Yesterday I played in the first annual Edgie’s 9Ball Tournament. Forty players showed up for the event which was hosted by Edgie’s Billiards in Milpitas, CA. There were several good players, and guess who I drew first? Deo Alpajora, one of the top players in Northern California, and the eventual tournament winner. I got plastered 1-10. In all honesty, I can’t really say that I shot bad, I just never had anything to shoot at. Virtually every time when I got to the table, I couldn’t see the object ball, so I was kicking just to make contact. It actually was an enjoyable match, as Deo is a really nice guy, and it’s amazing to watch his cue ball control, especially his distance control. He seems to run racks effortlessly; the cue ball rolling slowly and uneventfully around the table, obediently lining up perfectly for the next shot. As I sat and watched the “exhibition” at my expense for about 45 minutes, I studied his technique, his fundamentals, and picked up a few pointers that I’ll discuss in a later post.
For the remainder of the tournament, I adopted some of his style and rhythm. I have a tendancy to overthink shots and make them too complicated. For the remainder of my journey through the 1-loss side, I started asking myself this question: “What Would Deo Do?” For every shot I encountered, I tried to think how he would approach the situation. It actually was an interesting exercise. Long story short, I eventually placed 9th, which I was actually a little disappointed with, but I still cashed out. Again, I’m not quitting my day job anytime soon, but I guess finishing in the money is a nice personal victory nonetheless.
After a good night’s rest and having mulled over my matches from yesterday, I’ve decided to make some drastic changes to my training program. For one thing, I’m not going to be so rigid and require myself to stay on some predetermined path. I’m tossing out my “Learn all the Pro Book Shots” regimen, and will be replacing it with a holistic program based on my observations of both Deo from this weekend and Diego from last weekend. I’ll be focusing on mimicing some of their behaviors, and also adopting some new drills that focus specifically on skills needed to close the gap between my current playing level and theirs. More on this later this week.