Beta Blockers - my experience

Beta Blockers - my experience

Post by Doug Kra » Sat, 26 Jul 1997 04:00:00


The subject of beta-blockers has crept in here before - just wanted to
relate my own experience and opinion.

Sometime in the last year I decided I was good enough to start
competing in pool ( 8- and 9-ball).  I thought I was hot sh- ... er...
stuff!  So I entered the Thursday night open 9-ball tourney at La Mesa
Billiards.  I told them I was a "B" player (knowing full well I was
probably an "A" player).  

Races to three, double elimination.

As you may have guessed, I was out after two matches...
Not only that, I lost both matches 3-0.  (Wait. It gets worse...)
In the first match I didn't make a single shot in about 12 innings
over the three games.  The second match lasted over 20 innings
probably.  I only made two shots in the whole match.

***?  Even though those watching appeared sympathetic, it was
apparent that they thought I shouldn't be wasting their time (although
the winner probably appreciated the extra ten bucks).

What happened?

From the time they called my name for the first match, my heart
started pounding like the proverbial big bass drum.  My muscles needed
a shot of WD-40.  I was a wreck.  

After a few weeks, my heart rate returned to normal, and I decided to
give it another try.  (When you fall off a horse, it's important that
you get right back on).  I signed in as a [behumbled] "C" player.
I played much better, winning 3 matches (one of them to an "A" player)
before getting knocked out one round before the money.  

Redemption.  I overheard one of the better players refer to me as a
"good B player".  

Only one problem - that big bass drum was thumping away for the entire
night.  I'm not sure how I got my muscles to work at all; I was still
nowhere near the top of my game.  Basically, I was a bundle of nerves.

"Get used to it", I told myself.  "Just keep playing in competition
and it will get easier."  So I joined the monday night 8-ball APA
league.  

I'm fooling nobody... I even get nervous when I'm shooting the guys
(and ladies) [PC] in the bar on Friday night even though most of them
pose little to no threat!

So!  The last time I was at the doctor's office, I asked him about my
pool game.  (I really did just that!  After he was done removing a
cyst I said, "I wanted to talk to you about my pool game")

After a little chuckle, and more explanation from me, he briefed me on
the different beta blockers.  I wish I could remember the names of
them, but two that I brought up (and had been mentioned in rsb before)
were no good because one is somewhat depressive, and the other is for
long term maintenance.  

What he did give me is Propanolol.  I think this is the generic term
rather than the brand name.  

The following Monday night I took one about an hour before league
practice.  I think I lost that night, but I am sure it had nothing to
do with the drug.  There was no psycho-active response.  I didn't feel
anything at all - that was good.  I had a few beers, and they affected
me the same as they always do (a "few" do virtually nothing ;o).
The only difference was that I wasn't a bundle of nerves.  I shot my
first relaxed, competitive game of pool that night.  I almost didn't
even realize it until the night was over, when I thought, "Damn! I
feel - normal!"  I was sure I had found the miracle drug.

That night I lay in bed thinking about my relaxing evening of pool.
Then I thought about my upcoming day of work.  Then I thought about
how nice it would be if I could just get to sleep.  Then I thought
that perhaps next Monday I would only take half a propanolol.  Then,
after about 3 1/2 hours of thinking, I fell asleep.  It's odd how
something that keeps your heart from leaping into your throat can also
keep you from getting to sleep.  I hadn't noticed any "speedy" effects
physically, but my mind didn't want to end the day until about 9 hours
after I had taken the pill.

Next Monday I only took half a pill.  I had a slight case of the
jitters, but I think it only helped to keep me sharp.  I guess a
little bit of edginess is good .  In any event, I won, and was able to
enjoy the evening.

That night I lay in bed thinking... again.  I thought that perhaps I
would have to learn to play with the jitters from now on.  

I did enter a weekend tournament not too long ago.  I took a full
propanolol in the morning before the practice session.  Once again,
the pill worked its magic.  I was able to play confidently, but fell
short of my capabilities, getting sent home one round short of the
money [again].

I'm not offering any conclusions here.  I suspect that the
beta-blocker might remove a little of that competitive edge that you
need to be a winner.  However, at least in my case, the nervousness
can be strong enough that I would rather take the pill, and go home
with 2nd or 3rd place and all my fingernails.  Unfortunately though,
the side effect of sleeplessness is going to force me to learn to play
competitively and deal with my nerves some other way.

Oooohhhmmmm........

************************
Doug Kraft
San Diego
"Not one shred of evidence supports
the notion that life is serious."

************************

 
 
 

Beta Blockers - my experience

Post by Ron Shepa » Sat, 26 Jul 1997 04:00:00


Quote:

>The subject of beta-blockers has crept in here before - just wanted to
>relate my own experience and opinion.
[...]
>From the time they called my name for the first match, my heart
>started pounding like the proverbial big bass drum. [...]

I think that some people might read your post and think that beta blockers
eliminate jitters or nervousness.  This is not the case.  The reason beta
blockers are illegal to use in some sports is that they make the muscles
less sensitive to the electrical impulses of the heartbeat.  These ***
have been used in the past by atheletes in rifle, pistol, and archery
related competitions.  They don't calm nerves, they reduce the twitches in
your fingers that occur naturally when your heart beats.

Quote:
>[...] Once again, the pill worked its magic. [...]

And this is exactly the wrong kind of message to be sending out about
these kinds of ***.  They work no magic in calming nerves or in
enhancing mental focus.  But they are dangerous *** because they affect
your heart rhythm and your *** pressure.  If you must take them because
of a heart problem, then that's a problem that you have to live with, but
individuals should not take these things without a doctor's advice.  

It sounds to me like you need to learn how to play under competition
pressure.  "Tournament Tough" as the pros say.  If it was as easy as
popping a pill, then everyone would be running racks.  But it's not, and
that is why you can enjoy this sport for many years and not get bored with
it.  It's not easy, and we wouldn't like it as much if it were.

$.02 -Ron Shepard

 
 
 

Beta Blockers - my experience

Post by John Walk » Sat, 26 Jul 1997 04:00:00

Quote:

>And this is exactly the wrong kind of message to be sending out about
>these kinds of ***.  They work no magic in calming nerves or in
>enhancing mental focus.  But they are dangerous *** because they affect
>your heart rhythm and your *** pressure.  If you must take them because
>of a heart problem, then that's a problem that you have to live with, but
>individuals should not take these things without a doctor's advice.  

Of all the sports to take *** to play, pool is not it.   At least NFL
players have millions of dollars on the line.  Why would anyone want to
risk destroying their health to place higher in a pool tournament?

John

 
 
 

Beta Blockers - my experience

Post by Ken » Mon, 28 Jul 1997 04:00:00

Quote:


> Why would anyone want to
> > risk destroying their health to place higher in a pool tournament?

> > John

> People risk their health, and those of others for far lesser goals. If
> you are in good health, Ron is right: taking any kind of drug to
> increase performance is stupid and dangerous. If you have a condition
> that a drug SEEMS to help, consult a doctor first. I take a beta blocker
> before a match because it is better than having to pop nitro during the
> match. Both are prescribed. I also take Lasix so I can***away the
> water that builds up on my heart and lungs.

> The above medications would be totally unnecessary if I had not screwed
> up my health. The best cure for anxioty is to stop smoking and drinking,
> and to get regular exercise to assure good *** circulation to the
> brain and other vital organs. Nothing you seem to enjoy now is worth
> sacrificing your health later. There is no substitute for hard work,
> clean living and hustling pool. An old fashioned idea? maybe.

> I know my health is personal, but I don't post this stuff for any reason
> other than to impress upon you youngsters to take care your bodies and
> minds. You can't imagine how frustrating it is to be forced to back off
> your game because you can't breath. Stop smoking. Stop drinking.
> Hustling is OK though.

Egggsactly. It's amazing. If our socially acceptable poisons worked
their effects within two weeks of first ingestion, no one would *think*
of smoking or drinking or eating a cardio-suicide diet. It's the
insidious nature of these thing that lull people into complacency, that
is until they feel the tightness in their own chest. By then it's
frequently too late.

Ken
____________________________

Luck comes in two flavors...
____________________________

 
 
 

Beta Blockers - my experience

Post by Nana » Mon, 28 Jul 1997 04:00:00

Quote:

> Luck comes in two flavors...

   ...Chocolate and Coconut Cream.

    -Nana

 
 
 

Beta Blockers - my experience

Post by =^.^ » Mon, 28 Jul 1997 04:00:00

My newsreader must've urped while I was on vacation because I never
saw the original post to this, I'm just seeing a lot of followups. I
have a prescription for propranolol, a beta blocker, so I'm going to
add my two pennies even if people don't like it.  ;-)

I don't take it regularly, mine is to "take as necessary for heart
palpitations".  I have a thyroid condition that sometimes causes
palps. I haven't taken a beta blocker in months.

