Every so often a league, tour, or pool hall will hold a partner’s event. These events can be really fun and rewarding, but, they can also be quite frustrating. The key to making these events enjoyable it to know what you are getting into and to set reasonable expectations.
People play in partner’s events for different reasons. Some people take them very seriously and play in events with a high skill level limit or no limit. Some people are more interested in a league tournament with a low skill level limit and may see it as more of a social event or learning experience.
Like anything in life you will do better with a positive attitude than with a negative one. You need to let your partner know you believe in him and you think you can win. Even if I didn’t think we realistically had a good chance of winning, I would never say that to a partner. I would still give every shot my best effort and try to be encouraging.
I’ve seen plenty of cases where one of the partners gives up, or even gets angry with his partner. This type of behavior goes beyond just being a poor sport; this shows a basic lack of respect for another human being. Partners should be able to give each other constructive feedback but I don’t know too many people who respond well to constant negativity and abusive behavior.
One thing to keep in mind in any partner’s tournament, is that you have to accept that you are only in control half of the time. No matter how good your partner is or how profound your advice is, you still can’t shoot the shot for your partner.
It can be really frustrating to make a heroic shot and get perfect position on the next ball, only to have your partner butcher the shot. We have to keep in mind that all of us, even professional players, miss shots. Your partner may not be able to handle the pressure of a tournament the same way you can, and will feel even more pressure because he has to come through for you.
If your partner appears to have given up you ask him if this is the case. Many times people get lost in their emotions and may not fully realize what they are doing. Sometimes just vocalizing what is happening is enough to make the person realize they are not behaving poorly and are being unfair to others.
Early in my pool career I gave up in a tournament and someone pointed out that it looked like I was not even trying. I was angry and didn’t care a whole lot about the event anymore; but I didn’t want others to think I had given up so, I decided that I would pretend and make it look like I was really trying. Surprisingly, this actually made me play a lot better and we came back and cashed in the event.
It is useful to know which types of events you will find most enjoyable and what your partner expects. Some people do a lot of planning and will only play with a serious partner. While others might show up at an event without a partner and just play with anyone they can find.
If you are a social player, and a serious player asks you to be his partner, this could end up being a frustrating experience for both of you due to the different expectations of each player. If there is a large difference in skill level between the partners this can be enjoyable for the lower level player who gets mostly easy shots; and frustration for the higher level player who is frequently facing difficult situations.