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Derby Observations of a Non-Pro Player - 01-17-2006, 08:54 AM

I play the Derby each year. Just the 9-ball, but I have started playing one-pocket, and hope to compete in both disciplines next year if work allows me the time off. I wanted to give the perspective of someone who plays pretty well, but wants to learn, as well as socialize, while in Louisville. I don't really know how to analyze my speed except to say that I made it 4 rounds in the Derby 9-ball. One round out of the money. Evaluating my draw, I played 3 players who were not from the US, and 1 guy from the midwest who played close to my speed. I won 2 matches and lost 2. I could have won my 3rd match, but I also could have lost all 4. Coming from overseas and Canada, I like to think that these players were formidable opponents for most, and I did see where 1 opponent finished 2nd last week in a large regional event. Both matches that I lost were 7-5 scores, so I feel that I held my own in all the matches.

I have a friend named Stevie Moore that many of you know. He played about my speed around 15 years ago, when he went to live with Earl Strickland for 6 months. When he returned, he played at least the 6-ball better than when he left. In only 6 months. And he was an accomplished player before that. I always wondered how a person's game got to a professional level. Being at the Derby for those 5 days answered that question. Watching the top level of players allowed me to see some of the things that the pros do consistently that are missing from non-pro level players' games. Being in that environment for that short period of time allowed me to see the things that I would never see any other time, even at regional events. Of course, just being around that type of competition allows a player to osmose the things that are necessary to make it to a top level, but it is wishful thinking for most to think that they can be around the greatest players in the world all the time.

Here are my observations from the Derby:

First (a little off topic and I know many of you will disagree): Efren is the best. He didn't win the 9-ball or the banks, but his game is superior to even the greatest players in the world. His shotmaking, cue ball control, and imagination are unparalelled. I used to think that there were those who played as well, but all doubt was removed last week.

Second: The top pros break the balls 10x better that the next level of even pro players. This is not an understatement. Top pros break the balls at a hard speed and the cue ball never touches a rail the entire match unless it gets kicked there. Watching Ralf Souquet in the finals of the 9-ball (and the entire tournament) was like a breaking clinic. All of the top players never touched the rail with the cue ball on the break. Try to break the balls 7 times in just 1 match with a good speed and never touch a rail. See how difficult it is. Imagine being able to break like that every single time.

And last (for now, because this is getting long): The top pros have no fear. I've always heard that speed kills speed. What I mean is that even though a player can run out and run over everyone that plays under them, if you match a person up with someone who plays their speed or better, they will tighten up and not play as well as usual. They will miss balls or position plays that they would never miss against lesser players. The top players play the same against all opponents. To most this seems insignificant, but it is crucial to making improvement in your game at any level. And reading a psychology book is not the answer. Being around, and being able to see, players who do this is the quickest way to learn.

I would like to add that socially I had a great time as well. I saw many old friends that I see only in Louisville. I didn't spend much time in the AZ room, but did meet Hal, and watched a few lessons that Jerry B gave. I am already looking forward to next year.

Mike


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01-17-2006, 09:30 AM

Tap tap tap.

Good post and good showing!
  
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01-17-2006, 09:40 AM

Good observations, Mike.

And, excellent showing in the 9-ball tourney also!!


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01-17-2006, 10:20 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Templeton
I play the Derby each year. Just the 9-ball, but I have started playing one-pocket, and hope to compete in both disciplines next year if work allows me the time off. I wanted to give the perspective of someone who plays pretty well, but wants to learn, as well as socialize, while in Louisville. I don't really know how to analyze my speed except to say that I made it 4 rounds in the Derby 9-ball. One round out of the money. Evaluating my draw, I played 3 players who were not from the US, and 1 guy from the midwest who played close to my speed. I won 2 matches and lost 2. I could have won my 3rd match, but I also could have lost all 4. Coming from overseas and Canada, I like to think that these players were formidable opponents for most, and I did see where 1 opponent finished 2nd last week in a large regional event. Both matches that I lost were 7-5 scores, so I feel that I held my own in all the matches.

I have a friend named Stevie Moore that many of you know. He played about my speed around 15 years ago, when he went to live with Earl Strickland for 6 months. When he returned, he played at least the 6-ball better than when he left. In only 6 months. And he was an accomplished player before that. I always wondered how a person's game got to a professional level. Being at the Derby for those 5 days answered that question. Watching the top level of players allowed me to see some of the things that the pros do consistently that are missing from non-pro level players' games. Being in that environment for that short period of time allowed me to see the things that I would never see any other time, even at regional events. Of course, just being around that type of competition allows a player to osmose the things that are necessary to make it to a top level, but it is wishful thinking for most to think that they can be around the greatest players in the world all the time.

