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View Full Version : Altered States... Learning? Improving? what...



KellyStick
10-08-2007, 07:24 PM
Hopefully that was a catchy title to read AND respond to this. I'll try to be brief but God help me!

I have been playing APA for about 10 years religiously one night per week. I am an SL6 and think I know stuff and there have been delusions of going pro but that is not gonna happen I think, ok I know. Unless it is after I retire from my real job that pays the bills, and them some, these days.

Would love to be a seven (but only for one week mind you!!!).

So I get in these funks of playing pool league or not playing pool league... Or maybe changing to a new league but have friends I mostly only see on league night...

But mostly it's about the funk. The funk is a little about a love/hate part of the game. Sometimes can't live with it but mostly can't live without it. Cain't go pro but aren't necessarily satisfied with not. It's like [censored] or get off the pot sometimes. I mean, I put so much effort into this but what is the point? It's just a hobby! OK, we all need a hobby but DAM pool is more than just a hobby for some of us. ??? is it?? Gosh maybe I need therapy.

I said I would try to be short. Oh well. So, I was thinking about taking a break for a while. Does that make sense? Well with a love hate relationship there is no right answer. SO... If that is true, no right answer then perhaps there is no wrong answer.

Basically I have been a VERY methodical player. I have also noticed in my practice sessions that my instincts, after years of play can be very good. In fact I have learned some new shots from my instincts that my methodical mind had some how not accepted or assimilated (this is when I just shoot, usually by myself or where I don't care... experiemting...). These are shots I have seen but never understood and so never encorporated. Plus I see other players play "quickly" (I emphasize the word quickly) and execute what seems to me to be very hard shots but they execute with ease... Sometimes.........

I wonder does my methodical approach hold me back? I know the answer is YES. But. THis is very much in conflict with my personality, sort of, and more so in conflict with my past success.

I find it difficult to pose a question to the group on this but let me try.

How do you balance intense methodical thought with pure instictive play? /ccboard/images/graemlins/confused.gif

1Time
10-08-2007, 09:34 PM
League play is not going to do it for you, at least very quickly.

What will move you beyond a funk is playing better. What will best and fastest help you play better is instruction.

Short of instruction, I recommend going to where the very good local players shoot and watch how they do it. See if you can see things you would like to incorporate into your game. Reach for things beyond your comfort zone if necessary. Then once you develop a hunger for trying out what you've seen, go practice it for a while. Continue to repeat this process.

My style is not methodical at all, but is fluid and natural. However, I have been methodical before like when developing my stroke or learning something new, kind of a step by step approach. It seems to me you're ready to move forward to a higher level of play.

1Time
10-09-2007, 02:52 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote KellyStick:</font><hr>

How do you balance intense methodical thought with pure instictive play? /ccboard/images/graemlins/confused.gif

<hr /></blockquote>

And this might help, but I don't consider it a best strategy for taking your game to a higher level. For that, see my previous post.

1. Think of the methodical and instinctive in terms of integrating the two instead of balancing them, but then that's probably what you meant.

2. Consider the methodical as a blue print or skeleton to which you build or flesh out with your instincts.

pooltchr
10-09-2007, 04:17 AM
Simply because there are so many opportunities to see them in action, I suggest watching Allison and Karen in action. I don't think there are two more methodical players anywhere, and their success speaks for itself. Sure, the shot has to "feel" right, but there is nothing wrong with a methodical approach to the game. I find myself playing better when I get in that mode.
Steve

1Time
10-09-2007, 05:19 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote KellyStick:</font><hr> Plus I see other players play "quickly" (I emphasize the word quickly) and execute what seems to me to be very hard shots but they execute with ease... Sometimes.........
<hr /></blockquote>

I am one such player. I occasionally walk up to what many consider hard or more involved shots and literally shoot within a second or two of setting my bridge hand down. And otherwise I tend to shoot a quick paced game. It's not that I strive to become a speed pool champ; I don't. In short I attribute this to experience. More specifically, these shots are just so "known", I consider it too troublesome to expend additional time and effort to shoot them. Also, the systems / techniques / skills I now use are more developed and sophisticated than what I used long ago when I took a lot more time on practically all shots and played worse.

