Forced To Play

 

So, last week, after 9-ball league was over, I played this young kid some 1p.  In the league, he's a C and I'm a B.  A few weeks prior to that we asked the LO for an appropriate game in 1P, and he said he thought 11-6 would be fair.  That sounds pretty rough - but it would force me to play my best game.

It absolutely does.  The problem is, on the nights when I'm not shooting well, I can't handle the spot.  When I'm really "on", it's a pretty fair game and I tend to come out on top, maybe only by a game or 2 in a session.  But if I'm not shooting my best, I can't possibly get there.

For example, in one rack, it was my break, his return missed and I ran 9 balls (the most I've ever ran in a game before)... but I still lost the rack.  I kept trying to out-move him and never quite got there.  He banks better than I do.  The open shots I had, I went too aggressive and tried too thin of a cut, or just plain hit it bad, thinking "Sweet, I should be out here." and not really focusing on the shot - just focusing on getting position on the next ball because I couldn't possibly lose a rack where I ran 9 from the start. *rolls eyes*

The next rack, he broke and ran out.  It was absolutely incredible.  He literally broke - made a ball and ran 5 off the bottom of the rack.  He's a full-blown shooter, never really plays safe, doesn't always know the best way to run balls, but once in a while, he hits this gear and falls into the zone and holy hell is he dangerous.

We re-adjusted the spot to 10-6, and I lost 3 in a row. Then I said 10-7, and still lost the next 3.  At that point, he had won 9 games in a row, after me winning the first 3.  I was done. 

I was super tired and probably should not have been gambling, I know that - but still, I shouldn't lose 9 games in a row.  I was mad for missing those easy shots. Or maybe those "must-make" shots that are required.  Regardless, I never miss a shot I haven't made 100 times before.  Just drives me nuts. I know I don't practice enough to never miss a shot, but holy jesus, I should never miss some of those shots I do. Never.

For example, earlier in a 9-ball match I was left with this layout:

More...

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Filed Under: 9-Ball · One Pocket

Finished 2nd Place In Singles League!

This past Friday was the last night of the 9-ball singles league I joined 9 weeks ago.  This was the first session on the new night at Cue & Cushion and was my first league as a single player, as well as my first 9-ball league AND on the big 9-foot tables.  This session had 10 players ranked between A and D, with each rank giving up 2 games for each difference in a race to 9 games.  I was ranked as a B, meaning I gave 2 games to C players and 4 games to D players.  It also meant, I got 2 games when I played the A players.

I finished with a record of 7 wins and 2 losses. I'm quite pleased with myself for my overall performance, but I still know that I can do better.  The 2 games I lost, I lost because my head wasn't there. I couldn't force myself to focus, to concentrate, nor did I stick to my pre-shot routine.  After thinking about it a while, I have to come to realize why I had so much trouble at the end of the session, compared to the beginning.

For starters, I began the session with the intent on playing my best and just trying to keep a .500 rating (same number of wins and losses).  After narrowly coming out on top of the two A players early on and winning strongly against another B player, I started to relax a bit.  I still had dangerous C players to outrun and more B players overcome, but yet, I started looking at the scores instead of the matches.  When I started off 3-0, I was in shock, as two of those wins were against the only A players in the league.  Then I lost my first match in a tough hill-hill battle with the player who ended up taking 1st place.  The only reason I lost that match was because I couldn't focus.  She and I were tied for first at that time and I let myself get caught up in the idea of how awesome it would be to go 4-0.  I already reviewed that match, but it was then that I started this trend of coming from behind.  She got out to an early lead of 5-1 and then I was able to catch a gear and get back to 5-5 and from there we traded games until she won.  

