Time For An Overhaul

After my previous 2 weeks of playing quite strongly after derby and especially while at the Midwest 9Ball, I have totally fallen apart. My Wednesday league was less than pretty and my Friday league was utterly embarassing. (Thursday was cancelled due to weather). After league Friday, I took some time to figure out what was going on. My eyes told my brain the shot was right, but the results showed dramatic a difference than the expected outcome. I soon realized my stance was off. As in, my eyes were in the wrong place. A shot on a frozen ball on the rail looked perfect to me, but the results were that I'd hit the ball 1/2 or sometimes 3/4 full! Clearly, this is a sighting problem. My stroke is straight, I checked that first, plus I've spent the most time ensuring that I swing straight - and when I don't, I know it immediately as I can feel when that's wrong.

If any of you follow me on twitter, you might recall a recurring theme over the last few months: I'm tired of giving away games. I do this so often I hate to even mention it because it's just so damn frustrating. My running joke now is that I can give the 7-ball ghost a real run for his money. The joke being that I can't finish a rack since if I can run to the 7, there's so reason in the world to not be able to execute 2 more shots. But, sadly, that's the case. I will solve all the problems wonderfully, with finess and precision, but once the table is open and I'm off to the races something happens. It's easy to say that I take the rack for granted (which at some point I do); it's just as easy to say that I lose focus (which I also can do). It's easy to suggest that I'm thinking too much, trying to ensure that I'm focused - thereby getting my brain in the way. It's possible to say that I'm rushing, and not giving the shot the respect it warrants while trying to keep my brain out of the equation. It's easy to spot all the reasons why I can't finish. The problem is finding positive reinforcement during this time.

The real problem is maintaining just the right amount of focus. Somewhere that allows me to stay in the game, yet still guard against the frustration or fear (like when I'm just having fun and shooting lights out). I'm reminded of X-Men: First Class when Xavier is helping Magneto, "True focus lies somewhere between rage and serenity." It's that point I need to try and find - and once I do - hold on to it and live there. Enjoy the run out, but not shoot at flyers or take a full-table-cut for granted. Play smart, but fluidly. That's where I'm at my best, I think.

I ran across some older posts from some of my pool bloggers that can/will help. Amazing to think it's been so long since I've read up on them. John Biddle wrote this article about what he calls Dead Focus as compared to Dead Stroke. The always insightful akaTrigger writes about how to Refocus Your Focus in this blog entry.

Each author has a multitude of entries worth reading but I'm only linking the ones that started me traversing their archives to save space here - and also to encourage any of my readers to do the same. I'm going to settle in with the US Bar Table Championship tonight on the big screen and catch up on some of my reading on the little screen.

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Filed Under: Training

Midwest 9-Ball Tour (Feb 2013)

I haven't been feeling overly confident with my game these last few months (one of the reasons I haven't been recording matches), but I decided to head out to Olathe, KS for the Midwest 9-Ball Tour anyway. It's always a good time and it's close enough to home so it isn't too inconvenient.

I got out there Friday a little late, just at the tail end of the Calcutta, but I had a friend buy my entry into the 9-ball tournament in case I was late. After walking around a bit, I spotted the usual heavy hitters, but also a couple of names I hadn't expected: Raphael Martinez and Warren Kiamco! I grabbed the barbox in the back and started warming up with Tonya (an STL player I play with frequently, she was there to play as well). She gets called to play Liz Lovely in the first round. It's an unfortunate draw to start off with, but someone had to do it I guess. After her match, we grab a big table and play 10-ball for a while. I'm playing decently, but not overly great. I finally go check the bracket since I hadn't heard my name in either of the first 2 round of announcements. There were a 140 players this time! I discover that I play Saturday at 1:15 for the first time. I also read that my opponenent is Chuck Ralston! He's a well known regional player and has every chance to win any of these events.

I stay at Shooters until around 4am unfortunately, so I don't get nearly enough rest, although I think I had subconsciously already lost the match the next day. I get to Shooters just after noon and jump on a table trying to warm up. I feel sluggish, though I'm pocketing balls well. My match gets called and it was for the streaming table! Ugh. oh well. I don't mind really, I just hope that I don't dog anything too easy.

