I’ve been noticing a change in my game lately. I’ve been doing a nightly recap of how I played and why I missed certain shots/patterns/positions/etc. A few things come to mind:
- I started playing a lot of one pocket.
- I don’t run drills very often.
- I haven’t set any goals.
- I only play with friends, for fun.
- If I do play for money, it’s a one pocket match.
Back in March, I changed jobs, which relocated me to a place where there are no nearby pool halls (I don’t count bar tables), so I can no longer play during my lunch break. It was during that time when I’d work on my position, speed control, pre-shot routine, stance… just about everything really. Sure, I’d get into a game once in a while, but mostly it was my “quiet” time at the table, where I could really practice. Alone with my notebook. Now, I never get over there anymore. Also, I started playing one pocket around the same time.
My usual evening pool hall has become pretty popular, which is good for them – but not for me. I never get table time alone anymore. That wouldn’t be so bad if there weren’t so many people trying to play on the one good table. Typically, Mondays and Wednesdays, there’s at least 4 of us playing scotch doubles one pocket. That’s about the least effective way to spend time on a table. Yeah, it’s fun – and I do get to practice one-pocket, which I like, but it’s also keeping me from really practicing.
In addition to all of that, my 8-ball league performance is really suffering. Last night, I went 0-3. Now, to be fair, my opponent ran out on me after the break twice, but I should have one that second game. There was no reason for me to give him another chance at the table. I just dogged a fairly standard cut shot. Then later, I jumped the cb off the table shooting a fairly standard draw shot. It was quite embarassing actually. I know why I did it, so that’s good, but it should have never happened in the first place.
My captain and I have been talking the last few weeks about how we don’t get real practice anymore. The sad thing is that we both keep going back to Sportscenter and complain about it. I think it’s the price. For just $8, I can play all night. I think I’m just going to have to bite the bullet and move to a different place. It’s still only $4 an hour, so it’s not terrible, but I obviously won’t be playing the 6 or 8 hours when I go there. Mostly because I don’t think I can hold my practice-focus that long, and there’s no other games to distract me.
So, I’m setting a new goal for myself: Spend at least 4 hours a week in the quiet and almost always vacant pool hall down the street getting in some real practice. The following is a list of things I want to work on:
- Pre-shot routine.
- Position routes/drills
- Speed control.
- Consistent stroke.
- Mental focus/control.
I noticed last night that after I had decided what my shot was going to be, I got down and was still thinking… not about the shot – but about my stroke. After I missed the shot, I remembered I used to tell myself to be quiet on the way down to the shot, and that I don’t do it anymore. Just one example of my lack practice… I shouldn’t have to re-train myself to do that. I’ve also noticed my stance has changed just so slightly that my arm is no longer 90 degrees perpendicular to the cue. I worked really hard to change things up to get that arm perfectly straight, and now without constant reinforcement, it’s off again. The worst thing is that I noticed my arm trying to steer the CB on a few shots. These were in a practice game, thank god, but after the shot, I thought “what the @#$* did I just do?”.
In short: I’m really tired of losing, for fun or otherwise, and I’m going to take the steps necessary make sure it happens less.