Whose body am I in?

xrbbaker

Registered
I'm 58 and an APA 5 except when I practice at home and then I'm a 7 :) In the past 6 months I finally solved a problem that has eluded me to years. That is, the straight stroke. For me I solved it by now holding the cue with a kind of rubber grip. I hold it lightly with my fingers and keep my wrist "dead" and let it go where it wants to. What I'm essentially doing is taking away my previous tendency to squeeze and twist on the forward stroke.

Now that I've solved that problem I'm so excited to show off my new talent in a match. That brings me to my next challenge. I've spent so much time working out the stroke issue that I'm very in tune with my body and how everything feels while practicing at home. When I go to league night I swear I'm in somebody else's body. My brain "thinks" as the stroke moves forward too fast, too slow? I can tell that my shoulders are raised and tightened. It feels like a different sport on a different planet.

I have found some relief from this by sticking with my routine. That seems to be the best help for this anxious issue. I don't feel/think like I'm nervous. I'm not one to get pissy if I lose, more like puzzled on why I lost. It's almost like I'm so excited to show off my new skills that I've overly happy/excited. Sometimes after a few games it just melts away and I can get down to business. Sometimes the match is over before I relax. Whatever it is, I was wondering if anyone has any ideas on how to approach fixing this. I've already ruled out a couple shots of tequila and other chemicals. I suppose I'm not the only one. What works for you? -Thank you

p.s. Some of the "different feel" is perfectly legit. I practice on a 9 foot Connelly with new felt, clean balls, in a dead quite, plush basement. League night is bright, loud, dirty and 7 foot - so no wonder some of the alienization.
 

hang-the-9

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
You play in this league one a week right? You need more time to play with the new things you are trying there, one match a week is not going to get you to feel comfortable in front of people.
 

ChrisinNC

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I'm 58 and an APA 5 except when I practice at home and then I'm a 7 :) In the past 6 months I finally solved a problem that has eluded me to years. That is, the straight stroke. For me I solved it by now holding the cue with a kind of rubber grip. I hold it lightly with my fingers and keep my wrist "dead" and let it go where it wants to. What I'm essentially doing is taking away my previous tendency to squeeze and twist on the forward stroke.

Now that I've solved that problem I'm so excited to show off my new talent in a match. That brings me to my next challenge. I've spent so much time working out the stroke issue that I'm very in tune with my body and how everything feels while practicing at home. When I go to league night I swear I'm in somebody else's body. My brain "thinks" as the stroke moves forward too fast, too slow? I can tell that my shoulders are raised and tightened. It feels like a different sport on a different planet.

I have found some relief from this by sticking with my routine. That seems to be the best help for this anxious issue. I don't feel/think like I'm nervous. I'm not one to get pissy if I lose, more like puzzled on why I lost. It's almost like I'm so excited to show off my new skills that I've overly happy/excited. Sometimes after a few games it just melts away and I can get down to business. Sometimes the match is over before I relax. Whatever it is, I was wondering if anyone has any ideas on how to approach fixing this. I've already ruled out a couple shots of tequila and other chemicals. I suppose I'm not the only one. What works for you? -Thank you

p.s. Some of the "different feel" is perfectly legit. I practice on a 9 foot Connelly with new felt, clean balls, in a dead quite, plush basement. League night is bright, loud, dirty and 7 foot - so no wonder some of the alienization.
The dilemma for most of us to try to solve is to figure out how to play in competition, when it really counts, at the same level that we play when we’re practicing by ourselves or playing someone with nothing $ on the line.
 

arnaldo

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
The dilemma for most of us to try to solve is to figure out how to play in competition, when it really counts, at the same level that we play when we’re practicing by ourselves or playing someone with nothing $ on the line.
I've blue-fonted a *key* for the OP that he should fully consider and is implied in the word "competition":

Continue of course with league play, but spend plenty of non-league time in the same room(s) where the league play takes place, and this is important: determinedly competing as often as you can in affordable money games with opponents who'll play you for modest sums and they'll usually offer to even things up with a spot. They'll quickly sense what level of skill you're at and the exact reason (improvement, not money) that you want to (or are willing to) play them.

