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My personal struggle being a slower player
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Tin Man
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My personal struggle being a slower player - 07-25-2019, 06:19 AM

I have struggled all my life with pace of play. I've improved over the years, but I still tend to be on the deliberate side. As an example, I invite you to watch this match I played with Vilmos. For what it's worth I speed up as I go, the first rack is pretty brutal but the pace does pick up a little. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Vji4wk5f78

I empathize with the frustration. I have played players who play much slower than I do. Slow play can ruin the fun of a match. It can lead to tournament brackets running behind schedule, 1AM matches, loss of interest to viewers, and many other problems. I take these seriously. I have no arguments with shot clocks or other reasonable solutions. And I apologize for the frustration experienced by other players who have played me.

As to why I play the way I do, it is hard to explain to someone that doesn't have the same demons that I do. The best I can do is compare it to something else we've probably all been through. Suppose you played SVB in the finals of a tournament and he started running multiple racks on you. You could tell yourself 'Don't get psyched out, play the table not the player', but that is not so easy to do. You know perfectly well that is good advice, you know that getting nervous and pessimistic about your chances doesn't help, you know that your best course of action is to play your normal game. But we are human, and as humans we have human responses to these situations that aren't always optimal.

Well, for me, I struggle with confidence. I don't have a powerful game where I can flow through racks and overpower the table. I struggle with execution, I struggle to pocket difficult shots. I have always been a fearful player. And as a result, my game built around those fears. I learned to play really good cue ball and very tight patterns to eliminate risk. I play good defense. I keep a good attitude. I try to control all the things I can to minimize the chances of unforced errors.

On every shot I have to battle doubts and fears not everyone has, or that not everyone processes the same way. I have to take a few extra deep breaths and try to calm myself. I am competitive and hate to make mistakes, so I have to make sure I'm making the best decision, that I'm set up on the shot right, that I feel good. I am not doing this to shark my opponent, I am doing the best I can to keep going.

I am smart enough to understand that the best players in the world have tremendous belief and trust in their game, and that it will be hard for me to improve or maximize my potential if I can't do the same. I've tried to evolve my style of play. I have worked with sports psychologists and hypnotists. I practice straight pool which is a rhythm game to try to improve my ability to get into a rhythm and achieve flow. I watch top players and visualize playing the same way. And I practice, practice, practice, so more and more situations look routine instead of challenging.

Some days I can do it. When I'm comfortable, when I get settled. I'm not always slow. But some days I struggle. This match was a great example. I'm three rounds in on the winners side of a tournament I flew to play, with a friend who's got half my action. I'm playing a higher rates player bar table 8 ball in a short set and know that a single mistake could cost me the set. Flat out, I'm nervous, and when I get nervous I struggle to flow.

I understand some people may feel that if I can't play faster by now I should just quit. I can't do that. Playing pool is an important part of my life. It is meaningful to me because I get to fight those demons. I get to say to my fears "You can scare me, but you can't make me quit, and you can't make me fail". It is my chance to show that with the right amount of practice, effort, and will, you can exceed what you thought were your limits and achieve amazing results. While I am not proud of my demons or the pace of my play in this match, I am proud of how hard I've worked and what I was able to achieve in spite of it. And I love this game as much as anyone has ever loved pool.

I will keep trying to play with better tempo. I am trying to play more tournaments hoping that with experience I'll get smoother. I don't know that I can get to a fast pace, but I think that players like Alex and Ralf or Nick V have a pace I could duplicate. Not fast, still deliberate, but not excessively slow. Still careful, but not too bogged down with doubt and fear. As I said, I've gotten better and play like this more and more of the time. And again, I have no objection to a shot clock, I actually appreciate it because if I was forced to play quicker it might help me and if not I'd welcome that added challenge to the game.

Mostly just wanted to share as many have expressed confusion as to the reason behind slower play and some have assumed it was all sharking. I think it's reasonable to be fatigued by slow play and use a shot clock to put an end to excessive time between shots. I just want you guys to know that some of us are just humans battling problems doing our best, and I hope there's still room for all of us to share this game.

Last edited by Tin Man; 07-25-2019 at 06:21 AM.
  
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07-25-2019, 06:36 AM

I'm just glad to see that a person with a Fargo Rate 300 point higher than mine (I suck, but I have fun) and 1k more scored games than I have, fights the same demons that I do.

