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JimS
11-02-2003, 12:04 PM
I have problems acquiring and/or maintinaing a winning attitude, always have had and the following is what's been going through my head lately.

I don't have the bloodthirsty, killer, take no prisnors, highly competitive attitide. I just don't have it, never have had it and really I don't want it. It tends to obviate too many other values. I want to have fun playing pool, to make friends etc, but I also want to play well and not make an ass of myself. But, the fact is that I usually go two and out, lose to people I'm not supposed to lose to and I've come to realize that's mostly because I'm not mentally right going in.

On the one occasion that I did play at my highest level I took second place in a tournament where I wasen't supposed to win more than one or two matches. I wasn't nearly as advanced technically as I am now but what I did have going for me was that on that solitary occasion I was relaxed, I played at my optimum tempo never even thinking about whether I was playing too slowly and I thought through every situation very carefully before executing my shots with very deliberate actions. (I'm an easy mark for complaints about taking too much time...or I have been and now that I know that I HOPE I can change it and focus on what I need to focus on)

What has come to me lately as I've contemplated the "losers" attitude I displayed at my most recent public showing was this:

I asked my self: Why do I go to tournaments? I don't expect to win....I'm not in it for the $$$$, or the ego thing of being the "big dog". The truth is that I play because that tournament is the only place and time to play in this area and I want to play pool! I get sick of just hitting balls here at home by myself.

Ok. Then what's the goal when you do go out. Answer: the goal is to play pool and have fun shootin the bull with my pool-playin friends!

Well....in order to keep playing you have to win so winning does become the goal even it it's not why I went there.

In order to keep playing you have to win so...how do you win?

Answer: In order to win you have to hit winning shots....be they potting balls or safteys.

That's where it gets personal: each of us would have personal things that we have to work on in order to win.

For me: In order hit winning shots I have to play at the tempo that works best for me, not worrying about whether I'm playing too slowly, and I have to focus COMPLETELY on the table and what the situation calls for. No getting caught-up in anything the other player does or my nerves etc etc. TOTAL FOCUS IS ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY.

I'd appreciate any comments on this as I've been spending some time on refining this thinking so I can take it with me next time I go out to play. What would you ad/delete?

One thing that comes to mind is that I need to get out more and satisfy my need for social interaction so that when it comes tournament time I'm not going there to shoot the bull I'll be there to shoot dammed good pool!

ras314
11-02-2003, 12:18 PM
"TOTAL FOCUS IS ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY."

Keep that thought and ignore the rest. /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif

bluewolf
11-02-2003, 03:25 PM
I really like this. I have the opposite problem. Not very good focus in practice, better in a match{unless I am playing a B player and freak LOL}.I mean so focused in a match I dont even hear anything around me and dont even worry about anything except that shot and where I want the cueball to end up.And unless the person is a seven or something, the more better than me that they are, the more intense my focus is. It is like I have to have some/a lot pressure on me to get that focus. Is this weird? I really dont know why I have to have competition to have focus. Does this mean I have no discipline or what? I do practice everyday but shoot crappy compared to a match. geez. /ccboard/images/graemlins/confused.gif

I almost wonder if it is like natural consequences. If I miss shots, play bad safes, etc, in a match, there is a penalty:losing. If I miss them in practice,nobody sees me and there is no consequence. I have even found myself rationalizing 'well I can do that in a match, I need the pressure to concentrate'. Unfortunately, I think this lack of focus in practice is slowing my advancement in pool skills.

Laura

ras314
11-02-2003, 04:10 PM
I get little time to pratice, when I do about 15 min seems about as long as I can concentrate well. By concentrate I mean actually hear what the hit will sound like, envision the balls roll and where before even starting a pre-shot routine. Even feel what the hit should feel like if that makes any sense. I should know where I'm going hit the cb and ob before getting down on the ball. Once in a very great while all this happens automaticaly and in almost no time. That's when even pratice is fun.

Anybody that can shoot 1000 or more balls a day and maintain focus has got to be a world beater. And in a whole lot better physical condition than me!

Helps to take frequent brakes and think about what I'm really trying to do. Hate that when I'm paying for table time.

JimS
11-02-2003, 05:38 PM
ras314

I like your economy of words approach....it's kinda like "just shut up and DO IT"

I do need to be reminded to stop thinking and shoot the freakin ball /ccboard/images/graemlins/smile.gif

Thanks.

ras314
11-02-2003, 06:52 PM
Just read your post under "Favorite Books". No wonder you do too much thinking!