It will make all the difference in -- not relaxing -- but in your determination to play the best you're now capable of.

Doing this will definitely surprise you in building your confidence, more automatic stroking technique, and most of all - - - greatly reducing your brain's self-analysis while shooting. You'll be nervous at first, but that feeling will soon start to minimize.

A lot of -- maybe most -- eventually very skilled players started out their journey to a strong game just like this.

Arnaldo
 

Patrick Johnson

Fish of the Day
Silver Member
You play in this league one a week right? You need more time to play with the new things you are trying there, one match a week is not going to get you to feel comfortable in front of people.
Maybe another night or two a week on the league tables...?

pj
chgo
 

pt109

WO double hemlock
Gold Member
Silver Member
For the OP....get used to the fact that competition is more inhibiting....you are now making decisions you don’t make in practise...like...Should I play safe?...Should I play a two way shot?
in straight pool, all the big runs are playing alone....Darren Appleton’s 200 tournament run in modern times is the record as far as I know. Some will say that the match durations aren’t long enough...but the old timers in the golden age of straight pool also had thousand point matches...nobody got to 200.
 

ShootingArts

Smorg is giving St Peter the 7!
Gold Member
Silver Member
I'm 58 and an APA 5 except when I practice at home and then I'm a 7 :) In the past 6 months I finally solved a problem that has eluded me to years. That is, the straight stroke. For me I solved it by now holding the cue with a kind of rubber grip. I hold it lightly with my fingers and keep my wrist "dead" and let it go where it wants to. What I'm essentially doing is taking away my previous tendency to squeeze and twist on the forward stroke.

Now that I've solved that problem I'm so excited to show off my new talent in a match. That brings me to my next challenge. I've spent so much time working out the stroke issue that I'm very in tune with my body and how everything feels while practicing at home. When I go to league night I swear I'm in somebody else's body. My brain "thinks" as the stroke moves forward too fast, too slow? I can tell that my shoulders are raised and tightened. It feels like a different sport on a different planet.

I have found some relief from this by sticking with my routine. That seems to be the best help for this anxious issue. I don't feel/think like I'm nervous. I'm not one to get pissy if I lose, more like puzzled on why I lost. It's almost like I'm so excited to show off my new skills that I've overly happy/excited. Sometimes after a few games it just melts away and I can get down to business. Sometimes the match is over before I relax. Whatever it is, I was wondering if anyone has any ideas on how to approach fixing this. I've already ruled out a couple shots of tequila and other chemicals. I suppose I'm not the only one. What works for you? -Thank you

p.s. Some of the "different feel" is perfectly legit. I practice on a 9 foot Connelly with new felt, clean balls, in a dead quite, plush basement. League night is bright, loud, dirty and 7 foot - so no wonder some of the alienization.



The solution to your issue is very simple and you can practice it at home. Breathing. Right now as you are reading this start taking short fast shallow breaths. Do this for about a minute. Check how you feel. Unless you used a timer you only did this for thirty to forty-five seconds shooting at a minute but you heart is beating faster, you are dumping adrenaline into your system, you are a little anxious.

Now get comfortable sitting or standing but be sure your torso can move freely. Breathe deeply feeling your diaphragm move and your entire lungs fill, you can skimp your lower lobes if you don't pay attention at this point. A minute of slow deep breaths and your heart is calming down, no more adrenaline dump, pulse and blood pressure returning to normal or even a little below normal.

This is the magic of breathing. You can regulate your emotional temperature by your breathing. Practice regulating your emotional temperature in this manner then you have to find where you need to be to compete. Odds are it isn't flat footed or wired. Somewhere a bit off of flat footed is your personal best emotional temperature.

Control your emotional temperature and you will rarely beat yourself. The pressure is on the other player now, they know they can't wait on you to stumble and crash. Now you may nudge them out of their comfort zone even if you are facing a better player in a tournament with no spots.

You should have subtly altered your perception a bit. You are no longer trying to beat the other player. Your game is the yardstick, the standard. All you have to do is lay down the best performance you are capable of at the moment which doesn't necessarily mean perfect. With this mindset you may make a few mistakes, you may play error free but win or lose you should be able to say that you didn't beat yourself. The heat is now on the other player to beat your performance.

You aren't going to jump from a 700 Fargo to a 900 because of these things but if you are a 700 it is going to be rare that you fall to 650 speed too.

Pool is hard to measure so precisely but after a couple of seasons competing I had to admit that one mistake per competition was my normal shooting a pistol. The occasional two or three mistake events were not my normal, Neither were the events where I performed every stage to the best of my abilities. We all want to think those nights when the pool gods smile on us and everything goes right are our normal but that illusion just causes misery. Watch youtube, pool, or any form of competition you like. You will see even the best make mistakes. They just tend to be smaller and less frequent than those of lesser players.

Seek perfection, but not to the extent of making yourself miserable. Any time I am letting an "aw pooper" on the table get to me I stop and recall that they crucified the last perfect man. I don't want to be that perfect even if I could be!

Hu
 

DieselPete

Active member
1) It sounds like you have discovered that if you relax the joints below the forearm you will feel the weight of the cue better and let it flow on its true pendulum from the elbow down. That's a good thing. There is little good that comes from over gripping and manipulating with the wrist and hands, as those things deaden the feel of the cue and tend to move it off of a true arc. It's like golf. Good players allow their hands to feel the grip and thus the clubhead. Poorer players over grip and lose all sense of the clubhead's location in space.

2) I think that we all make a mistake of thinking that we can immediately apply improvement to competition. People who play better in competition, and there certainly are some, are often just weaker at practicing. Maybe they get bored. Maybe they need the eustress of competition to active their brain fully. But most people who don't spend their life competing probably play a little worse, not better, in competition (in spite of our promise to ourselves that we will be better when we "really grind" and "take every shot totally seriously!").

Give yourself time to let the lessons take root and to become natural and you'll probably step up a level when you AREN'T thinking about doing so.
 

xrbbaker

Registered
I've blue-fonted a *key* for the OP that he should fully consider and is implied in the word "competition":

Continue of course with league play, but spend plenty of non-league time in the same room(s) where the league play takes place, and this is important: determinedly competing as often as you can in affordable money games with opponents who'll play you for modest sums and they'll usually offer to even things up with a spot. They'll quickly sense what level of skill you're at and the exact reason (improvement, not money) that you want to (or are willing to) play them.

It will make all the difference in -- not relaxing -- but in your determination to play the best you're now capable of.

Doing this will definitely surprise you in building your confidence, more automatic stroking technique, and most of all - - - greatly reducing your brain's self-analysis while shooting. You'll be nervous at first, but that feeling will soon start to minimize.

A lot of -- maybe most -- eventually very skilled players started out their journey to a strong game just like this.

Arnaldo
I like your suggestions. Ill start looking for those opportunities. Thank you.
 

xrbbaker

Registered
You play in this league one a week right? You need more time to play with the new things you are trying there, one match a week is not going to get you to feel comfortable in front of people.
Yes. Once. I never thought of that. I guess it's like public speaking then. The more times you do it the easter it gets to do. Thank you
 

xrbbaker

Registered
Maybe another night or two a week on the league tables...?

pj
chgo
More nights might work. I was thinking it was the kind of thing that the more I practiced the better I would play. I guess that's only true if I can play like I practice and I can't. Hence more exposure needed. Thank you.
 

xrbbaker

Registered
Hi tha
The solution to your issue is very simple and you can practice it at home. Breathing. Right now as you are reading this start taking short fast shallow breaths. Do this for about a minute. Check how you feel. Unless you used a timer you only did this for thirty to forty-five seconds shooting at a minute but you heart is beating faster, you are dumping adrenaline into your system, you are a little anxious.

Now get comfortable sitting or standing but be sure your torso can move freely. Breathe deeply feeling your diaphragm move and your entire lungs fill, you can skimp your lower lobes if you don't pay attention at this point. A minute of slow deep breaths and your heart is calming down, no more adrenaline dump, pulse and blood pressure returning to normal or even a little below normal.

This is the magic of breathing. You can regulate your emotional temperature by your breathing. Practice regulating your emotional temperature in this manner then you have to find where you need to be to compete. Odds are it isn't flat footed or wired. Somewhere a bit off of flat footed is your personal best emotional temperature.

