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SoundWaves
11-15-2006, 10:29 PM
Hello all,
I would like to start by thanking everyone here for helping to provide such a great resource. I have been reading this forum daily for years and it has taught me more than I could ever express. I was hoping to stop lurking and start posting and add something to a topic, but instead I post tonight a looser looking for help.
I am currently in a terrible slump, about 10 weeks of play with 7 strait losses. I captain an APA team and seem to be putting a lot of pressure on myself. I have been playing consistently for about 4 years and over the last year I have tried hard to take some steps to bring my game up a notch. Starting with hard practice and matching up against the top players on the other teams. After some losses, but good play, I decided to take the summer off and really focus on my game. I welt to pool school and worked hard on my stroke, and changed my game tremendously in a few months. Then the fall league session starts… Week one, loss to a very good player, no sweat. Week two unbelievable play, run every rack. Ready for ESPN too bad I missed the eight ball every time! Well the rest is down hill. Each week losing for different reasons, but almost all self induced, and my performance each week getting worse.
So I guess my question is… How are you demanding on yourself and still have confidence. None of us play perfect, but missing a shot or a position effects us all different. It seems many players bang balls around, win half the time and have a great time, maybe I should drink more. I am better than that. Pool seems to consume my life. I love to learn and do everything I can to progress my game. I just seem to have gotten to the point that my mind is ahead of my body and is never satisfied.

Show me a way to become less self critical and get my confidence back.

Thanks

Varney Cues
11-15-2006, 11:22 PM
Find yourself a serious coach. It will be easier for him to spot your issues than anything.;)

Rod
11-16-2006, 12:06 AM
I get the feeling your getting ahead of yourself. Sounds like your pre-shot routine is changing especially missing all those 8 balls.

It takes little, tense up in the arm and grip, delivery stroke a tad faster, a little head movement, etc.

It's not always easy after being shell schocked. Pace yourself, probably slow down and treat each shot the same. Same focus from the first to last ball.

I agree with a good instructor they should find your short commings very easy.

Rod

Profcuestroke
11-16-2006, 12:18 AM
I don't know about the pool school you attended and I don't know when but here are some facts.

When you change your game, any boost you get will be short lived. You can expect your quality of play, level of play, win percentage to drop; for a while. Witness Tiger Woods. World's best golfer who decided to change his game. His game went south for almost two years. Now hes' back and seeminly better than ever.

The depth and duration of your post change slump will depend on you and the degree of change. Just understand, it happens. It's supposed to happen. You can and will come through it.

That said. Ease up on yourself. Play the game not the stats. You said you were running seven and dumping the eight. Could simply be that you:
1) started celebrating early (you can't uncork the champagne until the eight drops and the cue ball stops).
2) You start worrying about it, put pressure on yourself; in short making it harder and harder to focus on the shot at hand.

For that eight, allow yourself to think about anything and everything then focus only on the eight ball. Lock your eyes on it and allow the stroke. You don't need to see the pocket. You don't need to see the cue. You don't need to see the cue ball. Simply lock your eyes on the target ball and stroke.

Lastly, for your stroke, think stop shot.

Try it. You'll like it. Keep us posted.

The old professor,
Profcuestroke

Michaelconway
11-16-2006, 04:43 AM
I am in the same boat as you man! I was just wondering how long should you practice the changes you have made in your game before you start playing in tournys or with other players?

Varney Cues
11-16-2006, 05:00 AM
3 newbies in 5 post...that must be a AZB record!:D

Profcuestroke
11-16-2006, 05:03 AM
No set time. Could be a day, a month but usually it's no time at all. You won't have integrated any changes until you can TRUST them in competion. You won't know that until you compete.

You practice then you compete. If your practice ws GOOD practice, what you practiced will come automatically when you compte.

Most people do two things very wrong.

1) They push themselves in practice such that they are likely to become tired, careless, frustrated and practice more bad thinss than good.
2) They THINK about form or practice WHILE they try to compete. There is no trust and just as in the BAD practice they get frustrated and careless, their whole game falls apart.

Practice is practice and play is play and ner' the two should meet.

The old professor,
Profcuestroke

Gerry
11-16-2006, 05:14 AM
waves, ease up on yourself!.....making changes, then ingraining them into your game will be frustrating. I tell people I teach it's like a bouncing ball, at first it feels strange with you playing great, then badly, then with time it gets to be part of your game and smooths out.