I can't say that I did anything wrong, necessarily - I missed a thin cut early in the set, I missed a safe somewhere. Chuck made a couple mistakes, I won a couple games - but he did win 9-2 with three break and runs of his own and 3 run outs from my dry break (or failed safety on the 1). We chatted a few minutes after the match and each wished each other well in the next round(s). It was nice to finally meet him in person, after hearing his name for so long. (Another nice benefit to attending these regional events.)

More...

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Filed Under: 9-Ball · One Pocket · Tournaments

2013 Derby City Classic Review

I'm not even sure how to try to write a review on the DCC. I can summarize it easily: AWESOME. But to go much beyond that could prove quite the challenge. ...
I just dont think I could wrap it up any better than listing things I experienced or thought as they happen, so... here's my review of the DCC:

Two of my league-mates and I rented a car and made the short 4 hour drive over to the Horseshoe Casino Thursday morning (Jan 31st). Once we got there and checked into our rooms, I was giddy with excitement. In the lobby, we stood behind John Brumback and my "holy crap there are PROS here!" amazement began. I think it's a first-timer thing. I generally don't get all star-shocked when I see pros or musicians out and about; but the sheer number of them was a bit overwhelming. My leaguemates aren't as up on the pro scene so they were entertained by me walking and pointing and listing off who's who.

I didn't bother anyone though. I never knew who was about to play or who just lost or what their opinion of being approached was - so this time around, I just amused myself by observing. With one exception. Friday night, after a few drinks, we were waiting for the finals of the Bifoot 10-ball and Billy Incardona was alone for a moment, I walked over and introduced myself and then thanked him for all the commentary he does. I explained how informative it is and how much I've learned by listening to him talk about one pocket strategies. We chatted a few minutes longer about the event and then I excused myself so as not to overstay my welcome. He was incredibly cordial and I relieved by that. Rumors and all. Sadly, I never got a chance to tap Danny DiLiberto for the same conversation. He was rarely alone though.

Aside from watching all the action, I spent some time playing on various 9-foot Diamond tables. Which is always a good time. I never really played all that well, but it was with friends, so it's all good; even though I went home with lighter pockets. The highlight of my playing though was when we got to play on the 10-foot diamond. I have about 3 hours of footage of us playing a 10-ball ring game. Here's a short little montage I threw together just for fun:

I averaged about 3 hours of sleep, it felt like for the 3 days I was there. Each night I crawled into bed just after sunrise and woke just before noon to try to hit the last of the breakfast buffets and see the first round of the day. I felt like I was there for a week. The hotel/casino had enough space and variety that I didn't have to set foot outside the building (except to smoke in the garage if I didn't want to walk all the way to the casino-proper after the smoking restaurant closed). I realized sometime during the 2nd day that I hadn't had a hot meal yet. So far, my diet had been coffee and Cliff bars I brought along. I was avoiding the snack bar in the tournament area; while also avoiding the $50 steak option at the nearest restaurant. I love steak - but I am on a limited budget. :/

On the trip back home we tried to pick a favorite moment from the trip. It's tough to do that with so many awesome things happening everywhere. For me, it was entering the tournament room the first time. Seeing all those tables, each with a player I knew by name on it. Getting to feel like I was finally part of the event I had watched online for 3 years, read stories about, heard stories about. It was such a surreal deal, I can't imagine what actually playing in it would feel like. I have a year to prepare for it. heh ;)

Watching Corey Deuel finally win a Derby title was really amazing. Watching Dennis Orcullo play Neils Feijen on the bigfoot table for the final was simply incredible. The 9-ball finals with Alex and Shawn was just awesome. So many little caveats everywhere. I didn't spend any time in the action room - mostly because it was standing room only and I had already been standing for 12 hours by the time the tournament finished up. I did see some regional players, Joey Gray, Liz Lovely, Nicole Keeny, Chip Compton were usually together on the action floor somewhere (and I'll see them all this weekend at Olathe); but I only saw Nicole in action, never the others; which seemed extra odd - but like I said, I wasn't there a lot. Meeting Jeanette Lee and watching her do her thing was as entertaining as I had heard.

I already can't wait for next year; and while my game didn't automatically go up ball from being surrounded by champs, I'm highly motivated to earn that ball on my own. I'm going to make it a personal goal to get to where I want to be this year. I've been stagnant for too long.

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Filed Under: 10-Ball · 9-Ball · General · One Pocket

Winter 2012 9-Ball Division Champions

Our team finished 2nd to last in the 9-ball division this session, but we pulled the wildcard spot for the playoffs. Last week we won the first round which put us into the finals this week. This week, we played the 1st place team for the title.

We won 2 of the 3 first matches then it was my turn to go up, which surprised me as I hadn't played last week. But, I'm glad I got there early to practice on the barbox as it gave me the confidence I needed. During practice, I broke and ran out once and again later after taking ball in hand after the break as I was hooked to start. But, still, I was playing really well overall. For example, during my legitimate break and run, I found myself staring at this table:

I looked at this earlier in the rack and tried to break it up from the 3 ball, but missed the clip. So, I decided to see what I could do with it. Then I saw it... the 8 will bank up-table, if the 5 gets out of the way of course. It was laying just perfect, so I fired it and I watched with glee as the 8-ball dropped into the pocket and I had shape on the 5 to continue my run!

But, on to the real match a few hours later. I got put against their super strong 5 (I'm a 7), so it was a 55-38 race. I knew it would be tough, but I just wanted to play. I lost the lag and he made 2 balls on the break but scratches. With ball in hand and an open table, I run out. Not just run out though, I'm playing really well, getting excellent shapes and giving myself every chance to stay in line. I break the next rack, make 3 balls, and have a shot at the 1. The table is wide open, and instead of thinking "I should be out here" I say to myself "I'm going to get a break and run here", then I do it! I get a break and run. I break and make 2 balls, but scratch - my break cue-ball control was a bit off this night. He runs a few, then misses an easy shot worrying about position - I run out. I break, make 3 balls, and park the cueball dead center. The 5/6 are tied up so I know there's no way to run out, so I run to the 5 and play safe (which didn't work). But, so he gets a few, but then misses the 7, I think and I get out. Again, I break, make some balls and see an open table. I do overrun shape on the 3 and have to play a tough position to the 5 (the 4 went on the break). I get shape, but getting tot he 6 isn't a piece of cake, so I play a safe and hide the 5. He kicks and leaves me out. After I make the 7 ball, their teams says "That's it." and I'm very confused as I know I'm nowhere near 55 (somewhere in the 30's). Then they explain to me that because of my score, I only needed to get to 38 points in order to secure a final score that seals the deal for our team! The final score of my match: 38-7!! It's a skunk!

And with that, we become the 9-ball division champions for our night. Which means that in June/July, we will compete in the city-wide tournament; the winners of that go to Las Vegas!!

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Filed Under: 9-Ball · League

2013 Derby City Classic

I've been holding on announcing this because it was still a little up in the air, but unless the world falls apart, I WILL be attending my FIRST Derby City Classic 2 weeks from now! :)

If any of you don't know, it's probably the biggest tournament in the nation. 9 days long, 3 tournaments with a 4th buy-in optional tournament. 4 disciplines of pool and the largest collection of professionals (and gamblers) all in one place!! I simply Can.Not.Wait!

I'm not playing in any of the tournaments - as nationally speaking I'm still a C/C+ player (regardless of my local rating); but the experience is one to remember forever; or so I'm told by those who have gone before. I'm going with a few friends from my Wednesday league, leaving Thursday morning/afternoon and coming back Sunday afternoon. For my first trip, I like the last 3 days option. I should see the very end of the One Pocket division and the bulk of the 9-ball division. I'm hoping to catch at least one of the Diamond 10-ball invitational matches (10-ball played on 10-foot diamonds!!).

But most of all, I'm hoping to get the chance to meet a bunch of people; or at least watch them all play. I might even play a little myself if the stars align. And if I'm really lucky, I'll get to play one of the pros (aka donate for the experience) a few racks; several of them will play anyone for cheap racks just to a) keep in stroke and b) be nice to their fans. I'd totally be willing to play Efren, Shane, Earl or pretty much anyone for $10/rack, just to say that I did! :)

Here's hoping everything works out and I don't catch the plague that is traditionally spread around down there.

