Transition From Practice to Play - Fail

Today's adventure started out wonderfully actually.  I was taking my time, locking my chin, compensating for throw, getting good position, making good shots during my practices.  I did this for at least an hour. Was feeling pretty good for the upcoming match with Morris.  Then he got wrapped up into another match and I ended up playing Clarence.  He doesn't really like 9-ball at all and will usually only play one-pocket.  His brother was playing Morris and Ralph was taken up with someone else.  I had asked him earlier if he wanted to play banks, but he declined.  Then later he comes over and says ok, lets play some 9-ball.  he breaks, nothing goes in and the CB and 1B are basically an easy shot.  I miss - as if I hadn't just made that shot 27 times in the hours. The 2nd game I thought I had him though.  Same story, he broke, pushed out on the 1.  I ran the 1 through the 6, missed the 7, but got a lucky roll and got safe.  He missed the 7 and left me a shot. I made the 7 and 8 and left myself with a not-too-easy-but-not-too-hard shot on the 9, again, another shot I'd been making most of the day, and just totally dogged it.  Lather, Rinse, Repeat.  I didn't win a single game because I failed to get position on the 8 or 9 most of the time. Too worried about over shooting it, left me way short usually.  He finally left to go play with Ralph and I had to get some food or start throwing a fit.  I stopped counting at 6-0, but I'd guess it went to 9 at least.

There's no way I can enter a tournament if that is how I'm going to play when it matters.

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Filed Under: 9-Ball · Tournaments

My Longest Run Out

While this isn't necessarily all that impressive, it is, as best I can recall, my longest run-out.

I broke, scratched, nothing fell.  My opponent makes the 1B, scratches.  I get the table back like this:

Progress through the 8 pages to see what I did.  I was so excited by the time I got to the 9-ball I had to take an extra few seconds to gather myself. My next goal is to run an entire rack.  During practice, I always take ball in hand after the break if I don't have a shot on the 1B, and I think this has helped, because I was able to study the layout of the table and I chose to start with the 2 in the corner, mostly because it had no other place to go, but more importantly because it meant that the 2, 3, 4 and 5 at least should be mine.  Once I got there, I played it basically one ball at a time, make the shot the first, then add position.  It worked out pretty well.

Yesterday was a damn good day overall.  I bought a glove and wasn't sure how I'd like it.  I'm still not sure, but it's nice having a pretty smooth sliding action consistently now. I also went back to doing chin-lock practice - and in doing so, I've upped my accuracy back to where it should be.  I also think this is why I'm making more cut-shots than I have the last 2 weeks.  Considering being sick the last 3 days, yesterday's combined total of nearly 7 hours of pool really went pretty decently. :)

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Filed Under: 9-Ball · Gear

Back on the table

Well, I've been sick the last 2 days and stayed home from work to try and knock it out as fast as possible.  That also means that I haven't shot this week yet.  Which is probably for the best.  As frustrated as I was getting the last week or 2, a break is probably just what I needed.  I guess we'll see.  However, I'm not 100% over my illness, but at least my head is clear - thinking anyway. Still some sinus blockage, but mostly my chest is congested now.

The US Open was last week and BCN has videos uploaded already. :) So, right now I'm watching Johnny Archer (The Scorpion) play Mika Immonen (The Iceman).  I already know who wins, but it's fun to watch the matches.

My tournament is a week from today, and I'm still not sure if I'm entering. I really should just for the experience.  I've seen a few blogs talk about how practice is nice, but the only way to really prove anything is in competition.  Which is entirely true of course. One of them says the problem with a lot of tournament and their relatively low-entrance numbers is because people only enter if they feel they can win - otherwise, they're just giving up the entrance fee.  I know I wont win, and I don't expect to make it past the 2nd round - but I want to be confident that I will make it to the 2nd round at least.  That would be enough for me, I think.  The 3rd would be ideal, but I'm not pushing my luck.  I have to decide how I'm going to play.  I tend to be pretty aggressive in my playing - going for low-percentage shots because I like them as opposed to playing smart and playing safe.  I always feel like a jerk when I play safe, but I know it's part of the game.  The other thing is that the guy I usually play with never plays safe either, so...  *shrug* that's his style I guess.

