PDA

View Full Version : playing fast, playing slow



TheDragon
09-06-2003, 10:32 AM
It seems like just about every time I blow a game in my dads room, one of the older regulars tells me I rushed the shot, or my dad tells me that I took too long over the ball. My dad is arguably the better of the players, but I think they both have a point. When I'm "in the zone" I play fast, according to my dad. However, If I play just a little too fast, or if I play too slow, I play absolutely awful. When I play slow, my position play is a little better, but I miss easy shots and find myself whining more. When I play fast, I make balls very well, but I find myself making really stupid position errors.

So here is the question: How do I strike the balance? Should I have the same number of practice strokes on every shot? Should I make it a goal to chalk up every shot to slow me down just a tad? Should I play slower than I do now and just practice hard on pocketing balls? Does the speed you play at even matter?

Rich R.
09-06-2003, 11:36 AM
Drayton, I struggle with some of these issues all the time. I believe there has to be some middle ground, where you are playing just fast and slow enough, to play well. I think you have to find that pace, for yourself.

I wish I could tell you the solution, but I have not yet found it for myself. /ccboard/images/graemlins/confused.gif

Sid_Vicious
09-06-2003, 11:45 AM
My advice is this. Stand over the shot a bit longer(5 sec or more) in pre stroke, vizualizing your future execution as if you were a pool god watching his earthly protege'. Then simply play your regular stroke, and I believe you will get the results you wish, most of the time anyways. I would NOT enter new instruction into my speed of staying down, just make it confortable and if it ain't comfortable, stand up and reset. FYI, the best of the best rushes strokes and misses. I see it on Espn over and over...sid

Popcorn
09-06-2003, 11:52 AM
It is one of those things where when everything is going good you think nothing about it, and if something goes bad, you look for something to blame. When you blow a shot, and someone says you rushed the shot. Although that may be true, and it may not, how about all the racks you just ran during the past hour? Is missing one shot a clue you need to change your game? If you play good in a rhythm, an occasional miss may not be a bad trade off. All the best players I have known played with rhythm and did occasionaly miss a shot they probably should not have. But then again, I never knew anyone who never missed. Not a very good answer, I know, but think about it.

Sid_Vicious
09-06-2003, 12:07 PM
Popcorn...Quite right. As an example, I have developed my off handed game to a point that I feel equals my on-side, stroking for shape, hitting spin shots, etc. and never thinking about the switch. But let me miss a left handed shot, and hear "Oh! Well you shot that left handed", like that's why I missed the easy shot. Hell I miss easier shots on my regular side, and in the beginning when I first brought my off side game out and heard these comments...it made me nervous about going to the left side in front of an audience. Stupid response on my part.

I do believe that the analysis is right though that good players rush shots and miss. That's why I gave the type of advice that I did....sid

stevelomako
09-06-2003, 01:12 PM
Listen kid, I think what you need to do is quit worrying so much and give yourself time. From what everyone has said you're gonna be a good player and it doesn't happen overnite. Usually what happens is you reach a peak then play like crap for awhile then when you come out of it you start playing better than you did before. Time and seasoning, its sucks waiting or trying to play through it but what else can ya do? If you stick with it you become stronger.
When its fun enjoy it and remember it.....when its bad put it in the back of your mind and forget about it.

Good luck,
Steve

bluewolf
09-06-2003, 04:47 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote TheDragon:</font><hr>
So here is the question: How do I strike the balance? Should I have the same number of practice strokes on every shot? Should I make it a goal to chalk up every shot to slow me down just a tad? Should I play slower than I do now and just practice hard on pocketing balls? Does the speed you play at even matter?
<hr /></blockquote>

LOts of questions and worrying about too slow or too fast. Popcorn talked about rhythm. I call this cadence. Is it possible that the old timers and your dad are telling you that you got out of rhythm?

I recently found my cadence and am finding how important it is to keep this on everyshot and not let my nerves cause me to change rhythm or cadence. If I can have that control over myself, then I shoot at my capability and do not choke. If I miss the shot/shape, it is then because that shot is above my skill level or I just did not line it up right.In this case, I do not beat myself up over that miss. I did everything right mentally and played to my physical ability so am okay with me. No body is perfect anyway. /ccboard/images/graemlins/smirk.gif

You seem a way better player but think finding ones natural rhythm and staying in that rhythm produces relaxation and concentration. I just hope that you can find and/or learn to trust in those things in yourself so you can have fun on your way up the pool ladder.

