see their own shortcomings.
<hr /></blockquote>

Steve so when your down and your opponent is about to close you out, and suddenly there is a glimmer of hope as he sells out and leaves you a shot, that it doesn't require heart to come back and win?

[ QUOTE ]
I also believe that when you were that cocky kid playing anyone for $10, that when you lost, you went to the practice table, told yourself you sucked, and worked on some key shots you missed. I've never seen a good player not go through this as he was rapidly improving. <hr /></blockquote>

Well I wasn't cocky for one thing. I was quiet and well-mannered, I just wanted to play anybody for whatever I had in my pocket. And whenever I missed a key shot, of course I would go and practice it until I could make it repeatedly, but I never told myself that I sucked. My practice sessions were spent trying to train myself to stop dogging shots. I knew I played good enough to run out all of those times I dogged it, so I would really try to pick my own brain apart and figure out what I did that made me dog that key shot.

[ QUOTE ]
In contrast, it's the ones who DON'T go through this thought process that continue to, well, suck. If I watch a shooter misplay a position/pattern badly and lose because of it, I can tell right away if this kid's got a shot to be a good player by what he tells me afterwards. If he brings it up and says, "Man, I didn't know what to do there...", goes to the table and starts working on different solutions to the situation, he's got a future. If he says "Man, I can't believe I missed the 7 at hill-hill... I gave you that match.", I know he's got a much tougher road ahead of him. From my experience, that cocky attitude ("how could I miss there?") brings with it much more trouble than it can help.
<hr /></blockquote>

I agree with you but those two scenarios are not the only two. Of course many people get angry when they give a match away, and they try to take something away from the victor by saying "I gave it to you", etc. Very rare are the people who will openly admit "I didn't know what to do in that situation". Then there are the people who know why they missed the shot/position from the getgo and don't say a word.


[ QUOTE ]
Feeling I "suck" is all relative. Some people would consider themselves weak players if they miss 3 balls a rack. Others might consider themselves weak if they miss 1 ball in 3 racks. Personally, the reason for my "I suck" attitude is simply because I know that I am capable of aiming at a ball, feeling loose, knowing what I want to do for position... and then having the result look nothing like what I imagined, lol. It doesn't happen all the time but it happens often enough that I just don't feel like a good player.
<hr /></blockquote>

Come on Steve, you really don't think you're a good player? You know you're one of the best your state has to offer, I think you're pullin your own leg.

I'll be honest with you, my own frame of mind when it comes to pool is not all confidence. I don't think that I suck, but I am never satisfied with how I am playing. Maybe it's the same for you, that's what it sounds like. I think that if you keep thinking negative thoughts it's going to destroy your confidence and you might not ever improve.

[ QUOTE ]
Finally, this attitude might hurt if I believed that most of my opponents were any good. But I think almost all of them suck too, just like me, lol .
<hr /></blockquote>

I think that's actually a pretty intelligent way to set your mind when you are playing someone. Seems like it gets rid of the 'fear by reputation' when you are up against a well-known player. It might just get rid of the "Efren factor" that almost everyone has when they play against him.

Steve Lipsky
03-19-2005, 05:24 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote nhp:</font><hr>Steve so when your down and your opponent is about to close you out, and suddenly there is a glimmer of hope as he sells out and leaves you a shot, that it doesn't require heart to come back and win?<hr /></blockquote>
Sorry, nhp, I guess I wasn't clear. I am not doubting the importance of heart at all... quite the contrary. I meant that having heart does not mean you have to think you're great. Yes, it definitely takes heart to win from there. I just don't think the two have to go hand-in-hand. We've all seen some truly weak players that will never give up.

<blockquote><font class="small">Quote nhp:</font><hr>Come on Steve, you really don't think you're a good player? You know you're one of the best your state has to offer, I think you're pullin your own leg.

I'll be honest with you, my own frame of mind when it comes to pool is not all confidence. I don't think that I suck, but I am never satisfied with how I am playing. Maybe it's the same for you, that's what it sounds like. <hr /></blockquote>
Thanks for the compliment. This is my own personal demon, and probably not even worth talking about as it relates to this discussion. All I'll say is that I guess I know that from an absolute level I play well, but relatively - compared to the players I truly respect - I empirically don't. Glass half empty, as it were. Anyway, therapy session over /ccboard/images/graemlins/tongue.gif.

As to your other thing about not being satisfied, but having confidence... for me it's definitely the opposite. I am often very satisfied with how I've played a particular match. I just don't attach any expectations to my play before a match.

I just want to add, nhp, that I agree with everything else you wrote. You made some good points that I will think about.

- Steve

nhp
03-20-2005, 09:13 PM
It's kind of hard for me to argue about pool with someone who is such a well known and respected player as yourself. I just feel that anyone who constantly reminds themself that they are bad at something could make that become a reality. Maybe not in all cases, but I think for alot of people it could do that.

dr_dave
03-21-2005, 02:53 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote BigRigTom:</font><hr>I partially read several books and most of them have good points and advice but until I read Dr. Dave's Illustrated Principles of Pool and Billiards (http://www.engr.colostate.edu/~dga/pool/) I was like a blind man in a razor blade factory.
Only a month after reading and studying that book along with watching the videos on line, my game went up several notches. (I am now at APA skill level 6 in 8 ball and skill level 7 in 9 ball).<hr /></blockquote>
Thank you for that great endorsement. I have worked very hard on making my book and website as useful and well-illustrated as possible, and it feels good to hear success stories like this. I particularly liked your "razor blade factory" metaphor.