Here are my observations from the Derby:

First (a little off topic and I know many of you will disagree): Efren is the best. He didn't win the 9-ball or the banks, but his game is superior to even the greatest players in the world. His shotmaking, cue ball control, and imagination are unparalelled. I used to think that there were those who played as well, but all doubt was removed last week.

Second: The top pros break the balls 10x better that the next level of even pro players. This is not an understatement. Top pros break the balls at a hard speed and the cue ball never touches a rail the entire match unless it gets kicked there. Watching Ralf Souquet in the finals of the 9-ball (and the entire tournament) was like a breaking clinic. All of the top players never touched the rail with the cue ball on the break. Try to break the balls 7 times in just 1 match with a good speed and never touch a rail. See how difficult it is. Imagine being able to break like that every single time.

And last (for now, because this is getting long): The top pros have no fear. I've always heard that speed kills speed. What I mean is that even though a player can run out and run over everyone that plays under them, if you match a person up with someone who plays their speed or better, they will tighten up and not play as well as usual. They will miss balls or position plays that they would never miss against lesser players. The top players play the same against all opponents. To most this seems insignificant, but it is crucial to making improvement in your game at any level. And reading a psychology book is not the answer. Being around, and being able to see, players who do this is the quickest way to learn.

I would like to add that socially I had a great time as well. I saw many old friends that I see only in Louisville. I didn't spend much time in the AZ room, but did meet Hal, and watched a few lessons that Jerry B gave. I am already looking forward to next year.

Mike
Mike, is Steve Moore from Florida?
  
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01-17-2006, 10:25 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by coastydad
Mike, is Steve Moore from Florida?
He is from South Carolina, but did spend alot of time in Florida with a backer around 6-8 years ago.


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derby non-pro - 01-17-2006, 10:40 AM

Howdy MIKE; old man stick here, lot of truth in your post, lo lo, the kid now days have every opperanity to be great at the game, as when i was growing up the old guys would only gamble with you, not show you a thing!!1 but that has all changed now you have , film, vedio, and instructors,dont get me wrong i love to see the young ones play good.i have found out if it dont come from the mind, a heart you have a long way to go. old man opinion. love to all [STICK] p.s. played golf with stevie last week, good golfer to.


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01-17-2006, 10:48 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Templeton
I play the Derby each year. Just the 9-ball, but I have started playing one-pocket, and hope to compete in both disciplines next year if work allows me the time off. I wanted to give the perspective of someone who plays pretty well, but wants to learn, as well as socialize, while in Louisville. I don't really know how to analyze my speed except to say that I made it 4 rounds in the Derby 9-ball. One round out of the money. Evaluating my draw, I played 3 players who were not from the US, and 1 guy from the midwest who played close to my speed. I won 2 matches and lost 2. I could have won my 3rd match, but I also could have lost all 4. Coming from overseas and Canada, I like to think that these players were formidable opponents for most, and I did see where 1 opponent finished 2nd last week in a large regional event. Both matches that I lost were 7-5 scores, so I feel that I held my own in all the matches.

I have a friend named Stevie Moore that many of you know. He played about my speed around 15 years ago, when he went to live with Earl Strickland for 6 months. When he returned, he played at least the 6-ball better than when he left. In only 6 months. And he was an accomplished player before that. I always wondered how a person's game got to a professional level. Being at the Derby for those 5 days answered that question. Watching the top level of players allowed me to see some of the things that the pros do consistently that are missing from non-pro level players' games. Being in that environment for that short period of time allowed me to see the things that I would never see any other time, even at regional events. Of course, just being around that type of competition allows a player to osmose the things that are necessary to make it to a top level, but it is wishful thinking for most to think that they can be around the greatest players in the world all the time.

Here are my observations from the Derby:

First (a little off topic and I know many of you will disagree): Efren is the best. He didn't win the 9-ball or the banks, but his game is superior to even the greatest players in the world. His shotmaking, cue ball control, and imagination are unparalelled. I used to think that there were those who played as well, but all doubt was removed last week.

Second: The top pros break the balls 10x better that the next level of even pro players. This is not an understatement. Top pros break the balls at a hard speed and the cue ball never touches a rail the entire match unless it gets kicked there. Watching Ralf Souquet in the finals of the 9-ball (and the entire tournament) was like a breaking clinic. All of the top players never touched the rail with the cue ball on the break. Try to break the balls 7 times in just 1 match with a good speed and never touch a rail. See how difficult it is. Imagine being able to break like that every single time.

And last (for now, because this is getting long): The top pros have no fear. I've always heard that speed kills speed. What I mean is that even though a player can run out and run over everyone that plays under them, if you match a person up with someone who plays their speed or better, they will tighten up and not play as well as usual. They will miss balls or position plays that they would never miss against lesser players. The top players play the same against all opponents. To most this seems insignificant, but it is crucial to making improvement in your game at any level. And reading a psychology book is not the answer. Being around, and being able to see, players who do this is the quickest way to learn.

