October 6, 2009


Posted in 8-ball - pool, Darth Vaguer, Guilt, Project: Fail at 7:55 am by Dagny Taggart

I lost last night.  Lost hardcore.  Lost thoroughly.  So thoroughly that I hit the 8 in early one game, and gave my highly skilled opponent ball in hand on the 8 in another (of course, I knocked the 8 in for him at that point).

Yeah, I was feeling bleh from my flu shot, and was waiting for some family news to come in (as well as can be expected).    But I made a few errors that were pretty frustrating – for me and my coach.

I’ve been there, on the coaching side of things.  As an LSAT instructor, I’ve talked people through logic game after logic game, through reasoning construct after reasoning construct.  Watching a student do a game improperly is probably a similar frustration to watching your player screw up on the table. 

I’ve always seen it as my job to find a way to help the student understand what they were doing wrong in a way that was comfortable for them – lessons don’t stick if they’re not properly delivered, at least not nearly as well.  But now, I find myself getting frustrated with myself for not being able to learn the way some of my coaches want to teach me.  I’m letting my team down, and that makes it worse.

Makes me wonder if I’m just wasting other people’s time.



  1. Hammer said,

    As someone who has coached multiple sports for many years, and with some success, let me give you two nuggets.

    1. There is a hell of a lot of careful, silent watching and assessing that needs to go on before a coach starts “correcting things.” And real art is developing talents (often hidden or oscured ones) over time – not in knee-jerk quick fixes that ultimately don’t accomplish much other than maing the player more nervous and afraid of “messing up” than they were to begin with. Ask your coaches for patience, and ask them to pay attention to all aspects of what you’re doing – not just the part that’s not going well at the moment. Down the road, look for additional coaches who not only have tons of patience, but can teach a variety of styles – not just THE ONE that they think is “right”/”the best.”

    2. Thankfully and to your credit, after all this time you are still exhibiting the #1 quality a coach looks for – the desire to play at a high level and to continually get better. This is extraordinarily useful and makes a coach’s job a thousand times easier. A lot of folks start mailing it in past a certain point – frequently when they hit what seems like a wall – and they never get that degree of focus back again. Methinks this is not your situation though.

  2. Alias Faux said,

    Also, understand that your coach is frustrated because they care, and want you to succeed.

    You should worry when they’re indifferent.

  3. I understand your perspective and desire to learn in the manner that your coaches teach but they shoulder some responsibility as well. Neither of you are getting paid to participate, in fact, both of you are paying to participate because no matter how seriously you take your billiards game, this is still supposed to be a fun activity. As such, I think that your coaches have some responsibility to teaching you in the manner that you learn and for making sure that there is some fun involved.

  4. Hammer: All very sound advice, thanks! And I could probably try to find more time to practice somewhere, too, which couldn’t hurt.

    Alias Faux: An excellent point.

    restaurant refugee: Well, leagues can be pretty competitive, especially when money and/or trips to Vegas are on the line. But yes, it *is* supposed to be fun for everyone involved…

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