This is not to say the goal should be to play fast. The goal should be to improve one's game faster and easier. And what I am saying is this is best done with instruction, or at least imitating the stroke and play of better players. Adequate instruction should help one's game progress relatively quickly. I really feel for those who struggle with their game because I've been there, but now know how relatively effortless it is to play well, and that much of what got me there can be imparted to others through instruction.

1Time
10-09-2007, 06:06 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote pooltchr:</font><hr> Simply because there are so many opportunities to see them in action, I suggest watching Allison and Karen in action. I don't think there are two more methodical players anywhere, and their success speaks for itself. Sure, the shot has to "feel" right, but there is nothing wrong with a methodical approach to the game. I find myself playing better when I get in that mode.
Steve <hr /></blockquote>

I agree. Be sure to record the broadcast for playback.

There's also much of value to learn in person by careful observation of better players shooting. And, this is likely to provide a better view and feel for what's going on that is not nearly as perceptible from a TV.

Fran Crimi
10-09-2007, 06:39 AM
[ QUOTE ]
How do you balance intense methodical thought with pure instictive play?
<hr /></blockquote>

Congratulations. You've just asked the BIG question. Here's a story:

I was playing a practice set of 9 Ball at my local pool room with Tony Robles when I was called to the desk to take a phone call. I didn't want to make Tony stand there and wait so I took the cordless and wedged it into my shoulder, picked up my cue stick and continued to shoot while talking on the phone.

When the conversation ended, I brought back the phone and returned to the table only to find Tony standing there in total astonishment. I asked him what was wrong, and he asked me if I realized I had just run 5 racks while talking on the phone. I had no recollection of any of those racks, nor any sense of the time involved. I was shocked, as it was the first time I ran 5 racks.

I had been struggling at that time with trying to find the balance between methodical and instinctive (for lack of a better word). I think the answer may very well be that you can do one or the other, but not both at the same time.

You might want to look into researching books and articles on playing in the zone because that's what playing instinctively really is. There are specific techniques that athletes use to try to trigger that state that leads to the zone. Some of the research out there has to do with generating alpha or beta waves (I forget which ones --- the ones that are associated with sleep state) just prior to a competition through biofeedback techniques.

It may all sound like a bunch of complicated mumbo jumbo but the bottom line is to relax. For me, I call it the art of letting go...ways to relieve the pressure of competition. One way is to allow yourself to make mistakes. That takes a lot of the 'need to control everything' aspect out of the picture. It's that need to control that can be a player's downfall if they're not careful.

Fran

BillPorter
10-09-2007, 07:07 AM
Interesting post, Fran. Reminds me of something that happened at a tournament many years ago. David Howard, the pro player, had just run out a rack to win a match and a spectator was asking him about how he got position on a particular shot. David looked at him and told him he really didn't recall the shot. It had only been a couple of minutes before that David had made this particular shot, but he had already forgotten just what he did on the table. Like you when you ran the five racks, he was "unconscious" in a sense. Through all your years of experience on the pool table, your body "knows" how to make the shots and get position if you can somehow allow it to do so. I remember playing a one-pocket game where I needed two balls and my opponent needed just one and had a ball almost in the jaws of his pocket. I was blocked from being able to remove the ball near his pocket and had sort of given up on the game. With no feeling of pressure, since I had really given up on the game, I got down on a two-rail bank shot. I not only made the two railer, but drew my cue ball two rails to get straight in on my game ball to win the game. And I hadn't even consciously thought about what to do with the cue ball!

KellyStick
10-09-2007, 11:29 AM
Interesting replies and part of what triggered my question is contained in some of the replies. I was watching somebody shoot pool on TV against one of the pros. Forgot the names. But one was young and apparently had been told by some pro that to be a pro the young guy would have to lose 100 times (tournaments I guess). Well the story kinda went that the kid said... "OK".

He proceeded to play with no fear of losing but rather to just shoot his best and not be concerned about the winning or loosing. Well apparently he was doing a good bit of winning with this relaxed approach. He also shot rather fast as well.