Control your emotional temperature and you will rarely beat yourself. The pressure is on the other player now, they know they can't wait on you to stumble and crash. Now you may nudge them out of their comfort zone even if you are facing a better player in a tournament with no spots.

You should have subtly altered your perception a bit. You are no longer trying to beat the other player. Your game is the yardstick, the standard. All you have to do is lay down the best performance you are capable of at the moment which doesn't necessarily mean perfect. With this mindset you may make a few mistakes, you may play error free but win or lose you should be able to say that you didn't beat yourself. The heat is now on the other player to beat your performance.

You aren't going to jump from a 700 Fargo to a 900 because of these things but if you are a 700 it is going to be rare that you fall to 650 speed too.

Pool is hard to measure so precisely but after a couple of seasons competing I had to admit that one mistake per competition was my normal shooting a pistol. The occasional two or three mistake events were not my normal, Neither were the events where I performed every stage to the best of my abilities. We all want to think those nights when the pool gods smile on us and everything goes right are our normal but that illusion just causes misery. Watch youtube, pool, or any form of competition you like. You will see even the best make mistakes. They just tend to be smaller and less frequent than those of lesser players.

Seek perfection, but not to the extent of making yourself miserable. Any time I am letting an "aw pooper" on the table get to me I stop and recall that they crucified the last perfect man. I don't want to be that perfect even if I could be!

Hu
Nk you for the thoughtful reply. I agree with the other folks that more pressure matches should improve my comfort in those situations. It will be tough to devote more time but I'll try. I like the idea that I can work on breathing right away. Thank you
 

xrbbaker

Registered
1) It sounds like you have discovered that if you relax the joints below the forearm you will feel the weight of the cue better and let it flow on its true pendulum from the elbow down. That's a good thing. There is little good that comes from over gripping and manipulating with the wrist and hands, as those things deaden the feel of the cue and tend to move it off of a true arc. It's like golf. Good players allow their hands to feel the grip and thus the clubhead. Poorer players over grip and lose all sense of the clubhead's location in space.

2) I think that we all make a mistake of thinking that we can immediately apply improvement to competition. People who play better in competition, and there certainly are some, are often just weaker at practicing. Maybe they get bored. Maybe they need the eustress of competition to active their brain fully. But most people who don't spend their life competing probably play a little worse, not better, in competition (in spite of our promise to ourselves that we will be better when we "really grind" and "take every shot totally seriously!").

Give yourself time to let the lessons take root and to become natural and you'll probably step up a level when you AREN'T thinking about doing so.
So true. It's like knowing a word is on the tip of the tongue but you can't find it until you stop thinking about it. Thanks
 

arnaldo

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
So true. It's like knowing a word is on the tip of the tongue but you can't find it until you stop thinking about it. Thanks
xrbb -- regarding your commendable willingness to seek and incorporate suggestions for a positive and practical skill-embedding/preserving approach, in my book you rate well beyond an APA 5 or 7 . . .

. . . you're an APA 10 (All Pointers Accepted).

Kudos.

Arnaldo (27 years older than you, young man. I'm in a more advanced state of youth. Pool has a way of enabling that.)
 

xrbbaker

Registered
1) It sounds like you have discovered that if you relax the joints below the forearm you will feel the weight of the cue better and let it flow on its true pendulum from the elbow down. That's a good thing. There is little good that comes from over gripping and manipulating with the wrist and hands, as those things deaden the feel of the cue and tend to move it off of a true arc. It's like golf. Good players allow their hands to feel the grip and thus the clubhead. Poorer players over grip and lose all sense of the clubhead's location in space.

2) I think that we all make a mistake of thinking that we can immediately apply improvement to competition. People who play better in competition, and there certainly are some, are often just weaker at practicing. Maybe they get bored. Maybe they need the eustress of competition to active their brain fully. But most people who don't spend their life competing probably play a little worse, not better, in competition (in spite of our promise to ourselves that we will be better when we "really grind" and "take every shot totally seriously!").