Take me for instance, I used to play what I would describe a Filipino style of game. I had a big loopy stroke, super long bridge, spun the ball WAY too much, and I was too inconsistent because the way I played was just masking big flaws in my game....mainly a lifelong alignment problem. Doing this was scary because I played pretty well, and ran a few 100's playing that way, but I knew I had problems that were hurting my game.

I took the last year or so to straighten things out on my own, I've been playing my whole life (30 years or so, I'm 40). I think a good fundamentals instructor would have fixed me years ago. I'm just now starting to feel comfortable with my "new" style which is more controlled, aligned, and consistent.

Trust me, I've always made my biggest leap in speed right after making changes and playing through the ups and downs.

Gerry

Purdman
11-16-2006, 05:15 AM
I had a pretty good game before Iwent to Pool School. When I got home, it took several months to get back to snuff. It is very difficult to implement new things into a game you have been playing another way. I do want to encourage you to not be to hard on yourself. Like RandyG told me, It Takes Time For The Medicine To Work!!!! I have also found that everytime I went into a slump, I always came out of it with something new that made me a better player. Good luck, remember to enjoy the game and glad to have you guys on board.
Purdman:cool:

SoundWaves
11-16-2006, 05:37 AM
Thanks for the great advice so far. I am not going to deny that after changing my stroke it did take a while to get my game back. I did play well when everything came together. It's my game now that scares me. Since my first few losses, from choking or whatever. Now my game as a whole stinks. There is no doubt that I am being to hard on myself, and I am trying to remember why I play, when I play. Because I love the game! I like the idea of having a coach. maybee a cheerleader?

Stones
11-16-2006, 06:34 AM
From giving lessons over the years, I've noticed a few things. Basically, if I changed something in a student's fundamentals (stroke, stance, etc.), it normally took approximately three weeks for the change to settle in where they were comfortable with it. This happened if they practiced daily. The less they practiced, the longer the transition took, if at all.
As far as the problem of not pocketing the 8 ball, from personal experience in pressure situations when playing and gambling out on the road, what I found out for myself on that one critical shot was to get down and KNOW that ball was, first of all, lined up to hit dead center in the pocket. Not near the pocket or in the pocket, but dead center. Second, and this is the important one, to relax my shooting arm and shoulder about 10%. This achieved two things, it took my mind off the pressure and I relaxed during my delivery. The idea was to duplicate the lack of tension in my shoulder and arm as when I practiced.
Keep it simple and give it time. They asked Johnny Miller, U.S. Open golf champion, why his game had fallen off so much until he retired from the game and got into commentating. He said at one point he had been so over coached that he had over 300 different checks on his drive swing alone.
You will hear a lot of advise around the pool room and on these forums. None of it is written in stone. Give it a good, honest try and if you don't see a extended improvement, chunk it. Normally, for me, if something is going wrong about 90% of the time, it's in my fundamentals.
Keep swinging and good luck.

Varney, I'm a newbie, too.

Snapshot9
11-16-2006, 07:02 AM
I have taught in years past, and have gambled a lot. Good pool players that gamble a lot can size up potential opponents in less than 5 minutes of watching them. They look for flaws in their mechanics or form. They then look for flaws in their logic of playing the game.

1) There are many good players held back by flaws in their form or stroke, and therefore limits just how good they can become. A good instructor can correct this, but you have to work on it, and not just half heartedly.
2) There are more players that make logic mistakes in their playing, i.e., bad ball patterns, safety vs. going for the shot, too impatient, kick shot vs. jump shot when hooked, playing an unknown player without knowing how good they are, using the same break routinely while not getting good results, not breaking up clusters at the right time, etc.).

I play a lot of guys that only have 1 or 2 flaws, but I can count on those flaws everytime when I play them. Plus, when the pressure is on, those flaws become magnified making them make a mistake sooner, and therefore an opportunity for me. Now, if you have one opportunity to win the game, and I have 3 or 4, who would you bet on to win?

I am just glad many players can not buy a brain! ..... lol

cuetechasaurus
11-16-2006, 08:06 AM
Some people say that going back to basics is the best way to do it. But if you don't know what basics work for you, it's pointless and can cause you more harm than good. Be careful who you take instruction from. Make sure that person who teaches pool can play good too. Look for his/her credentials before you shell out the dough. If they are some APA 6 who's team won the regionals, I suggest you look elsewhere lol.....

