Ask “The Viper”

Melissa Little

Melissa “The Viper” Little has been a WPBA Touring Professional for over 10-years, she has represented the USA in Four WPA World Championships, is the current USA Bar Table Champion for 8-Ball and 9-Ball and has over 20 top-10 WPBA career finishes. Melissa is the house-pro at the Wynkoop Brewing Company located in Downtown Denver and is sponsored by The Wynkoop, Jacoby Custom Cues and The Colorado Cue Times. She teaches monthly clinics, gives private lessons, and has created a juniors program that promotes billiards education to the local youth. For more information about Melissa please visit: www.melissalittle.com

Question:

Can a person without natural talent rise to the professional level with hard work?” John S. – Denver

Answer:

People from all walks of life have deliberated over natural talent vs. hard work. In my opinion, even though there are natural born pool players, it is the dedication and hard work that gets them to the championship level. I think the natural player can get to the pros a little bit faster but a person who works hard on there game will eventually get there. Either way it takes an enormous about of work for both. Over the past decade I have been playing on the WPBA pro tour and have noticed that are a few players without natural talent but who have dedicated their game to hard work and it’s paid off.

I think its very important to set some goals and then dedicate your time to hard work and in due time the rest will come. If you place all of your energy on a trophy prize then you set yourself up for disappointed. My goal is not to be the number 1 ranked player in the World but to become the BEST pool player that I can be.  If I dedicate my time and energy to hard work then that championship titles will come. Be patient and ponder on your thinking.

Trophies, rankings, and prizes are just materialistic items. But what counts is that you chose to play a game with passion!! Its not the end result of a championship but what it takes to get you there. The true trophies are built upon memories, places traveled, and even that awesome shot that you made during pool league. Those are the things that really matter…

Best of luck to you, Viper

If you have a question for “The Viper” please e-mail them to Melissa Little at Melissa@melissalittle.com

Ask the Viper

Melissa Little

Question:

“Lately I’ve been putting in a lot of table time and I feel as though I’m shooting some of the best pool of my life, but in competition when it really counts, I’ve been missing the key shot to my run out.  I literally can’t seem to control my nerves. I would appreciate any advice you can give on this part of the mental game.”

Answer:

Sorry to say but there is no quick fix for developing mental toughness. Each day that you practice you should be preparing for that big moment. The definition for practice should be to work on problem shots or areas of your game that you need to be improved upon.

I suggest you participate in as many competitions as possible – over time your tournament game will improve… its called becoming “seasoned”.  Anytime you can feel pressure is a good thing.

My long time coach Henry would say its okay to feel nervous, it means that you’re alive. Everyone gets nervous, I mean everyone!! It’s how you handle the pressure is what matters.

Stay in the present. Being present and not thinking of the past/future when you’re at the table. It is a discipline and it’s a part of the game that everyone needs to spend some time on.

Forgive yourself for making mistakes. The faster you forgive yourself the faster you will stay in the present. If you don’t forgive yourself in a timely manner then it could cost you multiple games.

Best of luck to you,

Viper

If you have a question for “The Viper” please e-mail them to Melissa Little at Melissa@melissalittle.com

Melissa “The Viper” Little has been a WPBA Touring Professional for over 10-years, she has represented the USA in Four WPA World Championships, is the current USA Bar Table Champion for 8-Ball and 9-Ball and has over 20 top-10 WPBA career finishes. Melissa is the house-pro at the Wynkoop Brewing Company located in Downtown Denver and is sponsored by The Wynkoop, Jacoby Custom Cues and The Colorado Cue Times. She teaches monthly clinics, gives private lessons, and has created a juniors program that promotes billiards education to the local youth.

For more information about Melissa  please visit: www.melissalittle.com