That sort of pattern has been pretty evident these last 3 or 4 matches now. Just this last week, I played the D player.  I spotted him 4 games going to 9. I missed the first 2 9-balls and left them hanging, so he's now at 6, and I'm still at 0.  That's a scary spot, no matter the skill level difference.  Him needing 3 and me needing 9... that's tough.  But, again, I finally found a gear and was able to get 4 games before I let him get another one. So at 7-4, I'm getting worried.  Then he gets another one, because I blew my shape, again, on the 6, forcing a tough shot on the 6, which had to force shape on the 7, which I missed.  So, I leave with a pretty simple 3 ball out.  I didn't expect him to make all 3 though, he's not the kind of guy you'd expect to make 3 balls in a row, all the time. So, now he needs 1 and I still need 5.  I took a break, went to wash my hands, and try and calm down a bit.  I decided that since I kept blowing the 7 or 8, I'd quit going for the runout, even though I know I *can* do it - but not that day.  I had to realize, to accept the fact that I'm just not shooting my best game that day.  Once I did that, I started playing a lot smarter.  I'd run 2 or 3, play safe if it was an iffy shot.  I started playing percentages, basically. It worked out for me, since I was able to win the next 5 games in a row. :)

That match win guaranteed me 2nd place in the league, by both my match record and actual number of game wins.  3rd/4th place was decided by game wins between two players with the same match win record.  3rd place was won by a single rack.

This coming Friday is the league party where the prizes are given out. Then we have a few weeks off before the next session begins, 2nd week of July, I think it is?  I will definitely be playing in that one.

I was worried I might be raised to an A player, considering my record, but was informed that rankings don't change every session.  I just happened to get more rolls than the other guy.  I hate saying it, but I knew that's why I was winning.  When I miss, I miss very well, usually (leaving the other guy hooked or long or tough).  Or if I had to bump some balls, a lot of the time I'd get the best of it.  Or, even more the case, I'd miss early on in the rack, they'd run 5 or 6 balls and miss the 7 or 8, leaving me an easy out.  It's the same thing I do when I give up games.  Break and run to the 7, miss it and leave a 2 or 3 ball out.

I guess this means I need to play the 6 or 7 ball ghost a lot more.  I tried playing the 9-ball ghost about a month ago and he tortured me 11-0.  But if I had been playing the 6 ball ghost, I think I might have got him.  I will have to do some testing and figure out what's happening.  I think I know... it's my position play.  The further into the rack I get the more out of line I get, so each shot becomes tougher and tougher and I'm forced to cut balls thinner and thinner and try and force position more often.  After a while, of course I'm going to totally screw myself.  Which usually happens around the 7 ball. *sigh*

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Filed Under: 9-Ball

Buddy Hall and Nick Varner in St. Louis!!

From the Legends and Champions Tour:

The Legends and Champions Pool Tour will be making 3 tour stops at the end of June around Illinois. This time the exhibitions and pool clinics will be held by none other than Buddy Hall and Nick Varner. Buddy and Nick are going to be in the area shooting the instructional DVD that they are working on together that should be released mid July. Buddy and Nick will also be on the road for a week at the beginning of July and those dates and locations are in the final stages of planning.

 

These two Hall of Famers and billiard legends will perform fun exhibitions that include Q & A sessions, stories, trick shots and even giving the local spectators a chance to play along side them in scotch doubles challenge matches. The clinics will be the same format as the usual Legends and Champions clinics go. A maximum of twelve students, divided into two groups of six. One group will work with Nick Varner for two hours and one group will work with Buddy Hall for two hours. After the first two hours is up each group will then switch and take two hours with the other pro. This is a great way to get some insight into the minds of these legendary players. The fee for the four hour+ clinic is still just $200.00 per person.

 

"Buddy and Nick are really looking forward to working with each other again and taking a trip down memory lane" said Mark Cantrill of the Legends and Champions Pool Tour. Nick Varner said "I think this is pretty historic because I don't know if Buddy and I will have a chance to work together again but I am sure we will make the most of it and have a lot of fun with the fans who come out to support us"

 

Below is the short list of stops that Buddy and Nick will be making before moving on to the dvd shoot. For more information or to sign up for a clinic please feel free to contact Mark Cantrill at 480-612-7732 or email cantrillmark@yahoo.com sign ups in advance are needed.

 

Wednesday June 22nd = Alton, Il - Exhibition at Riverbend Billiards - 7.30pm

 

Thursday June 23rd = Alton, Il - Clinic at Riverbend Billiards -11.00am - 3.00pm

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Filed Under: 9-Ball · Tournaments · Training

Shane van Boening's AMAZING Jump-Draw (DCC 2011)

This jump-draw was made of legend for those who weren't watching the stream that night.

And now here it is... finally. I must check my Accu-Stats delivery soon.

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Filed Under: 9-Ball

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