Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Thank You

Thank you to Billiards Digest for naming the #1 Female Player Site for 2007! And for calling me "charming". I will let the editor, Mason King, skate on that beer he owes me.

Thanks also to Rob Omen at for building the site.

And thank you for reading my blog!


Saturday, July 21, 2007

Getting Creative

Practice makes perfect, right? If you are struggling with cut shots, it makes more sense to get on a table and shoot cut shots for an hour than it does to wait and "practice" them when they come up in a game. When they come up in a game you want to make them not practice them.

Similarly, if you are a competitive player, you might encounter situations, not just certain shots, that will require practice. In the quest to consistently get the best performance out of yourself that you can, it is helpful to train for some of the specific situations and adversities that you routinely face.

Here is one situation that I have been struggling with lately: At WPBA events I am sometimes scheduled to play a match that starts at 10 pm and doesn't end until after midnight. The problem is that I am very keyed-up and full of adrenaline after playing and it is very hard to change gears and fall asleep so that I will be fresh in the morning. Even though I am careful about how much coffee I drink in the afternoon and I try to do relaxing things before bed, I inevitably toss and turn for hours and sleep fitfully. The next day I try my hardest to stay positive and focus but I am usually dog tired and produce a sub-par effort.

Since there are only eight pro events each year, I can't afford to "practice" playing under these circumstances while at the tournament. So, it is time to get creative and to recreate these playing conditions when I am training at home.

Here is what I have been doing (only once a week so that I get enough sleep) : I take a short nap in the afternoon followed by a couple of cups of coffee. I play some sets from about 9 pm until 1 am. I use visualization to try to get as "intense" and full of adrenaline as I would be at a Pro event. I come home and practice relaxation exercises before trying to go to sleep. I inevitably toss and turn for hours and sleep fitfully. I get up in the morning and practice visualization to energize myself and become "intense" again. Then, I go and play some more sets.

It is a strange comfort to me that I also play terribly when I recreate this situation at home. Instead of beating myself up for "dogging it" at the tournament, I realize that these are some new skills that I have to learn and practice. I also know that once I have conquered this situation in practice, I will be more familiar with it and will have more confidence in my ability to deal with it at tournaments.

I'm going back to bed now,

Photo courtesy of William Fuentes

Monday, July 9, 2007

Total Immersion

For the last two months, I have given myself over to pool completely. I am unable to talk about anything else and I'm not happy unless I am playing. This is both good and bad. Good for my game, bad for my relationships with friends and family :(

Like most pool-players, I continue to have ups and downs in performance. The ups have included some strong finishes on the Blaze Pro-Am tour and also an exciting hill-hill WPBA match with a certain Blonde Brit. And the downs... what downs? I get to play pool all day, every day, so when I look closely at it there are no real downs.

Seeking some balance, my husband and I spent the weekend visiting my parents in Vermont. I got a chance to play at Van Phan Sports in Burlington, which is one of my all-time favorite poolhalls. Van is so super-cool that she even has her own beer: Van Phan Ale. She set up a game for me while I was there so that my family could watch me in action. I got to hit them around with (and rack for) Dave Fernandez, Vermont's #1 Player.

Me and Dave at Van Phan Sports in Burlington, VT

The vacation is over now and I am ready to get back to work!