Monthly Archives: December 2011

PoolSynergy December 2011

How do you recharge your batteries?

Welcome to the 26th edition of PoolSynergy, a collection of some of the best writing the pool world has to offer.  For the December edition of PoolSynergy, it was my privilege to select a topic for discussion, and with the holiday season approaching I knew exactly what I wanted to write about.  It is well known that playing great pool requires a lot of time and dedication.  I absolutely love the game; however, based on my personal experience I know there are times when I overload on pool and need to take a break from the table.

This is especially true during the holiday season.  This is the time of year when we serious pool junkies begin to notice the non-pool playing parts of our lives are jockeying for our attention and we lose mental focus.  There are holiday parties with friends that we are expected to attend, work related gatherings that we need to survive, family reunions we need to endure (and enjoy), holiday shopping to be done, religious celebrations to attend, etc.  With the holiday season approaching, I began to wonder:  (1) what should I do with my time if I take a break from the table, (2) what do other pool players do when they are away from the table, and (3) how do we recharge our emotional and/or physical batteries so that we can come back to the table feeling physically and mentally refreshed and ready to play?  This month, the PoolSynergy writers accepted the arduous task of addressing the topic: How do you recharge your batteries? 

Our first contributor is John Risner.  John is a first time contributor to PoolSynergy and we are very happy to welcome him to the community.  John is a pool player and blogger from Tennessee who has challenged himself to train for and win the Men’s U.S. Amateur Championship Title.  John’s article first provides a humorous yet frighteningly accurate description of how otherwise ordinary human beings get hooked on the game, then he provides some insight into how he handles himself in situations where most players get discouraged and get burned out.  Check out John’s article here.

Next up is Suzanne Smith, a pool player and blogger from Washington.  Suzanne is now a two time contributor to PoolSynergy and we are very happy to have her back.  You may recognize her name…she is the 2011 U.S. Amateur Women’s Champion!!!  This month, Suzanne gives us a look at some of her off season activities, which includes spending time with her family, taking lessons, watching live streaming matches, and planning her pool tournament schedule for the upcoming year.  Check out Suzanne’s article here.

Melinda, aka Trigger, is an avid pool player and award winning blogger who hails from the great state of Texas.  Melinda provides us with some very sound advice: when life throws us curveballs and we get mentally derailed from our game, one method for getting back on track is to set goals and hold ourselves accountable.  You can read Melinda’s article here.

Mike Fieldhammer is a professional pool player and frequent blogger from Minnesota.  This month Mike provides us with some fantastic advice on how to avoid burnout.  Playing pool is Mike’s full time job, so he certainly has a vested interest in making sure he keeps his game sharp.  Whether he’s involved in summertime activities, traveling on the road to big tournaments, or enduring the normal day to day pool grind, Mike has lots of experience and advice on keeping your mental game up and avoiding burnout.  Read Mike’s article here.

John Biddle is a dedicated player from Florida who is also the father of the entire PoolSynergy effort.  John decided to turn this month’s PoolSynergy topic on its head and describe how he uses the game of pool itself as a tool to recharge his batteries so he can deal with life away from the table.  You can read all about John’s thoughts here.

Our 6th PoolSynergy contributor for the month of December is Johnny, a dedicated pool player and blogger from Missouri.  This month, Johnny provides some insight and advice on how to handle ourselves “when the balls seem to blur and the cue seems infinitely curved… ”.  You can check out Johnny’s article here.

And rounding out this month’s collection of articles is my very own contribution.  I have decided to take a few months off from pool.  Unfortunately, I’ve reached that burnout point and now I need some time away from the table to rebalance my life and try to rediscover that inner fire that has fueled the last two years of my pool journey.  Fear not, my pool playing days are not over…I just need a break.  I expect to return to the table in April of 2012.  Until then, you will continue to see periodic updates and musings on my blog.  You can read more about my vacation from pool in my article here.


Taking a Break to Recharge

As the host of this month’s pool synergy forum, I wanted to write about a topic that I was familiar with and was also relevant for me.  Over the last two years, I’ve been laser focused on improving my pool game and I believe the prolonged intensity caught up with me this fall about a month before the preliminary round of the 2011 U.S. Amateur Championships.  I was beginning to lose my desire to compete and was mentally exhausted.  In October I somehow managed to pull myself together and was able to win the preliminary round of the U.S. Amateur Championships held in Northern California, but then I immediately reverted back to my mental/emotional slump and couldn’t motivate myself to do any additional training.  After traveling to Florida in November and competing in the finals of the U.S. Amateur Championships, I finally admitted to myself that I was having trouble focusing and I needed to take a break from the game. 

For the entire month of December and probably the first three months of 2012, I’ve decided to take a break from playing pool.  I just need some time to recharge my batteries, reorganize my life, and get refocused on what my goals are in pool and life.  For the time being, here’s my plan for refreshing and recharging myself:

(1) I’m totally revamping my diet.  I’ve gotten rid of all of my junk food, kicked my diet coke addiction, started eating more raw vegetables like carrots, celery, broccoli, etc., drastically reduced my intake of useless starchy carbs and began eating only when hungry, not when the clock tells me it’s time to eat.

(2) I’ve transitioned from being a semi-professional couch potato to adopting a new (and sustainable) exercise program which includes 3 or 4 days of running per week, plus 3 or 4 days of gym work.  The exercise is making a big difference in my energy level and is also a good stress reliever and mental gunk cleanser.

(3) I’m spending a lot of time with friends and family.  I’m flying back east to see my family during the holidays and also plan to take a trip to see some snow in late December.  I think spending a few days at Lake Tahoe or Yosemite will do wonders for me.  My main focus will be resting and relaxation, and maybe I’ll enjoy a little hot cocoa while snuggling up to a cozy fire.  🙂

My intention in making these changes is to be a healthier person both physically and mentally, allow myself to get some rest, rebalance my life, and come back to the pool world next year with a fresh new focus and attitude.  So that’s about it for me.  I plan to periodically provide updates to this blog on my thoughts and musings on pool, so stay tuned.  After all, although I’m taking a short break from the table, I’m still an incorrigible pool player at heart.