I added another six shots to my training program today – Shots 37 – 42. Now that I’ve added them, I guess I need to actually get to the table and shoot them. First, I’m off to Jeffrey’s Hamburgers in Menlo Park to enjoy one of the best hamburgers in the world. Then, maybe a little practice. Have a nice weekend!!
Well, it’s about time – I finally got back into my normal practice routine. This week I added six more shots to my training program. My progress on these shots, or rather the lack thereof, only serves to illustrate the negative consequences of spending too much time away from the table. Yes, muscle memory is a fickle thing. I may take a trip over to California Billiards on Sunday to see if I can get in a little extra practice or maybe play a match or two. To see the shots I added, just click on the training program tab and look for shots 31-36.
Ever have one of those days where nothing seems to go right? Yesterday I practiced at the CBC for about an hour. Ok, “practiced” may not be the operative word…more like “hacked.” Fairly early on I started missing shots that I would normally make in my sleep. At one point I noticed my bridge was loose, so I firmed it up. I then noticed I was not setting up the bridge to hit center ball correctly, so I moved my bridge hand over a little. Then I noticed I wasn’t in line with the shot, so I stood up, repositioned, and got into my stance again. Later on I realized I was poking at the ball, not stroking. After a few more misses, I realized I was rushing between shots. Then I finally started noticing that my cue tip was landing a couple inches off to the right at the end of every shot. Argghhh! Argghhh! AAARRRRRGGGHHHHHH!!! Just one of those days when your head is not in the game.
I got home late last night, and caught the last few racks of the title match of the US Open 10-ball Championship. The tournament was held at the Riviera Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. Lee Vann Corteza of the Philippines was playing Hi Wen Lo of China. The match seemed to last forever, as each player walked around the table and examined each shot from multiple angles before shooting. And who could blame them with $20,000 on the line?
I was able to watch the tournament over the internet, via The Action Report. No commercials, no interruptions, just pool. As I mentioned in a previous post from March 19, 2010, TAR is the site created by Justin Collett and Chad Pullman. Their intention was to create a website to stream matches on the internet to promote the game that we all love, especially the action side. They teamed up with Ustream.tv to broadcast the event live, for FREE!. The coolest feature was the sidebar tweeting. I was able to log in and join other spectators in providing commentary on the match as it progressed. It was a blast…kinda like MST3000 with lots of irreverent comments and witticisms, but better since WE were the ones providing the comments. Very Cool!! Oh, by the way, Lee Vann Corteza won the match 13-12 and bagged a cool $20,000. I know I’ll never play at that level, but it was great to watch such talented players. Maybe someday…..
I got back to California Billiards today after a couple weeks on the road. I played a very good local player in a 9 ball match race to 7. I missed a few shots, and quickly fell behind 6-3. When he said, “I’m on the hill,” it was a wakeup call. I just relaxed and focused on each individual shot. I also implemented my 95% confidence rule: “If I’m not 95% confident that I can make the shot and get position on the next shot, shoot a safety.” I subsequently shot 3 or 4 very tough safeties in a row, and was able to fight back and win the match 7-6. After we shook hands, he told me that my pure shooting abilities were great, but he thought my biggest weakness was the short game; i.e. controlling the cue ball for very short distances in order to gain position. The remedy he suggested? Start practicing straight pool. It’s good for developing precise cue ball control over short distances and hitting with pocket speed.
Afterward, I practiced 14.1 solo for about 45 minutes. My first 5 innings were 14, 14, 8, 6, 14. I just couldn’t get correct position on the break ball. I’m afraid that 14.1 may become an addiction. I need to study up on the break shots for transitioning from rack to rack. Hopefully I’ll get back to a regular practice routine again this week.
This is Arizona?
Sorry I haven’t posted in a few days. I’m traveling on business in Phoenix, AZ this week. Been crazy busy with work, but I’ve still been able to find a little time for sight seeing. Visited a couple pool halls in the area this week, and I plan to write up a little on each. But now I’m faced with a delimma: here I sit in my hotel room on a Wednesday night, it’s my last night here, and I can either keep working (it’s already 8:30pm), or I can take a break and hit the town. Hummm, that’s a tough decision! Let’s see how fast I can run out the door!
In my post from April 21, I presented a banking system that I learned from Bob Henning’s great book The Advanced Pro Book. Any time you adopt a system from someone else, you should always test it and make sure that it works for you. In the words of the late great martial artist Bruce Lee, “Absorb what is useful, and throw away the rest.” After much experimentation, I discovered that some of the numbers presented by Bob did not work for me. I’ve revised this aiming system to match with my own peculiar idiosyncrasies. Below I present the final banking system that I will be using from now on. The numbers below have been revised to match with my particular aiming methods, typical speed of hit, and overall playing style. If you take this system and apply it to your game, make sure you experiment and verify the accuracy of the numbers for yourself. Good luck!
After two and a half weeks of having absolutely no time to play pool (traveling for work, etc.), I finally was able to pick up my cue stick again and knock the balls around for a couple hours. Wow, it felt good! I shot several sets of table length shots to the corner just to focus on fundamentals, then I shot a few sets of bank shots. Afterwards, I played the ghost with eight balls, and broke even 5-5. Overall, a pretty good session. It feels really good to get back into a groove. Hopefully, this week will be filled with more practice sessions as I pick back up again with my normal workout plan. More later this week.