Laura

smoovestroke
09-06-2003, 07:02 PM
Maybe what your dad is trying to tell you is that you shot one ball faster than the other balls you were making. He isn't telling you to slow down your game is he? I think you should try to find the tempo you're most comfortable with. There are good players that are fast and equally good players that are slow. I tend to think staying down on a shot for a long time is not good. Analyzing the shot while you're standing for a while and then once you get down over the ball you spend just a few strokes, 3 to 8, and then pull the trigger is okay. But hey, whatever works for you is the real key.

Genie
09-06-2003, 07:35 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote TheDragon:</font><hr>

I recently found my cadence and am finding how important it is to keep this on everyshot and not let my nerves cause me to change rhythm or cadence. If I can have that control over myself, then I shoot at my capability and do not choke. If I miss the shot/shape, it is then because that shot is above my skill level or I just did not line it up right.In this case, I do not beat myself up over that miss. I did everything right mentally and played to my physical ability so am okay with me. No body is perfect anyway. /ccboard/images/graemlins/smirk.gif

It sounds like Laura has been through Cue Tech or been under the expert tutelage of Randy Goettlicher /ccboard/images/graemlins/smile.gif Cadence is the term. An equation consisting of rythm + tempo. Find your personal pre-shot check list, and then find the right amount of time for you to go through that check list. These are all habits. If you can get into the habit of following a shooting check list then you'll start playing better.

But what do I know, I'm only one of Randy G's students too /ccboard/images/graemlins/cool.gif

nhp
09-06-2003, 10:17 PM
Here is some advice: Throw some balls out on the table, and just keep pocketing balls. Do this over and over, and when you are playing well, the pace that you are playing at is your natural rythm. Don't let others tell you how fast and how slow to play, because every player has a different rythm. Look at Tony Drago or Rafael Martinez. They play lightning fast, but are some of the worlds' best players. Then look at Karen Corr, she plays somewhat slow, but is one of the worlds' best. The next time you find yourself in the zone, the rythm that you are playing at is what is natural for you. Good luck,

Nate

bluewolf
09-07-2003, 05:37 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Genie:</font><hr> It sounds like Laura has been through Cue Tech or been under the expert tutelage of Randy Goettlicher /ccboard/images/graemlins/smile.gif Cadence is the term. An equation consisting of rythm + tempo. Find your personal pre-shot check list, and then find the right amount of time for you to go through that check list. These are all habits. If you can get into the habit of following a shooting check list then you'll start playing better.

But what do I know, I'm only one of Randy G's students too /ccboard/images/graemlins/cool.gif <hr /></blockquote>

/ccboard/images/graemlins/smirk.gif Yep. I went through randy gs school six weeks after I picked up a cue. Some things I grasped then, some things learned there just started clicking a few months ago.

My thinking routine is standing. Once down is just a check on alignment,aim, straightness of stroke. Cadence is the key for me and once I found it, the anxiety left my game and the match is very enjoyable.

Thanks for the reminder!!!

Laura

Ross
09-07-2003, 10:26 AM
I agree Drayton, both your Dad and the other player may be correct. When a pressure shot comes up it can alter several parts of our routine:

1. pre-shot assessment (decision making)
2. approach and transition into shooting postion
3. pre-shot routine when down on the ball (warm-up strokes, eye movements, ...)
4. shot stroke

For each of these phases, common tendencies on a pressure shot that can cause a miss:

1. Assessment, decision phase - Easy to get into the "avoid a mistake at all costs" mode. This leads to over-analyzing and can make a routine shot complicated. Another part of this is the negative "be sure I don't..." thought pattern ("don't overhit, don't underhit, don't scratch) instead of positive visualization of what we want to do. Of course, this non-productive thinking ends up prolonging this phase compared to what we do on a non-pressure shot.
The opposite tendency is to rush the planning and under-think to get the shot over with, hoping it will turn out OK. You also see this when a player has made a few good shots in a row quickly and is afraid to slow down because he/she doesn't want to lose the mojo.
And the most dangerous mistake in this phase is to not fully decide on (commit to) your shot selection before going to the next phase.

2. Approach and transition into shooting position - If you have lingering doubts about your shot selection, you may be still questioning yourself when approaching the shot and bending into your stance. If so, then phase 1 isn't finished, but you are off to phase 2 anyway. The thinking part interferes with our usual visualization of cb, ob, and target that is needed to guide our alignment as we approach the table and set our bridge. Or you may skip this visualization altogether, and do what Randy calls the "flop" into shooting position.

