A couple weeks ago I was enjoying a glass of wine with a friend I had not seen in a few months, and our conversation eventually turned to pool. Imagine that! He had been following my pool progress over the last couple of years, and he asked me the following question: “Why do you miss?” I immediately gave him the following canned answers: “Because I don’t concentrate, because I don’t think three shots ahead, because I make bad decisions when choosing between an aggressive shot versus a safety, because I get in a hurry and I sacrifice my fundamentals, because I hit the balls too hard, because… because… because…”
After satisfying him with my supposedly well thought out answers, our conversation went on to other topics; however, my analytical mind was stuck in an infinite loop: was my response really accurate? Sure, all of my responses were valid responses, but I didn’t feel like I was being honest with him and telling him the truth. WHY DO I MISS? REALLY?
If I’m on a mission to transform myself and my game, shouldn’t I know the answer? Shouldn’t I be confident in my response? You would think so; however, I wasn’t really sure why I missed shots. In my response to him, I had merely taken some facts that I knew to be true and in one broad stroke painted the best possible answer I could come up with. I was being intellectually dishonest. The truth is, I don’t know why I miss.
It’s time to change that. I’ve designated today as an official “pool day” for me. I’ll be practicing at California Billiards most of the day with one primary goal in my mind: I need to figure out why I miss shots. It’s time to take some of my own advice: (1) practice thoughtfully (with purpose) and (2) take notes. My plan for the day is to take notes every time I miss a shot to document why I missed the shot. With my background in statistics and process improvement, I’m quite certain my post practice analysis will identify trends and factors that are contributing to my goofs. I’ll use that knowledge to plan future practice sessions to focus exclusively on those items and try to reduce or eliminate them entirely. Because I’m such a data analysis geek, I’ll be happy to share the results with you…I might even provide a graph or two! I’m sure you can’t wait. Ha!