Monday’s Snooker Session

April 10, 2007

This is the first session we’ve played in a while, and it didn’t go too badly. Larry’s head was nowhere to be seen for the first 10 frames, but then a 96 break from yours truly, along with a quick pep talk, kicked his ass into gear.

Me 4-0 Laurence

68-16, 59-35, 68-43, 66-5 (31)

Me 4-0 Laurence

68-11 (37), 44-12, 74-14 (40), 61-38 (37)

Me 3-4 Laurence

81-38, 100-0 (96), 31-52 (32), 54-66, 27-58, 47-8, 49-55

Me 1-2 Laurence

25-66 (33), 80-26 (66), 24-54

Session stats:

Frames: 18

Time Taken: 4.25 hrs

Average Frame Time: 14 mins

Overall Frame Score: Me 12-6 Laurence

Jimbo breaks: 31, 37, 40, 37, 96, 66, (9 x 20+ breaks)

Laurence breaks: 32, 33, (2 x 20+ breaks)

Jimbo’s rating for Jimbo’s performance: 7/10

Jimbo’s rating for Laurence’s performance: 4/10

Highlight for me was my 96 break. I was on for a 147, but unfortunately overhit the 12th black and ended up leaving myself an awkward 13th red with the rest, which I wobbled in the jaws of the pocket. Up till that point I felt really good. I knew I was on for a 147, but I didn’t really feel any pressure, and felt quite confident on all the shots. So there’s another near century for me to add to the books… jeez I must be due one soon!

I must admit ever since I stopped controlling my shots consciously, I’ve found that I’ve enjoyed playing so much more. My “twitch” has practically vanished, and when I’ve not played so well its usually been down to bad concentration – which is great as it gives me something positive to work on. I *know* that if I can concentrate well then I’ll be more than able to make big breaks and as a result from tonight’s session I’m really looking forward to the next one!

One thing I noticed from my own game last night (and to some extent Larry’s) is what I tend to do when I am concentrating well: I’m thinking about exact position and the path the white will take, not just “that’ll do”. I walk into the shot slowly, really trying to find the exact angle of the pot. I’m looking at the object ball more than the white, and I’m concentrating hard on the shot as a whole, but I don’t have any particular thoughts running through my head (like “keep your head still”, “follow through”, etc). I’m not really playing slower than I usually do, but my mind has focus, and its in the present – 100% absorbed with what’s going on.

I think in order to get to this level of concentration, you sometimes have to put some extra effort in. For the first few frames I found my mind was wandering quite a bit. I’d have concentration as I approached each shot, but sort of lost it somewhere during it. I forced myself to really concentrate on the whole shot, from start to finish, and after a while it started to come together. 🙂

Larry’s mind was all over the place at the start – I’ve rarely seen him miss so many sitters as he did in the first 10 frames, but after the “147 attempt” from me, he soon got his wits about him and got some frames on the board.


Monday’s Snooker Session

March 20, 2007

Mixed feelings about this week’s snooker session. Larry started off well (yet again) with a 56 break, but neither of us really got off the mark all evening (except a determined 62 break from me – see below). The jukebox was on again at the club and the volume was ridiculous for most of the night, so much so that we moved table (to a worse one) so that we were a bit further away from the thumping speakers.

Me 4-1 Laurence

15-65 (56), 67-53 (32 [jimbo]), 60-59, 56-17, 66-46 (33 [jimbo])

Me 3-4 Laurence

40-52, 57-16, 52-38, 28-51 (31), 53-14 (31), 27-58, 16-53

Me 4-1 Laurence

54-64 (32 [laurence]), 65-23 (39), 65-14 (62), 56-28, 56-36

Me 1-0 Laurence

60-50

Session Stats:

Frames:18

Time Taken: 4.5 hrs

Average Frame Time: 15 mins

Overall Frame Score: Me 12-6 Laurence

Jimbo breaks: 32, 33, 31, 39, 62, (6 x 20+ breaks)

Laurence breaks: 56, 31, 32, (4 x 20+ breaks)

Jimbo’s rating for Jimbo’s performance: 6/10

Jimbo’s rating for Laurence’s performance: 5/10

After the table swap, things started looking up a little and we got the desire to play again. We found out that they can turn off the speakers near the snooker tables so next time we’ll ask them to do this as soon as they pump up the volume.  Normally I don’t like to complain since as there are loads of people up there us few snooker players are probably in a minority. That said however we’re still members and its not like we’re asking for them to turn the music off or anything – we just want it toned down a ‘bit’.

