Hell Week!

What did this week look like for me?  Lots of federal taxes, state taxes, and loads of unpaid overtime at work.  But hey, that was the GOOD part of this week.  The BAD part?  Not a single day of pool practice!!  I did, however, play in a 9 ball tournament on Wednesday night.  I didn’t win the tournament, but I did play pretty well.  On Thursday, I spent a little time collecting some thoughts about my performance, and put together a list of what’s working and not working.  Here’s the list:

What was working well:
 – Shooting natural routes and staying in line on most shots
 – Mid and long range kicks
 – Mid and long range banks
 – Mid and short range very tough cut shots (near 90 degrees)
 – Long and Mid distance safeties
 – Combinations (2 for 2)
 – Break shots (Made the 9 on the break 3/13 breaks!)

What was not working well:
 – Short (acute angle) kicks
 – Short (acute angle) banks
 – Long range reverse cuts ~ half ball hits (CB hits the right side of the OB)
 – Very long range tough cuts (~80 degrees: missed 3 of 4 shots)
 – Scratched the cue ball in the side pocket 4 innings in a row! (I bet I couldn’t do that again if I tried!)

Tournament Summary: Most games started with safety battles to get control of the table.  Due to all the practice I put in over the last couple of weeks on banks and kicks (mostly kicks), I was able to play this part of the game pretty effectively.  I still missed some small angle kicks, but I was pretty pleased with my mid and long distance kicks. 

In my first match, I somehow managed to scratch in the same side pocket 4 innings in a row.  That was pretty unbelieveable.  Eventually, my opponent got to the hill 3 games before me.  On the hill, he broke and didn’t make anything.  I hit a table length 1-9 bank combo for the win.  (I’ll diagram that one tomorrow!)  On the next rack, I broke and made the 9 on the break.  Then we were hill-hill.  On my next break, I made a ball, could see the 1 ball, and ran the table for the win.  Wahoooo!

What’s next?  Overall, I was very happy with my progress on banks and kicks.  It made my early game play much stronger, but I still have a lot of work to do.  I’m planning to spend the next two weeks working on nothing but kicks, banks, and safeties.  These are the tools that allow you to fight through the initial battles to control the table, and can earn you ball in hand, which often leads to wins.

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2 responses to “Hell Week!

  1. Love your blogs and look forward to watching your progress. Also love that your putting the shots online as well. Your blog really helps keep me motivated. Just had one question. You mentioned in past post that you will only accept completion of a drill if you make 80%. How do you calculate your 80%? What I mean is how many shots are you shooting in order to calculate your percentage? Thanks and good luck.

    • Chris, here’s what I’m doing. Each week I plan to learn five new shots. “Learn” means burning an image of the shot into my head and being able to pass the proficiency test. For each new shot, I place hole punches on the table to mark cue ball, object ball and final cue ball target locations. Then I set up and shoot 3 or 4 sets of balls (slowly and thoughtfully – 45 to 60 shots) and make necessary adjustments as I “learn” the shot. When I feel confident, or just plain tired, I shoot the “proficiency test.” The test is 1 set of balls (15). If I make 10 of 15, my score is 66.7%. Sometimes I extend the test for 5 or 10 additional shots if I’m on the verge of passing, but generally I don’t. When I come back another day and retest, I usually combine test results, with heavier weighting on the most recent test results. At the end of the week, I move on to the next set of 5 shots regardless of my scores. I don’t want to risk boredom, which leads to lack of focus and bad habits. I do go back and work on shots from previous weeks that I haven’t passed yet. I also go back and spend brief time on shots that I’ve already passed just to help the brain/arm circuit remember the shots. I hope this helps!

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