I would like to add that socially I had a great time as well. I saw many old friends that I see only in Louisville. I didn't spend much time in the AZ room, but did meet Hal, and watched a few lessons that Jerry B gave. I am already looking forward to next year.

Mike

Did you play stephen from the UK?


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01-17-2006, 11:00 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by raemondo
Did you play stephen from the UK?
No, Richard Broumpton I think was his name.


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01-17-2006, 11:24 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Templeton
First (a little off topic and I know many of you will disagree): Efren is the best. I used to think that there were those who played as well, but all doubt was removed last week.

Second: The top pros break the balls 10x better that the next level of even pro players. This is not an understatement.

And last (for now, because this is getting long): The top pros have no fear.

Mike
Great post. I'll add a couple that many who don't get a chance to watch the top level don't see/realize:

Spin: contrary to what is always written here, the top pros use english and tons of it at any given moment.

If the the events were banks, 1h, 10-ball, and 14.1, I don't think Efren would ever lose the all-around title.

If you have ever watched Efren play 1h and thought he couldn't shoot any better, you'd be wrong. He shot better 1h this year, better than anyone has ever seen.

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Thumbs up tap, tap... - 01-17-2006, 11:25 AM

Excellent observations Mike, and I would agree about Ralph Souqet, he has the most 'efficient' ball control, rarely 'needs' to hit a rail, and 'never' has to do much with the rock...really smooth, concise player...someone I hold as an excellent example of how 'it's' done...and Yeah, Efren is THE BEST!

Congrats on your excellent showing at The Derby, I hope to be there next year, (as a spectator, of course)...


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01-17-2006, 11:30 AM

Great post Mike. I believe that if a player had the chance to just be around these types of tournaments, without ever hitting a ball, his/her game would improve tremendously. Watching players like Efren, Parica, and Strickland, just to name a few, a players thinking changes. They make it look so easy. The break, for example, if we could all break like that, never letting the CB touch a rail, our run-out percentages would soar. Your post is right on Mike, and congrats for your finish in the 9 ball tournament. Peace, John.


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01-23-2006, 12:32 PM

Mike you have posted lots of good information for anyone wanting to improve their game.

Congratulations on your very nice finish. I wish that I could have faired half as well.

The only thing I disagree with is that pros do on occasion show a little fear but definitely not as often as us amateurs.

How much pool time do you put in per week?

I met quite a few people and I remember one Mike who introduced himself but I dont' think that Mike said "Howerton" or if you did I was just overloaded with so much pool and so many new people.

Do we have any pictures of Mike Howerton for publication or are you holding out for your Pre-Pro tour career? It would be good to refresh my memory.

Warm Regards,
JoeyA






Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Templeton
I play the Derby each year. Just the 9-ball, but I have started playing one-pocket, and hope to compete in both disciplines next year if work allows me the time off. I wanted to give the perspective of someone who plays pretty well, but wants to learn, as well as socialize, while in Louisville. I don't really know how to analyze my speed except to say that I made it 4 rounds in the Derby 9-ball. One round out of the money. Evaluating my draw, I played 3 players who were not from the US, and 1 guy from the midwest who played close to my speed. I won 2 matches and lost 2. I could have won my 3rd match, but I also could have lost all 4. Coming from overseas and Canada, I like to think that these players were formidable opponents for most, and I did see where 1 opponent finished 2nd last week in a large regional event. Both matches that I lost were 7-5 scores, so I feel that I held my own in all the matches.

I have a friend named Stevie Moore that many of you know. He played about my speed around 15 years ago, when he went to live with Earl Strickland for 6 months. When he returned, he played at least the 6-ball better than when he left. In only 6 months. And he was an accomplished player before that. I always wondered how a person's game got to a professional level. Being at the Derby for those 5 days answered that question. Watching the top level of players allowed me to see some of the things that the pros do consistently that are missing from non-pro level players' games. Being in that environment for that short period of time allowed me to see the things that I would never see any other time, even at regional events. Of course, just being around that type of competition allows a player to osmose the things that are necessary to make it to a top level, but it is wishful thinking for most to think that they can be around the greatest players in the world all the time.

Here are my observations from the Derby:

First (a little off topic and I know many of you will disagree): Efren is the best. He didn't win the 9-ball or the banks, but his game is superior to even the greatest players in the world. His shotmaking, cue ball control, and imagination are unparalelled. I used to think that there were those who played as well, but all doubt was removed last week.

Second: The top pros break the balls 10x better that the next level of even pro players. This is not an understatement. Top pros break the balls at a hard speed and the cue ball never touches a rail the entire match unless it gets kicked there. Watching Ralf Souquet in the finals of the 9-ball (and the entire tournament) was like a breaking clinic. All of the top players never touched the rail with the cue ball on the break. Try to break the balls 7 times in just 1 match with a good speed and never touch a rail. See how difficult it is. Imagine being able to break like that every single time.

