Saturday, June 27, 2009

Cruel summer

9-Ball Break & Run/Break Cue Challenge: Week 1

After setting up my challenge of having a 9-ball break and run before Vegas, I realized I needed to set a few parameters, or I could end up chasing my tail, trying to run unrunnable rack after unrunnable rack, and just wasting my practice time.

So, here are the rules: I can count any break & run in a league match or any other friendly match up. During practice, I get only 5 attempts per week. I can try to run as many racks as I want, but I have to choose, before the break, whether its a challenge rack.

During league, I played well, but none of my breaks produced layouts that were likely to earn me my break cue. No patch. No break cue. Maybe during practice.

Last night, I practiced for a bit, and was feeling pretty good. I hit one practice rack of 9-ball and then started on my 5 challenge racks. First 3 racks, I make a ball every time, control the cue ball, I have a shot on the 1, but either the 2 or the 3 is in a bad spot, so I don't get very far.

Rack #4, I get a good break. The balls spread out evenly. The cue ball centers itself nicely. The 1-ball stops just short of rolling in the side pocket. Dry-break. Grrrr. I go ahead anyway, thinking maybe I should count runs off a dry-break. After all, you're actually pocketing one more ball, right?

I focus on each shot, and get pretty much perfect on each one, until the 6. Of course, I actually put the cue ball where I wanted it. Then I walked to the other side of the table and looked at the shot and thought "What was I thinking. This shot sucks." Fortunately, the 7 was a hanger, so I make the 6,7,8. I'm a little steeper and closer on the 9 than I wanted, but still very makeable.

This could be it.

I start writing in my follow up blog post entitled "Well, that was easy."

I'm lined up. It looks right. I think about how I wrote in my last blog post that I run down to the nine and miss. I think this time is different.

So, what happened?

Did I:
a) Go ahead and pull the trigger.
b) Stop myself. Realize this was for a break cue. This was like a $200+ shot. I had a little too much stream of consciousness going on to be fully focused on making this $200 dollar shot. I got up again. Centered myself and nailed it.

Do I really have to say...the answer is A!

Get up. If you're not sure, if you're not committed, if the shot matters, get up!

Rack #5. Make a ball. Center the cue ball. Shot on the 1. The 3 is completely buried and I don't see a break out.

This is a great challenge for me and I feel like I'm learning a lot, just from the 5 racks I shot last night.

Obviously, I really need to bear down on the 9 more, but my break needs a lot of work. Not sure why the making a ball tends to go with a clustered rack. I've noticed that before. When I break dry, I usually leave my opponent an easy rack.

I haven't spent a lot of time on my break, because I was advised early on, that until you can run out, its not the best use of your time. If I'm going to stick to my original goal of an actual break and run, now may be the time.

No comments: