Saturday, April 28, 2007

El Stinko - the skunk

Boy was I off this week. Wednesday I went 1-2, but never really felt I was "in" my games. I started to focus a little on the last game against the best player of the bunch, but then I made a truly obvious scratch on the 8. I looked at the potential scratch and thought I was okay. But in playing the tape back, I should have known better. I mean, really, I think that a month ago, I would have looked at the shot and said, "Oh, I just need to put some follow on that to be sure I'm okay." On Wednesday, it didn't even occur to me.

And Thursday, I managed to eke out one game but I mostly just stunk. My Thursday night team, for some reason, does not play well against lower ranked teams. I know people say its because we must let our guard down, but I don't think that's it. Its true that I don't like the tables at the 3 bars I'm thinking of. They are smaller, and and there's just not a good atmosphere around them.

Mostly, though I'm burnt out. Work has been emotionally taxing this week. Doing two nights of back to back pool is just too much. The Thursday night team is losing momentum, I'm sorry to admit. I've been playing a lot of pool on the side as well and I think I'm starting to get sloppy and casual about it.

I've also felt the absence of my two favorite coaches on both my teams. I get good advice from all my teammates (much of it contradictory, which is to be expected). But sometimes you just get too many tips rattling around in your brain, when what you really need to hear is "I really like the way you play." "You're really improving." "True, you missed that shot, but I really liked the speed on it." I get positive feedback as well, but I think people forget that its important that advice is best served with a spoonful of sugar (although its got to be real), and that I don't really want to analyze my mistakes until my game is over.

Anyway, so what's the plan of actions:

Love the table I'm playing on, no matter what. I think I sometimes don't realize this is bothering I need to acknowledge it, and then let it go, and decide to love the Jeanette Lee suggested in her Sept 2006 Billards Digest Columnn

Take a break: I'm going to play less this week. No more than every other day, and I'm going to focus on drilling fundamentals, and talking myself through my pre-shot routine.

Talk to my teammates. I may ask my teammates to give me positive feedback during my matches. But I also have to learn to be gentle to myself, ESPECIALLY when I 'm tired and don't want to be there.

Take a moment before my match to "check-in." Rather than just charging into my match and trying to stay focused and positive. I think I need to take a moment to just acknowledge what's floating through my mind. Am I excited to play? How do I feel about the opponent? the table? my nerves? Look at it, and let it go. Remember all the other times I felt that way, and still managed to play well despite the odds.

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