poolSynergy, volume diciassette

this is volume seventeen of poolSynergy.  welcome back, and thanks for reading this post.

the topic for volume XVII is “tournament preparation”.

for the main page of volume XVII, visit the link below.  it contains a list of all the posts on this month’s topic.

main page for poolSynergy volume XVII

also, visit the link below for a complete list of poolSynergy’s monthly topics.


below is my post for this month.  enjoy.

this month, mr. eames wants us to talk a little about tournament preparation.  since the topic is straightforward and self-explanatory, i’ll get to it right away.

1. define your mission parameters ASAP 🙂
ten-hut!  a bit of military flavor here in honor of my fellow blogger dagz.  (hi dagz!  thanks for all you do for our country!!  :D)  what i mean here is that we should figure out what we want to do at the beginning.  am i going to the tournament at all?  am i there for the tournament or the action?  you can probably try to do both, but unless you have the stamina of an elephant plus a camel, it’s a good idea to pick just one.  this way you can give one task your complete focus and energy; the added bonus is that it’s easier to plan your activities around one goal instead of two.

2. plan your trip e~a~r~l~y (applicable only for long-distance travel)
if the tournament is within easy traveling distance, just make sure you get to the venue early so you can find parking space and have time to warm up.  i define easy traveling distance as a trip under 1.5 hours of traveling one way by any means of transportation.  (for players like omg who travel exclusively by planes, trains and buses, i’d imagine most of the tournaments require at least medium-level planning.)  if you’re going to a venue where you’ll need hotel rooms and plane tickets, set things up early so you won’t be begging for a seat at the last minute.  try to pack light so you can move your stuff easily; don’t take the house with you.  more on tip #2 in a minute.

3. do advanced scouting
assuming you’re flying to the venue to play, you’re probably looking at a tournament that’s a pretty big deal.  treat it accordingly.  find out the equipment they will be using if possible.  also, scout the area either through friends or via the internet; find restaurants and eateries that’s familiar to your palate.  things go much smoother when you don’t have to scramble to find food you can stomach at 12 in the morning.  note the nearby markets and drug stores in case you need to pick up medicines or essentials.  for those that have a smart phone, this is the time you put that little sucker to work when you hit the ground.  if you bring your laptop, google free wi-fi spots near the tourney beforehand so you can take advantage of hi-speed intarnet.  going overseas?  (holy crap, you must be a pro!  :P)  hope you have friends there that can guide you around; if not, try to get a few players to travel as a group, if you find that helpful.  get that currency issue squared away too, as well as jot down phone numbers for your credit cards and the American consulate (if there’s one) separate from your phone.  you may need it.  if passport theft is an issue, keep that baby guarded & don’t flash it around.  some cash kept separately may be helpful in case you need to replace any documents.

4. get plenty of rest throughout the tournament
no matter what your goals are, get plenty of rest throughout the tournament.  try to make the place you’re staying at as comfy as possible.  mr. fieldhammer mentioned somewhere that he would pack his pillow, which is an excellent idea.  get some practice between matches, but don’t overdo it.  don’t stay out late to drink or party; you’ll be dead tired the next day and it may cost you the tournament (or money, if you’re there for the action).  this is where advanced trip planning pays off here: if you’re the type that only sleeps well by yourself, advanced trip planning allows you to determine what kind of room to get if you’re booking a hotel room.  if you must share a room, try to make sure the person is someone you’ve roomed with before.  snorers or those with excessive flatulence are OUT.  sleep talkers can also mess up your would-have-been restful night.  you don’t want surprises at bedtime.  seriously.

5. eat lean to stay mean
for the duration of the tournament, stay away from fried or excessively fatty foods, at least before your matches.  sandwiches and salads are wonderful choices, as long as you don’t load up your sammie with gobs of mayonnaise, butter and sauces.  (i prefer oil and vinegar.)  soups are good too.  this is where advanced scouting of eateries will pay off.  if you don’t have any more matches for the day, you can eat a little heavy but don’t go crazy; that full rack of ribs with fries and two sides of sauces WILL kick your a~* the next day.  hey, you’re there to do your best, right?  eat accordingly.  oh, and be sure to grab a light breakfast so you’ll have energy later.  caffeine?  you’ll have to make a judgment call; people react very differently to caffeine.

6. stay loose
if you can, try to squeeze in some warm-up exercises like gentle stretching or a light run; if not, get some practice time before a match to warm up your muscles.  with warm up, your muscles won’t lock up as much.  and remember to breath.

7. focus on the task
concentrate on your matches.  if you start to panic, try to look only at the shot in front of you.  go back to your fundamentals in your mind and think of each step in your routine as an item on a checklist; focus on completing the entire checklist, then shoot the shot.  we all panic at one time or another; it’s only natural.  trust in your fundamentals, breath, and shoot; don’t worry about anything else.

that’s it folks.  everyone has his/her own version of tournament preparation, and it’s fine to develop a routine that’s all your own.  if you find something useful in my list, adopt it into your system.  check out the prep methods of all the other contributors this month and have fun!

this is not part of the topic, but i went to chipotle the other day and tried to get them to make a nachos for me.  they would not do it.  oh well; i thought that was a swell idea, but apparently the fine folks at chipotle didn’t share my view.  one of these days, maybe.  😛

poolSynergy, volume sechzehn

this is volume sixteen of poolSynergy.  welcome back, and thanks for reading this post.