Anyways, if you can't afford instruction, watch some tapes of pros playing. Although many pros have many differnt styles of play, there are a few things that all pros have in common. Look for those things yourself and make note of them, and apply them to your game. For example, every single pro out there has a rock solid stance. You don't see them teetering off balance with every practice stroke they take. A solid stance is the foundation for having accurate alignment, and an accurate stroke. I can't count how many times I see someone get down on a shot, and they look like they are lined up perfectly to make the ball. Suddenly, after they take a practice stroke or two, their weight seems to shift to the side, forward, or backwards, and I can visibly see that their alignment has changed, and then they miss the shot.

There are so many variables that can cause someone to be in a slump, it's impossible to describe each and every one. You need someone to spot them for you. Just make sure that person is qualified. Make sure that the instructor is a GOOD player, which I can't emphasize enough. If they can teach others to be great players, how come they themselves arent? Keep that in mind.

Don't forget that videotaping yourself, and lining up on your shot in front of a mirror can fix alot of problems quite easily. At my house, I have a crappy sears 8 foot table with no slate. It's crooked as hell and not even worth playing on. I have this huge closet mirror leaned up against the table, with a heavy crate pushed up behind it so it doesn't fall over. Whenever I am in a slump, I go home, check out my alignment/stance/stroke etc in the mirror, and after about 5 minutes, my game is usually fixed. There was one occasion where I was playing in a money match at a poolhall which I lived 5 minutes from. I was playing horribly, and I knew there was something off in my stance. When my opponent wanted to take a 20 minute break, I told him I had to stop home real quick. I checked out my stance and alignment in front of the mirror, and spotted EXACTLY what I was doing wrong. I raced back to the poolroom, and within 5 minutes I was in dead punch, and ended up winning a few sets.

Good luck to you, just remember that slumps don't last forvever, UNLESS you keep dwelling in the past on how good you used to play. Just accept how you are playing presently, and try to work from there. Just keep striving to improve, even if you did play alot better at once point. Eventually you will surpass that, I guarantee it. The only way to stay in a slump is if you keep dwelling on your 'long lost stroke'. Don't give up!

Stones
11-16-2006, 08:28 AM
I have taught in years past, and have gambled a lot. Good pool players that gamble a lot can size up potential opponents in less than 5 minutes of watching them. They look for flaws in their mechanics or form. They then look for flaws in their logic of playing the game.

1) There are many good players held back by flaws in their form or stroke, and therefore limits just how good they can become. A good instructor can correct this, but you have to work on it, and not just half heartedly.
2) There are more players that make logic mistakes in their playing, i.e., bad ball patterns, safety vs. going for the shot, too impatient, kick shot vs. jump shot when hooked, playing an unknown player without knowing how good they are, using the same break routinely while not getting good results, not breaking up clusters at the right time, etc.).

I play a lot of guys that only have 1 or 2 flaws, but I can count on those flaws everytime when I play them. Plus, when the pressure is on, those flaws become magnified making them make a mistake sooner, and therefore an opportunity for me. Now, if you have one opportunity to win the game, and I have 3 or 4, who would you bet on to win?

I am just glad many players can not buy a brain! ..... lol

Snap, good post. did you ever bring back some memories with this one.

I use to play this guy 4 to 6 times a week cheap sets and he was a meal ticket. The guy never came out winner for over two yrs. I am not kidding. After about the first six months, I finally offered him the 8 and he couldn't believe I would give him weight, but I digress.
You talk about flaws. You know the shot where the object ball is within 4 inches of the corner pocket and the cue ball is at the other end of the table at a full to medium angle to the object ball with the next object ball up table?
This guy would load up with high english and hit the object ball as full as he could. Of course, the cue ball would hit the end rail and just die. He would stand up and scratch his head every time. I actually felt sorry for him after the first year and showed him three times how to get up table. I might as well have been talking to the wall. He still to this day hits it the same way and follows it up with the head scratching. Some people never learn.
Good guy,though. As far as bowling, I'd need the 6 out. He's got like a 220 average.

Hierovision
11-16-2006, 08:51 AM
Good luck to you, just remember that slumps don't last forvever, UNLESS you keep dwelling in the past on how good you used to play. Just accept how you are playing presently, and try to work from there. Just keep striving to improve, even if you did play alot better at once point. Eventually you will surpass that, I guarantee it. The only way to stay in a slump is if you keep dwelling on your 'long lost stroke'. Don't give up!