<blockquote><font class="small">Quote BigRigTom:</font><hr>Some one earlier said that technical knowledge can only carry you so far, and that may be, but with out it you are really only guessing and MAN!!! you can guess a long time and still not get a lot of things right.
Practice is only fruitful if you are practicing the correct things......believe me...practicing and not knowing what you are doing wrong usually does more damage than good.
I suppose someone will say that you need to get proffessional instruction and I supppose in a perfect world they would be right but I don't know too many people who have gone that route and the couple that did had already wasted many years like I did before they realized it was a viable option or even desirable for that matter .... We all just need to remember that we can learn more if we keep an open mind and at the same time don't believe everything and everyone you hear because there is a lot of misinformation out there and usually it is free advise for the taking, worth just what you pay for it. If it works for you use it and if it don't ignore it. Shut up and play pool /ccboard/images/graemlins/cool.gif <hr /></blockquote>
Excellent analysis! I couldn't agree more. I posted a similar reply (http://www.billiardsdigest.com/ccboard/showthreaded.php?Cat=&amp;Board=ccb&amp;Number=184463&amp;page =0&amp;view=collapsed&amp;sb=5&amp;o=&amp;vc=1) earlier (although, I like your answer better) and I was surprised to get no responses. I thought the "feeler" vs. "thinker" people out there who think pool is pure art and no science would strongly disagree with this viewpoint.

Regards,
Dr. Dave

BigRigTom
03-21-2005, 04:01 PM
Steve,
I think a lot of people have tunnel vision and don't get your meaning at all....I understand how you can say "I SUCK!" and then move on determined to "Suck Less Next Time!"

It's really all semantics but it is also how you hear those terms in your own head (an heart too) which determines the effect and subsequent actions and then the result of positive or negative.

We all do what works for us...or at least we should.
There are alway bone heads who disagree and then those few who see the light and see it our way...he he
ps: To:Dr. Dave, NO BRAG JUST FACT. /ccboard/images/graemlins/cool.gif

Duckie
03-22-2005, 10:36 AM
To me, pool becomes an art when someone use's the science in pool to make it look effortless. There must be both components in pool, the feeling and the science.

I just had my first real pool lesson, played for money for the first time and I was way out classed. Didn't matter to me though. I wanted the experience of playing for something real instead of just bragging rights. It was a very enlighting experience. I sucked on a whole different level, but it has given me a direction on how to improve my mental game. Was money well spent.

dr_dave
03-22-2005, 10:41 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Duckie:</font><hr> To me, pool becomes an art when someone use's the science in pool to make it look effortless. There must be both components in pool, the feeling and the science.<hr /></blockquote>
Very well stated! I agree completely.

Regards,
Dr. Dave

theinel
03-23-2005, 04:48 PM
That is an important realization on the road to getting better. Relatively speaking we can all say "I suck" at some point especially when sitting at a plateau or when we enter different surroundings with higher caliber players. Be careful with those words "I suck" though because they have some negative connotations that may lead to a self fulfilling prophecy of losing. When you are at the table you don't want to hear "I suck" in your mind.

When I'm not competing I try to be honest with myself and admit that my standards are higher than my standard meaning that I don't play as well as I think I could or should and I work to improve with drills and targeted practice. Then when I get into a match I can say "I will play my best today" or "I am a Champion" and not have "I suck" creeping around anywhere in my mind.

Barbara
03-23-2005, 05:23 PM
Duckie,

FWIW, I play on two leagues and run a WPBA sactioned Regional Tour. I see skills from Touring Pro to someone who couldn't make a ball-in-hand shot.

Your thread title says that you're competitive and ready to move to the next level. Good for you. Like any kind of addict, you need to assess and address your level of addiction to this sport to get into it even more!! More pool, better drills, more dedicated practice time, and losing your non-pool-playing pals are in your near future!! It's how I successfully alienated my family and got my hubby out of the house. Now he just buys toys to occupy his time in his woodworking shop while I'm away at pool tournies.

But seriously, you're on the road to your own recovery and serious addiction to this sport. My pool room in the basement used to be my hubby's wood shop before I took his tape measure to square off my pool room and boot him out to the garage he transformed to his shop.

It wouldn't have fit my Trans Am anyway.

Good luck!!

Barbara

BlindPlayer
03-30-2005, 11:44 PM
Your "blind man in a razor blade factory" connected with me. My Username is BlindPlayer. 30 consequitive with eyes closed. Used to teach the sport years ago and found that building confidence in younger players was difficult...until...after several lessons set up simple 3' shots and then ask the student to close their eyes, shoot and just listen to the ball drop. You want to talk about excitement! I've found no other tool that works as well in building confidence. Not that they should play that way but in practice try a few and gain the confidence!

BlindPlayer....Mark Anthony from Sacramento, CA

Duckie
03-31-2005, 10:49 AM
Hmmmm, you see me shoot last night, it was like I was blind. Couldn't see the shot, couldn't hit a shot, yet the night before was the exact opposite, everything I saw, I made. ARRRRGGHHHHHHH. I was thinking of getting a white stick with a red end. /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif