Wednesday, February 2, 2011

2011 Derby City Classic

I was invited to commentate for Accu-Stats during the 9 days of the Derby City Classic. This was a wonderful experience. Educational, motivating, and inspirational, are all feelings that I took away in addition to the fun and humor of the proceedings. The video's that were created are some of the best pool ever played and the general level of play is better every year. The first discipline was Banks, with 387 entrants. Corey Deuel played Allen Hopkins, this was a very entertaining match that began with Deuel playing four consecutive shots all while playing safe on each shot due to the difficulty, yet he pocketed each shot and then again was forced to play a shot for safety. Deuel continued to perform and kept Hopkins in check while earning the first two games with a flawless performance. Hopkins then turned the match around playing equally well and tied the match at two games apiece. The final game was two balls each and Allen Hopkins played a very unconventional two cushion shot, "cross side bank", and ran the needed three banks for the match. All of the John Brumback matches were very enlightening as well except his final loss, which the late hour fatigue cost him his usual quality performance. When you watch John take on so many "off angle" shots that are needed to win but difficult to play, you will be very impressed with his success rate even though he is the two consecutive time winner of this event. The majority of players encounter the difficult bank shot and recognize the lower percentage success rate of such a shot and then allow themselves less focus and a more general stroke approach, which fulfills the low percentage result. The "Brumback" approach utilizes a consistent high quality stroke delivery and follow-through and in addition to not allowing shot difficulty to degrade the stroke quality he also generates tremendous mental intensity beforehand when others allow themselves to "let down" due to the idea that they will probably miss anyway. John would decide what to do, set up to the shot and cue up to the cue ball just to measure the circumstance, and then stand up and really apply all of his mind to the shot. This seemed to heighten commitment, add clarity, focus, and definition to the visualization of the perfect result and with this extra effort he would produce amazing results time and again. I have tried to explain what he does, but I really know his video matches will be even better to learn from should you look for these elements that are described. His example is very motivating and the most graphic display of what it takes to play high performance pool at any game.

The next event was One Pocket with 317 entrants. The finals was two unexpected players, Shane Van Boening playing Earl Strickland and this was a very entertaining match. In general the One Pocket was not played as technically sound as in other years throughout the tournament, and the matches were not that memorable.
The Nine Ball event drew 293 players and held many exciting matches. The semi-final match was stellar with Neils Feijen playing Shane Van Boening and qualifies as a "must see" match that holds a crucial shot that fans will talk about for eternity. I have watched Neils Feijen for some years and he has always been a good player but this year he proved to everyone that he is among the elite in all games, I was very impressed with his performance. Athletic, focused, and confident apply to him and a better representative of the sport could not be found. The final match was Dennis Orcollo against Shane Van Boening and after Shane failed in the first rack Dennis won and broke and ran four more games to take a 5-0 lead. Soon thereafter Dennis earned a game and broke and ran out for the title. These two matches held stellar performances to watch and it was an honor to commentate this part of pool history. Lee Van Corteza and Rodney Morris also played very well and warrant your attention as well as Jonathon Pinegar playing Corteza.
The "Fatboy 10 Ball Challenge" is always my favorite event as this is played single elimination, race to 15 games, $1000 entry fee, 16 players. The first round had Ralf Souquet playing Shane Van Boening and the final score was 15-13 and was both exciting and well played with a number of break and run outs and the score flipping back and forth. Ralf lost but might have played the better pool. Then Fransisco Bustamante played Raphael Martinez and won a game in the middle of the match and proceeded to break and run out 6 more times producing stellar shot making along the way. This was a very compelling performance and an indication of the high level of exceptional play witnessed throughout the nine days.
The summary of my trip is that perhaps the best players have now moved the game of pool into an "art form". The break shot, kicking speeds and purposeful direction applied to the kicking game, terrific shot making, and great safety shots, adds up to a "new standard". The players that displayed the ability to set the pace of this "new standard" and bear observation to improve your game are; Fransisco Bustamante, Darren Appleton, Neils Feijen, Shane Van Boening, Lee Van Corteza, Earl Strickland, Ralf Souquet, Dennis Orcollo, and Shannon Daulton. While some of these players were not described much in this story they all performed at the highest level and I encourage you to obtain videos of their efforts for your own development. You can do so by calling Accu-Stats at 1-800-828-0397 or going to the web site, , you will be rewarded, educated, and entertained.

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