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Low500
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07-20-2019, 08:15 AM

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Originally Posted by Imac007 View Post
Absolutely right. This whole process is about controlling your attention. Itís knowing what stress does as it increases and how to combat its effects. A sport scientist Dr. Robert Nideffer did work in this area. He wrote a book call A.C.T Attention Control Training. His assessment tools and training are used in all types of situations. Police, Emergency Responders, Surgeons, Elite Athletes all benefit from controlling their arousal level to keep them in optimal alertness. Here is a summary of some stress effects and counter measures that can be used in pool.
Stress Challenges
Attention narrows and internalizes as stress increases
The perceived size of the balls and hole gets smaller
External details are lost in the process
Countermeasures
Switch your focus to external details. Vocalize them if you need to to get your focus outwards.
Object size is relative to what it is compared. Itís also relative to distance.
Get close to the object ball. Make sure itís surface is clean and the contact area is nick free. Check the ball paths for chalk, lint, any debris.
Pros do this on key shots. Balls and pockets loom large next to the little stuff.
Details that emerged when closer to the object ball can be held in mind as you go back to the cue ball and target line. All these details should give your body a feel for what it needs to do.
Trust it to execute. Settle quietly so that the target can be seen clearly.
Let your body dictate the timing. It will go when itís ready. Hold your gaze on target until it does.
Pardner, you're "hitting on all 8" as we used to say about Ford race cars back in the stone age.
This stuff you're talking about does more for someone's game than all the lectures about what "Mosconi used to do" than people can imagine.
I sincerely believe that's one of the reasons the Asian players are beating the daylights out of the Americans. Those Asians learn early in life to control their minds.
Watching Chang playing is a beautiful demonstration of that.
It carries over into many other disciplines as well. I've talked to a lot of Marines during my life who were on Guadalcanal, Tarawa, and all that stuff back in WW2. They all said they were amazed how those "little runt Japanese" could fight so well in death outcome based hand to hand combat. It had to be a mental discipline since they were so small physically.
You post great stuff, mister, keep it coming.


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Old Duckie hits one against the wall in deep center...
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Thumbs up Old Duckie hits one against the wall in deep center... - 07-20-2019, 08:43 AM

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Iíve thought that competition is a measure of how well you practice....
The final level is all mental. There will be a point when you will have all the necessary skills to master pool, the mental aspect is now the hinderance.
And that is the hardest aspect of pool. The mental aspect is what causes you to play great one day and not know which end of the cue to use the next. Very frustrating.
Mastering pool.........takes a lot of quality time at the table and also away from it.
The mind does not know what is real and what is unreal. You can fool it. If you learn how to properly use visualization away from the table, this can help improve your game.
Find a quiet spot at home, get relaxed. Now, use your imagination to visualize yourself playing pool and playing great. Make this visualization as real as possible. Imagine the noises of a pool room, the feel of the cloth, the sounds a balls hitting, the feel of your stroke, the feel of the cue contact the CB and so on.
By golly, Duckie, this time I think you're finally dead on the money.
I honestly didn't think you had this in you. That is a VERY good posting.
Good work.
(I realize you could give a flip less about what I think, but I'm saying it anyway)


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Nice thread!
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Nice thread! - 07-20-2019, 12:06 PM

Lots of great info. here!

Thank you.

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07-20-2019, 04:01 PM

Thanks for the reputation upgrades guys. Appreciate the positive comments too.
  
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Touch as a difference maker
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Touch as a difference maker - 07-21-2019, 09:44 AM

The bloodhound has such a sensitive sense of smell that it differentiates at the molecular level. Guess what, human’s sense of touch is its equal. Experiments have shown that the sense of touch in people tested in the lab picked up the difference between surfaces that were only a single molecule different in thickness. The bloodhound has an olfactory lobe, a part of the brain that makes a sensory picture of smells. The human brain has a large part that is allocated for a similar task. When we touch something it deforms the skin and that deformation can be very small yet we can tell it’s texture and even differentiate color. We also sense pressure and vibration through our touch. I prefer a cue without a wrap because I think a wrap dulls my sense of touch. I don’t use a glove for the same reason. I don’t even use talc. If my hand sticks I keep washing them until they don’t. Ask hand dishwashers about how their hands get dry from multiple washings.

One of the pioneers in neuroscience was Wilder Penfield. Using probes to map the human brain in live subjects he created a representation of the brain regions associate with parts of the body. The largest area is the mapping of the hand especially the fingers. The 3-D mapped rendering at the Museum of Natural History in London shows that when the hands are used to execute motor skills the brain’s hand area is huge.