I recently read Byrne's New Standard Book. Initial reaction was here's most all the stuff I learned the hard way, now it's all out there for anybody to read. But I supsect a little "seasoning" (read losing on a money table) is needed to get much out of the book.

Now if I could just get my old game back....

JimS
11-02-2003, 10:59 PM
I hear you ras314!!!!!!!

As I was growing up in the ph, circa 56 thru 60, nobody would tell me anything. Everything had to come by watching and experimenting. Then I got my drivers license and pool got left behind for the next 40 or so years. When I came back there was Bryne and all the others to teach me what nobody was tellin anybody back then. Nobody gave up the secrets!

dmgwalsh
11-03-2003, 06:31 AM
What you're talking about was discussed at length in "Pleasures of Small motions". If you haven't read it yet, you might want to look at it. Dennis

bluewolf
11-03-2003, 10:34 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote ras314:</font><hr> I get little time to pratice, when I do about 15 min seems about as long as I can concentrate well. By concentrate I mean actually hear what the hit will sound like, envision the balls roll and where before even starting a pre-shot routine. Even feel what the hit should feel like if that makes any sense.

Helps to take frequent brakes and think about what I'm really trying to do. Hate that when I'm paying for table time. <hr /></blockquote>

I played my hubbie last night in a race to 5 in 8ball, then 9ball. While not a match, I found that I did focus better and try harder and I actually did better than I expected. He used to beat me 7-0 easy without a spot, so it was encouraging to see some improvement.

I know it is not the same as drills but it seems to be kind of okay practice for position stuff,ball speed control and safes etc.

I am also trying to learn to forget about who I am playing, what level of skill they are, etc, to eliminate head stuff. I play real focussed against sl5s or even some mediocre sl6 people, but I did have a head thing about playing sl7s. I really want to get all of the head stuff defeated before I play any league play again.

We are discussing this because I seem to play my best with no spot and the handicap thing, I am not sure about.It is just no fun to beat somone when you have this spot even though I did try hard against stiff players. But when I DID beat them, it just did not feel the same because I knew they would have won if there was no spot.

I think that I am going to pick one type of shot I want to get better at a time and just drill that until my percent goes up, but I really like the breaks. My hubbie said I did not practice for long enough in a row, but I wonder if it is a bad idea to keep practicing once my concentration gets sloppy.

Sorry for rambling. /ccboard/images/graemlins/smirk.gif

Laura

Stretch
11-03-2003, 10:53 AM
Jim! Your a winner before you even touch your cue. When the game is on, your at your best. So think, and act with confidence and poise no matter what the score alla "fake it till you make it".

Killer instinct is a myth. Does a Cat concider whether it has killer instinct or not? No, it just does what it does because it can and it wants to. So can you. Labels are for others to use and not what you should dwell on. Your only focus in a game is the shot in front of you. One ball at a time, Period, full stop. St

Scott Lee
11-03-2003, 11:50 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote JimS:</font><hr> ras314

I like your economy of words approach....it's kinda like "just shut up and DO IT"
<hr /></blockquote>

...or in this case...just CUE it! /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif

Actually, Jim, I disagree that you have to always win, in order to keep playing. You can WANT to win, but it's how you deal with losing that plays a larger role, in how much you enjoy the game, and whether or not you make it a lifetime passion (like many of us here...yourself included)! /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif

Nobody wins all the time. Everybody misses...that's rule #1 in pool, as far as learning how to DEAL emotionally with missing. Look at Efren...he is the poster boy for how to NOT let your emotions counteract your ability to perform at a peak level. How many times do you think Efren has gone two and out in tournaments? Plenty! Has it affected his ability to become one of (if not THE) best players ever? Nope! Relax, and have fun...that's really why you want to play, isn't it? It's not about the winning...it's about putting forth your best effort, as often as you can; and not punishing yourself when you fall down!

Scott

Fred Agnir
11-03-2003, 12:51 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Scott Lee:</font><hr> How many times do you think Efren has gone two and out in tournaments? Plenty! <hr /></blockquote> I know you're just trying to make a point, but Efren going two and out plenty of times belongs in Ripley's.

Fred &lt;~~~ unless you were talking about some other Efren.