Now I have always said that if you are thinking about winning or losing then you are not thinking about shooting and that the results will usually be poor. On the other hand it is perhaps another matter to shoot with an even higher level of "abandon" so to speak which maybe frees up your instincts or whatever to really shoot well. It's kinda like in "Unforgiven" where eastwood sort of explains that it's the calm unafraid guy that wins the fight. Fear and being in a hurry cause you to be dead. Something like that.

some of the words that come to mind about the zone are:

Fearless - there is not even a perception of missing or losing.
Certainty - you know exactly what is going to happen, you can see it and it happens exactly as you envisioned. There is no doubt.
Total absence of doubt - sort of the opposite of certainty.

Flexible, I dunno, not sure if the words help. Anyway thanks for the thoughts.

KellyStick
10-09-2007, 11:34 AM
Fran said:
Congratulations. You've just asked the BIG question. Here's a story:

Fran , I would be interested in you expanding upon this being the "BIG" question. Plus I feel all stoked up for apparently asking a good question and just want to dwell on that for awhile. /ccboard/images/graemlins/smirk.gif

KellyStick
10-09-2007, 11:38 AM
I like to say that if you are really focused on the game then the pool hall could be crumbling around you and you would not notice. If you run out the rack you don't really know if your opponent had a chance to shoot or not. "What opponent?" How many innings was that? "What's an inning, I dunno how many...."

SKennedy
10-09-2007, 12:37 PM
Methodical vs instinctive? Give me instinctive everytime. I shoot (shotguns) quite a bit. There are several methods of shooting. The one that has always been the best (IMO) is what is called "instinctive" shooting. It's basically where you trust your hand-eye coordination and allow your brain to naturally do its job (lead the target) without too much influence from thinking so dang much....which again goes back to my simple philosophy..Keep It Simple Stupid!

Fran Crimi
10-10-2007, 07:43 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote KellyStick:</font><hr>
Fran said:
Congratulations. You've just asked the BIG question. Here's a story:

Fran , I would be interested in you expanding upon this being the "BIG" question. Plus I feel all stoked up for apparently asking a good question and just want to dwell on that for awhile. /ccboard/images/graemlins/smirk.gif
<hr /></blockquote>

Sure, happy to oblidge. /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif

When you're working on your game, you have to be conscious of everything you're doing. Your unconscious mind doesn't know right from wrong. It only knows habit, so you have to train it to repeat the good stuff and not the bad stuff. That takes conscious effort.

The big question everyone faces is: When is it time to let go and allow the unconscious mind do what it was trained to do? If you're constantly 'working on something' then you're always conscious. I think something can be said for taking breaks away from 'working on your game' to just enjoy playing and allowing your instincts or unconscious mind do what you've trained it to do. Besides, it's much more fun that way, and the unconscious mind does pick up things that we often consciously forget or don't notice.

The purpose of playing pool is not to torture ourselves, but to enjoy it. I've sometimes forgotten that myself.

Fran

Fran Crimi
10-10-2007, 08:32 AM
Those are two good stories, Bill. Your stories remind me of another example which I'm sure you must have experienced, if not in play, than in observation. It's when you fall so far behind in a match that it appears that all is lost and you would need a miracle to win. That's when a lot of players let go and we see some spectacular come-from-behind wins, like when players are down in a match 8 games to 1 and they start to do fantastic things on the table to come back. Of course, that's not to say that's always the reason for come-from-behind wins. There are players who never give up, regardless of the score.

But I've seen it over and over again where players, including myself, who due to tension or pressure can't seem to catch a stroke during a particular match; and it's only when nearly all is lost that they finally let go and allow themselves to do what they know how to do, rather than try to consciously control every little move for fear of failure.

So tell me, how does an inexperienced player who may call himself an instructor, try to convey this kind of information to a student when the teacher has no clue of it's existence? That's what I meant before about the importance of being an established player to be a good teacher.

I guess someone could somewhat successfully fake it by studying the words of other established instructors and players and then repeating them as if they were his own.

