View Full Version : Vicious Circle Of Pool Proficiency

05-18-2003, 08:59 AM
Ya know, you began to take pool seriously, maybe you couldn't bank well or you had some other weakness you NEVER thought you'd surpass, and then years latter you are shooting shape for the only shot available, a bank shot, and you smack that sucker in without hesitation. The thing is though, you are now playing with better players who "get to you" with your mental side, and you fail, feeling like you are worse than ever. As we climb in the pecking order of pool so does the players we are now playing, and it really gets demeaning(MPOOMS)! I find it interesting to reflect back and realize that we all have come through a learning process from "not being able to make 3 balls in a row", to being able to take home tournament money, and yet that feeling of misery will surely make you want to say, "Maybe I need to take up yard darts instead :-( "

I am not complaining with this post,,,I am simply expressing that getting better and better at pool is something everyone you run around with is doing, so the events of losing sometimes seems to outnumber the wins, even though you are better at pool now than you have ever been in your life. I personally have come to the point many times of wondering if I really want to put the amount of time and organized practice into my game to gain the consistency I lack, and even though I don't like losing at all, I can't see myself diving MORE into pool than I already am. The grass is too high in the yard, the dust too thick on the furniture and life in general requires more from my tired old body than it seems to be able to give. In short, all of life's dealt cards coupled with the vicious circle of everyone else I hang with speedily getting better...I find it possibly a good time to accept that I have gone as far as I ever will, and about to decide that I should simply play, without trying to practice and perfect my game beyond the point is currently. One downside to this is that ultra serious players/friends will eventually quit giving me a game. I'll miss that part, for sure.

If you really think about it, with enough time gone by we will all come through this or a similar door...sid~~~not tossing in the hat, but accepting where the "fun-line vs the work-line" is for sid, and WERK as Maynord G. Crebbs, contradicts my definition of fun

05-18-2003, 09:16 AM

Seems like you always make me think about past times in my pool playing days. I know exactly what you mean. (I wish I didn't)

It seems that when ever I fall short of a goal (tournaments or Leagues) I feel like I am ready to retire my cue and take up bingo. I spend a week or so groveling about how much time I spend at the pool hall, practicing, playing, visiting with my buddies, how much money I am spending and still not being able to reach my goals.

It gets me real depressed. So I sulk, stay away from the PH for about a week maybe longer, reflect on why I still want to go back to the table. And, I eventually do, with a new goal (reachable or not) ready to start again. Its then that I realize that its the path to the goal that I really like not the end result (although if I achieve the goal... that's good too)

I love to practice, which makes me different from a lot of my opponents in this area. To me, there is nothing better than having the money ball shot, or the shot just before the money ball, come up in a match and that shot be one of my favorite practice shots. I just smile and grin with confidence and nail it.

05-18-2003, 09:28 AM
"Its then that I realize that its the path to the goal that I really like not the end result"

I started to post to the very thing you posted above, and it's absolutely the best reason I find pool as a forever love...no matter where you happen to be in pool, it keeps it's intrigue by never being the same, maybe a different day and maybe a different place, but in the end pool keeps insisting that it hasn't quit challenging you, even on the home table by yourself. I went to the table immediately following the long post I made, picked up my favorite custom which hasn't seen much action since my newer cues came along, and damed if the stroke and ball position didn't JUST HOP UP AND START HAPPENING! Hmmm, maybe that yard will wait until I get back from the ph. Thanks Tom, for the parallel reflections in your reply. To be honest I worried that I'd get flames after posting. The friends here on this board stand out!!!sid

05-18-2003, 09:33 AM
From a Crocodile Dundee movie line...

Why do you need a shrink? don't you have any friends?

We all share the pain and glory of our friends efforts. I consider myself lucky being able to realize that statement.

05-18-2003, 10:50 AM
WW can spend hours at the table. I just get frustrated so easily. It is relaxing for him, for me even when I am getting most of the shots, I feel I am doing terrible if i miss one or two.

I am shooting better than I ever have and even learning some simple shape but I keep feeling like it is never enough.

I realized today I can draw almost perfect, stop the ball on a dime and do the stun follow almost as well, so that the ball drifts where I want it do drift..But it is not enough.I just see the stuff I cannot do. it is never enough.

I just wish I could relax and have fun instead of putting all of this pressure on myself every time I walk up to the table.


05-18-2003, 11:04 AM
A very good friend and exceptionally player once told me, "You try to be too perfect." Stopping on a dime isn't the end-all result. Playing 9-ball will teach you that you best not play too close and not too dead in-line on the rail shots. You are heading into 9-ball season, right? BW, don't play too close for your shapes in 9 ball. That's one of the key failures in may 8-ballers moving to 9-ball. "The center of the table is your friend." sid

05-18-2003, 11:20 AM
Yes I am heading into 9 ball. When ww missed on the 5, the balls were an easy spread and I can run them out when they are like that because they are just up and down the table for long shots. Sometimes they are hard for me and am lucky to get a legal hit.


05-18-2003, 11:24 AM
bluewold posted:
I just wish I could relax and have fun instead of putting all of this pressure on myself every time I walk up to the table <hr /></blockquote>

We all have the case of NERVES often while in the midst of a match.
How we deal with the NERVES is difficult to teach or learn. I found that the pre-shot routine helps me the best, but its not a cure all.

A solid well adjusted 'steady' mental attitude at the table is very evident with the really good players.

I constantly remind myself:

That this is a game to have fun
That I really enjoy compitition
That I trust what I am about to do
That I accept the results

I very good book that I read a couple of years ago put into words what I had been feeling about this mental attitude.

