The Criticals

kod2 poolsynergy4


It’s tax season.  The brain is cooked, fried and ready for the rub but I hope sharing the most important things in my game may help a player or two out there so here goes.


"Inside the Rack" the Most Important Strategic Thing in Pool:

….Controlling the Table….

Keeping my opponent at bay is a critical objective in my pattern selection.  In analyzing the rack, I obviously work backwards to see what my run out pattern should be, look for the problematic areas in the rack and determine how to address them. Is the run out is even viable or should a safety be in the game plan?  Where could problems come up along the way and what back up plans could I implement if my "amateur" skills get in the way of my mack-daddy pro plans?  🙂

Stu Mattana is an evil genius at the the concept of controlling the table.  His development of my "two-way" shot strategy has been an integral feature in my successes.  In this game of percentages, filtering out the low percentage shots helps you maintain CONTROL of the game.

An effective two way shot transforms a low percentage shot into a practical alternative as it enables a defensive mechanism to counteract the low pocketing percentage. 

One bit of advice when performing a two way shot; focus on one ball, either the cue ball or the object ball, not both.  The other ball, if your plan is accurate from the start, will take care of itself.  Many try to control both and lose precision in their multi-tasking efforts.  It’s hard enough controlling one round object!  ..KISS..

While the amateur in me has GREAT ideas, often my arm, body, hands and stroke don’t always agree. (LOL) Tony will say, "you took the right shot/pattern/strategy – that’s more important than the execution." 

"Well, MY SCORE doesn’t say that!" I’ll reply disgruntled.

"When your skill catches up to your brain, you’ll be light-years ahead of everyone else who focuses more on pocketing rather than out-smarting their opponent"  –TR

After I’ve won a match, one of my favorite things to hear my opponent say is, "I never really had an open shot! " 

Mission accomplished.


"Inside the Rack", the Most Important Technical Thing in Pool:

…. Become Best Friends with the Cue Ball ….

So now that we’re thinking of how to control the table, what can SCREW UP this plan’s awesomeness?  hmmmm….

kodKiss of Death challenged Reservoir Dawgz (friends of ours) to a friendly challenge match so both teams could get a sneak peak reminder of Vegas dynamics and strategies.

Once the match began, KOD found themselves down 0-4.  My match was the last match of the first round.  My opponent was running out and then missed position on a ball, played safe and missed the safe.  I stepped up for my first real look at how to control the table.  I found a pattern and went for it.  The pattern for this rack was KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid!)

Don’t Fight Whitey. 

It’s no secret, CB control is what separates the amateurs and pros.  If you control whitey, you control the rack if you control the rack, you control the game.  The easiest way to control the CB is to do the smallest amount of heavy lifting as possible.  KISS!  Many racks require little work to get out, but inconsistency in CB control lead to heavy lifting so look for the natural paths of the CB to position for the next ball.  This will make controlling whitey that much easier.

There’s a reason the pros on TV make pool look so easy. They caress the CB to naturally gain position for the next shot.  They don’t force it, they accept what the CB WANTS to do and simply help steer it’s course. 

In essence, pocketing a ball is meaningless unless you can figure out how to get shape onto the next shot within the boundaries of your kill zone.  ~another wise coach 


"Outside the Rack", the Most Important Thing about Pool:

…. Enjoy yourself ~ Embrace the Emotions ….

KODvsRDawg---89So what’s still missing?  I’m watching my strategy, focusing on my fundamentals for CB control.  What now g2?  What’s left?

..The heartbeat..

At the challenge match when I lined up for my final stripe to get on the 8-ball, I felt my nerves kick in.  Why?  It’s a silly challenge match for god sakes! And then it hit me.  This mattered to me.  This was the beginning of my emotional roller coaster through Vegas 2010.  This match, this practice, this shot, this event, everything — and you know what, it BETTER matter to me otherwise I’m wasting 5 other girl’s time! 

And something funny happened.  Rather than let my nerves take over and allow myself to have the epic mental strain and torment of calming my nerves, as I usually do ….I decided to embrace them.  I realized that these nerves are what make all that we are doing so great.  They are what make this important, exciting and worthwhile.  

…The heartbeats…

For the first time, I controlled the nerves by letting them be a strength and inspiration rather than a detriment.  I was determined to enjoy them, enjoy myself, enjoy the moment, enjoy the rush! 

Once I accepted these nerves as a good thing, my breathing improved, my hands stopped shaking and my focus resumed.   

Fear of my nerves held me back for so long and I didn’t realize it. Nerves are a good thing.  It means what you are doing really matters to you.  Tap into this emotion and embrace it, relish in it, feed off of it.  It’s the only real way to control it.  image

I can’t say this will work all the time, but it was my first experience doing this and it was incredibly liberating. 

Think of it like a roller coaster .. with all it’s dips and turns, and curves, drops and spins, it’ll blow your mind, make you gasp, cringe, scream and smile … it’s all fun and all a part of the ride that YOU chose to be on so love it because so many people never get to feel it!    

For Love of the Game.


~ by g2 on April 16, 2010.

5 Responses to “The Criticals”

  1. Butterflies, nerves, jitters, they all come when your subconscious helps you get ready for something important. It’s your body’s way of maximizing your ability to perform. Going with it, as you say, is by far the best way to benefit from it. Try to control it and you’re telling your body, “no, this isn’t important” and the cognitive dissonance that sets off will harm your ability to perform.

    So, what was that Most Important Thing?

  2. LOL, John, I guess if I had to pick from the three above, enjoying the ride would be THE most important thing as without it, the other two don’t really matter. 🙂

  3. Wow! So insightful Gail. I love the way you expressed yourself. I could relate to everything you said. Are you sure we’re not related? lol

  4. Gail, I think you thouched the TRUTH there in the last part of your article. I physically felt it – bodilly – that its exactly as you put it. Any other way of thought or feeling, takes us away from our own reality, from what we are. We live the game like that and then we ARE the game and there is no room for EGOs and meanness and hard feelings for our opponent or the game or ‘luck’…
    Probabbly I owe you 90euro (that I will NOT give to the analyst next time I loose a match) 🙂

  5. I like it. You have successfully put embracing the Now into a perspective that people can get a handle on. Nicely done.

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