Friday, May 30, 2008

Is it possible to play your heart out each and every time?

I just have to make a quick post before I try and get some sleep--a rhetorical question to put out there into the blogosphere. I played pretty well tonight, but still lost, as did my team. It was the finals, but my team is already qualified for the local team championships, so there wasn't that much at stake for us. I could tell even during practice, the other team wanted it more and was willing to play their hearts out for it.

Not that I didn't try.

But last week, although the stakes were the same (with the added incentive that winning meant we got to play another week, and a personal quest to finally win on that god-forsaken, red-felted bar table), and yet I was able to dial in and do what it took to win. I played my heart out, and even if it had gone the other way, I think I would have felt great. This week, I shot quite well. I even had my first break and run. But I rushed some key chances early on, and then took a few too many risks later. And even if things gone the other way, I'd feel better, but not great. Because I didn't play my heart out.

There's just something about giving it your all.

I sometimes wonder why I play pool. Yeah, I like the social aspect. I like the intellectual/strategic side. I like learning. I just like watching colored spheres collide on felt (blue or green, thank you). But at the end of the day, its the chance to play my heart out and for just a little while, give my all towards one, maybe silly and ultimately meaningless goal. There's nothing quite like it. And when you don't do it, you know.

So maybe its not possible to play your heart out every time. But I got a lot of pool coming up over the next two weeks, and I'm going to try.

Monday, May 26, 2008

So many teams, so little time

Wow, it gets crazy at the end of the season if all your teams have been playing well. My little juggling game of never having two nights in a row just doesn't work come playoff time....which leaves very little time to write about it. And as much as I wish that ALL my team won last week, I'm not crying too much that only one emerged to the finals. Another week like this, and I would be completely burnt out by the time the local team championships roll around.

I played fine this week, but especially proud that I was able to anchor the winning night. I made some mistakes early on and let the other guy get on the hill--and then I really beared down and forced a safety battle where I knew I'd have the advantage. After that, I seemed to find my stroke. I just played smart, waited for my shots, and won.

Its funny, if I start out strong, I sometimes start to get nervous once I get on the hill. I can still focus, but it takes some work. This time, once I could see the finish line, even though it was hill-hill, I was completely focused and completely relaxed. When I started that last game, I felt like I was the winner already.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Kudos to OMGWTF

I just wanted to say I was happy to come home last night to discover that OMGWTF walked away with $3000 from her challenge match with cubc, that was webcast through The Action Report yesterday. Unfortunately, I was too busy losing at a tournament to be able to tune into the action.

Of course I am a fan of OMGWTF's blog, so my happiness is no surprise. I do respect that cubc followed through on his challenges, unlike the infamous hedgehog, who said he'd give her the six, and then found every excuse to duck an opportunity to do so.

Cubc said OMGWTF had the seven por vida. She took that seven all the way to the bank. If only more people had to put their money where their mouth was....they'd probably be a little more careful where they put their mouth in the first place...por vida.

Power breaking continued....

Every now and then, you're lucky enough to come across some information that makes a big difference. Most of the time in pool, I find that new knowledge takes time to find its way to being appropriately executed and incorporated into your game.

In the breaking video I posted last week, Colin Collenso recommends gripping the cue forward for more power when breaking. I'm not sure when, but at some point I know that someone recommended to me for breaking and power stroking to grip further back in order to extend your backswing and build momentum.

Today, I started following Colin's advice... and wow. One simple change. A world of improvement. Not only was I able to get a lot of power without a lot of muscle, but I was getting much, MUCH less spin on the cue ball. A good, solid, full break. Good spread. Cue ball planted dead center of the table. Wow. That was just too easy. Thanks, Colin.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

So distracting....but so much fun

Its a good thing I've been working my butt off lately, because I am getting almost nothing done at the office thanks to the live streaming of the Predator 10-ball Championship. I was just curious to check out the interface, honest. What started off as a quick coffee break, has turned into an surreptitious open tab on my browser that I obsessive watch every chance I get. I should just close that tab. But I cannot close that tab. RIP productivity. Viva la web 2.0 and 10-ball.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Straight from Shanghai - The Power Break

You got to admire a guy who records pool instructional videos on his cell phone from his home in Shanghai. Especially, when they're actually pretty good. I figure anyone who has coached shotput knows something about the powerful propulsion of spheres and is well qualified to say a thing or two about the power break.

I've had a lot of fun incorporating these tips into a new break. Of course, control is important, but I think its good to push the envelope on power and speed, too. I can always dial it down after getting a feel for the basic technique.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Please stand by

I have about two half-finished posts saved in drafts, but I can't seem to find time to finish and post them. Work has been very busy. I can't remember the last time I had a weekend off. And on top of that, I haven't had a good internet connection at home, so I've been resorting to grabbing some bandwidth along with a latte, when I have time. And when I have time, I feel less like writing and more like downloading music and TV shows and in general vegging out my overused brain.

If I post this, of course, it means, I'll probably have three real posts up by tomorrow morning. But until then....please stand by, synaptic resources are recharging.