The biggest plus point for me during the evening was my 62 break. As I was a little disinterested (due to the noise/distractions) I was playing a bit quicker and a bit more carelessly than normal, so I purposefully slowed down a lot and tried to focus my head. I played some great shots in the break, including 2 plants (one 4-ball reverse-plant that I had to make). There *was* a ton on, but with 2 reds left I potted the blue into the green pocket and tried to deep-screw back for the next red into the center. I cued it delightfully but unfortunately kissed the red and stuck it against the cushion. I then continued to jaw the red in the center pocket whilst attempting the double. Shame. Still, slowing down a lot helped me get some timing back, and got me cueing smoothly. I wasn’t really taking much longer down on the shot, but I was walking around the table more slowly and taking a little longer on shot decision and thinking about position. I think sometimes if you do this you can almost go into a ‘trance’ like state, similar to what some people refer to as ‘dead stroke’.

It may seem like we’re using the loud music as an excuse for not playing well, but honestly its so loud sometimes that you can’t even hear yourself think, and you end up getting so frustrated and angry at it that you’re not really in the mood to play anymore. Still, now we know we can ask the staff to turn off the speakers near the snooker tables, perhaps it won’t affect us as much in forthcoming sessions. We live in hope! 🙂


Monday’s Snooker Session

March 13, 2007

That’s more like it! This is the best session we’ve had for a while. The tempo was quick, the frustration kept to a minimum, the music wasn’t too loud, and we both really enjoyed it. Highlight of my night was a 97 clearance (shame there wasn’t more on!). I feel a century on its way real soon! 🙂 Larry played pretty well, and could have had many more breaks but for a bit of carelessness on some crucial balls. To only lose by 2 frames tho with me playing like I did speaks for itself. Nice one Larry.

Me 4-3 Laurence

81-22 (51), 77-24 (40), 19-57, 7-54, 69-24 (54), 35-58, 60-53

Me 4-3 Laurence

88-2 (51, 32), 116-22 (97), 36-60, 50-73 (38 [laurence]), 28-55 (41), 60-30, 49-8 (47)

Me 4-1 Laurence

71-20 (55), 65-58 (respotted black), 63-10 (48), 12-64 (46), 73-44 (33 [laurence])

Me 0-3 Laurence

58-59 (37 [jimbo]), 46-16, 40-58 (34 [laurence])

Session stats:

Frames: 22

Time Taken: 4.75 hrs

Average Frame Time: 13 mins

Overall Frame Score: Me 12-10 Laurence

Jimbo breaks: 51, 40, 54, 51, 32, 97, 47, 55, 48, 37, (10 x 20+ breaks)

Laurence breaks: 38, 41, 46, 33, 34, (13 x 20+ breaks)

Jimbo’s rating for Jimbo’s performance: 7/10

Jimbo’s rating for Laurence’s performance: 7/10

Ever since I’ve started playing again after years away from the game, I’ve been trying to consciously control my shots in one way or another: some games I’d try and keep my head still, some games I’d try and walk into the shot correctly, some games I’d try to force myself to look at the object ball as I strike the cueball, etc.. I’ve actually noticed that in an effort to get back to my old best I’ve not been letting my ‘old best’ come out. Let me explain… Years ago, when playing the best snooker of my life, I didn’t care one bit about stance, head, alignment, cue-action, sighting and all that bollocks. I just got down and tried to pot the balls. What seems to have happened is that after my 10 year break from the game, I expected to be able to play just as well as I used to, but in reality I couldn’t, so I started to think there must be something wrong with my technique (well, not necessarily wrong, but in need of improvement). The problem is that during the last few months I’ve become obsessed with ‘getting things right’, to the extent that I was concentrating more on that than actually trying to pot the balls! How are you supposed to give each shot 100% attention if you have 90% of it on something like keeping your head still? Well, basically, you can’t.

Last night I just couldn’t be bothered with all that conscious control and just wanted to play freely and naturally. I just tried to pot the balls and get position, like I used to, and the results were pleasantly surprising! As well as playing better than I have for ages, I actually enjoyed the freedom of letting my body do what it wanted to do on the shot. I realised that my natural stance is different to what I’ve been *forcing* my body to do, and my natural speed is different to what I’ve been *forcing* by speed to be. It may be less technically correct, but it was *way* more fun, and actually improved my results.

So for now my plan is to keep all conscious controlling thoughts for the practice table when I play on my own, and just play freely and naturally in my games, and just try to pot the balls like I used to (and enjoy it).