Regardless, I'm curious to see how today's playing will turn out.

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Filed Under: 9-Ball · Tournaments

Don't Eat the Cue Ball

Nothing too exciting relating to pool this weekend.  Friday, the fiance and I hit up a haunted house, which was fun - then afterwards I went to a pool hall for a few hours.  Didn't realize how exhausted I was until Saturday when I tried to remember how I played and it was mostly a fog.

Saturday, after seeing my tweet about Paranormal Activity, my sister called and said her and her hubby were wanting to hang out and maybe play some pool, so we hit up this little bar with a table upstairs.  Long story short, around 2:30am one of the really drunk (and/or high on something) bikers came up to play a game and kept stomping around the room, running in place, kicking the jukebox - and at one, picked up the cue ball, stuffed it in his mouth then spit it out on the floor.  WTF?! hahaha - we left shortly after.

Sunday, XY and I watched the semifinals and finals of the WPBA tournament at the SkyUte casino on ESPN. Congrats to Ga Young Kim!  As much as I really like Jeanette Lee, I have to wonder what happened during her match with Kelly Fisher... she didn't seem herself at all - but I suppose having just given birth is a pretty good excuse. :)

I'm home sick today - with what is probably the flu that XY had last week.  I thought I would escape it, but apparently not. :/ I see a lot of xbox and playstation in my future.

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The anger, the fury and the frustration

I don't understand it.  I really don't.  I mean, I'm practically "studying" the game nowadays and I think i'm getting worse by the week.  I played decent once this week. once.  the other 4 days have left me wanting to throw the cue across the room and walk out. or cry. maybe both.  Pockets spitting balls out (when it bounces back and forth between to the corners of a pocket then gets kicked out), poor stroke, no action, no position, missing 1 or 2 out of every 3 shots... i can't take it. I just can't.  I'm too competitive or something, but I can only miss for so long before I just become furious.  at which point i sit down, smoke a full cigarette and cool off.  but when the very first shot upon my return is more of the same shit, i can't stay cool after that.  i'm not even talking about doing drills - which makes everything worse.  just regular play.

Read on for a laundry list of things that are broken and an example of what's going on.

i started a log of each rack and how many shots it took to run the rack.  the "best" was 12, the worst was 18.  There's only 9 fucking balls on the table.  I finally started taking ball in hand after the break just so i wouldn't have to deal with a shitty shot.  the first game was the best, and i was mostly happy. while 75% accuracy isn't excellent, it's decent enough to pass my own standard right now - but it just went downhill from there.  I even made some balls on the break was still taking 13+ shots. 

I have completely lost my stroke - it doesn't feel the same as it did two weeks ago, and it's not the same throughout the day either. As soon as I try and trust it i hit the object ball on the wrong side or miss-cue.  I can't think about throw, english, spin transfer, back-swing, follow-through, power-control and aiming all at once.  it's just too much. something should be "native", "auto", whatever.

I'm sure it's something to do with thinking about it too much, but if i don't think and just pocket balls, then i'm not doing it on purpose - i'm just getting lucky with fair-to-good ideas. but i'm not IN control of my game - and i absolutely should be.

when i do drills, i'm not learning anything - except that i have ZERO consistency. i could shoot the same 20 times and make it 10, but still not be able to determine what it was i did differently between the times i made it and missed. i can't monitor myself visually - and even with a video camera it wouldn't help cuz it's just one angle.  the thing that kills me is that i tend to miss the same way - every time, so that should mean i could fix it, right? well... it doesn't.  at least, not on my own.

There's a pro-coach in town actually (Mark Wilson) - but christ, he's $300 a day. literally.  I mean, I wanna get better, but that's a luxury I can not afford.  There's another guy local to the hall that gives lessons, but I dont think he can give stroke lessons.  he might, i dunno - i've only ever seen him give shot advice.  he's got a really good stroke though, so ... maybe? i dunno. he's a lot more affordable though, $25/hr - but, like i said, he's not a pro coach.

speaking of pros - there was a teenage girl there today getting a session from Mark, apparently she won the BCA juniors tournament - or at least placed in it.  Rachel something or other.  Her parents were there, etc... they drove 12 hours for this lesson. good for them, good for her.  i would love to just ask him to take a look at my stroke and fix it. hell, i could pay him for an hour or something, this is driving me absolutely insane.