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Filed Under: General · Tournaments

TAR 30 - Shane van Boening vs Darren Appleton

I just found out about this:

From TAR:

"The Action Report is excited to announce our newest TAR match. TAR 30 will feature two of the greatest players in the world today going head to head in 10 ball action. TAR 30 will take place January 18-20, 2013 in Las Vegas, NV. at the TAR Studio. Each days play will begin at 8 PM Eastern Time. The match format is 10 Ball race to twenty five games per set, two out of three sets. The match will be played on the notorious TAR table featuring 4 1/8” pockets made by Diamond Billiards.

The match will be available to watch live on streaming pay per view on theactionreport.com. Limited studio seating will also be available. TAR 30 is brought to you by our match sponsors: CueSports International, OB Cues, Kamui, and Kurzweils Meats. TAR would like to thank all of our sponsors for making TAR 30 possible. Please support the sponsors who support the game you love."

I know I say this every time there's a TAR matchup - but seriously, I CAN NOT WAIT for this!! Especially after what happened in the Mosconi Cup just a few weeks ago: Mosconi Cup Day 3: Appleton v Boening followed by Mosconi Cup Day 4: Appleton v Boening (part 2, part 3)


And this is just 2 weeks before the DCC!! Jan/Feb is looking to be quite an exciting  two months of pool for me!  Not to mention the Turning Stone tournament I plan on watching also in early January - and then Bonus Ball starts in early February!

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Filed Under: 10-Ball

Top Gun Tournament (9-ball SU2012)

Back on December 8th, I played in the local Top Gun tournament stemming from the summer session of the APA.  It was my first APA session and I finished 2nd for 9-ball (8-ball was horrible that session).  I had planned on going home early the night before to ensure a good night's sleep - but that didn't really happen.  Still, I arrived at the venue shortly after they opened.  During my warmup, I broke and ran twice; and figured I was ready a few racks later.  I had the awesome racks - then some "what the hell is going on" racks so I felt nicely balanced in warming up. heh

I waited around for the draw and learned more about the format.  It was a modified 9-ball scoring system; apparently how they do it in Vegas.  It was also a modified single-elimination tournament.  That means that if a player loses in the firsrt 2 rounds, they aren't out of the tournament - but only during the first 2 rounds and they can only lose once during that time to stay in. 

They also adjusted the scoring.  I, as an SL7, would normally go to 55 points, but in this "short race" format was only going to 48. Thankfully, we had enough 7's to fill the high skill level bracket, leaving the 5's and 6's to battle among themselves, then the 4's and below had their own bracket as well.  It was a small bracket, only 8 of us.  But, each of them were strong players, some of whom I knew and others I had only heard about.

My first match was against a guy I play with in normal league play.  Our matches are always close, but I was feeling pretty confident about the day (it was still early) so I didn't sweat it.  I've been playing really good barbox 9ball lately and I was hoping to continue to do so.

We finally started around 3:30 or so I guess and I think it went pretty quickly.  I won by more than rack's worth of points, if I remember correctly.  It was a couple of hours before my next match, against someone I didn't really know.  I started off doing very well, then the luck changed and he finally quit missing shots.  I battled back and had the match tied at 45 points each, and it was my break.  It was one of the rare times when I break dry, and I left him a fairly standard 1, 2, 3 to win it.  But, something happened.  He made the 1, then the 2 and had a decent shot on the 3.  I set my cue down accepting that I still have a chance on the left side of the bracket. Then he missed the 3 ball!! I couldn't believe it. It was a pretty standard 45 degree cut, but funny things happen sometimes.  I took a moment to gather myself from disbelief and focus on the rest of the table. I make the 3, the 4 and have a straight in shot on the 5.  I take a deep breath and focus on the shot.... swing... *click* *kerplunk*.  I WON!  I shook my opponent's hand and could only muster some condolensces; and I wished him well in the rest of the tournament.