I’ll probably change my mind again next week. 😉


Monday’s Snooker Session

March 7, 2007

Well, trying to keep my head still seemed difficult tonight. I was ok to start with but as the evening went on I got more and more concerned with (a) the music being so loud, (b) the fight that nearly broke out on another table, and (c) the bar girl who kept walking past us all the time! By the end of the evening I didn’t really care too much about snooker… I just wanted to go home. Oh, and I had a stiff neck too. And I was tired. Want any more excuses?

Me 4-2 Laurence

49-34, 29-75, 3-82 (48), 52-27, 43-18, 81-15 (34)

Me 4-3 Laurence

55-65, 20-71, 53-3, 71-21 (38), 44-64, 59-53, 59-29 (30)

Me 0-3 Laurence

24-65 (31), 57-61, 40-45

Session stats:

Frames: 16

Time Taken: 4.5 hrs

Average Frame Time: 17 mins

Overall Frame Score: Me 8-8 Laurence

Jimbo breaks: 34, 38, 30, (4 x 20+ breaks)

Laurence breaks: 48, 31, (6 x 20+ breaks)

Jimbo’s rating for Jimbo’s performance: 3/10

Jimbo’s rating for Laurence’s performance: 4/10

Laurence didn’t play too great tonight either, and I honestly think we can put it down to the loud music and general atmosphere in the club. I mean, do pros have to deal with this level of distraction? It makes me wonder how well we’d play under ideal conditions. Larry suggested we try ear-plugs next time… haha I guess we’ll be telling each other’s scores in sign-language.

On a plus note, I think I hit upon something good during the session, which, if I’d have been more motivated, I believe would have got me playing a lot better… Instead of talking to myself on every shot like I sometimes do (“keep your head still, look at the object ball, slowly back…” etc.) I just looked at the balls in front of me and visualised how I’d play the shot, but I’d really try to *feel* what it would be like to actually play the shot perfectly. I’d really try to feel the sensations happening in my hands/arms etc, then I’d get down on the shot with a much better feel for it… almost as if I’d only just done it. I think this sort of “feel-visualisation” could really help as it de-clutters the mind and lets you get much more of a natural feel for a shot. I figure it also helps since you give your mind a much clearer image of what you want to achieve. A picture is worth a thousand words, they say, and in this instance I can see where they’re coming from.


Friday’s Snooker Session

March 4, 2007

Not the best session in the world, but certainly not the worst!  Laurence started out strong (again) with a nice 51 break, and I had a good run towards the close of the session with a 61. I was especially proud of this break because (a) it was a clearance and (b) because I was focussing totally on keeping my head still – which I believe I did that during all shots in the break:

Me 4-2 Laurence

35-64 (51), 80-8 (32), 73-54, 24-63, 67-33 (32 [laurence]), 58-25

Me 2-1 Laurence

99-19 (61), 44-70 (32 [jimbo]), 72-25

Session stats:

Frames: 9

Time Taken: 2.25 hrs

Average Frame Time: 15 mins

Overall Frame Score: Me 6-3 Laurence

Jimbo breaks: 32, 61, 32, (4 x 20+ breaks)

Laurence breaks: 51, 32, (5 x 20+ breaks)

Jimbo’s rating for Jimbo’s performance: 5/10

Jimbo’s rating for Laurence’s performance: 5/10

Even though it wasn’t the greatest of sessions, I managed to refrain from being irritated or frustrated all night (even when I missed the odd easy one). My guess is that because I’m 100% working on getting my head remaining still on every shot then I’m bound to get worse before I get better – so I’ve kind of accepted it. The 61 clearance for me in this session was definitely the highlight and has given me confidence that when I can keep my head 100% still on every shot without thinking about it, I’ll become a much more consistent player.


Monday’s Snooker Session

February 27, 2007

Laurence got off to a blinding start last night with a beauty of a 62 break – the highest of the night – and set the general tone for the evening. The first two best-of-sevens were the highlight of the evening with both of us playing fairly consistently. Generally the breaks broke down due to bad positional play as opposed to missed easy pots, which is a step in the right direction (from my point of view). Laurence ‘lost it’ a bit later on in the evening and admitted that it was because he felt he kept leaving me easy ones when he missed. My guess is this angered/frustrated him slightly which made him lose some determination, which in turn meant he lost the focus he had when he started the session. I then had a bit of a rough patch later on in the evening and put it down to me getting annoyed with the loud music that came on half-way through the session (excuses excuses). All in all though, we had a good night and enjoyed our games:

