Working It Out

I ignored my adult responsibilities last night and instead went to play pool for about 4 hours.  It's been so long since I just played, by myself, for a long time.  It was really quite therapeutic.  First, I was practicing 8-ball; doing my best to get through the rack in one inning (one turn at the table for each suite).  It didn't go very well; but I know it was because I had eaten a less-than healthy meal immediately before arriving at the hall.  After a while, I just switched to 9-ball, essentially playing the 2 inning ghost.  I'd break and try to get out, allow myself one miss and continue from there. If I missed again, I'd rack the balls and start over. 

 I finally, after I can't even tell you how many months, had a legitimate break and run, without taking ball in hand after the break.  It helped, of course, that I make 2 balls on the break and had a great opening shot on the 1 to get into a pretty simple line.  Still, I didn't blow position so badly that I couldn't get out, I stayed calm through the run, and once I made it halfway through the rack and saw the end pattern in my mind, I didn't get overly excited nor did I ease up on my focus.  I took my time, pin-pointed a position on the table for my CB and shot through the rack.  After sinking the 9, I took a moment and enjoyed the sense of achievement that had become quite unfamiliar for me.  I've missed that feeling.  I'm not a run out player, I've never been a runout player, but I'm always close.  So, instead of blindly running the 1-7, like I normally do, I looked at position 3 balls ahead and worked my way backwards to my current shot. Every other shot, I'd re-examine the table and go through those shots.  It worked wonderfully. :)

 A few racks later, I had another excellent break, parked the CB, made 2 balls and had a good shot on the 1, with 4 balls really close to their pocket.  But, I overshot ran position on the 7, and had to take a tough shot on the 8 that left me 9 feet away from the 9 on the 2nd diamond on the foot rail; cue ball near the 2nd diamond on the headstring. I cut it, but it bobbled out.  *shrug* oh well.

 Overall, it was a great time, and I started to regain some of my confidence.  I'm looking forward to many more nights like that in the next month or so, in order to prepare for the next round of leagues.  I've been toeing that edge of being a runout player for far too long, and I'm tired of feeling stalled in my progress.  I've picked up a few new tricks that have really improved my pocketing, and I'm hoping that will be the kick in the ass I've needed to get me back on track.

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Filed Under: Training

League Futures

Now that my leagues are all over for the summer, it's time to figure out what the future holds.  There's no question that I'm keeping the C&C league.  It's the most productive, and the league wherein I have the most confidence, even if I do get bumped up to an A player, it'll just mean that I have to really focus on the matches if I wanna stay in the top 3.

 As far as APA leagues; this is where it gets tricky.  I don't have a team after the summer session.  I basically took someone else's spot who wanted the summer off, so this was just a fill-in position. I knew that going in, so there aren't any hard feelings are anything.  The question though, is what do I do now? It's impossible for me to stay on the team I'm confortable with now. I've met some other teams and they all seem like nice players.  The real problem is my skill level numbers.  Currently, I'm a 5 in 8-ball (which is because I make dumb mistakes late in the rack and hand the match to my opponent) but I'm a 7 in 9-ball (spent some time as an 8, but just couldn't hold it).  And It's hard to field a 7 if you have any other decent shooters on the team.  Now, there's one little silver lining to all of this; whereever I go, I'll be bringing a 2 along with me. She's new to the league, and is only just learning the game, but loves to play. She's made some friends at the bar and I expect it'll be good for her to get some competition and sooner or later she'll start making balls with some kind of regularity; if she can ever get comfortable with her stance that is.  So... Here we have a 7 and a 2; the perfect offset pair addition to a team.  Playing a 2 with a 7 in the same round makes it possible for the other 4's, 5's and 6's to play (potentially).  I expect it'll be an easy sell as a package; but the next question is where to sell the package?  What team do I approach?  I'm rather picky about who I play with; but really, I guess it doesn't matter.  By nature of the APA its impossible to stack a team, so the other good players I'd like to play with just aren't an option.  There's always an option of starting my own team; but at *best* I'd only have 3 players (including myself) and I'd need at least 2 more just to field a full round.  Any of my other pool playing friends would have too high of a skill level to join me; and the only other person I'd think would be a great medium SL isn't 21 yet.  So... I might talk to my current captain and see if she has any ideas. 

 Then there's the Master's division.  I struggled something fierce in this league and I wanted to quit a few times, but I just couldn't let the equipment beat me... I'm too damn stubborn for that easy out.  As frustrating as it is, and will continue to be I'm sure, I want to keep that league.  I can't say I forged any solid friendships this session with the Master's team; mostly because I ran out of there after my embarassing losses just about every time.  However, I do know of two people who would like to play in the division and the three of us could make a team; needing only a 4th for an alternate I'm guessing.  Which it's possible that one of the current team members would be willing to stay on - assuming of course that the team as it is now will dissolve.  If it stays together, then I don't have any decisions to make; I just stay there and keep my head in the game this session.

