Thursday, December 31, 2009
Check out this press release:
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Play vs. Work
Dan stopped by yesterday, an unplanned visit, to shoot some pool. It has been several months since our last session on the table, and with his taking on a new job and me out of competition this year, we were both somewhat out of stroke. However, every time we get together, we both compete fiercely because we both want to win, so it's always a good match.
This time, however, I decided up front to just relax and have fun. Sure, I wanted to win, but since I had not practiced at all recently, there was no expectation of winning.
In fact, just two days before, a couple of friends stopped by for some 3 player cut-throat pool, and again, it was just pure fun, not at all serious, and I played very well, winning almost every game. So it was with this precedent that yesterday I just dropped the whole idea of competition in favor of pure play.
An interesting thing happened: I learned a few things that I almost certainly would not have learned if I was in serious competition! We played a game of straight pool to 100 points, and normally we both play very tight, with lots of safeties, but this time, with no requirement to win, I played a lot more loosely, and took several break shots that involved multi-ball carom/combinations buried in the rack. A couple of shots didn't score, but some produced spectacular results.
These sorts of shots appear often in straight pool, and you'll never know if they will go unless you take them. Some of these shots are marginal, or so outrageous that any smart competitor will choose to play safe rather than take a chance of opening the rack for the opponent.
So, in a way, serious competition can keep you from trying these shots, and learning more about what makes them work (or not). Sometimes, only pure play can teach us important lessons. Advice of the day: lighten up, go play, and learn something new!
Work consists of whatever a body is obliged to do.
Play consists of whatever a body is not obliged to do.
Man is most nearly himself
when he achieves the seriousness of a child at play.
The true object of all human life is play.
Earth is a task garden; heaven is a playground.
We don't stop playing because we grow old;
we grow old because we stop playing.
George Bernard Shaw
Friday, December 18, 2009
Turning Stone Tournament, Live Streaming Video
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Pool Synergy Index
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
What I Learned From My Father the Grifter
No, not MY father (he was a car salesman, and one of the good ones).
"What I Learned From My Father the Grifter" is the title of a story in Men's Journal about a gambler/grifter/pool hustler which continues the legend of pool players as the evil underbelly of society.
Read it at http://www.mensjournal.com/my-father-the-grifter
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Breathing, rhythm, consistency, control
Notice how your body and your mind relax when you breathe out.
This is good.
A relaxed body is healthy.
A relaxed mind is clear, unworried, free of stress.
Learning breath control is one of the most important things you can do to improve your pool game, and your life in general. I learned this when I was learning and practicing yoga every day over a period of years. In yoga, breath control is essential to build strength and flexibility. With this background in yoga, I started to learn pool, and it was surprising to me that there was virtually nothing written about how breath control is integrated into the sport. So I had to experiment on my own. Soon I discovered that it is best for me to start releasing my breath just prior to releasing my stroke, and in such a way as to still be releasing that same breath after the stroke is finished.
I also learned the importance of the pre-shot routine and I made breathing a definite part of the pre-shot routine, coupled closely with walking around the table as a way to relax, get into a rhythm, see more options, line up the shot more effectively, and add consistency to my game. This was one of the secrets that El Maestro Tony Sorto mentioned over and over: rhythm. Unfortunately, in the early days of my pool education, I had no idea what he was talking about when he mentioned rhythm... I just wanted to put the ball in the pocket. I was completely unconscious of the finer points of the game. Rhythm is created by our breathing, and our movements. It starts with breathing.
I discovered over time that rhythm is the visual music which is evident when a player's movements are consistent from one shot to the next. Rhythm is revealed in how quickly or slowly the player moves, how he carries his body, facial expressions, how he sits while waiting for a shot, etc.
For players with the best rhythm (in my humble opinion), I suggest you study Allison Fisher and Ralf Souquet. You will notice that they are in total control, starting with their breathing, their emotions, their moves, their strokes, their game. Carefully study their behavior when they are not shooting and you will see that they are in such total control that it is almost inconceivable that they would miss a shot.