*Edit* - I actually likes watching that match. I could actually see you thinking through the rack. Kind of a training aid.


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07-25-2019, 07:23 AM

At this point you should definitely have more confidence in your game. I struggle against slow players. But, as long as it's NOT deliberate sharking, then I can find no fault. Play your game; you have a 720 FR for a reason.

I just can't stand the way you chalk. LOL


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07-25-2019, 07:38 AM

What happens when you're working with a shot clock? Have you ever been approached by a Tournament Director and told that must play faster or suffer a penalty?
  
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07-25-2019, 07:47 AM

To be fair, you are from the same area as Greg Fix.
  
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07-25-2019, 07:49 AM

I didn't read the entire OP...I am not surprised you play on the slow end of the spectrum.

Its like golf in a way. While there is not necessarily a shot clock there is a normal and customary pace of play that you need to adhere to to keep things moving.

You need to stop allowing yourself the option of playing slow. Decide to hit the shot in a reasonable timeframe, ponder it as best you can and hit the shot. Do that and you will learn to process your options and decide on a direction faster.



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07-25-2019, 07:50 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Celophanewrap View Post
What happens when you're working with a shot clock? Have you ever been approached by a Tournament Director and told that must play faster or suffer a penalty?
This.

Put yourself on the clock and stay on it. Most shots don't reveal themselves until you make the wrong shot and go "I should of did that instead". Learning from mistakes has a longer lasting effect.
  
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07-25-2019, 07:57 AM

I would have seen the 3 was clear to the pocket and ran that 1st rack before you hit the second shot.
That being said, I dont find you brutaly slow. No excessive airstroking, no up and down and up and down.
Well played match.


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07-25-2019, 08:27 AM

your not too slow a player, i wish i could player a tad slower

i get in trouble all the time cause i play too fast


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07-25-2019, 02:51 PM

I looked closer at the video. I don't really see indecision or long pauses, the extra time seems to just be some nervous pacing around the table while not appearing to really be studying anything in particular.

And as others have said, you are not exceptionally slow.

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07-25-2019, 03:43 PM

I got a little chuckle watching this because you look exactly like me playing 8 ball. You shoot better than I do, and might be thinking different things but that’s pretty much my 8 ball pace. I think and reevaluate the table a lot, and often will walk back to look where I want to land on the next ball a time or two on even semi-tough positional shots. Like you it’s a confidence thing...sometimes I just need the time and reassurance before I’m ready. I definitely need practice with a clock. I do play fast though sometimes when I’m just in it.
  
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07-25-2019, 04:20 PM

Quote:
On every shot I have to battle doubts and fears not everyone has, or that not everyone processes the same way.
This is the one part of your generally well-written post that I would push back on.

It's not as if fast players are all supremely confident in their shotmaking ability. It's not as if fast players don't have self-doubt or fear of failure.

We just realize that staring at the table for 30, 60, or 90 more seconds won't magically make a shot or runout easier, and is rude to boot.
  
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07-26-2019, 01:40 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by skip100 View Post
This is the one part of your generally well-written post that I would push back on.

It's not as if fast players are all supremely confident in their shotmaking ability. It's not as if fast players don't have self-doubt or fear of failure.

We just realize that staring at the table for 30, 60, or 90 more seconds won't magically make a shot or runout easier, and is rude to boot.
I make things harder when I don't take my time. An easy 'shot' that is poorly thought out

makes the whole table play poorly. How many times have you overran shape, after potting

and easy shot. How many times have you landed on the wrong side of the ball, which

inevitably makes getting to the next ball infinitely more difficult. Could be avoided by taking

extra time. I shoot fast, but when competing, force myself to slow down. Guess when

I shoot better? Yup. When I slow down. I much rather watch a slow player get out,

than a fast player play safe because he missed position.
  
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07-26-2019, 08:51 AM

You're not that slow.. you could check your optional shots a little quicker,
be a little more decisive. I've played guys that stand there like someone
hit the pause button !

Now, about that chalking...
  
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07-26-2019, 09:05 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by skip100 View Post
This is the one part of your generally well-written post that I would push back on.

It's not as if fast players are all supremely confident in their shotmaking ability. It's not as if fast players don't have self-doubt or fear of failure.

We just realize that staring at the table for 30, 60, or 90 more seconds won't magically make a shot or runout easier, and is rude to boot.
I also wonder what value is added by staring down a few remaining balls.
It is really too late to learn something new
  
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