 I'm feeling a new energy drive to get back to my game.  Playing 3 nights a week seemed like I wouldn't want to practice, but if anything, playing that often has shown me that I need to practice more than I did before.  I need to get back to my routine, and I need to live up to my own expectations of my level of play.  Lately, I've come to the point where there isn't a shot on the table I don't feel like I can make at least 80% of the time, so my pure shotmaking ability has plenty of fuel; but my confidence in choosing the best position has been shaken pretty firmly.  I don't feel like I know where the CB is going, without question.  On shots where the OB is on the rail and I need to come straight across the table or just a single diamond up, opposed to 2 or 3 diamonds up - for example - I don't feel like I can accurately and predictably control the exact path.  I don't feel like I'm hitting the CB *exactly* where I think I am; which causes issues obviously.  And lastly, I don't feel like I can bank a ball to save my life.  Every bank I shoot is about 3 to 6 inches short - reliably.  I'm hoping that means it's a simple adjustment I just need to work out.  Time will tell.  I have a month to be the player I want to be, and a month to become the major threat the other people in the APA league thought I was going to be.

 I won't lie ... I grin at the thought of people being afraid to play me.  Similarly, I'm sure there are players that look forward to it - and I smile at that as well.

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Filed Under: League

League Finishes

I've been a little disenchanted with pool the last couple of months.  Being out of work kinda takes the fun out of anything you're required to spend money on.  But, the last week of July, I got a job and started August 1st.  And since then, I've won 5 of my last 7 matches across the leagues.  As it happens, I went out with a bang in all of my leagues.

 The last match of my Cue and Cushion against Jean went uncharacteristically well. You can watch that match here. That win tied me for 2nd/3rd but the person with whom I tied won the match when we played, so he gets 2nd and I finish 3rd for the session.  Overall, I'm pretty happy with how things turned out.  I'm right on that border between an A and B player, in league terms.  And A player giving me 2 games in a race to 9 is a little too much; similarly if I had to give some of the B players I beat even 2 games, I don't think I could handle the weight.  But, since this is the 2nd session where I've felt that way, I do kind of expect to go up; but won't complain if I do.  I bet the other players would though. heh.

 In APA 9-ball, I finished with a record of 5-2; and as of this week, I'm 2nd place in the Top Gun list. This is the last week of the session but the problem is that this week my team has a Bye; so I won't get a chance to score any a TG points. The person behind me (by only 3 points) is likely to move up.  Actually anyone within 7 points is a threat to take over 2nd place.  Although, I don't think there are any prizes for anything other than TG, so it doesn't really matter.  I'm finishing as a 7 in 9-ball. I've been playing pretty well lately, including one match where I played a 4; meaning I had to get to 55 before they got to 31. I never expected to win that, but I played extra conservative, played some good safeties and got some luck with the opponent missing some shots leaving me an open table. The other 2 matches I've won (the last 3 weeks actually) were against 7's and each time the opponent got out to a headstart, one by as much as nearly 20 points, but somehow, I managed to come back and steal the win.  Last week, I won against a 7 by a mere 3 points; where he was sitting on 52 and I was back in the low 40's. Run out where I could, and safety otherwise, kept me in the game and allowed me to take the score. I never got a 9 on the snap, nor did I ever get a break'n'run ... how messed up is that?  There's no patch for running out from the opponent's dry break, but I did do that a couple of times. I don't recall which match it was, but it had to be early on (probably my first or second 9-ball match) where I got all the rolls and scored so well that I earned the Skunk patch, giving my team 20 match points to his 0 points.

 In APA 8-ball, I suck. Seriously. I did finish the session with a win, the same way I started the session actually.  I won my first and last 8-ball match; and nothing in between.  With a record of 2 wins and 6 losses, I'm haunted by bartable 8-ball, still. My first match I played pretty flawlessly; getting the Rackless patch (meaning I won the lag and never lost a rack and never had to rack). In retrospect, I was doing a lot of things outside of the pool table that started getting in the way; too many social activities, I never practiced, and often I was too tired to play well.  But, whatever excuse I come up with, the final verdict is that I try too hard to run out in 8-ball, which means I never run out in 8-ball.  Sadly, my bartable game hasn't really changed that much since I was in MO8; which is a bit upsetting to me. I thought I had come a long way since then... but apparently not.  I never got a break'n'run, nor an 8 on the snap (though I never try for it either).

 In APA Masters, I'm finally getting a feel for those tables.  I've won my last 2 matches there, as such they were my only 2 wins in that league; finishing with a record of 2 wins and 7 losses.  I do enjoy the format of the Masters a lot more than the standard APA; no handicaps, race to 7, both 8 and 9 ball available.  It feels more like the level of pool I'm used to playing... just not the equipment.

 I'll write another entry outlining my future with the leagues later this week.

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Filed Under: 8-Ball · 9-Ball · League

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