These are the best examples I can think of to study the effectiveness of consistent control of breathing as a method for emotional and physical control through rhythm.
Pool Synergy, What is YOUR Pool Story?
This article is the 2nd in a series of posts written in coordination with other pool bloggers entitled "PoolSynergy" .
To see others, go to: http://www.pooltipjar.com/2009/12/poolsynergy-volume-ii/
Assignment: Write an "interesting pool related story that either happened to you or that you heard of that inspired you in some way, e.g. a moral to the story".
Deadline: December 10, 2009, 10AM
I have already published hundreds of pool stories, many without any moral and/or interesting content, so to save the reader a lot of time, I then summarized the better stories into a book called "Invincible". It's free. Click the link. So I'm done. End of FastMikie stories.
Instead, let's talk about you and your pool story.
You have almost certainly heard that we are all the masters of our fate, that we can achieve whatever we passionately pursue. It's interesting to me that if this is true, then why do so many people do so little with their lives? The answer, in many cases, is that we have difficulty truly believing that we can do anything we commit to. It's an overwhelming thought. And even if we might be able to accomplish something extraordinary, how do we do it? Did you ever take a course titled "How to get whatever you want"? Me neither. But, over time, and with a lot of study and trial and error, I was able to figure it out. And that's when it really got interesting for me because I started to simplify my System for Success, and prove it in the pursuit of my goals, and now it is second nature to me.
You can do it too. Your story of pool, and the story of your life in general, when you look back on it from some future date, can be anything you imagine it to be, if you follow a simple procedure: Think - Plan - Do - Repeat. I have written about this and put the basics into a Quick Start Guide which you can download here.
In last month's Pool Synergy article, I promised to discuss Your Plan for Excellence in Pool. Without a Plan, your life will be ruled by Random Events, so your personal pool story has almost zero chance to turn out the way you want. A plan is essential. It is the road map for how you get where you want to be, starting where you are right now.
A plan is given enormous power if it is written down and reviewed frequently, and updated with what you have learned along the way. Even more power is generated if it is revealed to other people who can help you. There is an old saying that if you fail to plan, you are in essence planning to fail. So there is really no alternative if you truly want to achieve anything worth while. You must have a plan.
Start now. Pick up a pen and start to write your Plan for Excellence in Pool. What should it look like? Amazingly, it really doesn't matter what your plan looks like in the beginning because one of the secrets to success is that any plan is better than no plan. Part of the planning process is that you will continue to update your plan as you progress toward your goals. Your plan will continue to get better. The most important thing is to start. To get you started, consider these words, which are the most powerful I have ever read because they reveal how you can use the laws of the universe in your favor:
Until one is committed, there is hesitancy,
the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness.
Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation),
there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which
kills countless ideas and splendid plans:
That the moment one definitely commits oneself,
then Providence moves too.
All sorts of things occur to help one
that would never otherwise have occurred.
A whole stream of events issues from the decision,
raising in one's favor all manner of unforeseen incidents
and meetings and material assistance, which no man
could have dreamed would have come his way.
Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it.
Boldness has Genius, Power and Magic in it.
Begin it now!
and here's another famous quote:
If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams,
and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined,
he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.
He will put some things behind, will pass an invisible boundary;
new, universal, and more liberal laws
will begin to establish themselves around and within him;
or old laws will be expanded and interpreted in his favor in a more liberal sense,
and he will live with the license of a higher order of beings.
To me, these are beautiful thoughts, to "live with the license of a higher order of beings"? It is a promise made to us by some of the greatest minds our world has ever known. A promise to each of us, all equal in our abilities to imagine a future of our own desires. All we need to do is take that next step, and keep on taking one step at a time, until we have achieved our dreams. Planned steps, of course.
To get you started, check out my Plan for Excellence in Pool, 2008 and 2007. This will give you a framework you can use to customize your own plan.
Begin it Now!
This article is the first of a series of posts written in coordination with other pool bloggers entitled "PoolSynergy" . This first month's theme is STRATEGY. To see others, go to:
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