Team Captain of the Month – Steve Willet

Steve Willet is our winning December TCOM! Steve is captain for team Don’t Miss Again, playing for UPA Phoenix leagues. Steve has quite a few team wins under his belt, including the September VQ for 2018 Nationals. Read more about Steve below on his strategy for victory!

Steve at a glance:
8-Ball OS: 6
8-Ball Team Ranking: 53
US Rank: 213
Member since: 3/21/2016
Playing Cues: Predator Revo

When did you first start playing pool?

I used to play with my dad off and on when I was a kid. Growing up in Omaha, we had quite a few snow days and any time school was called off, my dad would take me to Big Johns Billiards to shoot as it was just down the street from our house. Snow days were something I really looked forward to as I knew that I would be going to the pool hall to shoot with dad.

How did you get started with the UPA?

One of my co-workers was asking me about cues at work and mentioned that he played in the UPA and invited me to come down one night. I’ve been hooked ever since.

What is your favorite part about playing in a UPA league?

I love the competitiveness and camaraderie and look forward to seeing everyone we play with each and every week. It’s crazy to me how we are so polite and friendly with each other but when it’s time to play, everyone gets down to business.

What do you like most about being a Team Captain?

I like being responsible for teaching others how to run a team. All my players learn how to put players in the box, score and run things if I need a back up to do it any given night. It’s important to mold players to be captains as Speeds change and sometimes players may just want to branch off and form their own team.

What qualities do you think make for a good Team Captain?

You have to lead by example with a positive and never say die attitude. Set people up for success and know your players. Help your players and still do what’s right for the team.

What are some challenges you’ve faced being a Team Captain?

I’ve been a captain and coach for other sports and this is by far the easiest. I guess the biggest challenge is making sure everyone gets there on time. Everything else is on the player. I wouldn’t really say it’s a challenge.

What advice do you have for future UPA Team Captains?

Pick the right people for your team. I will always choose personality over skill. Skills can be improved upon, however attitude sometimes can not. I’d rather have an eager beginner over a stubborn advanced player any day.

How do you help your players improve?

At the end of each night, I take a photo of the Team Match Card so I can go back and see how players did against each of their opponents in the past prior to putting them in the box. Sometimes you have a player who can own a particular opponent each and every time but it’s easy to forget as the session progresses. It’s been a great reference and I’m not happy about sharing this secret!

What is your match up strategy?

Close to even across the board. I feel like the UPA handicaps are accurate and playing close or even matches boils down to who’s playing better or wants it more that night. I don’t believe in offering up any player as a sacrificial lamb. I like to keep it within 1 to 2 Speed match-ups at most. It also takes the argument out of it as players can only look at themselves and their performance when matched evenly.

Describe your playing style:

Aggressive. I like to go after it.

How has playing in a UPA league evolved your game?

It’s sharpened up my game, but most importantly, it’s made me a better person. How often can you walk into a room with 40+ people and want to be around all 40 of them? Our players are really great and I love that I get to be a part of this league.

Thank you Steve and we appreciate all you do as Team Captain. Good luck to your team in your current session and we look forward to seeing you all back at Nationals!