(Sunday, 8/1) – Sunday, the day of reckoning. I’d already put in about 15 hours of practice in the last 3 days, but I still hadn’t done much work on the shots from The Pro Book. I guess today will be that day. I arrived at Universe Billiards again around 12:30, and grabbed table 18 again. No horsing around, no “friendly” games, today was serious pool practice day. I ordered an extra large diet Coke with lots of ice (Whooaah! He must be serious!) and got down to business.
I warmed up for about 20 minutes by shooting very slowly, thinking about every aspect of my preparation, stance, stroke, eye movement, and execution processes before pulling the trigger. Yes, it felt good. My stance and stroke felt steady and seemed to be working well. I set up some new shots from the Pro Book, and spent the next 3 hours focusing on 6 specific shots. Then something strange happened. I was so focused on the mechanics of the shots, I forgot to keep score. I think I shot the shots pretty well, but I don’t have any objective evidence. (Ooops!)
I knew I was shooting pretty well, so I decided to change my practice session and start working on pattern play and run outs. I played a modified version of 8 ball that I call “Break and Run”. Here’s how it’s played. You start with the standard 8 ball break. Immediately after the break, you stop and slightly modify the final resting positions of certain object balls so ensure that no object ball is within 6 inches of a rail, and no object ball is within 6 inches of another ball. The purpose of this modification is to remove clusters and create a table layout that can theoretically be run. You then take ball in hand, and attempt to run the table. In essence, this practice game is all about offense: you either run the table or you lose. Since it is theoretically possible to run any table configured in this manner, there’s extra pressure to plan correctly and execute without error. I didn’t keep track of time for this part of my workout, but over the next 17 racks, I ran the table 13 times. I thought that was pretty good, at least for me.
All in all, I practiced about 5 hours today, and I have to say, I’m tired, both mentally and physically. The transition from my old cue took a little longer than I had anticipated, requiring some modifications to my aiming process, especially on shots with lots of English. I have to say, though, it feels really good to get back in stroke, especially with my new cue. Now I’m going take a day off and rest up for the week ahead. Oh, I almost forgot! Check out the cute girl I met in Santa Rosa! Whoohooo!