Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Flipping the switch

Exhaustion. Bad equipment. Lower level player. Last match of the night. This is a dangerous combination that leads to uninspired pool.

How is it that last week, I played a six, and I played like a monster (well,for me anyway). The next night, my play was a little less monstrous, but when I wasn't quite as in stroke I started playing smart and had a strong win.

Last night, I must have been brain dead. A year ago I probably would have been really happy with the way I shot, but now it was not up to par. Its great to play under ideal conditions: good equipment, an opponent that inspires me, fresh, relaxed and having fun. Unfortunately, sometimes I need to play a late night or an opponent that may not bring out the best of my game. None of that is an excuse for not focusing.

So here's what I see when I think about last night:

* Tiredness really affects my approach to the ball and my eye pattern. I wasn't focusing in on the object ball when stepping into the shot or before shooting. My whole rhythm was off.

* I should have gone for ball in hand when I had the chance, even if I had open shots and a possible out.

* When I play on slow cloth & with a heavy cue ball, I have trouble getting the feel of the table and it throws off my stroke somehow. Last night, I was playing really tentatively, when under those conditions I probably should be hitting my balls with some confidence.

*I don't really like how my cue plays with a heavy cue ball--there's a little too much vibration. If the house cues are any good (which last night they weren't), I sometimes switch because it just feels like a more solid hit. (But maybe I'm just making excuses there. I've never heard of anyone switching cues because of the cue ball).

*Chewing gum helps.

But all that aside, none of those things really matter if I'm "on." And by that I don't mean "in the zone" or "in stroke." If I'm on, I'm hungry for the win. I can adjust to my weaknesses and conditions. I can find a way to win, even if I'm not shooting up to par. I can be sleep-deprived, on anti-histamines after having just lost my wallet and my boyfriend has shown up right before I start playing so he can break up with me and then sits down at the bar and makes out with his new girlfriend.

Yep, if I'm "on", who cares about the cue ball, the time, the ex-boyfriend....I'll find a way to dig deep and find something extra to hang tough until I put the money ball away....I just need to find a way to flip the switch, even in those moments when I'd rather be in bed.

No comments: