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The Need For Speed

Just remember that you're standing on a planet that's evolving
And revolving at nine hundred miles an hour,
That's orbiting at nineteen miles a second, so it's reckoned,
A sun that is the source of all our power.
The sun and you and me and all the stars that we can see
Are moving at a million miles a day
In an outer spiral arm, at forty thousand miles an hour,
Of the galaxy we call the 'Milky Way'.
Our galaxy itself contains a hundred billion stars.
It's a hundred thousand light years side to side.
It bulges in the middle, sixteen thousand light years thick,
But out by us, it's just three thousand light years wide.
We're thirty thousand light years from galactic central point.
We go 'round every two hundred million years,
And our galaxy is only one of millions of billions
In this amazing and expanding universe.
The universe itself keeps on expanding and expanding
In all of the directions it can whizz
As fast as it can go, at the speed of light, you know,
Twelve million miles a minute, and that's the fastest speed there is.
So remember, when you're feeling very small and insecure,
How amazingly unlikely is your birth,
And pray that there's intelligent life somewhere up in space,
'Cause there's bugger all down here on Earth.

                  Monty Python – The Meaning of Life, Galaxy Song.

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Picture 2-31

You're the shooter. The point has been established as the eight.  All the bets are set and the stickman announces “No more bets, dice are out”, as he pushes the dice to your position.  Quick now, what are your next steps?

In my mind there are three stages that the Dice Influencer goes through between the moment the stickman pushes the dice to his position and the moment he begins the toss-swing.

~ Setting the dice to your chosen dice set.
~ Gripping the dice
~ Moving the dice to the pre-launch positioning

Completing each step as quickly as possible is important and unquestionably takes practice.  Many people, over time, find ways to blend some of these steps into a single motion.  For example Yuri describes setting your dice as you pull them toward you and just before setting your grip so that it appears a single action.

An interesting thing happens if you can get your dice through the steps and ready for tossing quickly; your toss will improve.

You might be asking, “What does quickly setting the dice have to do with the toss?”  That is a good question.  Consider the following;

What I often see is a shooter spending some time turning and flipping the dice getting the dice into the desired starting set.  Then there is the time taken while carefully settling the fingers into the correct position of the grip.  Finally the set is established and the grip is in place and now time is spent turning the wrist to square the cubes to the back wall, followed by zeroing in on the desired landing zone.  All the while, anxiety is building (sometimes unconsciously) because the shooter knows this is taking time and the rest of the table is watching and waiting for the dice to be thrown.  The anxiety and nervousness is even more evident in players who are newly trying to toss as a DI.  By the time the shooter is ready to actually toss the dice, the throw is rushed.  All the important aspects for a controlled delivery such as keeping the motion square and the dice square and all the countless other little things that are critical for a smooth delivery are lost in a cloud of perceived pounding peer pressure (say that 3 times fast) to get the dice moving.

If the pre-launch routine is performed quickly, then the feeling of pressure to get the dice moving is much reduced.  The shooter actually seems to “buy” some extra time in preparing for the launch. One can take an extra second or two.  Pause, take a breath, and get off a gentle, smooth delivery.  All without that hair-rising-on-the-back-of-the-neck feeling that “ya gotta get them dice away”.

For example I’ve watched JoeNewB setting the dice, as everyone seems prone to do these days, but he just keeps rolling the same die around and around and around, cuz I guess he can’t see the 3 side for all the pips or something.  All this twistin’ turnin’ and maneuverin’ of the dice gets to the point where it starts to be irritating to most at the table.  And yet, there is Randy who takes the dice and taps them, then circles them on the felt, then taps them again, picks them up and blows on them, gets a little wind-up going and finally launches ‘em like a rainbow.  Both players probably took nearly the same time to actually toss the cubes, but there must be some physiological bit about the guy who looks like he is in the act of tossing vs the guy who looks like he is still just getting ready, that makes one more frustrating then the other… Well, I see I’ve gone rambling here…

Practice, practice, practice and try to keep the three steps of the pre-launch (set, grip, position) down to a few seconds each and you’ll do fine.  In fact, you’ll soon find that your quick set/grip/launch-position combo leads to an improved toss at the tables.

Best wishes for a straight toss and a full rack.

Maddog

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on March 1, 2007 2:00 PM.

The previous post in this blog was Part 9: Shooting From The Don't A Journey Of Opportunity.

The next post in this blog is The "Five Count" Revisited.

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