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Reflections on performance

Posted 03-26-2017 at 08:54 AM by thelmstetter

Just got back late last night from the 2017 VA state 10-ball. I had a great time although the end result was disappointing. Every time I go to a pool tournament I like to reflect back and learn something valuable. This is just some of my observations.
I heard Earl Strickland once describe high level pool as playing with controlled aggression. I like adding intensity so high level pool is played with intensity and controlled aggression. You have to be extremely focused and committed to performing great. You have to be intense but relaxed. High intensity but not more than can be controlled. You also have to have the confidence (and skills) to play aggressive. Very strong focus with a clear mind. Aggression in that you play even difficult shots with a since of confidence. You have to believe you are going to win.
Dennis Orcollo played in the tournament I played in this weekend. He was simply amazing to watch. The child like stature that played like a giant. The first thing I noticed was his cold laser like focus. His eyes looked like they were capable of bending steel. His demeanor was stone cold. He had very little expression while he was playing. You would not be able to tell who was winning or losing. His expressions were nearly nonexistent. Another notable characteristic of his play is the small very compact stroke. Dennis is a very small guy. At about 5'5" and 150 lbs. He could easily pass for someone half his age. I'm sure this was a factor in his many money games. His small stature allows him to get low to the table and keep his stroke very compact He uses smaller movements which improves consistency . One of the things I heard Dennis mention is that the cue he plays with is very important to him. The feel and having confidence in your cue is very important.I have heard many discussions around playing from feel so I found that comment interesting.
I was talking to a guy at the tournament and he made the comment "I learned I can't play at this level" My response was that you can but you just can't do it often enough. Developing consistency is something that takes a lot of work. You have to have confidence and true confidence only comes from practicing and playing until you convince yourself you should win. As I was giving this advice I realized I could benefit from taking this advice to heart.
The last thing I took away from the event is that good nutrition, preparation, and rest play a part in performance. You have to be in good physical condition to stay sharp and focused. You have to eat smart to give your body what it needs to perform at a high level. Playing pool at the highest level involves putting in the work in your practice time. It also involves letting go and letting your body perform the way it has been trained. Preparing for this is key. You have to be able to give your body what it physically needs and also make sure is has the mental training it needs. Mental training should be part of your training.
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