Give yourself time to let the lessons take root and to become natural and you'll probably step up a level when you AREN'T thinking about doing so.
So true. It's like knowing a word is on the tip of the tongue but you can't find it until you stop thinking about it. Th
xrbb -- regarding your commendable willingness to seek and incorporate suggestions for a positive and practical skill-embedding/preserving approach, in my book you rate well beyond an APA 5 or 7 . . .

. . . you're an APA 10 (All Pointers Accepted).

Kudos.

Arnaldo (27 years older than you, young man. I'm in a more advanced state of youth. Pool has a way of enabling that.)
Arnaldo, thank you for the kind words. At this point in my life pool is the only sport I can play and still improve. That's pretty special.
 

hang-the-9

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Yes. Once. I never thought of that. I guess it's like public speaking then. The more times you do it the easter it gets to do. Thank you
Even if you can only play once a week, try to get on the table more than just during your match. A lot of times players hang around to shoot. Try to get some cheap $10 or $20 races to 5 or 7 going with someone after league is done, or hop on another table if the team does not need you for anything. When I played league, there was a group of 4-5-6 guys that would go play some sets after/during league and it does help with the game if you can't play much outside of league aside from at home.
 

xrbbaker

Registered
Even if you can only play once a week, try to get on the table more than just during your match. A lot of times players hang around to shoot. Try to get some cheap $10 or $20 races to 5 or 7 going with someone after league is done, or hop on another table if the team does not need you for anything. When I played league, there was a group of 4-5-6 guys that would go play some sets after/during league and it does help with the game if you can't play much outside of league aside from at home.
That's a good idea - and what I should do is NOT grab the guys that I'm most comfortable with. Thanks.
 

boogieman

It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that ping.
I'm 58 and an APA 5 except when I practice at home and then I'm a 7 :) In the past 6 months I finally solved a problem that has eluded me to years. That is, the straight stroke. For me I solved it by now holding the cue with a kind of rubber grip. I hold it lightly with my fingers and keep my wrist "dead" and let it go where it wants to. What I'm essentially doing is taking away my previous tendency to squeeze and twist on the forward stroke.

Now that I've solved that problem I'm so excited to show off my new talent in a match. That brings me to my next challenge. I've spent so much time working out the stroke issue that I'm very in tune with my body and how everything feels while practicing at home. When I go to league night I swear I'm in somebody else's body. My brain "thinks" as the stroke moves forward too fast, too slow? I can tell that my shoulders are raised and tightened. It feels like a different sport on a different planet.

I have found some relief from this by sticking with my routine. That seems to be the best help for this anxious issue. I don't feel/think like I'm nervous. I'm not one to get pissy if I lose, more like puzzled on why I lost. It's almost like I'm so excited to show off my new skills that I've overly happy/excited. Sometimes after a few games it just melts away and I can get down to business. Sometimes the match is over before I relax. Whatever it is, I was wondering if anyone has any ideas on how to approach fixing this. I've already ruled out a couple shots of tequila and other chemicals. I suppose I'm not the only one. What works for you? -Thank you

p.s. Some of the "different feel" is perfectly legit. I practice on a 9 foot Connelly with new felt, clean balls, in a dead quite, plush basement. League night is bright, loud, dirty and 7 foot - so no wonder some of the alienization.
I used to hate that nervous energy, and was in deep denial that I even had it. See if you can try to use that nervous energy to your advantage. It sharpens/heightens your perceptions if you can hack your mind to use it as such. It's classic fight or flight response, even if you're not feeling scared, your body is pumping adrenaline and various chemicals to get you into a heightened state for survival. Use that "giddy" feeling to analyze the table. I've only recently discovered this, but I'll try to explain my process.

First off, read the older book "Mastering Pool" by George Fels. It's under $10 used on Amazon or eBay. Pay particular attention to the straight pool section where he talks about "safety valves" aka backup shots, and looking for pockets for the object balls. When I come up to the table, after the balls have been broken, I want to start shooting right away, but this is wrong. My body is producing a chemical cocktail that no drug dealer could ever hope keep in stock. Now is the time to pause and give your finely tuned pool mind/body all the info it needs. This takes only 20-30 seconds, so not long, but if it bothers you to make your opponent wait, you've got to work on that. We're not talking stalling or them falling asleep in the chair, but just a tiny bit of time. Take 30 seconds and after they see your performance jump, they will either respect the time you took, or get nervous and fall apart. Either way it's no sweat off your back.