Awesome advice right here, this is exactly what happened to me. I kept thinking of how good I used to be and was disgusted with how I was doing. This was a couple months ago. I started telling myself that it didn't matter how I used to play, the present is what counts. Now I'm absolutely better than I used to be, not that it matters :)

edit: ALMOST gave you positive rep cuetechasaurus... before I noticed your quest lol.

Jack Madden
11-16-2006, 10:10 AM
Lots of good advice. You sound overwelmed. Try relaxing and concentrating on the one thing you are trying to accomplish - don't think about the next thing you want/need to do or what you just did before. Instead of practicing 10 shots, just practice one until you make it consistingly. Next practice session do the same.
Jack
www.johnmaddencues.com

supergreenman
11-16-2006, 11:39 AM
So I guess my question is… How are you demanding on yourself and still have confidence. None of us play perfect, but missing a shot or a position effects us all different. It seems many players bang balls around, win half the time and have a great time, maybe I should drink more. I am better than that. Pool seems to consume my life. I love to learn and do everything I can to progress my game. I just seem to have gotten to the point that my mind is ahead of my body and is never satisfied.

Show me a way to become less self critical and get my confidence back.

Thanks

Hey SoundWaves, you sound kinda conflicted on your pool related goals. On one hand you're out for fun and the other you want to be the best you can be. The two aren't mutually exclusive. You can have your cake and eat it too, it's all in your head.

Now back to your question. How demanding should you be with yourself. I can only speak for myself and give you my personal philosophy. I expect perfection when I step up to the table, however if it doesn't work out I try and remember where I went wrong and keep in mind all the things I did right. Win or lose, hopefully there was something I did really well that I can look back and smile on. Last night in league, I won 3 out of 4 of my matches. In the match I lost I know I took the right shot, I broke the balls out that needed to be broken out I just wobbled the shot in the pocket. <shrug, better luck next time> I elected the hard shot because if I had succeeded I would have won the game.

Cornerman
11-16-2006, 11:50 AM
Ready for ESPN too bad I missed the eight ball every time!
My canned advice on this is to make sure you play position somewhere with the cueball when shooting the 8-ball. If you don't treat the 8-ball the same way you treated the other seven balls, you're bound to miss it more often than you should.

So I guess my question is… How are you demanding on yourself and still have confidence. None of us play perfect, but missing a shot or a position effects us all different. It seems many players bang balls around, win half the time and have a great time, maybe I should drink more.
First off, you should only drink because you want to drink. Drinking for any other reason is no good. Unless the girl at the end of the bar will only go out with you if you have one.

But, just so you know you're in a better place than, say, I am..., I brandish myself, b*tch at anyone who'll listen, and curse the very existence of this game. And that's when I win.

Fred <~~~ thinks you should just play, but I know it's tough not to get affected by misses and losses

VIProfessor
11-17-2006, 10:54 AM
When you're in a slump, work on your fundamentals. One of the things that happens when you make changes in your physical game is that it really takes a lot of hours at the table to integrate those changes into your game. If, for example, you have loosened up your grip you will often find that you've got to use a slower arm speed to get the same position because your looser grip and wrist translate to greater cue speed. Also, in situations where you're under pressure your body and brain will fight between executing the shot the new way or the old way.

One of the ways to groove the new techniques into your muscle memory is through plain old repetition. Place the object ball a 1/4 to 1/2 inch from the long rail two diamonds up from the corner and place the cueball the same distance from the rail three diamonds from the object ball. Shoot a hundred straight stop shots like this a day and I guarantee you that your confidence and shot making ability will improve.

Further, it is important to devote more that 50% of your time to "trusting practice", or practicing the way you play. This may mean playing the ghost in nine-ball or playing solitary games of straight pool. This is hugely important because you've got to spend time in which you let the conscious mind go and allow the unconscious mind to flow.

Good luck, and remember to try without trying!

cuejoey
11-17-2006, 01:24 PM
alot of us here work hard at being better at pool ect.some times we burn out and not realize it.take at least a week or 2 off from pool and when you come back go back to basics.drills for example everyday before games.good luck and keep us posted..:)

SoundWaves
11-17-2006, 07:40 PM
Thanks for all the great comments, I am very glad I posted this. Requardless of the content of this thread, I think the positive encouragment will be the best thing for my game. As of today I recognize a few factors in my game. First off is the difference between your ability to play and your ability to compete. Just because I was able to bring new things into my game, doesn't mean that not carying them into competition makes me a chump. I am just not ready yet. All those things I have moved beyond in my practice routine need to stay. I am getting ahead of myself. So today I practice for the present, not too fix the past. I will attemp also work hard to improve, not judge myself, but use my mistakes as fuel to improve.