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Long Match (20-8)

Yesterday was day #2 playing reasonably well. I started off just playing the ghost, as they say.  Then Morris showed up and we started playing. I was making some good shots, getting good position, but still... missing some pretty basic cut/rail shots. I used to be really good at those rail shots, but that's something I've lost entirely now.  I did make some good masse hits/escapes though.  Anyway, missing easy shots caused the match to be a disaster - on the scoreboard.  i didn't track the number of balls made, which I should have, because I think we were about even, however, the final score was 20-8.  I lost.

Today there are 2 drills I want to run. One is rail shots, the other is a positional shot:

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Filed Under: 9-Ball · Training

AWESOME Trick Shots on a MINI table!

this is just sickening...

awesomely sickening! haha

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Back to normal!

So, since last Friday, I've been playing terribly.  My stroke has never once felt right, I'm not getting good action on the ball - and I'm missing everything.  Use to be, I could blame it on throw - but not so much anymore. Everything is just "off".  Well, today I tried something to get it back. I played considerably slower than usual. I didn't do any drills at all. I just shot.  First I tossed the balls on the table (all 15) and basically played a loose game of 8-ball against myself. I did that twice.  Then I played 2 rounds of straight pool, reshooting those I missed and/or lost position.  Then I played 9-ball the rest of the day. I broke, and took ball in hand to get started if I didn't have a shot on the 1b.  I made some really good shots, including one rail rider past the side pocket even. :)  I also missed some shots that I shouldn't have.  I made some good combos, not so good banks, and one jump shot even.  The jump shot was even a cut shot! It was a short jump and I only need to get over half a ball, but I jumped, and made the ball - extra lucky was I got position on the next ball. 

Overall the day was good.  The best part of the day was when I realized I was trying to stab the ball. I had lost my follow-through.  As soon as I made a mental effort to "push the ball", my accuracy went up 15-20%.  Things, I think are good again.  If I play well the rest of this week, I'm buying my spot in the tournament in 2 weeks.

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Filed Under: 9-Ball · Stroke · 14.1

Rating System

I just found a rating system that is pretty nice.  And I have to say, honestly, I think I'm a B-/C+.

Reaching the B- level player level is perhaps the biggest hurdle, as a good number of players peak at the C+ level. B- players are quite capable of running racks of 8-ball or 9-ball, but they lack consistency.

A B C D Rating Explained

After the way I've been playing the last few days, I feel like a D player. I can't seem to make anything beyond the 2nd ball.  I almost always get position - but what good is that if I miss the first ball.  I seriously want to just destroy things.

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Filed Under: Tournaments

Weekend Pool (Banks + Practice)

Friday, XY and I went to the pool hall again. It was an otherwise uninteresting evening par for the course I'd say.  With one exception.  I played my first game of "Banks" ever.  Bonus: I won my first game of Banks ever.

Bank Pool: Racked like 9-ball, broken. If you make a ball on the break, keep shooting, but spot it when your turn is over.  The object of the game is successfully call and make *cleanly* 5 bank shots.  No kicks, no combos.  Pure and simple bank shots.  If you scratch, you lose a point and a ball is spotted. If you make a ball without banking it, it's spotted and your turn is over.  If you bank a ball by caroming off another ball it's spotted and your turn is over.  Scratch is ball in hand behind on the headstring, no other fouls.  Must call the ball, the pocket and the number of rails.

I really enjoyed this game. A lot.  Lucky for me, I have long made it a practice method to play what i call "bck" - Bank, Kick, Combo.  I made a few really nice cross-side shots and a few standard shots.  I will definitely be playing this more in the future.

Sunday, MX has business up in north county, so I had her drop me at C&C while she worked.  The biggest lesson I learned was that I should NOT run advanced drills to warm up.  I failed - every attempt -  and I was infuriated with my playing, which only set the stage for 2 more hours of extreme frustration.  I could have played through it and gotten into stroke, but her work was finished and I had to go.  I must find a way to keep anger out of my game. I'm okay with missing, I'm not okay with missing the same shot 12 times in a row.

I really need to find a playing partner - I never get as angry when playing with someone else.

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Filed Under: 9-Ball · Training

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