Did your dentist ever tell you that lie? Have you ever told yourself that lie? I’ve been saying for some time that in order to improve your game, you need to have the intestinal fortitude to face up to your weaknesses, understand them, and address them in a structured manner. That sounds like great advice, if I do say so myself, until I have to follow it myself! After my hill/hill loss last night, I’m feeling like I’ve been in the chair for the last twelve hours and someone forgot to give me the Novocain injection. Morphine! Can we get some morphine over here?!!!
So, what happened last night? Why did I lose? On the surface, it’s hard to say. We both shot pretty well. The final score was 4-5, and we had a total of only 13 innings over the 9 game match. There was some safety play involved, but obviously not a whole lot. Almost all of the games followed one of the following three scenarios: (1) break, runout, (2) break, safe, kick, runout, or (3) break, run, miss, runout. In thinking back through the racks, here’s my performance assessment: (1) my shot making was great, (2) my safety play was pretty darn good, (3) my pattern play was good/fair, and (4) my cluster management and clearance was a little weak. I talked to my opponent (who happens to be a good friend of mine) after the match to discuss the match and various practice techniques to help with improvement in my weaker areas. He suggested that I take up 14.1 because it provides lots of practice with short distance control and also cluster management. After considering his advice, I hate to admit it, but he’s probably correct. Intellectually, I’m a big fan of 14.1. Practically, I don’t like it. Why? Because it’s hard! On the other hand, if I’m honest with myself, the fact that it’s hard for me is obviously an indication that I have a skill deficit related to 14.1 which needs to be addressed. *sigh* Now I’ll have to reassess my strategy for next season…play 8 ball, play 9 ball, play 14.1, play one pocket? Aarrrggghhhh! Where’s that morphine?!!