So Step 1 is to identify what suit you want, stripes/solids. Do this by analyzing each suit, and each ball in the suit to see what pocket they go in. I mean, EVERY ball on the table. 1 ball goes in this corner, this corner, this side, this corner, blocked from one corner and one side without rearranging balls, etc. (Again, the Mastering Pool book talks about A, B, C balls, briefly, A has a pocket, B will have a pocket once A are shot off table, C are worst, clusters or something that needs broke out to be make able. B become A once A is out of the way...) It sounds like a process, but by doing so, you also are programming your mind for your backup/safety valve shots. Everyone loses shape, a backup shot should always be a consideration for if you miss shape.

Step 2 is to shoot the opening shot. Depending on how much practice you get at this, you might need to re analyze, but this time instead of 30 sec, it might take 10-15, but you're putting chalk on anyway right? What's an opponent going to say to a guy that might take a couple seconds longer to chalk? Does it matter? He's in the chair after all.

Step 3 is to keep shooting balls in, always re-analyzing if any balls have been bumped or moved. If you have to sit down, be sure to check all balls when you get back for pockets and A, B, C status. You want to always have about a 2-3 ball run figured in your head, play for tight position, focus like hell and nail the position as closely as you can. All this analysis has the info in your head, don't be afraid to let your body/subconscious do what it's been programmed for years to do.

Step 4 is to know when to stop. You've ran a few balls and know you can't get out. Don't fool yourself and know when to go cowboy mode or when to play chess. This is an important lesson, and there are times for both. If you can't run out, guess what? You've already analyzed your opponent's balls and hopefully his play style (will he take any low probability shots? If so trap his butt ;) ). If you can't get out, or it would be a much smarter decision, play a safe. Now I'm not talking any half assed safe, we're talking make your ball a sitting duck, and make him SWEAT! Your goal is either BIH, trap him into scratching, or make him take a wild shot with no hope of leave possible. If you can get your opponent out of line on a couple shots, it's often time to come back to the table. You know his balls as well as he does at this point, so stick him in the worst possible location on the table. EDIT: Also realize that if you hit your ball first, you can knock his ducks into the pocket for him, pocket hangers are the MOST dangerous thing to leave for your opponent, he/she can get position ANYWHERE on the table with a pocket hanger.

Step 5 is to finish the rack. Hopefully you've been able to move your balls to advantageous locations. The last 2-4 shots will, in an ideal (read this as your goal) scenario be just plain stop shots or maybe a touch of follow or stun. Maintain your focus and get pinpoint shape on each shot, before you know it, you'll have won.

This may sound like a major undertaking, but those good ol fight or flight chemicals will make it child's play within a few weeks of league or a few weekly tournaments. I don't know if this method works in practice because I know my own bullshit and it gets fatiguing playing both sides of the match this way. I'd suggest playing some equal offense to practice the stuff in the Mastering Pool book about reading racks. It's pretty simple and you don't even really have to worry about the A, B, C stuff because it kind of comes natural once you recognize it's a thing. Just check what pockets each ball goes into, and you can even rank the shots, such as the 2 ball goes in the side, but it's a difficult shot...

The nicest part about this, it stops a lot of self doubt and if you miss you have a much better understanding of why, instead of a vague idea. Believe it or not, I think that sometimes your subconscious misses because it knows to not paint yourself into a corner. This may all sound super analytical, but when you're shooting, you're not thinking, simply pocketing the ball and willing the cue ball to stop where you want it. When your down on the shot, you're not analyzing, you did that part before you got down. Set your intentions while standing up. If you second guess or think about changing intentions(or it doesn't feel right etc), stand up and re-chalk, and maybe go look at one of their balls somewhere else on the table so they think you're some kind of pool genius or something. They don't know why you're looking at their ball, it may just get in their head a little😂 If you're doing this right, when getting down on a ball, it will almost feel like a dance, like a totally natural feeling and can sometimes lead you to dead stroke land. If it feels right, your body/subconscious knows it's go time!
 
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