Wednesday, July 30, 2008

A lesson from Danny Diliberto

Golden1 Danny Diliberto is currently on tour, as the rock band type would say.
I play straight pool more often than not. It's my favorite game, actually. I like 8 ball next, then 1 pocket and the rest are outta the money, so they whatever.

I found out on that Danny Diliberto was going to be in a local pool hall giving some lessons, and I was going to be in the area.... so I stopped in

Going into the lesson I was thinking that I'd learn how to pick apart a rack and with the new found pattern play, break past my current 43 ball high run.
When Danny and I started the session he asked what game did I want to focus on. My response was the favorite... 14.1

He broke (a nearly perfect 2 balls out of the rack to the rail, back to original position break) amazingly... then we went back and forth about 2 or 3 innings.
I missed a couple of easy shots. I mean EASY easy shots... such as straight in, from inches away... bobble. Or I'd slice it into a diamond. Terrible misses. I felt like I was just learning to play.

After 2 or 3 misses I learned the most important part of the entire hour.
I said to Danny "Some days your on, some day's your not. Today, I'm completely off"
His response "You know the pros don't have on and off days. You know why? Because they've learned not to let themselves have an off day. When they're off, they slow down and find out why... and 15 minutes later... they're on. They don't give themselves excuses."

To some, this might not be a little gem stone in the coal mine... but for me, it spoke loudly.

The rest of the lesson was pretty casual, I could tell that Danny was tired from being on the road and giving lesson after lesson.
When I'd miss he'd move the balls back to their original position and say "again"... miss "again"... miss "again" until I got the shot right... position perfect. Then we'd move on.

Every time before I'd get down on a shot he was absolutely sure to remind me of a few things... a few things that we all have to remind ourselves from time to time...

Picture the shot in your mind before you even step into it... visualization.
Decide exactly what's going to happen, get down on the shot... watch the balls do exactly what they're supposed to before you even move a muscle.... take your practice strokes, pause to ensure everything is absolutely perfect... and follow through.

Follow through follow through follow the fuck through.
That was my issue.
main issue anyway

So I learned that I need to pay attention and focus on the table, not anything else.

So now I'm going to go polish the gems I just found... and go put it into a collage of artifacts that no one else cares about, but in the end... it might mean something to someone.

But at least it'll be fun getting there :)


Anonymous said...

Great Story! I think you and I are a lot alike and that is just what I needed to hear. Thanks for sharing, and I'll be shooting through those balls too instead of at them.

Brett said...

I actually compete in a league at the pool hall in question. I speak with Danny on a routine basis. Before the league started he did the same thing with me. It really helped out my game and introduced me to a new friend