"Golf is not a game of Perfect" (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/068480364X/102-4529220-1260125?vi=glance) by Dr. Rotella

05-18-2003, 11:35 AM
I found that the pre-shot routine helps me the best, but its not a cure all &lt;--TIC

I am just starting to introduce this into my game. The Northwest regional ACUI tournament was held at U. of Washington this year. I have friends still playing in it so I went to watch. There was a college player from Oregon State I think (strong and saw him one night gambling a good local player and split), that had the best preshot routine. Taking advantage of a possible 30 second shot clock. Every shot he would walk around the table, then when he got behind the cueball he would stand facing the object ball. He would the just step forward with his left foot, bend down to where he puts he hand, and be in perfect pendulum position when he stroked. And he had a smooth stroke and nerves of steel.

i am starting to take a little more time evaluating the table and getting myself ready. I tend to shoot really quick and it leads to missing stupidly easy shots, especially down the stretch on the 7,8,or 9.


05-18-2003, 11:40 AM
I guess I'm fortunate that most of my opponents don't practice LOL.

As long as I'm improving I'll maintain my interest. Unfortunately this past year my improvements have come in baby steps. But they are improvements nonetheless.

Just about the time I start getting frustrated I usually pull off a gratifying win over someone who I had never beaten before. That makes it all worthwhile.

05-18-2003, 11:50 AM
If you ever get a chance to see Max Eberle play, he has one of the most consistant pre-shot routines I have ever seen.

05-18-2003, 11:53 AM
Iíve been lurking around for a while and this is my first post. My playing sucks and I probably donít spend near the time play as most of you do. But remember, this is a game. You should have fun playing a game no matter if itís in a tournament or just playing with friends. If arenít having fun, then maybe itís time to take a break for a short while.

05-18-2003, 11:54 AM
From my perspective I don't have the issues of which you speak. Nor do I even run similar to the better players that try to get to you, not just you, anyone.

I have went as far with my game as it will ever get, that happened some years ago. Let me qualify that with shot making and c/b control. I believe we always get a little smarter. On the other hand I have forgot some along the way. My priority is not playing my best game, mostly because I don't have a reason to. I'll not get into the reasons. I take the game on the light side and am content enough time being. However when I do play I still try to perfect what I'm doing. That's just me and there isn't another way.

We all go through similar doors, not necessarily just the one you speak of. I had only one real frustrating period of time. I never gave up because I believed I could play a lot better. It soon passed and the rest is history. Being younger certainly has it's advantages, time. Had similar happened to me in later years I doubt I'd have the determination or desire to follow through. Desire happens to be on that list now and has been for years. It doesn't really bother me though, I accept that. I sure don't need any mental issues to clutter my life.


05-18-2003, 11:54 AM
I deleted this post, it was too deep and contained personal information about me, I should not have written it.

05-18-2003, 12:03 PM
Popcorn posted:
I found myself in the pool room practicing and it was like a therapy to me<hr /></blockquote>

This is so accurate. 'Therapy' is what time at the table is. Its an escape from all those daily distractions and responsibilities we all have. Sometimes we can't get to the table as often as we like, but that comes with the responsibilities.

Only two things ever get done in your life. The things 'you want' to do and the things 'you have' to do.

If you can make the things you have to do, the things you want to do.. life gets much easier.. oh, if it were that simple... /ccboard/images/graemlins/frown.gif

05-18-2003, 03:16 PM
Thanks Tom. I do not think I get any more nervous at a match than the next guy. And once I am playing the match, everything but the balls on the table blissfully disappears.

It is what I have been doing to myself at the practice table that is the problem. Like sid said ,I guess, trying to be too perfect.


05-18-2003, 05:37 PM
I just wish I could relax and have fun instead of putting all of this pressure on myself every time I walk up to the table.
<hr /></blockquote>

In the long run only you can solve your inner self. I think suggestions like trying to be to perfect is one good example. Still it's up to you not to get frustrated. If people push their advice on you just tell them to stop. You should be the one in control. Should you ask though be open. Along that line I think you need to be focused in one area at a time. Don't start out with stroke and midstream change to stance height. Work with one area until you have a grasp on the situation. To much information can be hazardous. Here, you seem to bounce around quite a bit. Stick with something until it works reasonably well.

If your off one day don't blame your new 7" bridge on what might have been a rushed stroke etc. Work within the basics, your approach, stance, (what ever height you choose) your 7" bridge, and stroke mechanics. In the early going you can expect something to go wrong, it's natural and your not alone. Don't start changing stuff because of one bad session. It sounds like your trying to hard to be in control. Your a long ways from control and even the best make mistakes there. So don't beat yourself up, have a plan and stick to it. It's going to take more time than you ever imagined. Most players are not special, even if they are to a degree it took them years. Why do you think your any different?

Speaking of control and old golf (Al Mengert) pro had this comment, its close.

"You have to give up control in order to gain control"

His reference was the golf swing. An example was hit balls on the beach into the ocean. You can't miss the ocean! Soon you'll be hitting them straight away.

That reference was trying to hit fairways or greens or a putt. People have all these little maneuvers trying to hit a specific target. The target and importance of, consumes their thought process. If you take the target away or make it huge they swing more freely. Steering the club rarely hits the target. The pro's know that, they go through their pre-shot, (which they trust) then swing freely through the ball. The same happens playing pool, or it doesn't. You can shoot the c/b directly into a pocket without worries and probably a fairly relaxed stroke. No problem with hitting the target. Put an o/b in the way or at some distance and what happens? Hit the c/b with low or follow into the pocket. Put and o/b in the way, did the draw or follow disappear or miss the ball? No answer is needed on this.
The point I'm making is it all has an effect. You should have the same free feeling whether there is a ball in the way or not. 95 + percent of the pool playing population do not. Please don't tell me you do. Yes well once in a while I'm sure you do. Just keep repeating that feeling, you can't help but get better. /ccboard/images/graemlins/laugh.gif