I'm not a doctor, but here is my understanding of beta blockers as a
person who takes them and has read a lot about them:  They are not
habit-forming and I can't imagine why anyone would take them for
recreational use. They don't make you high and they don't make you
"feel good."

Beta blockers suppress production of the hormone adrenaline.
Adrenaline, as we all know, is the hormone responsible for that "fight
or flight" feeling we get when we're frightened or surprised. It;'s
what causes the butterflies in your stomach. It also causes your heart
to pound in your chest. That is why it was prescribed for me--to stop
the pounding (palpitations).

But because beta blockers suppress adrenaline, it also prevents the
butterflies in the stomach, and many of the other "symptoms" of being
frightened or nervous. When they were prescribed to me, the doctor
actually suggested that I could take one before speaking in public, if
that sort of thing made me nervous, because it would calm the
butterflies. I've used them for that, and they work.

The bottom line, of course, is that it is still a DRUG and you are
putting something unnatual into your system. It is mentally more
fullfilling to get through something on your own without chemical
help. But they are not ***ive, they don't make you high, and they
don't alter your behavior. Yes, they can be dangerous--that's why it's
a prescription drug. If your "fight or flight" system is suppressed,
you may not jump out of the way of that approaching freight train in
time.

But for people with certain heart conditions or who get so nervous
before public exhibitions that they throw up (or feel like throwing
up), then it is a medication akin to taking aspirin for a headache or
dramamine for carsickness/seasickness.

And that's my take on it.

Bev

 
 
 

Beta Blockers - my experience

Post by R. » Wed, 30 Jul 1997 04:00:00

Quote:


> Why would anyone want to
> > risk destroying their health to place higher in a pool tournament?

> > John

> People risk their health, and those of others for far lesser goals. If
> you are in good health, Ron is right: taking any kind of drug to
> increase performance is stupid and dangerous. If you have a condition
> that a drug SEEMS to help, consult a doctor first. I take a beta blocker
> before a match because it is better than having to pop nitro during the
> match. Both are prescribed. I also take Lasix so I can***away the
> water that builds up on my heart and lungs.

Yikes!  Lasix is the same stuff they give to thoroughbreds before races
to increase their speed on the track!  I didn't know they gave it to
human beings!

And what is your speed over eight furlongs, Jim?  ;)

Rob A.

 
 
 

Beta Blockers - my experience

Post by Paul Meyer » Thu, 31 Jul 1997 04:00:00

Quote:



> > Why would anyone want to
> > > risk destroying their health to place higher in a pool tournament?

> > > John

> > People risk their health, and those of others for far lesser goals. If
> > you are in good health, Ron is right: taking any kind of drug to
> > increase performance is stupid and dangerous. If you have a condition
> > that a drug SEEMS to help, consult a doctor first. I take a beta blocker
> > before a match because it is better than having to pop nitro during the
> > match. Both are prescribed. I also take Lasix so I can***away the
> > water that builds up on my heart and lungs.

> Yikes!  Lasix is the same stuff they give to thoroughbreds before races
> to increase their speed on the track!  I didn't know they gave it to
> human beings!

> And what is your speed over eight furlongs, Jim?  ;)

For a second I thought you were going to ask him if it increased
his pool speed.

- Show quoted text -

Quote:

> Rob A.

 
 
 

Beta Blockers - my experience

Post by Jim Meado » Fri, 01 Aug 1997 04:00:00

Quote:

> Yikes!  Lasix is the same stuff they give to thoroughbreds before races
> to increase their speed on the track!  I didn't know they gave it to
> human beings!

> And what is your speed over eight furlongs, Jim?  ;)

> Rob A.

Depends on who's chasing me.:o)

--
Jim Meador
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Beta Blockers - my experience

Post by Jim Meado » Fri, 01 Aug 1997 04:00:00

Quote:

> For a second I thought you were going to ask him if it increased
> his pool speed.

It increases my speed between the pool table and the head.:o)

--
Jim Meador
------------------------------------------
Billiard World (Web Magazine)
<http://www.billiardworld.com>
------------------------------------------
Chalk Talk (Instructional Newletter)
<http://www.billiardworld.com/chalktlk.html>
P.O. Box 2923
Newport News, VA 23609
------------------------------------------