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View Full Version : Why Helena lost to Alison...a very common error



Scott Lee
06-30-2002, 12:33 PM
The most recent pool match on tv just ended. Helena Thornfelt versus Allison Fisher. The winner then advanced to play Karen Corr in the finals, for $25,000! In this semi final match, it came down to a tie, with a 1-game playoff. Helena was running out. She got poor position on the 7 (jacked up over the 9), making position on the 8 a little more difficult. She missed the 7 (by a lot) because she was focusing on getting position on the 8, instead of focusing on pocketing the 7. That miss cost her the game, the match, and a chance at the $25,000! I have preached over and over...MAKE the ball. Position is irrelevant if you miss the shot.

When I teach, I call this the 80/20 syndrome...and it is present in players of all abilities (including the pros). In fact, probably ALL of us are guilty of this unforced error, at least occasionally! When you focus most of your attention on the position of the CB after the shot, we tend to ignore where we are aiming (or are distracted by other thoughts), just enough to miss the shot. Even for expert players, who know almost exactly where the CB is going, based on the variables they can control (natural angle, speed, and tip placement), sometimes take pocketing the object ball for granted, and casually (or deliberately) let their concentration waver or change, at the last second...
usually resulting in probable good position for the next shot, but missing the original OB...even if by just a little. Concentrate on making the shot, and let your intuitive reasoning skills allow for the position play. In simple english, this means: Make the ball in the pocket, using the appropriate angle, speed, and tip placement. You will most likely have some sort of shot afterwards. Even if your next shot is not easy, at least you are still at the table, and have the option of playing defense. JMO

Scott Lee

stickman
06-30-2002, 12:38 PM
Everytime I see or hear this advice I blush. /ccboard/images/icons/blush.gif I wonder why? LOL

06-30-2002, 12:40 PM
I totally agree with you Scott! When I remember my philosophy (More difficult since I became a blonde!) I don't miss those shots. I remind myself that the position has already been mapped out, and now it's time to make the ball. Most of the instructional books and tapes preach this in the form of pre-shot routines. Makes sense to me! /ccboard/images/icons/smile.gif

Karatemom
06-30-2002, 12:44 PM
Hi Scott. I, too, have been found guilty of this. I had ball in hand on the 5 and was worried about position on the 6 and missed it! I watched that match as well, and Helena had it. It does, however, make me feel better that even pro players make some of the same mistakes as I do. LOL.

Heide ~ still gets lectured by Chris about that 5/6 shot, LOL

Tom_In_Cincy
06-30-2002, 12:53 PM
Scott.. good observation.. and great post..

I also believe that making the object ball is the only thought you should have while down on the shot.

If you have completed your pre-shot routine, shape has already been included in the execution. The only thought you should have while executing the shot, is making the ball. Otherwise, these extraneous thoughts are called distractions.

Kato
06-30-2002, 03:19 PM
I will mirror the previous comments. You are absolutely correct.

Kato~~~guilty as charged.

Barbara
06-30-2002, 03:36 PM
Ahhh, but Scott, I believe this is also an ego problem with a lot of players. Helena should have focused on making the shot, but she was concerned with po on the 8, just like you said. I believe her ego came in and murmured into her head, "People will label you as a Shot-Maker. Do position play on the 8."

Barbara

06-30-2002, 05:05 PM
I think Helena wasn't getting good position on several previous easier shots. And it definitely looks like she picked the wrong time to put more importance on the position then on making the shot.

Scott Lee
06-30-2002, 05:06 PM
Interesting thought Barbara! However, both making the shot AND getting position are an inherent part of a good pre-shot
routine! It's the degree that you focus on each that either interferes with, or enhances your ability to pocket the ball. If Helena was indeed thinking emotionally about
"what people might label her", then the ego part becomes a distraction, taking away from her ability to focus on the simple task at hand...which was to MAKE the 7-ball with the right speed! Helena shot too hard, missed, and gave up the match.

Scott

06-30-2002, 07:10 PM
Scott, along your lines, a top player I know has instilled in me some very, very wise advice:

Never miss the 8 trying to get perfect position on the 9. Always give yourself the opportunity to take the shot to win the game.

Those are two of the most important sentences I've ever heard about 9-ball.

- Steve

Tom_In_Cincy
06-30-2002, 07:14 PM
Steve,
So true.. so true.
Second best saying, that I've ever heard is..

"Do all your thinking Standing up, only get down when you know exactly what you want to do"

Karatemom
06-30-2002, 09:11 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote: Tom_In_Cincy:</font><hr>
If you have completed your pre-shot routine, shape has already been included in the execution. The only thought you should have while executing the shot, is making the ball. Otherwise, these extraneous thoughts are called distractions. <hr></blockquote>

Good point!

