Sunday, July 17, 2011


A super quick blog post....I watched the end of the British Open today (yes, golf, not pool). I'm not a big golf fan, but I enjoyed watching Darren Clarke's last couple of shots to win his first major at the age of 42, on his 20th try in this particular event. He apparently gave credit to his success to this piece of advice: "Don't let your game determine your attitude, let your attitude determine your game."

Perhaps easier said than done...still inspiring to see it happen.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

How would you play this?: Its the little things.....

Okay, this isn't a pool table scenario I'm asking about, but a match scenario (besides I still haven't figured out cue table): When someone is distracting you during a match, what do you do?

Here are a couple of scenarios that happened recently:

1. My opponent nervously twitches his feet or swings his legs back and forth every time he sits down. I doubt that he's even aware he's doing it. But every time I shoot in his direction its like two giant Nike hummingbirds in my view.

2. A friend of my opponent comes to sweat the match, and then engages in a conversation with the tournament director in a normal conversational voice. But the way the seating is arranged, they are very close to the table. Its impossible to not hear every word of their conversation.

Did this affect the outcome of my match? Maybe, especially the second case. But, the blame really lies in my own distractibility. If the focus wasn't there in the first place, maybe I'm just kidding myself and I wasn't going to play that well, period.

In the first case, the foot-twitcher, leg-swinger, I didn't say anything until after the match. He's a nice guy who wouldn't want to shark his opponents, but because I lost it kind of seemed like sour grapes and that was my excuse for losing (even though that's not how I felt). Plus, its too late to do me any good.

In the second case, the chatty TD & by-stander, I probably gave a couple of passive aggressive looks of death that went unnoticed. I just wasn't comfortable saying anything to them because it seemed like they had a right to be there.

In both cases, I got especially irritated because I thought these people should know better, and be more courteous (a thought that surely helped fuel any death looks).

In principle,
I think its my job as a player to block out distractions, so I'm reluctant to say anything unless I consider the "distractor" a friend. Otherwise, I just need to suck it up. After all, if I were in the Philippines, I'd have to deal with much worse.

In reality,
while there are some states of deep concentration where nothing can bother you, the truth is that most of the time, even when your playing well, we aren't that well-protected from our immediate surroundings. Stuff gets to me, to everyone (or at least a lot of people). So, another way to look at this is that the problem isn't just my inability to block out the distraction, but its also my discomfort with conflict. Maybe I should be more assertive?

But, there are downsides to saying something. Speaking up about a distraction (or even delivering looks of death), is admitting a weakness to your opponent. And in the past where I've tried to be more assertive, I've ended up feeling like I sharked myself more by saying something because the request was not well-received.

What works for you? Do you keep it all inside and just deal?