View Full Version : The Intense Drive To Win Vs Fun

05-07-2003, 04:26 PM
There's a player I hook up with from time to time who gets so focused in playing to win(beat me) that he is oblivious to any questions or comments you might say("going to the bar Bud, you want anything?"), possibly an automobile crashing into the building, and I mean during the striding around the table, studying the shot, and of course the stroke itself. I thought about this some today and realized that I'm never going to chose to be this focused, primarily because I don't like that in my friends whom I am playing against. The fun has totally been replaced(imo) once this total focus line has been crossed, and even though I like winning, I'd rather lose and "play around" in general than I would to become isolated inside my head away from all other things going on around me. The player I mentioned above is so driven to beat me and to win, and these are two things I'm NOT obsessively driven to do. The only times I've been this way was while in fits of anger, say after some injustice from the ref or a friend not taking my word that my hit was as planned,,,and that anger drove me to win very efficiently. It was a low esteem event I personally experienced in the aftermath of thinking about, and I now duck from playing angry as much as possible.

I've seen many players with this total focus in them, and when all is said and done, I'll pick somebody else to play pool with given the chance. To beat someone or win, well....to me it's secondary to "playing" pool...sid~~~A gambling session is totally different, there I WILL focus entirely, but otherwise it's a game, and games are supposed to be fun events.

05-07-2003, 04:48 PM
Fun=balls go in pockets
Not fun=balls do not go in pockets.


05-07-2003, 04:49 PM
A good friend of mine and I started excelling at pool during college and we would go to the pool hall to practice against one another. We would go there as friends, leave as friends, but once the balls were racked it was an intense battle. We both wanted to beat each other, him more than I because I was a little better. However when I get in dead stroke and started running around the table I could tell by his expressions (slamming cue/rack/balls on table) that it wasn't going to well for him. The first 5 minutes after playing was always still tense, but then once outside we could laugh about it. He does not play very much any more, and has never played tourneys. Now it is more for fun at the bar or drinking pool hall over a couple beers. Since his level had deteriorated, and mine has improved more.

But you are right in keeping a line between the two.


05-07-2003, 05:04 PM
Fun = Balls go in pockets with position

Not Fun = Balls go in pockets without position

Hey Sid hows your elbow? /ccboard/images/graemlins/laugh.gif

05-07-2003, 05:09 PM
I can play either way depends on who I am shooting. If they start to play safe, watch out because I will also. If I play my wife or daughter, I will play with my opposite side.

05-07-2003, 07:35 PM
Hey Sid hows your elbow?

Funny how it is getting. I can maneuver the average things I use it for, pushing my self outta the waterbed, which used to be a real effort, and pool done to an average stroke but it barks big time with hard draws. I still break left unless I'm backing down using my play cue. All in all it is better but I expected better after all of this time and medication...make Doc was right that it can take 6 weeks to heal. I'll tell you this, I'm happy playing even like it is. Thanks for asking...sid

05-07-2003, 11:15 PM
Oddly this total concentration was when pool was fun for me. (using past tense since it was many years ago) Had nothing to do with winning or loseing, and could happen when shooting racks for practice. Once finished running a rack while stepping over a guy knocked cold in a fight. Didn't register what was going on till afterwards.

Anger never did anything good for me, just whacked balls harder and tried too many stupid shots.

05-08-2003, 01:20 AM
I duck practicing with players like that. I like to play a for real type of game even when practicing, but I don't care for the game face kind of player. I feel like I have to defend myself, he is taking a shot at me for nothing and I don't want to have to hear about it later. If he wants to improve his local status, then put something up. I know I shouldn't care, but I have pride like anybody else. I have one guy I play with, that is not like I describe above, but gets so mad at himself he takes all the fun out of even playing. He has broken cues when we were playing and it has nothing to do with anything I have done. He could be winning and he goes off the air if he screws up or gets a bad roll. I feel sick inside when I see him doing all this stuff, if I felt like him I would just quit, it is suppose to be fun.

05-08-2003, 05:13 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote ras314:</font><hr>

Anger never did anything good for me, just whacked balls harder and tried too many stupid shots. <hr /></blockquote>

Anger? Did anyone say anger? If I am missing shots in practice, in my mind that are supposed to go in, I frequently throw a temper tantrum. The other day the dogs ran into the other room. And my malamute NEVER moves from his spot.

Then i walk away from the table, and when I come back, I am relaxed and shoot good. I do not get angry in matches, because I am just concentrating and shooting.


05-08-2003, 06:22 AM
I think it all depends on the importance of a particular game. Playing against friends for the fun of it, I will cut up and joke with them during the game although still keeping most of my focus on the game. League matches where a play-off spot could be riding on the outcome and my intensity level goes up a notch or two. Tournaments? Money matches? Don't talk to me until it's over! But the intensity does not take the fun out of it. I love playing at that level, and it is always fun. If it ever quits being fun, I will give it up.

9 Ball Girl
05-08-2003, 08:36 AM
I have a friend that isn't exactly intense but he becomes a swindler if I'm winning. For instance, he'll start tapping the 1 ball when he racks and I don't know why because when I rack I have no problem keeing the balls tight. On certain close shots he'll claim that I hit the ball next to my intended one and get up and take ball in hand before I can say anything. He becomes vocal in an encouraging way to the CB if it looks like I'm going to scratch or get snookered. If he leaves me tough but I manage to work my way around to finish it off, I hear him telling a friend that may be watching "she's so lucky". Pisses me off but I still play with him every week. Go figure.

05-08-2003, 11:01 AM
I have a close friend who played on the pro tour for awhile and we played every sat afternoon for years and the guy just
can't stand to lose.He shoots every shot like it's the winning ball, no mattter who he's playing, or what game.
I on the other hand have a hard time,getting that focused no matter what I'm playing for. I know a few players,who are all around athlete's and have seen them be just as intense and focused in other games like golf.I guess there just born with an extra competitive gene or have to much testerone or something.

05-08-2003, 11:10 AM
I used to play regularly with a guy that was similar to what you are describing, just not as intense. He would joke the whole time while I was shooting (I don't mind chatting while I shoot) but he would always be quiet when it was his turn. He would not answer me until he had missed.


05-08-2003, 11:13 AM
This is exactly the type of player I used to play with. He was great before and after the game, and he was fine if he was winning. Everything would change once he started losing. He would miss the 6 ball and leave me a hard shot, and as he is walking away from the table he would announce, "I gave that one to you." I hate this response. He never gave me anything. LOL

Since he has always been this way, I just ignore it and expect it. I notice when he starts changing, so sometimes I feed his anger and say, "Boy your sure shot that like an idiot. If you are going to keep giving me the games why not quit?" That pisses him off but he notices his attitude and changes it.


05-08-2003, 12:03 PM
Really, Sid, I have played people in various sports who were incapable of just having fun. Once they got behind that cue or tennis racket or whatever, they could not play any way but all out. I thought, gosh, and they call this relaxation.

I think it is sad when one is incapable of just having fun.

One night when I was not getting to play in league, I went over to a table where 2 twos were playing, then another two joined and I did. We just had fun and giggled and complimented each other. I was not playing all out or trying to cream them. Gee. What would be the point. Who wants to get together for fun and friendship with someone who creams you all the time and acts all serious.

I hardly ever get to play twos, am usually playing other folks. I have never had so much fun in my life. Also if I am getting together with someone for friendship, I think it is kind of rude to cream them. Even if I am way better,( like if a friend came over that hasnt ever played competition etc) I am going to let them win some too and not play in top form.

ww used to be this kind of person when he was younger. Still is to some degree but with me, especially since he is way better, he has to give me a chance or it would not be fun.

If it is for fun, and you arent in competition or playing for money, what is the point of trying to cream the other guy.


05-08-2003, 12:16 PM
Well, this can be a touchy subject I suppose /ccboard/images/graemlins/smile.gif I would think it all depends on what your goal for the sport/activity are.
In my case:
I want to be the best that it is possible for me to become at pool.
I was taught as a child, that if I want to get good at something, I should practice exactly as I intend to play in competition. So I do.

It upsets some people some of the time. My wife, my son, my friends, etc... but if I offer them a spot, the break, or weight of any kind they get all offended.
I'm doing this to attempt to make it fun for them. They think they should be able to beat me at least half the time, but they don't want to put in the hours of practice that I do? They want to win, I don't begrudge them that, but I'm not going to play differently to make them happy, and make myself sad at the same time /ccboard/images/graemlins/frown.gif

That's how I look at it anyway /ccboard/images/graemlins/smile.gif

05-08-2003, 01:22 PM
Lets view this from a different perspective. I have played most of my life, except for a length when I quit playing.
Rather than a long story, I quit because I was tired of the game.

