people seek control.

not saying that all people are demanding bastards trying to make you do things for them; not at all. but people do seek control to varying degrees.  pool players as well.  unfortunately, pool, like life, are often filled with things outside of control.  so really, what can we control in pool?

not much, as it turns out.  i personally think the only thing you probably can control is yourself.  for me, just barely.

i don’t think i can control my opponent, really.  i can behave a certain way in order to elicit a set response, or a response i know my opponent will most likely exhibit.  but that’s about it.  if my opponent doesn’t give me the response i want, there is not much i can really do.  i can try behaving differently, hoping i’d get that desired response.  but if it doesn’t happen, it’s outside my control.

can’t really control the table either.  i can do the archer and pick at near-invisible dusts all day, but that won’t guarantee there won’t be one dust particle that sits righttt there just in place to mess with the cueball.

i have even less influence over the rolls.  if i can actually figure out how the balls will roll, i’d immediately join the pro tour.

i have some control over my body.  but when a body decides all by itself that it’ll convulse in pain for whatever reason, there isn’t much i can do except to quit playing that day and go see a doctor.  maybe the muscles in the arm will decide to twitch at the wrong time and throw the shot off.  or any number of things.

all these x factors tell me one thing: when i’m at the table, i need to ignore all the x factors and worry only about how i will shoot a shot.  i can’t worry about my opponents, the tables, the rolls, the crowd, because they all have one thing in common: they are all outside my control.  so the only sensible thing to do is to accept that fact and ignore the things i can’t predict or control.

i still marvel at how the filipino pros can just tune everything out and play.  i think they’ve figured this point out, and they’re taking full advantage of it.  sure, you can try sharking them, distracting them, make them mad, make them laugh, pee on them, pee on yourself, whatevers.  and that’ll work once in a while; they are human.  most of the time, however, you’re just wasting energy, because i believe that they’ve figured out what’s important.

their shot, and after they make it, the one after that.


8 comments on “control

  1. Once again, a great piece. I will try to practice your wisdom on the table. Breath in, breath out.

  2. I agree with your assessment of Filipino players. After playing in the Philippines for a couple years, I can tell you that rarely are the surroundings conducive to focusing on a shot. People are talking, laughing and for some reason there are always a few foot wigglers in the crowd. I think they must be listening to a song playing in their head because rarely are they in sync with each other. Besides for that, it’s unusual for a spectator to do more than lean to one side to accommodate a shooter. I suppose by American standards it all sounds sort of rude. But it’s just a cultural thing relating to… I don’t know what (I’m no sociologist, I only play one part-time).

    The end result is that you learn to tune such distractions out or you lose. The players that have mastered that are the good players and from their ranks come the players that make the “big time.” So, I recommend that we all learn from this and welcome the distractions… it will make us more focused players, with some immunity to the shenanigans that sometimes happens in a pool match.

    • thanks for your comment, mr. poolbum. i must say that this is what i thought also. in a way, it reminds me of how the spartans were trained; these soldiers underwent such brutal and inhumane training that those who actually survived were almost indestructible. there is something to be said about training under the harshest conditions, and making the training as unforgiving as possible.

      i once watched warren kiamco play a money game while people all around them were loudly joking and laughing. (the people around weren’t players or spectators; they were just very casual players having a good time. they didn’t even know who kiamco was, or the fact that he was gambling.) didn’t even bat an eye. didn’t miss, either.

  3. I taught warren everything he knows…. just kidding. Actually, the only time I ever talked to him I think I offended him by asking what his name was (I wasn’t kidding), lol. Maybe he learned something deep from that, I can’t really say.

Comments are closed.