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I think that based on this evidence alone our most likely biggest differentiator, the difference that can make a difference is our sense of touch. Our feel for the tip contacting the ball, our sense of pace and how it relates to transferring energy from the cue through the tip and eventually from ball to ball, has immense potential. We have supercomputer capacity to harness a level of sensitivity far beyond what we see in most top level games. Some of the tactile exactness that top 3 cushion players display reveal another level of sense of weight and pace control. Beyond that an awareness of how the spins will translate into different pace dynamics off multiple rails is showcased. In fairness the quality of rails and the consistency in quality of equipment overall is sadly lacking, comparatively, in the pool world.

Certain parts of the hand have more sensitivity than others. The fingertips compared to the palm are light years apart in sensitivity. When gripping the cue, the more fingertip contact the more potential for a stronger sense of feel for a shot. Ronnie O’Sullivan and Stephen Lee both talked about the hand opening and closing during the stroke but the back finger tips never losing contact with the butt. Their description of the front part of the hand hold was not so much a grip as a squeeze. If you hold a cue a few inches from the butt end and let it teeter so the butt comes up under your forearm, the cue and arm will be aligned. Now switch your focus onto the shape the hand took as the cue teetered. The forefinger is triggered, the fingers are extended and bent at the mid joint bringing the fingers into position so that the tips are distributed along the butt. From this starting position the back part of the hand can open, the fingers stay flattened and if added pressure is need it can come from the sideways squeezing of the front two fingers and the joints between the forefinger and thumb in the web area between them. When a player twists a cue those two joints need to be separated. If they are squeezed together the entire wrist must be rotated to twist the cue. Both players speak about sensing the tip "bite" the ball. How much of their sense of touch and timing is related to those fingertips feeling the changes in pressure and vibration along the cue?

Early psychology used to talk about the body and mind as two separate entities. Essentially the description of the relationship was like slave/master. The brain was thought to run everything, it commanded and the body answered. Today that is turned on its head. Cognition has been discovered to be embodied. The language of our thoughts is seen to be an interpretation of what our body is telling our mind it’s experiencing. Neurons are located in areas throughout the body. Severed connections to the body by spinal cord injury don’t stop the brain in the gut, the enteric nervous system from ingesting and digesting food. Heart/lung transplants survive after the brain connection is cut because of the developed neurology in that system. Communication when it is there tends to be mainly one way. The heart connects to the emotional side of our brain while the gut connects to our mood through its production of the majority of the body’s seretonin.

Getting in touch with our body goes beyond sensation in our fingertips. Our sense of balance is related to our feelings of certainty. People with vestibular disruption, inner ear balance center issues, become uncertain. Modeling good spellers revealed that they used imagery, not sound to sense an imagined spelling. Their level of certainty on correctly sensed spelling was located on the midline of the body, it’s balance center. You see people and animals have an off center cocking of their head when confused (uncertain). Vets will tell you that many animals with balance issues exhibit with a cocked head. A gut feeling is a certainty sense and knowing with certainty in your heart of hearts should be looked at as somatic feedforward and feedback. All center of body sensations. The idea of a centeredness extends from eastern disciplines through meditative practice brought into athletics. The physical reality of certainty being related to our sense of balance seems well documented.

Learn to listen to your body telling you about what you are planning. It can sense if what you are imaging is even possible. Give your body full sensory information. Look at the details of the shot. Look at the cue ball surface closely, Ronnie O’Sullivan looks frequently at his tip with close scrutiny. All surfaces need to be part of the total picture.

The mantra "What does the shot look like when it’s performed properly" goes beyond vision. Imagery is a total body experience. Dial up the sensitivity, listen more closely, sense the shot with your extended self. You already sense that cue as an extension. You walk around with a bodily awareness of its size and shape. Without that you would be colliding and poking everything with it.

My sense is that getting more in touch with this massive machinery literally at my fingertips can take a players game to the next level.

Last edited by Imac007; 08-29-2019 at 01:28 AM.
  
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Oops too muchŅŅŅ
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Oops too muchŅŅŅ - 07-21-2019, 02:39 PM

Seem to have scared the commenters away. Thought we had a good discussion going.

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07-21-2019, 04:30 PM

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Originally Posted by ShootingArts View Post
I spent two to three years focusing on cue ball control
If you ask me, cue ball control is where all the artistry and fun is. Shotmaking is essential of course, and nice, but to me it's the minority interest.

