Sunday, December 28, 2008

My goal and how to reach it

Last year, the 13th of July in 2007, I was invited to some friends office to play in their annual "Office Invitational". They have placed a beautiful Brunswick Super Gold Crown IV in their office, with green Simonis 860.

The owners of the office owns many bars in the Oslo-area, so the drinks were on the house that evening, and the purpose of the tournament was to have a lot of fun.

We were 10 players invited, if my memory serves me correct, and we ended up playing scotch doubles 9-ball in a round robin format. I ended up playing with multiple Norwegian Champion (And #1 in Norway 2008) Ronny Oldervik. We entered the final, but lost.

During this evening I made a bet with one of the other players that I would become Norwegian Champion within 3 years, in either 2007, 2008 or 2009. I bet 1 000 kr (about $150), and will get 50 000 kr (about $7150) if I manage to reach my goal.

Before this evening I had been involved in pool for about 5-6 years total. I say involved, because most of the time I spent within organizations, promoting, organizing and running tournaments, run a poolhall. I didn't practise properly, and was mainly just banging balls around for fun.

The day after the bet was made I immidately set up a program for improvement, which included a lot of drills, reading mental books, recording all matches and tournaments in an excel-file +++ (part of the ecxelfile attached as picture). My highest finish before the bet was 4 times finishing 17th in the Norwegian Championships. I am no longer involved in the board in any pool organizatins, I sold my shares in the poolhall and I don't promote or organize tournaments. Most of my time related to pool has now one, and only one, purpose - to become as good as possible.

Now, 1,5 years later, after hundreds of hours practising, thousands of pocketed balls, about 350 matches registered in my excel-file, I have a 5th place as my best result. I achieved that in the Norwegian 9-ball Championship 2008. On the first day of the event, after a couple of matches, I had to play the eventual winner of the event, Tommy Wolff. I won 9-7, and sent him to the one-loss side, but on Sunday, after I beat two of the best Norwegian players both 9-8, I was in the Quarter final. My opponent was once again Tommy Wolff, and he demolished me 9-1, after being up 8-0. He played perfect, and I didn't have much chance in that particular match. But when looking back at the tournament I lost only to the winner, and I was the only player out of 92 that managed to beat him that weekend.

In 2008 I also finished 3rd in the Team Championship, but since my bet is for individual tournaments, I do not count that as my highest finish, even though it was great to achieve that, especially since I had the highest win % in our team. Also in this tournament it was the winner of the event who beat our team. Our team was Team 147, wiht me, Knut Kvaal Pedersen (2 times Norwegian Snooker Champion), and multiple European Champion, and WPBA-pro, Line Kjorsvik. The winning team, Team Trondheim, consisted of Vegar Kristiansen, Ronny Oldervik and Roger Lysholm. All three are experienced players with good results in previous World 9-ball Championships, with Vegar's 3rd in the 1999 as the best result. This was the 7th year in a row their team won this event...

I have only 4 more Championships left to play before the bet is either won or lost, 8-ball, 9-ball, 10-ball and 14-1, and I have to admit that it doesn't look too good to achieve the goal. I know it is possible, but I have to work even harder than before.

More practise and drills, eat healthier, run more to get in better shape, watch more videos of the pros, videotape some of my matches or practise-sessions to find, and hopefully get rid of, bad habits.

The goal is also the mainreason for creating this blog. I hope this will help motivate me to keep practising. Another reason for creating the blog is that I think it will be fun keeping a diary from tournaments that I enter in Norway and around the world.

Anyway, no matter if I reach the goal or not, it has made pool more fun for me. I am now practising and not just banging balls, and I threat pool as a sport, not just another game.

"When you aim for the stars, you are sure to not end up with mud in your mouth"

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How I practice

Most of the time I practice by playing the Ghost in 9-ball or 10-ball. Sometimes I line up difficult shots or safeties that I have been struggling with, and the rest of the time I am normally using on the system called PAT.

I am using PAT (Playing Ability Test) to test my skills and to see progress, and it is really working great for me.

I have bought the books and DVD's on Amazon, and I recommend it to all players who wants to raise their game to another level.

PAT consists of 4 different levels, from amateurs to professionals. As a side-note, top-players such as Jasmin Ouschan and Thorsten Hohmann uses PAT on a regular basis.

The best part of PAT is that the majority of drills in the books/videos are situations that you often will face in a match. Nothing pleases me more than be in such a situation knowing that I have practiced this and fires it in with confidence.

Check out my Billiard Store and buy the books/dvd's that suits your level!

Streaming from tournaments & challenge-matches, LIVE & recorded