About an hour later I had to play my next match.  This was against a guy I play Masters league with but I don't think he and I have ever played a match.  Still, I've seen him play - I know how well he shoots.  I got out to an early lead; 24 to 6 or something.  And I think knowing I was that far ahead got to me, took the pressure off or something.  We started battling for safeties and he was getting more points per rack than I was.  I quit looking at the score and just returned my focus to the table.  He bobbled a 7 ball and I closed the rack to break the next.  I break and make 2 balls (fairly standard for my break) and start to pick it apart.  2 balls in, the table is wide open and I see the out.  I progress 2 more balls and reevaluate - yep, still looking good.  I get to the last 3 and reset myself. I really want this break and run, so I let myself think about it for a second.  Double-check my position route from the 7 to the 8 to the 9.  Make the 7. Double-check it again. Make the 8 and get good on the 9. I take 2 deep breathes as I stand over the shot, get down and ensure everything feels right. I pull the trigger and the 9 drops like it should!  BREAK AND RUN! YES. :) The scorekeeper calls "That's it!" I turn around quite confused - I still thought I needed something like 5 points - but I was wrong.  I needed 10 at the beginning of the rack, and I broke and ran - that's 10 points. :) I move on to the FINALS!!!!

Nearly 2 hours later the left side bracket has finished and I play another guy I've played with in Masters - ironically, he and I played in the finals of my very first apa-based mini tournament over the summer.  We wait for a mutual table to open up as the TD doesn't want us to play on any table we've played on during the tournament for some reason.  Good idea - bad for time.  We wait nearly another hour for that table.

Whether it was the time or the universe, it doesn't really matter.  I lost the lag and he breaks and runs until he hangs the 8 in the corner. Uncharacteristic of him, to be sure.  I break and make some balls but am behind a wall of balls and have to kick at the 1.  I leave a good shot and he gets out.  He breaks and runs to the 6 or something, but leaves me hooked - I kick but leave a shot, he gets out.  Rinse, repeat for 3 more racks and I lose the finals in like 20 minutes with a score of something like 48 to 14. 

The only thing I really did wrong was show up.  He couldn't make a mistake if he tried and I couldn't ever get going when 90% of the time I came to the table, I was hooked.  He played really well, and my luck throughout the day had finally worn off. 

Still, I took 2nd place in my first ever Top Gun tournament from my 1st ever APA session.  I won some money and I played pretty well for the majority of the day.  Overall, it was a good day and a win nonetheless.  Of course, I wanted to win it all, who doesn't? And I was really disappointed and frustrated at how the finals went.  My opponent was a super gentleman about it though; he mentioned that he knows pool players at our level never get angry with the other person - only at ourselves.  Which is/was 100% accurate. I wasn't angry with him, at any point.  I can curse the luck he got, but its still not directly towards him.  I went outside and had a smoke.  Shortly afterwards we had to do pictures (which aren't online yet).

After that, it was time to have some celebratory shots!  And shots we had. heh I ended the night playing scotch doubles, one-handed-jacked-up 8-ball with the new league operator as my partner against the bar owner and his partner one of his employees.  We took turns alternating a female friend in the rotation so it was sort of a scotch-triples arrangement.  It was a helluva good time and it turns out I can play one handed jacked-up pretty well.

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Filed Under: 9-Ball · League

Kenny's Thanksgiving Tournament (2012)

Despite staying out too late Friday night (5am), I decided to go ahead and enter the 1st annual Thanksgiving tournament held at Kenny's Bar & Grill (got up at 10 for coffee and arrived at the venue around 11:30am).  This tournament used to be held at Ride the Rail before it closed; and it pulled in a lot of good regional players.  This tournament wasn't that different.  Although no real HUGE regional names showed there were some really good players there.

The handicap scale went from 4 to 13, with players like Gary Lutman being a 13. Steve Allison was a 12, "Kirkwood Mike" was an 11. Brian Daniels was a 10. Joe Evola and Mike Renick were 9's. I was playing as a 7.  Which was about right.

My first match was against one of the employees, JoAnn, she had to be a 4 as she couldn't be any lower than that - though I'd have made her a 3 if it were possible.  I'm glad she wasn't a 3 though, I botched a couple breaks and left a 1-9 combo for her, and she did get to three 3 games, but I managed to get to 7.  The match was a typical barbox 9 ball match. I won the first 4 games handily, getting some nice rolls and I was playing pretty smart, playing safe on her, etc.  Then the tide turned and I started to struggle a little bit. I think I started feeling like there was no way I could lose; and I nearly did. Then, just like that *snaps fingers*, the tide change again. I broke dry and she missed the 1 and scratched, then I ran out. And from there I managed to keep her at bay.