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07-21-2019, 05:32 PM

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Originally Posted by Patrick Johnson View Post
If you ask me, cue ball control is where all the artistry and fun is. Shotmaking is essential of course, and nice, but to me it's the minority interest.

pj
chgo
I couldnít agree more. For everyday difference that makes a difference a whitey that responds well sets players apart. Beyond that, trouble avoidance and creativity top my list of separators.
  
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07-21-2019, 07:22 PM

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Seem to have scared the commenters away. Thought we had a good discussion going.
A lot of what you've said and advocate was posted here a year ago by pro pool player C.J.Wiley.
As usual, the "physics wizards", the Mosconi freaks, the fractional aiming system peddlers, those living in the past, and other know-it-all big shots ridiculed and hounded the guy so much he finally left this site.
And a lot of great information is now gone forever. I hope it doesn't happen to you as well. You're putting out great stuff.


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07-22-2019, 03:02 AM

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Originally Posted by Low500 View Post
A lot of what you've said and advocate was posted here a year ago by pro pool player C.J.Wiley.
As usual, the "physics wizards", the Mosconi freaks, the fractional aiming system peddlers, those living in the past, and other know-it-all big shots ridiculed and hounded the guy so much he finally left this site.
And a lot of great information is now gone forever. I hope it doesn't happen to you as well. You're putting out great stuff.
50+ posts in this thread and yours is the only negative one.

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07-22-2019, 03:58 AM

Imac007

You post some great and useful information. A lot of food for thought.

Thanks

John


One Pocket John
St. Louis, MO.

I don't play One Pocket as much as I use to, but when I do, I play at Cue & Cushion - Overland, MO.

In Memory of Dean Higgs and Harry Sims - gone but not forgotten and thank you.

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07-22-2019, 05:13 AM

It’s critical for a player to be aware of their body and what it’s doing. There could be a slight change in how the body is used that makes you play great one day and suffer the next.

For me, I recently noticed how I held my shoulders has helped increase my consistency. I kinda use a slouched, slightly bent forward position for by shoulders before I get into shooting position.

I also found that there is a certain bridge hand/grip hand distance that is ideal for me. Theses two items allow the cue to be in the right position for sending the CB where I want.

The only way I was able to pick up on these slight differences in body position was by spending a lot of time at the table. If you play very little, it will be hard to notice any differences in your body when playing bad versus playing good.

When your playing good, become aware of what your body is doing. Notice the feeling your body has getting into position. Notice the feeling of a proper stroke.

I watch a lot of motorcycle racing plus raced a few years. In motorcycle racing, the rider plays a active role in how the motorcycle handles unlike in car racing where the driver is just sitting. A motorcycle racer uses his body to control direction changes...ie hanging off.

There have been racers that changed teams to a different motorcycle and struggle to achieve the same level of prior success. After a few races, they’ll be back to the same level of success.

Most of the times, the changes made to the race motorcycle was to make the motorcycle fit the rider.....not the rider fit the motorcycle. Simple stuff like a lower seat position, different shape of the gas tank, positions of rear sets, controls, bars and so on.

If those racers were not aware of their body and how it was functioning on the race motorcycle, those changes that increased their level of success could not have been made.

Same applies to pool. The use of your body plays a vital role in your success at the table. The sooner you become aware of what works and what doesn’t with your body, the sooner your consistency will increase.

In motorcycle racing......a race set up for one racer, never works for another racer.

Same applies in pool. One style of playing never works for another player. Like the racer, you most fit your play to you. Like the racer, you must be aware of everything that matters to how well you play.

Last edited by duckie; 07-22-2019 at 05:15 AM.
  
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Learning is an ever evolving process
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Learning is an ever evolving process - 07-22-2019, 11:07 AM

Players will turn to a forum such as this in an effort to short cut the learning process. Once you realize that cognition is embodied then our thoughts by extension are what our body is telling the mind of its experience. That pipeline to experience is an illusion though. It needs to go through an interpreter that turns it into language. A language description is like a map, a representation, in words, of that experience. The listener in turn tries to decode the language version and get back to the attempted shared experience at the body’s level. It’s never going to be the exact same experience though. Best case is a close approximation.

With this as a starting point I read and listen to descriptions from that standpoint. The words of a good player carry their experience. NLP, neurolinguistic programming, is a process evolved from two college students. One was a computer programmer turned psychology student, the other was a linguistics expert. They videotaped and studied how the world’s leading hypnotherapist used words to illicit people’s own inner resources to their benefit. From this they evolved a way of using language to model elite skills.

Tony Robbins learned and used this technique to help train snipers for the army. Though he had no sniper experience he was able to successfully elicit and model the best and transfer that experience to other shooter to raise their skill level.