Profcuestroke
11-17-2006, 09:55 PM
Thanks for all the great comments, I am very glad I posted this. Requardless of the content of this thread, I think the positive encouragment will be the best thing for my game. As of today I recognize a few factors in my game. First off is the difference between your ability to play and your ability to compete. Just because I was able to bring new things into my game, doesn't mean that not carying them into competition makes me a chump. I am just not ready yet. All those things I have moved beyond in my practice routine need to stay. I am getting ahead of myself. So today I practice for the present, not too fix the past. I will attemp also work hard to improve, not judge myself, but use my mistakes as fuel to improve.

Hey, Dude:

You pull that one off and you'll be a lot better person than most of us.

Power to you and all the best.

May the rolls always be with you,

The old professor,
Profcuestroke

PunchOut
11-17-2006, 10:24 PM
this is often not mentioned because "gambling is bad", but when you have a easy 3 ball run etc. and it costs you $20 you will make sure you dont do it again.

you can practice 8 hours a day, but when you play for money or in a tourney with people eyeing your every shot it is a whole different game.

CASH MONEY!

dave fingers
11-19-2006, 03:51 PM
I am an APA 9 in 9 Ball, and have been playing for many years. My best way that I learned to deal with slumps was to stop telling myself I am in a slump. I never let myself get in long slumps anymore because I do not repeatedly tell myself I am in a slump. If I lose, it was because I did not make my last shot. Period! And I never take my last shot back to the table. It is behind me and gone. Pool is all focus and how you treat yourself mentally.

Also as a Captain, put yourself up against a couple of easier opponents to get you confidence up, and take the weakest player you are going to play that night and play them against the other teams best player, since the other teams Good Player will probably win anyways. I took this stategy to 5th place in the Nationals last year.

If you did change your game also, give it time to kick in.

Hope this helps.

dave fingers
11-19-2006, 04:01 PM
this is often not mentioned because "gambling is bad", but when you have a easy 3 ball run etc. and it costs you $20 you will make sure you dont do it again.

you can practice 8 hours a day, but when you play for money or in a tourney with people eyeing your every shot it is a whole different game.

CASH MONEY!


I agree w/ everything except the gambling is bad comment. Gambling is a very good way to learn focus, as long as you can afford to lose what you are gambling for. Find a player in your room that is equal to you and play for a few bucks. Play a cheap race to 5 for $10, $20 or $50, or whatever you can afford. The key word here is afford. It is good practice. Gambling w/ your rent or food money is bad. Never bet more than you can afford to lose. Keep it friendly.

sde
11-19-2006, 05:27 PM
Also as a Captain, put yourself up against a couple of easier opponents to get you confidence up,

Hope this helps.

There has an abundance of very good advice in this thread and all of is sure to help you out of your slump. But what what I quoted from Dave's post is what worked for me.
I started this fall session with 5 straight losses and each week just got worse. I was matching up in near even matchups or being the underdog. My confidence was gone until I played a 2 and the mistakes that I made did not mean loss of game and gradually my confidence started to come back. A couple more weeks of matching up where I was SUPPOSED to win, which I did and now I feel like I'm back to where I should be.
Hope this helps.

Steve
apa5

SoundWaves
11-19-2006, 06:06 PM
There has an abundance of very good advice in this thread and all of is sure to help you out of your slump. But what what I quoted from Dave's post is what worked for me.
I started this fall session with 5 straight losses and each week just got worse. I was matching up in near even matchups or being the underdog. My confidence was gone until I played a 2 and the mistakes that I made did not mean loss of game and gradually my confidence started to come back. A couple more weeks of matching up where I was SUPPOSED to win, which I did and now I feel like I'm back to where I should be.
Hope this helps.

Steve
apa5

Thanks for the reply Steve, I had considered playing a weak player but haven't because of the the repercussions of that kinda loss. I think my mind is back in this game now and I am ready to play. In my original post I mentioned that I was the captain hoping someone would notice. Being the leader of the team seems to change everything. Even though I have a very good, laid back team, Being the captain still adds alot of pressure to win, as well as keen a strait head after a loss and try to coach the team.