Me 4-2 Laurence

2-63 (62), 65-26 (41), 68-18 (39), 33-75 (42), 68-40, 69-5 (36)

Me 4-3 Laurence

56-48 (33 [jimbo]), 27-52 (39), 74-5 (41, 33), 62-34, 26-67, 40-54, 44-42

Me 4-0 Laurence

98-8 (39, 58), 51-23, 51-23, 55-36

Me 2-1 Laurence

59-53, 57-34, 29-56 (32)

Session stats:

Frames: 20

Time Taken: 4.75 hrs

Average Frame Time: 14.25 mins

Overall Frame Score: Me 14-6 Laurence

Jimbo breaks: 41, 39, 36, 33, 41, 33, 39, 58, (8 x 20+ breaks)

Laurence breaks: 62, 42, 39, 32, (6 x 20+ breaks)

Jimbo’s rating for Jimbo’s performance: 6/10

Jimbo’s rating for Laurence’s performance: 6/10

Well this is certainly the best I’ve played for a few weeks… although I still feel I can do much better. The two practice sessions I had during the week helped a lot I think. I’m trying to lick 2 things at the moment: getting down on the shot correctly, and keeping my head still on the shot. After videoing myself practicing I noticed that on 99% of shots I raise up and forward slightly as I push the cue through, so I’ve made a promise to myself to practice keeping my head perfectly still on the shot until it becomes ‘grooved’ and I don’t have to think about it. I think my consistency and my game in general will improve leaps and bounds if I can get this one thing licked. It certainly helped last night – especially in my long potting.

One thing I learned from this session is that you can lose your focus by getting irritated or angry at something. My reckoning is that if you get angry/frustrated with something, you begin to lose your determination, which in turn makes you lose focus. To be focused on something you need to be concentrating on it, but you can only really concentrate on something you are sincerely interested in, which you aren’t if you’ve lost your determination. So to put it simply: Anger/frustration leads to loss of determination, which leads to loss of focus, which leads to the dark side!

We did actually video the first 6 or so frames, but it was using my mobile phone and the quality is crap. I need to ask my friend Tony if he can lend me his video camera, since you can’t really see anything of value using my mobile.

One other thing: Laurence mentioned that he sometimes doesn’t get enough reaction when playing with top-spin on the ball. Larry has a very loose grip and I reckon if he gripped *slightly* tighter on the cue when attempting to ‘top’ the ball he might get a bit more of a reaction. When playing back-spin the white is sort of kick-started by the ‘rebound’ off the object ball, so in a way it is helped along. With top however, you have to work against the rebound, and get the white moving forward again, so you have to give it a *bit* more power. That’s my theory anyway! 🙂


Monday’s Snooker Session

February 20, 2007

Strange evening really. I started out much more confident than usual after having a great practice session at the weekend, and I played well for the first two best of sevens. No massive breaks but I hit over ten 20+ breaks in a short time. The run of the balls was terrible – bad pack splits, nasty cannons, you name it, it happened. Had the run been a bit better I think I could have had a few fiftys at least. Laurence played pretty poorly (he’d probably agree with me) and struggled to find any form all evening. He had a couple of good frames later on in the session but overall I think his mind was elsewhere, which I could tell as he kept miscounting my breaks (something I do myself when my head is all over the place).

Me 4-1 Laurence

67-60, 57-47, 64-19 (35), 41-57, 79-27

Me 4-2 Laurence

59-68, 73-40 (46), 60-18, 48-58, 64-53 (48 [jimbo]) 50-12

Me 3-4 Laurence

71-16, 48-25, 17-51, 30-54, 30-57, 76-33 (37, 33 [jimbo]), 46-69

Session stats:

Frames:18

Time Taken: 4.5 hrs

Average Frame Time: 15 mins

Overall Frame Score: Me 11-7 Laurence

Jimbo breaks: 35, 46, 48, 37, 33 (10 x 20+ breaks)

Laurence breaks: (7 x 20+ breaks)

Jimbo’s rating for Jimbo’s performance: 5/10

Jimbo’s rating for Laurence’s performance: 3/10

Laurence and I have decided to try and video one or two of our practice sessions. We think this will help us to analyse what we’re doing when we are playing well. We’ll be able to watch our pace, technique and the all-crucial timing of our shots. Hopefully this will give us some insight into how we might become more consistent. On the flip side, videoing us playing bad will give us something visual to compare against when we are playing well. It will be interesting to see the differences in posture, speed, shot approach, timing and general attitude when playing bad vs playing great. When we’ve got some good clips, I’ll post them here on Jimbozone with an indepth analysis.