Good players who catch themselves not mentally ready when making the transition stand back up, and re-approach. Maybe 2 or 3 times. But if you worry about what onlookers think, you may want to do this but see it as a sign of weakness and not stand back up. Big mistake!

3. Pre-shot routine while down over the ball -
("staying down too long") Random distracting thoughts (I've got to make this, I hope I don't choke, should I be using draw instead of follow, ...) can take us out of our routine eye movements (focus rotating back and forthe between cb, ob, and target). Or we can try to settle nerves while down by taking many more practice strokes than usual and stay down so long our body alignment (stance, elbow, wrist, grip) changes. Can focus on the ob so long before pulling trigger that meanwhile our alignment on the cue ball has drifted and we don't strike the cb where we planned.

4. Shot stroke - biggest tendency on pressure shots is to rush the backswing, skip smooth transition from back to forward, and to rush the forward stroke. ("rushing the shot"). I think it was Rod who put it best "show me someone with an unhurried stroke and I can make him into a player." The other tendency is to grab or squeeze the stick during the follow through on a pressure shot, or try to steer the shot, throwing it off line. Also, we may not finish stroke, jumping up as we shoot.

So, both your Dad and the other player may be right. You may be "staying down too long" and then "rushing the shot."

The player that is the best I've ever seen at consistently avoiding the above any of the above is Allison Fisher. She never seems to rush her planning, I could count on one hand the number of times I've seen her bend over and take a shot with any signs of indecision on her face, and she could be the poster woman for the consistenly "unhurried stroke" no matter the pressure. Interestingly, even she has said she doesn't spend too much time down over the ball because she doesn't want to have time psyche herself out.

By the way, Drayton, I do all of the above way too often. In a tournament yesterday, I ran over my first two opponents (who were good players) then started feeling pressure in the next match (3 weeks in a row I had lost the match before the money) and missed key easy shots, due to one or more of the above. Thus I managed to extend my streak to four weeks. /ccboard/images/graemlins/mad.gif So I am still working on this part of my game as well. Good luck!

Wally_in_Cincy
09-07-2003, 10:41 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Ross:</font><hr>

......Good players who catch themselves not mentally ready when making the transition stand back up, and re-approach. Maybe 2 or 3 times. ......<hr /></blockquote>

Or, if you're Johnny Arher, maybe 10 or 12 LOL

Nice post Ross. You shore do write real purty /ccboard/images/graemlins/laugh.gif

Wally~~'The Hillbilly Hammer"

Rod
09-07-2003, 12:49 PM
[ QUOTE ]
So, both your Dad and the other player may be right. You may be "staying down too long" and then "rushing the shot."
<hr /></blockquote>

Good post Ross, you covered a lot of territory and what you said can easily happen. Now you'll have him or others thinking about what the're thinking and won't know what to think next! /ccboard/images/graemlins/laugh.gif JK


I have a saying I use sometimes, "I see what your thinking". Just watching body movement/gestures alone give away what people think. That's what your opponent uses to some degree even if he\she is not aware of doing it on purpose.

People play their best in an agressive mode. When they get overly agressive and make a mstake, that's ok but don't fall back to a overly self concious state. The difference is huge. Missing a ball is ok but it can be a killer to have big emotional swings. The shot is over, so move on. I think Drayton carries too much of this luggage from what I've read.

Rod

Ross
09-07-2003, 03:29 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Wally_in_Cincy:</font><hr> <blockquote><font class="small">Quote Ross:</font><hr>

......Good players who catch themselves not mentally ready when making the transition stand back up, and re-approach. Maybe 2 or 3 times. ......<hr /></blockquote>

Or, if you're Johnny Arher, maybe 10 or 12 LOL

Nice post Ross. You shore do write real purty /ccboard/images/graemlins/laugh.gif

Wally~~'The Hillbilly Hammer" <hr /></blockquote>

Thanks, Wally. Now if I could just learn myself how to play purty. /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif

Ross
09-07-2003, 03:48 PM
Rod, would you set aside a month and come work on my mental game? I need it. /ccboard/images/graemlins/tongue.gif

Ralph S.
09-07-2003, 04:23 PM
Dragon, the post Ross put up was very good and worth listening to. I have something that may be of help also. The way you feel that day will affect the way you shoot. What I mean is that some days you feel really good and shoot at a faster pace than normal, but on other days you feel good also but the slower pace works and you shoot well again.

