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jcpoolgod
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Pro skills amateur thoughts.... - 03-06-2016, 09:48 PM

I had a (big) tournament this weekend....2 day event....first match lost...then i climbed up the losers side....made it to sunday..won two matches on sunday......

3rd match...Im playing against someone I think should be able to beat. First rack run out to perfect position on the 8 then i baby the shot into the side pocket...hang the ball and dont even hit a rail...guy gets out...next rack ..i run down and hook myself on my last ball..guy gets out....all in all i lost 5-0 when i literally gave the guy 3 games....

What are some key thoughts that you guys think separate the pros from the amateurs? I definitely think my physical game is strong....but clearly i let my few mental errors still my match from me.....

I really want to take my game to the next level...and the thoughts are going to get me there...what did you all learn as you we're coming through the ranks...
  
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03-06-2016, 11:25 PM

I so relate to this…My pool mentor says to me one time "Marshall, you play well, but you can't finish!" Every f'n time I'm down to the last ball, I hear him say it. It's frustrating! However, I've learned to FINISH my last ball. I sink that puppy. Give me a chance and I will bury it. It took a lot of loses though. I used to baby the last ball in and miss it. Leaving it a hanger for my opponent. I was told to HIT IT IN THE POCKET, if I miss, it won't be RIGHT THERE for the other guy to put in.

Live n learn. It's a game…. I hate losing, but I learn from the loses.

I've botched some shot before, for sure, but I at least remember my mistakes and try not to repeat them.

Another thing. I'm good at pool. I'm not THAT good. I've been playing seriously for three years now? I have a lot to learn. I can beat the average guys that live in my neighborhood. I can hold my own against other players in my league. The pressure of playing with a lot of people watching is something I'm getting used to. Honestly, I'm a pretty average player. I know what I want to do, but doing it, and making it happen is where I lack experience.

I love playing pool. It's so fun and I can see where I am improving. For me, it's just about getting better daily.

I basically do drills and practice problem shots at home now. I never just play game after game like I used to. I practice specific things.

I'm buzzed, and tired and rambling…I'm going to bed now….

Last edited by CMarshall; 03-06-2016 at 11:31 PM.
  
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HawaiianEye
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03-06-2016, 11:35 PM

I play a lot better for money than I do trophies. It depends upon the environment and the opponents. I don't like handicap tournaments, nor short races. I prefer playing heads-up, even if I'm playing the world champion. I may not win, but I play better when everything is even on the table. If you lose, you lose...if you win, you win.

I think the key to winning is thinking you can win. If you don't think you can win, you start overthinking and worrying about what will happen if you screw up. If you think you are going to screw up, you need to settle your mind. You can only hit a ball so many ways to get it to go in the proximity of where you want it to go. It isn't that hard if you have a clear mind.

I try to drive the cue ball to a "position" on the table even if I am shooting at the last ball on the table. It makes me concentrate more.

Last edited by HawaiianEye; 03-06-2016 at 11:40 PM.
  
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03-06-2016, 11:45 PM

I played this guy recently, who played nothing but safeties. One after the other! It was so frustrating. But, I figured eventually, he's going to make a mistake. He did and I ran out on him.

Yeah, it's way more mental than I ever thought. I believe in a positive mental attitude. I just need to learn how to make what happens in my head, happen on the table consistently!
  
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03-07-2016, 01:03 AM

The link below is to a play list of a weekly series that I provide through my website. I am not sure if any of the answers that you need will be in these videos - but there is some good information hidden in there. If you would like - you can always give me a call and set up an appointment with me - my number is listed at my website - link is in my sig.

Mental Game 101
.Video 1 - Emotional Control
.Video 2 - Maintaining Composure
.Video 3 - Your Brain Is A Lousy Pool Player


"Turkeys are hitting the ground like sacks of wet cement!" ~ Les Nessman

“Dead balls are harder to find than they are to make." ~ Cisero Murphy

"When all else fails, try not missing ... INTENTIONALLY." ~ Steve Mizerak

www.thezone-spc.com


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03-07-2016, 01:04 AM

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Originally Posted by HawaiianEye View Post
I prefer playing heads-up, even if I'm playing the world champion. I may not win, but I play better when everything is even on the table. If you lose, you lose...if you win, you win.
Though I understand why you want to play even with Pro's but you may not be getting pro's best game since there is no pressure on him/her (pro) as he/she is likely to win anyway.

In my opinion it is better to get handicap from better players so that both are subjected to same pressure and game is fair.

[I am assuming you are not pro yet and playing a longer race ]
  
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03-07-2016, 02:13 AM

If you have the requisite skill set then it comes down to one word, FOCUS.


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03-07-2016, 07:56 AM

To play your best pool you have to figure out how to reach that heightened sense of focus.

You can read all the books -- and there are a lot of them out there that are always referenced. Some of these books are great and they may help you reach this state easier. So you read the books and then you practice to increase your physical skills, but to actually play your absolute best pool you have unlock this mystery of focus for yourself.

