Monthly Archives: October 2016

Insomnia

Insomnia.  Not something I experience often.  Ask anyone who knows me.  I’m usually in bed around 9 or 10 and up the next day by 4:30 or 5.  Once my head hits the pillow, I’m usually out before the filament stops glowing.  Not tonight.  After laying in bed for quite some time I flipped on the night light, grabbed Steven King’s book On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, and started reading.  After making it about half way through (I’ve already read this book 5 or 6 times) and realizing I was no closer to sleepdom, I decided to switch to something a little more heady and tiring:  John Derbyshire’s book Prime Obsession.  This is a surprisingly interesting book (if you are a math geek) about the Riemann Hypothesis and the search for a mathematical function that can deliver the prime numbers, or at least estimate how many prime numbers can be expected to occur between 0 and any number X.  Yeah, that didn’t work either.

Hence, here I sit at 2 in the morning writing an entry for my blog.  Well, look on the bright side, at least I’m posting again!  So, what’s keeping me up tonight?  I’m not sure…I’m not particularly stressed about anything, on the contrary, things are going quite well.  Maybe that’s it.  Maybe it’s the anticipation of new and exciting things that’s keeping me up?  So, what’s going on?  Well, I’m leaving my day job in less than a month.  Something I’ve known about and have been anticipating for about two years now, so I’m looking forward to that change.  The best part is….the day after I walk out of the job I’ll be catching a flight to Florida to play in the APA US Amateur Championship.  This time I will arrive in Tampa 2-3 days before the tournament begins so I can relax, take in the sights, and just hang out at Stroker’s and be a pool bum for a few days.

Oh, by the way, if you are reading this and you are located in the US, WordPress just asked me to “Encourage your US-based visitors to register to vote by adding a subtle prompt to your site.”  So here goes…..PLEASE VOTE!  How’s that for subtle?

Anyhoo, the trip to Florida should be a nice relaxing ‘pool vacation’.  In all honesty, I don’t really compete much anymore.  I play league a couple nights a week, but never really practice.  I decided today to start practicing again in preparation for Florida, so this afternoon I worked on two drills for a couple hours.  First I worked on “Classic Drill # 1“.  For this drill, I just set up and played the first 6 balls, again and again and again and again.  When I got tired of the repetition, I switched to a game I call “Throw out 5 or 6 balls, take ball in hand on the first shot, and run them out in order.”  Yeah, that’s a long title, but the exercise is a good one if you are focused and try your best to play perfect position on each shot.  I started getting a little sloppy at the two hour mark, so I quit.  My philosophy is: You compete like you practice.  If you allow yourself to get sloppy in practice, that sloppiness will creep into your actual game.

Okay, sleepiness check!   ……nope, still not sleepy.  Uh oh!  Sounds like the cat has discovered that I’m not in bed.  Guess I’d better go take care of that little noisemaker or no one in the house will get any sleep!

Ok, I’m back.  Hands and arms a little sore from performing my cat scratching duties, but still not sleepy.  Ok, a random thought…have you seen the performance of Nvidia stock over the last year?  Google “Nvidia stock” and look at the “1 Year” chart.  Pretty amazing.   And no, I do not own any Nvidia.

Tick tock tick tock tick tock tick tock.  Ok, I guess I’ll bring this post to a close.  Still not sleepy but sitting here typing doesn’t seem to be helping either.  Hopefully I’ll be hitting balls daily now until the beginning of November.  Looking forward to meeting the other competitors at the US Ams in Tampa.  Later!

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US Amateurs – How I Played Shot 2

Times up!   As a reminder, here’s the layout I was presented with in ‘shot 2’ from my last post:

usam-shot-1a

My thoughts on this situation:

  1. Thinking ahead to the eight ball, the eight ball is blocked from both the left and right upper corner pockets, so it can only realistically be pocketed into the upper side pocket via a cut shot or the lower side pocket via a bank shot.  Obviously, I’d prefer to take the higher percentage cut shot, but if forced, the bank is an option.
  2. The solid ball (yellow) is easily makeable in the upper left corner, but I won’t have a shot on the eight ball from there.
  3. My opponent’s balls (blue) are everywhere, and they are not clustered, so my opponent has a pretty good chance of running the table if (or when) I miss.
  4. …UNLESS I CAN PLAY A REALLY GOOD SAFETY!  But how can I play a safe here???

I considered the safety shot diagrammed below, but decided against it given the extreme level of speed control required, not to mention the precise thin cut needed.  I thought my probability of success on this shot was next to zero; maybe 5-10% at best:

usam-shot-1c

Well, when all else fails, I fall back to an old mantra….”When all rational shots have been considered and discarded, whatever shot remains, no matter how irrational, must be the right shot!”  …lol…

Since I’m pretty good at draw shots (it helps to know thyself!), I thought I might be able to pull off the shot diagrammed below and then finish off the rack with a sharp cut or bank on the eight ball.  Here’s the shot I planned:

usam-shot-1d

I took a few practice strokes, focusing on body position, arm mechanics, and wrist snap, then uncorked a break shot speed stroke, hit the cue ball extremely low, applied maximum wrist snap, and as much follow through as I could manage.  The resulting shot is diagrammed below:

usam-shot-1b

Without a doubt the best draw shot I’ve ever executed!  I easily pocketed the eight ball on my next shot to win the rack.