Mining words of better players is a good place to start to model expertise. It’s more than listening and having it connect with an experience you had. It’s about immersing in the embodied experience. If you reach a point where your description would match the description of the other player you have likely experienced a close version. But language often is not specific, we use metaphors and analogies a lot.

For example, snooker great Joe Davis wrote about how when he assumes the stance and alignment, he fully extended the left arm and gripped the cloth tightly with the fingers of his open bridge. The grip and extended arm created a tension that ran from his anchored hand and arm, across his shoulder to his cueing elbow. He then used an analogy of it being like drawing back an archery bow. The linear tension in that analogy channels the energy stored in the tension, right down the cueing arm and along the cue to the ball, a loop of energy targeted onto the shot. Creating that kind of tension on shot after shot would wear you out quickly. I’ve found a version, a stabilizing way to execute power shots though.

Recently I heard that analogy of being like drawing back a bow again from another player. This time though it resonated differently. I’ve known and taught for some time that the shot line is primary. The cueing arm, the elbow hinge, your perceptual vision center, the bridge and cue all need to be on and move to the line, to get to the final cueing position. I was building the stance. Using the cue to find the shot line from behind and down the cue requires the eyes, at a distance to be in place. Moving the head forward along the line, while holding the cue, still on line, I put my foot on the line. Everything after that was simply putting the bridge in place without taking the cue off line. So now my left side moving from left to right was my awareness sense. The bridge found its resting place almost automatically.

A more recent reference to the bowing analogy changed that whole process when I revisited it. Think about the process of pulling back a bow. The hands start close together as the arrow is slotted in the string. The arrow rest, like the bridge, completes an initial position, before, the drawing back of the grip. At this point the two hands start to separate as the hand moves the arrow rest forward under the arrow, and the grip moves back in a straight line. That feeling of bracing back flattens the body to the line.

The drawing back of the bow, as an analogous description, no longer carried the tension I felt after "trying on" the Davis description. I still start my process well back setting the cue on line looking down the cue. I move ahead putting my foot on the line but I no longer let my cue hand lag behind. I want both hands comfortably closer together. From that position I can slide my bridge forward along and under the cue while my cue hand draws back. The extending arm coupled with the drawing back of the cue hand moves my left side ahead and then has a flattening/bracing effect as both hands reach their set position.

This is just an example of how digging into descriptions and trying to duplicate the embodied experience can be revealing. There needs to be a naturalness to what we do. This helped me to find a less robotic and more natural process. The tensions in my stance are different and I feel slightly more over and into the shot. I still have a walled cue. My grip feels more neutral and my ability to drive forward through the ball on a power stroke seems more controlled. The slight extra "over into" feel is likely weight balanced a bit ahead, solidifying my stance more. The drawing back of the cueing arm keeps the right shoulder and elbow from flying. The chest to cue that happens as the body braces, flattening to the right during the pull back stops the cueing arm from tucking under the body.

Learning to decode expert dialogue and translated into body feeling where it originated, is another skill set that can help bring your game to a new level.

Thanks for the encouragement and for taking the time to read and share what it triggers in you.

Last edited by Imac007; 07-22-2019 at 11:31 AM.
  
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a few thoughts - 07-22-2019, 11:48 AM

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Seem to have scared the commenters away. Thought we had a good discussion going.
One thing is the weekend came. People had other things to do than sneak on the computer at work. Another thing is that yeah, the thread did start getting pretty deep. Often people, including myself, are just reading for relaxation and they aren't interested in what amounts to a lesson at the moment. Sometimes a thread has ran it's natural course and it will either veer wildly off track or die. Better to die so the useful information isn't lost in the noise.

You may want to look at a few areas brought up in the thread and start new threads on an area at a time. Don't put all the threads up at once, just one at a time for them to have the best chance of flying. Unfortunately, fifty solid posts in a thread on AZB has became rare. This was a good, even outstanding thread.

I am always willing to talk about the zone, or what I call the zone. Three levels of the zone, maybe more, and some don't believe the third level exists. I bought a book once, How to Find the Zone or something similar. Seems like it was written by a doctor who was also a competitor. It had a lot of good information, but it turned out the doctor knew nothing about finding the zone and had never been there! Even had he tried to explain how to get in the zone he would have been a blind man talking about colors. Here on the forum many consider the first level the zone, a much smaller group considers the second level the zone, very few understand the third level, even some that have been there!

Hu
  
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07-22-2019, 12:14 PM

Advice appreciated and noted.
As to the zone, it is a subject I know, have researched, experienced and definitely have ideas about. Itís a great idea for a thread to start.
  
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