The thing I hate(d) about that match was that even when I was struggling, I knew I was waiting for her to mess up so I could win.  Now, her playing as a 4, that's going to happen - but it's only beneficial to me if I can finish the layout. It's been a very prominant theme in my game this year. I've won probably 60% of my matches in league because the other person screwed up and I was able to take advantage. Now, the good thing about this is that I actually was able to take advantage of their mistake(s); which is a good sign I suppose. I can remember the time when I would get excited when my opponent missed the 4 ball cuz I should be out from there (depending on the table, of course) - but cursing myself just a few shots later.  It really does seem like I'm much more able to finish off a table these days than I could earlier this year.  I still can't beat the ghost with the 8 though. :/

My next match was against another woman, Andrea, another 4 as well.  She posed a much more serious threat.  She was a strong 4. I would not like to play her too many times.  She made balls very well, but would frequently get really far out of line late in the rack.  We both made some uncharacteristic errors (missing an 8, for example) and so those games were essentially traded.  Of course, if I she hadn't missed, she would've won the set.  But, luck again favored me and I again won the match 7-3 (that's two hill-hill matches for you guys keeping track).

Now I was really hungry, so I ordered a burger, really only ate the meat as I didn't want the extra carbs to give me carb coma.  But, I was called to my match earlier than expected and only had about 10 mins after I finished eating before I had to play.  This time I would play Mike Julius, rated as a 5.  And here is where the end began for me. I was completely out of the game, mentally. I kept trying to pull myself in it, but from the word go I was fighting to even get a shot, much less win a rack.  Here's a great example of how this match went:

I lose the flip, he breaks, makes the 1 then misses the 2 and ends up with this safe on me.  There was too much traffic on the table to go 1 or 3 rails at the 2 ball, but thankfully, I have been practicing this shot a little bit lately (it really is a fun shot) so I went for it.

But, the cueball hit the 2 ball in the only spot that wouldn't just knock it in.  Some of the railbirds were totally astonished, as was I.  One guy even gasped how I even got the cueball to hit the 2, let alone how did it not drop into the pocket.  I had no answers.  Nor was I able to really get going in this match at all. The 2nd rack I jawed the 9 somehow, the 3rd rack he played a 3-9 combo that was difficult at best. I did finally get a point after that, but then he got another 1. While on the hill, he missed a 9 ball, giving me a 2nd point, and I did get a decent break in the next rack to get a 3rd point. But then I did something dumb late in the next rack and he got out, although I've never seen anyone take so long to decide what to do with a 3 ball spread.  Still, I lost 3-5.

A couple hours later I play my first loser's side match.  Against this guy Buddy Evans; who had THREE young sons in the tournament - and they ALL cashed incidentally).  He was also a 7; but played like no one I had ever seen.  He moved around during/after his shot more than anyone, it was more like an awkward dance he was doing. But, he rarely missed - and he thankfully for me, he wasn't that good at combos, as he shot at every single possible one out there.  However, it was now after 10pm and I think the day had finally taken it's toll on me. I played well, but not that well, which gave him an early lead on me.  I was able to fight back and take advantage of his wild shots and did make it to 5, I think before he drilled the final 9 into the hole.  So, there I went. 

In remembering the events of the tournament, I'm still annoyed with how I played, but I miss the big picture here.  1) I went 4 and out, which is one better than last week - and while this was handicapped, I essentially gave weight to 3 of my 4 opponents and was able to handle 2 of them. 2) I played very well, considering the miniscule amount of sleep I had. 3) My break was really working well. I was hitting them hard (somewhere around 20-22mph it felt like) and at least 70% of the time the CB would pop'n'stop (until it got kicked around). 4) I felt my anxiety kick in and the nerves start to tingle when the score was close to hill-hill. It didn't affect my shot-making as much as it has in the past and I was able to at least remember to use my breathing techniques to try and calm down.

Sure, after each loss, especially the first one, I did blow a gasket off in the corner where my stuff was.  After my 2nd loss, I was more able to recognize I was just tired, but it didnt' stop me from being very upset with myself about the match. 

I've learned not to dwell on those matches, and try to learn from them; but in the heat of the moment there's just no way not to live through those emotions.  Even when I'm riled up like that I don't dwell on past missed shots, which is good.  But if I miss the same shot again, it just adds more fuel to the fire for after the match emotional blow out.