So what separates the pros from the amateurs? There's obviously the difference in physical skills (and this difference can be vast) but I've also found that all the great players I talk to ABSOLUTELY love the thrill of competition. They love feeling nervous. They love the adrenaline rush. I had a epiphany when I finally realized I needed to stop going out of my way to AVOID experiencing all the nervous energy that's associated with competing, and instead embrace this feeling and for me it has unlocked a big part of the mystery of reaching this heightened sense of focus. I now find myself playing my best in tournament settings instead of hanging on for dear life.
  
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03-07-2016, 08:50 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ak147 View Post
Though I understand why you want to play even with Pro's but you may not be getting pro's best game since there is no pressure on him/her (pro) as he/she is likely to win anyway.

In my opinion it is better to get handicap from better players so that both are subjected to same pressure and game is fair.

[I am assuming you are not pro yet and playing a longer race ]
I think I get most everybody's best game. I can run racks with the best of people when I'm hitting them good.
  
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03-07-2016, 10:24 AM

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Originally Posted by BasementDweller View Post
To play your best pool you have to figure out how to reach that heightened sense of focus.

You can read all the books -- and there are a lot of them out there that are always referenced. Some of these books are great and they may help you reach this state easier. So you read the books and then you practice to increase your physical skills, but to actually play your absolute best pool you have unlock this mystery of focus for yourself.

So what separates the pros from the amateurs? There's obviously the difference in physical skills (and this difference can be vast) but I've also found that all the great players I talk to ABSOLUTELY love the thrill of competition. They love feeling nervous. They love the adrenaline rush. I had a epiphany when I finally realized I needed to stop going out of my way to AVOID experiencing all the nervous energy that's associated with competing, and instead embrace this feeling and for me it has unlocked a big part of the mystery of reaching this heightened sense of focus. I now find myself playing my best in tournament settings instead of hanging on for dear life.
I could not agree more with this. I am going through what I hope is just a phase where I am more likely to get beat by a weaker player rather than a stronger player. Some of the opponents I play I expect to beat and some of them expect that I am going to beat them, it seems like since I have lost that fear of getting beat that I do not compete as good.
  
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03-07-2016, 11:10 AM

In rotation games anybody can beat you if you aren't getting all the way out. Sounds like your ego got bruised because of the low caliber of player you lost to. If you dog the last 3 balls or less, you shouldn't be winning... no matter who you lose to.
  
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03-07-2016, 11:50 AM

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Originally Posted by BasementDweller View Post
I've also found that all the great players I talk to ABSOLUTELY love the thrill of competition. They love feeling nervous. They love the adrenaline rush. I had a epiphany when I finally realized I needed to stop going out of my way to AVOID experiencing all the nervous energy that's associated with competing, and instead embrace this feeling and for me it has unlocked a big part of the mystery of reaching this heightened sense of focus. I now find myself playing my best in tournament settings instead of hanging on for dear life.
I made the mistake of shutting down my competitive drive, and my game has suffered tremendously. With zoning out the nerves, I also unintentionally zoned out my "give a sh!t". Bad mistake. Once I realized it was gone, it was too late. Now I'm struggling to get that fire back, even if it means bringing the nerves back with it.


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03-07-2016, 02:27 PM

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Originally Posted by cueenvy View Post
In rotation games anybody can beat you if you aren't getting all the way out. Sounds like your ego got bruised because of the low caliber of player you lost to. If you dog the last 3 balls or less, you shouldn't be winning... no matter who you lose to.
I am guessing, being the APA Regionals were this weekend, that he is a 6 and lost to another 6, thus he did not lose to a "lower caliber" player.

I am also guessing he was playing 8 ball and though most here think they are gods because they play on a 9 foot table that is sooooooo much harder than a 7 footer (sarcasm), the truth is as you get down to your last couple balls on a 7 footer it typically becomes harder as those are probably the ones with less angles to get to and harder pocket choices to put them in because of the lack of open table you 9 foot gods have.

So maybe you should check your ego a little bit.

Last edited by Skippy27; 03-07-2016 at 02:29 PM.
  
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03-07-2016, 02:34 PM

I've personally lost my drive at league level, I'm a decent six who struggles with local players, play in tournaments in APA with out of town mix and hold my own with sixes and sevens.


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03-07-2016, 03:11 PM

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Originally Posted by jcpoolgod View Post
I had a (big) tournament this weekend....2 day event....first match lost...then i climbed up the losers side....made it to sunday..won two matches on sunday......

3rd match...Im playing against someone I think should be able to beat. First rack run out to perfect position on the 8 then i baby the shot into the side pocket...hang the ball and dont even hit a rail...guy gets out...next rack ..i run down and hook myself on my last ball..guy gets out....all in all i lost 5-0 when i literally gave the guy 3 games....

What are some key thoughts that you guys think separate the pros from the amateurs? I definitely think my physical game is strong....but clearly i let my few mental errors still my match from me.....

I really want to take my game to the next level...and the thoughts are going to get me there...what did you all learn as you we're coming through the ranks...
The pros are better at lagging, breaking, better shotmakers, better at safety play and better at controlling the cue ball.
  
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