the topic for volume XVI is “your favorite pool hall”.

for the main page of volume XVI, visit the link below.  it contains a list of all the posts on this month’s topic.

main page for poolSynergy volume XVI

also, visit the link below for a complete list of poolSynergy’s monthly topics.


below is my post for this month.  enjoy.

this month, smassy asked us to write about our favorite pool halls.  so for this month’s poolsynergy, i’ll give a picture tour of my fawowite pool hoil of de whole wide woild—hard times billiards in bellflower, california.  hard times has a reputation of being one of the toughest action rooms in the states, and the equipments definitely live up to that reputation.  follow me as we look around this vaunted hall of the green felt.

this is the entrance to hard times.  i believe max eberle painted the little poles that look like shafts sticking out of the ground.

when you walk in, you’re greeted with the comedy/tragedy masks, the logo for hard times billiards.

immediately to the left of the entrance is the famed snooker table, with its own playing area.  hard times actually has two snooker tables; for some reason, most of the regulars play on the second table instead of this one at the front.  no idea why.

right next to the front snooker table area is the entrance to romero custom cues, hand-crafted by little al romero himself.  he’ll make you a mean stick then beat you silly with a house cue.  😛  if you’re interested in a purchase, call up hard times and ask for lil’ al.  love his sneakys!!  (i’ll get a current number for al’s shop the next time i’m there; the one i have is not current.)

[just a quick note: i found lil’ al’s number.  (562)867-3580.  order a sneaky from him.]

also next to the front snooker area is a small arcade.  that’s all the games they have, but you didn’t come here to play video games, did you?

let’s return to the entrance.  to the right of the entrance is the counter.  you can get the usual hard times apparel from the nice clerks.

another picture of the counter area.  you can see some vhs tapes in the back; those are pool matches you can rent.  they may have some dvds also, but i’ve never rented anything here.

right above the counter you can see a display case with a bunch of cues for sale.

hard times also has a pool accessory case.  you wanna moori tip you said?  that’ll be $20 please.

cases for sale, and more cues.

the tournament area, complete with bleachers.  sweaters can sit comfortably as they bite their fingernails off.  bandages not included.

a quick reminder of how tight the pockets on table six are; don’t believe me, ask john morra.  the rest of the tables aren’t much looser.

the regular side where kids and casual players play.  this is the area i jokingly refer to as the purgatory side.

another picture of the regular side.  that big table is the second snooker table.  hard times also has a few billiards tables and three bar tables.  the league players use the bar tables for their matches.

that’s hard times.  a no-nonsense, get-down-to-business pool hall.  you come here for pool, and only pool.  next time you’re in socal, visit hard times to experience what it’s like up close.  you may see parica or santos wandering around, or any number of visiting pros.  try not to hurt yourself.  😛

hard times billiards
17450 bellflower boulevard
bellflower, california 90706
(562) 867-7733

romero custom cues

poolSynergy, volume fünfzehn

this is volume fifteen of poolSynergy.  welcome back, and thanks for reading this post.

the topic for volume XV is “team play”.

for the main page of volume XV, visit the link below.  it contains a list of all the posts on this month’s topic.

main page for poolSynergy volume XV

also, visit the link below for a complete list of poolSynergy’s monthly topics.


below is my post for this month.  enjoy.

this month, our host gary frerking asks us contributors to write about team play.  i must be honest here and say that i have practically ZERO team pool experience; i don’t play leagues, i don’t play doubles, i don’t manage a team . . . heck, i’ve never even been asked to join any team.  so i will write about team pool from the only viewpoint i know: as a spectator.

i’ve not seen the apa matches on espn, so the ones i’ve watched are the world team championships and the mosconi cup.  those matches are exciting!  i think when you mix nationalism with team sports, you’ll get a very emotional crowd as well as competitors.  you can practically feel the air stand still as each team member steps to the table . . . it’s great drama.

speaking of drama, what i’m really hoping is more coverage of behind-the-scenes human drama, perhaps some sort of special on the teams themselves.  basically, you get a camera to follow a team around as they practice and prepare for the event; then, a mini-bio of sorts on each team member.  but i’d want to see that done with an amateur team.  for some reason, profiling amateur players seem so much more human; i don’t know why, it just seems that way.  i mean, if a camera follows a player around who’s not that good, struggles on the table, but practices his/her a~* off just to prepare for an event . . . there’s good human drama.  you also introduce (maybe) the juggling between work, family, and pool, it has the potential to be a compelling documentary.  for example, we hear amy chen winning the apa women’s championship.  but who the heck is amy chen?  where is she from?  how did she get her start?  what does she do?  her friends and family may know, but it’s likely no one else does.  what about raymond linares, the winner of the apa men’s championship?  who is he?  what does he do?  where did he get his start?  these are just names on a piece of paper, or a short line on some billiard news somewhere.  but add some background, some life story . . . all of a sudden, you have a flesh-and-blood person you can identify with.  imagine, say, andy chen (of TAR) following omg and her team around, or the KOD squad . . . it could be tv magic.  at least some excellent podcasts.  😀

one of the series i enjoyed watching is nimrod nation.  the series producer took an average high school team and told the human stories behind it . . . i want that with pool.

so here’s hoping that the producers of the mosconi cup (or maybe nathan demoulin of mastering pool fame) will cover some amateur events and profile some of the teams in the process; aspiring videographers and filmmakers need not be shy.  i believe you can find great stories to tell.