And last (for now, because this is getting long): The top pros have no fear. I've always heard that speed kills speed. What I mean is that even though a player can run out and run over everyone that plays under them, if you match a person up with someone who plays their speed or better, they will tighten up and not play as well as usual. They will miss balls or position plays that they would never miss against lesser players. The top players play the same against all opponents. To most this seems insignificant, but it is crucial to making improvement in your game at any level. And reading a psychology book is not the answer. Being around, and being able to see, players who do this is the quickest way to learn.

I would like to add that socially I had a great time as well. I saw many old friends that I see only in Louisville. I didn't spend much time in the AZ room, but did meet Hal, and watched a few lessons that Jerry B gave. I am already looking forward to next year.

Mike
  
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01-23-2006, 02:37 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeyA
Mike you have posted lots of good information for anyone wanting to improve their game.

Congratulations on your very nice finish. I wish that I could have faired half as well.

The only thing I disagree with is that pros do on occasion show a little fear but definitely not as often as us amateurs.

How much pool time do you put in per week?

I met quite a few people and I remember one Mike who introduced himself but I dont' think that Mike said "Howerton" or if you did I was just overloaded with so much pool and so many new people.

Do we have any pictures of Mike Howerton for publication or are you holding out for your Pre-Pro tour career? It would be good to refresh my memory.

Warm Regards,
JoeyA
Hey Joey,

No. I'm not Mike H. I didn't spend too much time in the AZ room. I did get to meet Hal, and see Timberly, Marissa, and a few other AZers that I had met previously.

Hopefully next year we can all meet and get to know each other better.

Mike


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his sleep. Not screaming like all the passengers in his car.


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Red face 01-23-2006, 04:13 PM

Apparently, my apologetic post from yahoo/google didn't make it.

Sorry about the faux pas with the last name, Mike T. My bad. But I still would like to see pictures of you just in case I saw you visiting the AZ Room where I hung out for a while.

Warm Regards,
JoeyA

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Templeton
Hey Joey,

No. I'm not Mike H. I didn't spend too much time in the AZ room. I did get to meet Hal, and see Timberly, Marissa, and a few other AZers that I had met previously.

Hopefully next year we can all meet and get to know each other better.

Mike
  
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01-26-2006, 02:49 AM

I read this very nice post (thanks Mike, most of the stuff I read on here is more or less to kill time; reading your post was a pleasure), and felt this is as good a time as any to bring up a subject that's been bugging me for a while now. Also, it seems more serious players may be reading this post, and that's who i'd like to hear from (ideally anyway).

In response to the following statement by Mike (and similar sentiments heard almost daily):

First (a little off topic and I know many of you will disagree): Efren is the best. He didn't win the 9-ball or the banks, but his game is superior to even the greatest players in the world. His shotmaking, cue ball control, and imagination are unparalelled. I used to think that there were those who played as well, but all doubt was removed last week.

Let me start by saying that yes, Efren plays great and has the attitude and ability of a great champion. But, I believe that Efren executes many of his shots and is given many key opportunities because of the very attitude Mike has put forth. I think it's ok for B players to give Efren this type of admiration, but as for serious and better players, I don't think it is wise. I'm not sure what my intentions are in this post, i'm certainly not trying to bring down Erfren's game, or say what he's accomplished isn't astoundingly great. I think what i'm trying to do is raise everyone elses game. I've just seen this pattern in too many sports: 5 or 10 great teams or players, one of them wins a world title and everyone starts acting like they are god, and they go on to win everything after that. Kelly Slater was a great surfer, he won a world title. Was he great enough to win FIVE more in a ROW. NO (believe me, no), but he did.

Let me try (quickly), to put this another way:
If you could organize a tournament of any game in pool (but especially a 9-ball tournament), and nobody got to see who their opponent was, and they just came to the table when it was their turn.... do you really think Efren would be as successful as he is? I certainly don't (if you dont agree with me here, you're not going to agree with anything I have to say, which is fine). I know this format for a tournament is silly, and i'm definitely not proposing we do this, but I think the implications from this thought (if you believe as I do), are very important.

Take home message: lets say I think Efren's game is at a 100 (completely arbitrary number). What do I think his game would be at if his ego wasn't being stroked all day, every day... maybe 85 or 90. What does that mean? That means Efren would just be another good pool player. Do you have a chance against a good player, of course you do. Do you have a chance against Efren, No... of course not. What it boils down to is I believe your chances of beating him go way up if you have that attitude (which is a difficult attitude to have, I know).

In hopes to add a little to my credibility I should say that I have gambled with Efren once, and lost 2 $100 sets of course.
  
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