The next tournament isn't until the 8th, and it's another barbox 9-ball tournament; but this is the APA Top Gun tournament I qualified for over the summer by being 2nd in the TG list.  So, while it's not a "traditional" tournament in the sense that it's a rack-based game, this will force the winning player to make all required points. And that is nice to know that I can't exactly get slopped-out of the race by early money balls.

I'll report back later. ;)

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Filed Under: 9-Ball · Tournaments

Midwest 9-Ball Tour Review (Nov 2012)

Last weekend I took another plunge and drove out to Olathe, KS for the Midwest 9 Ball Tour stop at Shooter's.  It's just over a 4 hour drive to get there and like last time, I felt like I was rushing to get across the state.  I show up around 6pm, sign up for the 9-ball tournament, then try to settle down into a comfortable mode. In joking around with cuemaker, Josh Treadway, he decides to sign up to play as well. So we jump on one of the open tournament barboxes to start warming up.  The cloth was replaced only a day or 2 earlier it seemed; which makes for some fun cue ball action. The balls were so clean I felt like Roy Macavoy when he goes to the US Open and is amazed by the practice balls being brand new Titleists. Anyway, after a quick adjustment, we both started playing a little better - but I don't think Josh's heart was in it. After about 30 mins we quit. I run out to get some food and good coffee while we wait for the calcultta to happen and the brackets to be drawn up. After having a double-chicken burrito bowl from Chipotle, we head back and I learn my first match is against a guy named Jon Brown sometime around midnight. I grab a table - specifically the 9 foot diamond I enjoyed so much last time.  Man that's a tight table, heh. I play for about an hour then call it quits.  Grab another soda and relax until sometime around 11 at which point I jump on one of the Diamond barboxes.  I play pretty well on that table, not exactly running out with consistency, but still making good runs; but again having position control issues.  I practice there until my match is called.

I win the flip and break dry, and Jon runs out. Then he breaks and runs out. Oof. I've hit one ball and am down 0-2 already. Well, he makes a mistake in the 3rd rack and I get that rack.  The rest of the match was me making mistakes and him running out.  I lose the match 1-9. I knew I should've slept on the drive over. After only getting 5.5 hours sleep Thursday night, having to work Friday morning, then driving out there; I can't say I was necessarily surprised by my weak performance. I just was hoping for a more positive outcome.  It sucks losing so badly, but I didn't get a lot chances at the table and when I did, I wasn't always gifted with easy spreads.  The one really good thing I took away from the match was that at no point did I get upset or angry about how things were going.  Sure, I was disappointed, but I didn't slam the chalk down nor did I have any poor mental discussions.  I just accepted that the mistake happened or the table was how it was and went about trying to do my best to solve it.  If I missed a shot, I knew immediately why I missed - and of course that is frustrating - but I was able to accept those much more easily than normal.  I think it was because I was still trying to adjust to the tables.  I started playing them like the barboxes in my area, but they aren't.  The bed was quite quick, but the rails were surprisingly slow.  A ball rolling down table will go much further than expected - but if you add shape off rails, the CB won't get there. There's just no spring in the rails.  It was a strange combination of too fast and very slow.  So, when I missed a shot - especially with spin - I knew exactly why and I couldn't really get mad at myself for learning the table. Anyway, I was done for the night, I went back to my hotel around 3am and slept a decent amount to prepare for the next day.

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Filed Under: 9-Ball · Tournaments

Break and Run - On Video!!

I *finally* got a break and run on video last week.  I was playing really well that whole week (minus a super bad night Wednesday).  Friday was no exception.  After my league match (which unfortunately, I did have a drop-off in the middle and it cost me the match), I played my friend Tonya a short race to 7 and she didn't like it one bit. I got her 7-2.  Then we played a race to 9 in 10-ball and though she liked it more than the 9ball, she still didn't like it enough. I took it 9-7, I think it was.  I just couldn't miss it seemed.  Anyway, here's my break and run from the league match:

I'm still waiting for the day when I don't have to rely on a lucky bump to get out.  I mean, I botched the 6 pretty badly, but only because I overran position on the 5. Even though I was straight in on the 6, I tried to do too much.  I just got a friendly bounce out of the corner and and dropped the 6 elsewhere.

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Filed Under: 9-Ball · League

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