Like popcorn said, everybody has their own natural rythem. I just tend to think that it can be varied from day to day and slow to fast or anywhere in between. In a cool or cold room I play faster and in a warmer room a tad bit slower. Other things also affect the speed of your play. Everything from no other thoughts on your mind to even having just eaten dinner right before you go to the pool room.

It may sound crazy, but the simplest of things can have an effect on a daily basis.

Genie
09-07-2003, 05:01 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Ralph S.:</font><hr>
Like popcorn said, everybody has their own natural rythem. I just tend to think that it can be varied from day to day and slow to fast or anywhere in between. In a cool or cold room I play faster and in a warmer room a tad bit slower. Other things also affect the speed of your play. Everything from no other thoughts on your mind to even having just eaten dinner right before you go to the pool room.

It may sound crazy, but the simplest of things can have an effect on a daily basis. <hr /></blockquote>
That is so true!!! The food thing especially. I've determined that I physically cannot play pool on a full stomach (especially carbed up). I get stupid! All the blood rushes to my stomach and not to my head. Nothing works. But when I'm hungry, I'm hungry for the win as well. Attitude and general physiology have a LOT to do with your rhythm and how you play.

My loose change
/ccboard/images/graemlins/cool.gif

dg-in-centralpa
09-07-2003, 05:43 PM
I agree with popcorn. I have a problem sometimes with an easy runout table. When I get to the last ball before the 8 ball, I don't look at the shot because I worry more on getting position on the 8 ball.I rush the shot because it's an easy shot and I end up missing it. I'm learning to slow down and take my time.

DG - who doesn't rush in everything

Rod
09-07-2003, 06:11 PM
Ross, it might take me a month to figure out how to set a month aside. Just follow your own thoughts, but don't think about it so much.LOL I have been fortunate enough over the years to learn to forget what happened at the table.

I've see many who could or could have been fine players. That is they would if they could get past the emotional roller coaster ride. It's not always easy but I think for those that really focus and play on an agressive level plane, and keep it level, no high high's or low low's, are the ones that keep improving and are tough to beat. Way to much or difficult to discuss here, but that's what I think.

Rod

Genie
09-07-2003, 09:38 PM
Yup. This game is 90% mental. And so is the other 10% /ccboard/images/graemlins/wink.gif

bluewolf
09-08-2003, 04:51 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote dg-in-centralpa:</font><hr> I agree with popcorn. I have a problem sometimes with an easy runout table. When I get to the last ball before the 8 ball, I don't look at the shot because I worry more on getting position on the 8 ball.I rush the shot because it's an easy shot and I end up missing it. I'm learning to slow down and take my time.

DG - who doesn't rush in everything
<hr /></blockquote>

I have seen a lot of good players choke on that last one before the 8 thinking about position. I only play my best when I play the same pace/cadence on each shot and trying to plan at least 2-3 shapes ahead seems to take the stress off that last shape shot too for me. /ccboard/images/graemlins/smirk.gif /ccboard/images/graemlins/smirk.gif

I try to stay very calm throughout the match and anything I can do to stay out of choke mentality and in calm/concentrated mentality, those are things I am trying to put into my game.

These mental habits seem so important and they do seem to require work for me just like practicing pool and getting pool skill is work.

Laura

landshark1002000
09-09-2003, 12:22 AM
Hi Dragon:
Great posts already; but here's two cents.

Your natural rhythm is "fast". Sometimes this leads you to make bad position choices.

Keep your own rhythm. But try practising position. Do it when the other player is at the table. Look at the position at the table beside you, etc.

Table position is like seeing all the chess pieces; where they can move; which ones are weak; which player owns what territory.

Maybe it sounds odd. But even playing pool on Yahoo/games is good for improving your positional skill.

In some ways pool games are like a chess game. Learning to visualize the table; grasp the simple, big relationships; this is a skill worth cultivating.

-Ted

Jimmy B
09-09-2003, 02:02 AM
This seems to be a loaded question, it would seem obvious that the shots you take to long on are harder and probably are a lower percentage for you to make, so no matter what speed you played them you'd still miss a high percentage. Now if you have a duck and take 3 minutes to line it up and then miss I'd say there is a point here, but I'll assume you take long on shots where you either aren't sure what to do next or that are very tough to make. JB