The mantra of this blog (even moreso in my twitter) in the last several months has been a lack of consistency. Not even from week to week, but day by day. Case and point: Last week’s APA matches. Wednesday, I draw a 6 in 9-ball. So it’s a 55-48 race. I win 55-19. The honest part of that story is that he dogged the first or second ball 7 out of the 9 times I let him to the table. However, I played really well, had another break and run and played some good safeties. In other words, I played a good, strong SL7.

Now, on to the Masters match the next night. As I’m warming up I’m hitting them “ok”; nothing terribly exciting about things. I’m making balls decently, but my position is all over the place. I decide to give up the 9-ball position routes for simple bar-box position play. Things improve, but still not quite up to par. I draw a friend Alan for the first round and we play 9-ball first. I’ll skip the drawn out detail summary and just say that I lost 3-7. The games I won were because he gave them to me … literally. I never made a money ball on my own stroke. He would either miss and hang it, or scratch on it.

What I find interesting is that even though he is winning, he’s so upset with himself that he’s complaining about my getting lucky rolls. I complain with the best of ’em, but when I’m winning (handily) I almost never actually complain. The difference here is that I was getting the rolls; far more than he was, but yet he was still marking up the games. True, I gave him far more chances than he should have gotten – and he had to work for each one of those wins; I never left him easy.

But, this also goes to show that I was playing so poorly that even with the luck I couldn’t win.

Skip to Friday night, after dinner and a few drinks my stepdaughter, her boyfriend and I hit up a pool room of her choosing and play 10-ball. Now we’re on 8 foot tables I’ve never played on (with pink – PINK! cloth). I play exceptionally well! Break and run in 10-ball, and more times than not, if they let me at the table on the 3 or above, I was out. Now, it was just for fun, so no pressure, and we were all celebrating her birthday, so shots and drinks were included. Still, I’m too competitive to not take any time spent at the table with some level of seriousness. I was even jumping over half-balls with my full cue (which I can almost never do).

Here’s a shot she snapped of me; she was late in the capture as the object ball had already dropped and I was just beginning to stand up. Still, I really stayed down on that shot. lol

I run through this pattern of good/bad/good/worse/awesome/terrible it seems with each consecutive day played. I have been trying to pin down any and all possible causes to this sort of variance in my game. The big ones: sleep and nourishment are always first under the microscope. And it’s absolutely true that on the days where I don’t have enough sleep I don’t play well – unless it’s my 2nd or 3rd day on short sleep. (re: Midwest 9ball and DCC) Second to that is my mood/mindset/attitude. If I’m in a good mood, I’m going to play better. If I’m angry with something off the table, I play well. If I’m the least bit frustrated with the game itself, I play terribly. If I started off in a good mood then get frustrated, I can usually pull myself back to a good place through either “faking it till I make it” or some breathing exercises.

I know everything left to work on in my game is completely mental; and knowing that just makes my failures worse to me. I think it’s time to re-read Pleasures of Small Motions and/or Zen Pool.