Scott Lee
11-03-2003, 05:23 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Fred Agnir:</font><hr> <blockquote><font class="small">Quote Scott Lee:</font><hr> How many times do you think Efren has gone two and out in tournaments? Plenty! <hr /></blockquote> I know you're just trying to make a point, but Efren going two and out plenty of times belongs in Ripley's.

Fred &lt;~~~ unless you were talking about some other Efren. <hr /></blockquote>

Fred...There is, sadly, only ONE Efren! I am talking about his entire pool career, which spans most of 4 decades. Certainly there have been several...and there's plenty of documentation of him finishing out of the money many times as a pro. However, he wins a lot too! But you're right, I was just trying to illustrate a point.

Scott ~ puts Efren on a pedestal for many reasons

Mikey
11-03-2003, 06:06 PM
Jim, don't take the slow player stuff so seriously and don't let it get to you. I too, am a so called slow player, ( I call it methodical)However the people that bitch about me being slow have never beat me, so , don't take it so hard and play your own game, you WILL feel more relaxed if you don't worry about that part of you game especially when you're pocketing balls and winning matches.

tateuts
11-03-2003, 07:07 PM
I read your post and hesitated to reply, but I will and here are some points to consider:

1) When it's your turn at the table, if you are worrying about what your opponent is thinking, in this case, about your speed of play, those are distracting thoughts which impair your ability to concentrate.

2) I was just watching a tape of Mike Sigel playing Keith McCready. I was amazed at how Sigel stressed and fidgeted over a lot of situations, and how long he took over some shots. And this was a world champion. Keith, on the other hand, is just the opposite.

3) There are some players I consider "acceptably slow". They look, plan, judge, and their slow pace is OK because they are using the time to do something, they are looking things over, being careful, and are bearing down. These players make fewer mistakes than they would if they rushed.

The slow players who drive me nuts are players who take a lot of time over every single shot for no apparent reason, get down on a shot and jump up from it several times. Then they miss. It actually pisses me off knowing they will miss because they took so damn long to do it. If you're going to miss anyway, hurry up, OK? I will play my best against such an opponent because I hate to turn the table over to them.

4) As you get back into the game and get better and better, and the key word is "experienced", you will lose less and less to people you shouldn't, so I wouldn't worry about that. Mainly, you don't want to beat yourself, or beat-up on yourself if you do. We all have our embarassing losses. But I know if I'm missing the key shots and easy run outs, I can't expect to win either.


Chris

Keith Talent
11-03-2003, 09:26 PM
Since there's some overlap in our reading lists, maybe I can identify with your struggles.

And, like you, I also had one surprisingly good tournament outing ... a win vs. an A+ rated player, but nothing good since, so have been trying to retool my game some as well.

I also tend to play a little on the slow side, especially if I'm not feeling confident. Paralysis by analysis, for sure ... probably why I'm best off playing 9 ball, with relatively fewer choices, than 14.1 or one-pocket, both of which put me in an endless orbit around the table between shots!

In practice, anyway, I'll say to myself, "Run it like Earl," and try to bolt through easy 4- or 5-ball runouts. Haven't felt able to do that in competition yet, though.

Maybe the big thing is trying to find the right balance between aggressiveness (that "killer instinct") and coolness, which you need to think clearly and execute under pressure. Think that's true in all games ... and in everything else, too.

Easier said than done, right?

JimS
11-03-2003, 10:25 PM
No wonder I love the ccb. Thanks guys for the encouragement and support as well as for the practical observations. It'll be couple weeks before there's anyplace to play around here...unless I can find some time to get out of town to play.

The one time I played well in public was when I went, alone, to an out of town tournament and no one knew me and knew how I was "supposed" to play. Consequently I didn't get caught up in anyones expectations or let myself be limited as the result of someone knowing that I was less than a top notch player. The other players treated me with the respect that they'd automatically give an unknown player and I played better than I ever had before. I was amazed.

I think I'll head over to Burlington Ia to Whitey's this weekend.

Or....I remember Heide mentioning that Jon Kucharo now has a little room in Bettendorf Ia. I might give a call and find out where it is.

Meanwhile I'll be reading Fancher and hitting straight in stroke building shots till my hands bleed /ccboard/images/graemlins/smile.gif I really appreciate what you've said to me in the posts above...really appreciate it.