Eric is right. It's better to have been there and done it if you're going to try to teach it. Fakes and phonies eventually will get caught in their own web of ignorance. They expose their ignorance when they become overconfident and start speaking their own opinions rather than parroting the words and experience of others. (Sorry Bill, got a bit off topic there for a minute. /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif)

Fran

KellyStick
10-10-2007, 10:02 AM
Ok, I'm officially on break from "torturing myself" for awhile. Gonna see what the subconscious knows. Gonna take a break from trying so hard and just enjoy and see what happens. I like it! Like Eddie said. Gonna shoot "fast and loose" but not angry like he was. /ccboard/images/graemlins/cool.gif

SKennedy
10-10-2007, 10:41 AM
This is a game and we are supposed to enjoy it. Otherwise, why bother? Granted, we enjoy it if we can excel, but I don't beat myself up too bad if I play poorly.

bradb
10-10-2007, 11:34 AM
<hr /></blockquote>

Congratulations. You've just asked the BIG question. Here's a story:

I was playing a practice set of 9 Ball at my local pool room with Tony Robles when I was called to the desk to take a phone call. I didn't want to make Tony stand there and wait so I took the cordless and wedged it into my shoulder, picked up my cue stick and continued to shoot while talking on the phone.

When the conversation ended, I brought back the phone and returned to the table only to find Tony standing there in total astonishment. I asked him what was wrong, and he asked me if I realized I had just run 5 racks while talking on the phone. I had no recollection of any of those racks, nor any sense of the time involved. I was shocked, as it was the first time I ran 5 racks.

I had been struggling at that time with trying to find the balance between methodical and instinctive (for lack of a better word). I think the answer may very well be that you can do one or the other, but not both at the same time.

You might want to look into researching books and articles on playing in the zone because that's what playing instinctively really is. There are specific techniques that athletes use to try to trigger that state that leads to the zone. Some of the research out there has to do with generating alpha or beta waves (I forget which ones --- the ones that are associated with sleep state) just prior to a competition through biofeedback techniques.

It may all sound like a bunch of complicated mumbo jumbo but the bottom line is to relax. For me, I call it the art of letting go...ways to relieve the pressure of competition. One way is to allow yourself to make mistakes. That takes a lot of the 'need to control everything' aspect out of the picture. It's that need to control that can be a player's downfall if they're not careful.

Fran <hr /></blockquote>

Fran I was just thinking...

I can see you going through a whole tournament on your cel!

But I hope you have call interupt, otherwise they won't be able to present you with the trophy should you win! /ccboard/images/graemlins/cool.gif

Fran Crimi
10-10-2007, 02:18 PM
[ QUOTE ]
Fran I was just thinking...

I can see you going through a whole tournament on your cel!

But I hope you have call interupt, otherwise they won't be able to present you with the trophy should you win!

Edited by bradb (10/10/07 02:39 PM)
<hr /></blockquote>

/ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif

Fran Crimi
10-10-2007, 02:21 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote KellyStick:</font><hr> Ok, I'm officially on break from "torturing myself" for awhile. Gonna see what the subconscious knows. Gonna take a break from trying so hard and just enjoy and see what happens. I like it! Like Eddie said. Gonna shoot "fast and loose" but not angry like he was. /ccboard/images/graemlins/cool.gif <hr /></blockquote>


Good for you! Let us know how it goes. Just remember, though --- The art of letting go is not easy to do at first. It takes time to allow yourself to just play without trying to control everything. Give it a chance to take.

Fran

SKennedy
10-10-2007, 04:51 PM
"Wax on, Wax off"....feel the force.....

BigRigTom
10-10-2007, 05:46 PM
Fran and Bill maybe you have just made me realize something. I can't tell you how many times I have won my APA matches hill/hill coming from behind sometimes as much as in a 0 to 4 in race to 5.
I never really talked about it to anyone but I have wondered what it is that causes me to do that. I joke with the team that I am just trying to get my money's worth from league night but it has bothered me for a while now.

Thanks for the insight!

wolfdancer
10-10-2007, 06:06 PM
I find that two Tangaruay &amp; tonics are sufficiently mind altering enough to allow me to play to my full potential. What I don't understand is how, when I believe I am playing so flawlessly ...I keep losing???

SKennedy
10-10-2007, 08:13 PM
But it sure makes it funner!

And on the race to 5 and coming back to win 5 straight after being down 4....I usually win 4 straight to tie it all up and lose the last game. If I'm going to lose, I wish I would save time and energy and do it right!