I however started playing because I enjoyed the game. As time went along I wanted to be as good as my skills would take me. Present day when I play I want to make balls, with position and run out. It's a lot of fun playing that way! Even if it's an off day I accept that, no problem here.

Now if I'm expected to shoot balls into a rail, that's not exactly fun but I have done it, even in competition. LOL I shouldn't be playing in this game. Reason being the balls just go in as a reflex action, or trained instinct. It's fun. Now I'm made to feel on a guilt trip because I don't miss enough. Ok I'll miss, just shoot the ball close enough so it appears I tried. Well why not just shoot it a yard from the pocket? Then you get the, Oh you never tried to make that one, your just giving me a chance! well Duh Ok the only way to play is give up a lot of weight, bank balls etc. Sometimes that works, sometimes not. At any rate I should not be playing in this game. I prefer to find more people that can play and I'll just watch. No problem there either. Well that is until, Rod we want you to play too. arrgg

Don't carve anything in stone here or above but some people enjoy playing well. Even though you might think their not having fun. In my case I have fun, if there is restrictions on how much fun I have then I'd rather not play.

In Sids case the guy may or may not be having fun, I don't know. It does sound like he is intent on winning though. If Sid and I played, I'd have fun and talk, probably a beer or three etc. I wouldn't miss his question on going to the bar, especially if he's buying! LOL We would have fun.


05-10-2003, 08:45 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Sid_Vicious:</font><hr> The fun has totally been replaced(imo) once this total focus line has been crossed<hr /></blockquote>

You should watch the match between Corey Duel and Paul Potier at the Border Battle last year, specifically the final rack of the match. They were hill-hill and Duel needed to win the match and the U.S. cashed in $30,000. With the stakes set high both players were as focused as humanly possible, yet they were having as much fun as I've seen two people have on a pool table in a very long time. The point is that just because someone is completey focused doesn't mean you can't have fun, I'm sure some players will never be fun to play, but this isn't the case 100% of the time.


05-10-2003, 10:34 PM
on some level, most people play to win. the kind of player you're talking about, imo, hates to lose.

05-11-2003, 06:05 AM
i think you need both

i like the intensity of focus of intense competition

i also like to play for fun with friends, BUT as soon as any of my friends gets a few games and starts mouthing off then i go back to intense mode to take em down !

05-11-2003, 06:33 AM

One day, a couple of days ago, I came to my senses. With the formation of a new team that has all good players, a great load was lifted from me. Then i could play for fun and whatever number some organization puts beside my name has nothing to do with me. It might as well be x,y, or z.

I do go to the table every day, and if I miss a shot I do set it up again to try to figure out why it did not go into the pocket, and I do practice the lag so that I will get to break first. Other than that, I just shoot.

Forget the drills, incorporate them into the shooting. Just have fun.

Then I remembered your post. Thanks.


05-11-2003, 07:04 AM
While I enjoy playing pool at anytime for fun or in competitions ( also gambling ) there is a distinct difference in my levels of play in each catagory. In the fun pool part I will shoot any shot with out fearing the consequence of the results, I look at fun pool as an opportunity to shoot those low % shots w/o fear, after all your just funning with your buddies; just showing off while socializing with your pool nut friends. While playing serious pool, team matches or single events my whole outlook changes and the focus is to play 'jam up' and give no air to my opponents, to beat them like a step child. Gambling sessions ( I'm talking many hours matched up against the same person are another animal) were the skill levels are close or handicapped to make a tough game is where I think I have played the most inspired pool. From my experience in these good match ups it is a battle royal where only the strong survive, somewhere along the line one player or the other gets Big Mo on his side at the right time and closes the deal, thus finally ending a long tough session. These gambling sessions have been where I think I've gotten the most personal pleasure from the game of pool. I've gotten extreme satisfaction from winning open events also but it's not like the feeling of having survived a 48 hour session with some pool monster.....

05-11-2003, 07:14 AM
Well Sid, I think one can tell a lot about an individual just by watching him/her play pool. Their true personality rises to the surface. All one can do is observe it and accept it. It wouldn't surprise me at all to find out that people who go around slamming their cues on the table also beat their wives and kids at home. But just be thankful you are not stepping into a boxing ring for some friendly sparring rounds. I made that mistake twice. You would think I would have learned my lesson the first time. LOL