Heide

TonyM
07-01-2002, 04:16 PM
You make a good point. I teach this lesson a little differently. That is, I don't want the message to get twisted into "just make the shot, forget about position". This is the other error that most novices make.

what I suggest is to decide where you want the cueball to go, then decide how you are going to get it there (tip position and speed), set your tip position, but then focus 100% on making the shot!

Trust that your decisions will achieve the desired results (position) but focus all of your energy into the pot.

Similar message, slightly different emphasis.

Tony
-guilty of missing for every reason imaginable!

Rod
07-01-2002, 06:52 PM
Scott, I played in a tournament this past weekend. While I don't feel that the reason I missed so many shots was because of thinking of position, thats calculated into the shot. I really was not prepared, both mentally and physically. Without going into a long story I played terrible. That really doesn't bother me though because I know the reasons, and it's behind me now. I never look back unless to analize what I did and take necessary steps next time before a tournament. I don't need another nightmare. First time thats happened in a very long time. BTW long story, but I thought it was going to be on 9 foot Diamonds and it was on 7 foot Valleys. Not that that would have made a huge difference, I play on either.

You are correct in your assumption I imagine, I don't know of a living player that has not made that mistake many times.

Chris Cass
07-01-2002, 11:19 PM
Hi Scott,

You are absolutly right. You should do all your thinking standing up. Every player is guilty of this every now and then, and kick yourself in the butt later.

The brain is so powerful all you have to do is, think of where and how you want the cb to go after, you pocket the ball and it's locked in. When, you get down on the shot to shoot it. The speed of the shot will be automatic and your thoughts should, be concentrated on pocketing the ball. You have to trust your stroke. I can't stress that enough to any of my students. Although, it's limited to one. LOL

Who knows what went through her mind, at the time? $25,000. is a lot to sweat, not to mention Alison too. I doubt she thought about the people watching, although it might have brought some pressure. I do believe she was thinking while down on the ball and that's a no no. IMO

Whatever the case may be. It's only human error and Patrick will tell ya that. hahahahaaa

Best regards,

C.C.~~I try to make a habit of it once a set, regardless if I need to or not. lollol (when we gonna hit some? I'm not working. Now's the time.)

07-02-2002, 03:45 AM
...MAKE the ball. Position is irrelevant if you miss the shot.

___________________________

Scott, I didn't see the shot or the game unfortunatly, but I see 9-ball as a totally different game than the others obviously, and my general rule for 9-ball is "if you are going to miss, miss big and play position for the next ball" because alot of times when you do, you leave the other person with a tough shot, and if you made the ball, you have good position on your next ball hopefully. Suppose you 'cinch' the other ball, and mess up on a safety and lose that way, or even worse, try to cinch it, and leave it hanging in the corner for your smiling opponent to use as a gift? however, depending on how hard the shot is, and alot of other variables, I tend to side with you on worrying more about pocketing of the ball, with position as secondary.. you can't win tournaments getting great position and missing, or missing, but getting great position. Just a thought.

07-02-2002, 03:11 PM

Scott Lee
07-02-2002, 04:28 PM
whitewolf...Interesting theory, and one that I would certainly agree with (moving the head during the stroke can definitely have a negative effect on the outcome)! To be honest, I did not see that movement...but I wasn't watching carefully like you were! Good catch. Probably the truth is somewhere in between both answers! Helena might not know herself! LOL She shot so hard, and missed the 7 by so much, that it just seemed obvious to me that she was concentrating more on the shape on the 8, than pocketing the 7! Movement of her head could certainly have affected her missing!

Scott Lee

Rod
07-02-2002, 05:14 PM
Scott, still in theory, I didn't see the match. If she shot that hard just the anticipation could cause her head to move. Of course it is attached to the body and that may be a big part of the problem especially on a stroke with force. It sounds like it was over powered and everything went wrong. Maybe I'll get to see it one of these days.

Cueless Joey
07-02-2002, 05:17 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote: Scott Lee:</font><hr> whitewolf...Interesting theory, and one that I would certainly agree with (moving the head during the stroke can definitely have a negative effect on the outcome)! To be honest, I did not see that movement...but I wasn't watching carefully like you were! Good catch. Probably the truth is somewhere in between both answers! Helena might not know herself! LOL She shot so hard, and missed the 7 by so much, that it just seemed obvious to me that she was concentrating more on the shape on the 8, than pocketing the 7! Movement of her head could certainly have affected her missing!

Scott Lee <hr></blockquote>...........
Maybe she didn't pause in the backswing???? LOL