2017 Team Captain of the Year – Thomas Temen

Our 2017 Team Captain of the Year is Thomas Temen of UPA Polk County. Thomas captains “Take Aim” 4 nights a week and achieved his goal of becoming the #1 UPA team in the nation! Read below for helpful tips on how to lead your team to victory in 2018:

Thomas at a glance:

8-Ball OS: 6

9-Ball OS: 5

10-Ball OS: 5

8-Ball Team Ranking: #1

US 8-Ball Rank: 341

US 9-Ball Rank: 354

US 10-Ball Rank: 288

Member since: 4/19/2015

When did you first start playing pool?

After I graduated high school, I joined the marines at 19 years old and in my second year, picked up a stick and would go to the local bar to play (not drink) as I really enjoyed the competitive aspect of it. I liked the aiming aspect of the game as well as knowing what you put in is what you get out.

How did you get started with the UPA?

I only started playing league 1 year before I started with UPA. Word started getting around about UPA and that it was a better game of pool, everyone was talking about it. I decided to give a try during a 12 week session, my team ended up in last place and I hated it! I thought I couldn’t compete and that it was too tough as all the players were really good. My League Operator asked me to give it one more session and I agreed. Been here ever since! UPA is a better league and with the Player Dashboard you can see how good you are and what you need to work on. The Player Dashboard is so awesome!

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

The Player Dashboard and the competitive feature combined takes it to another level. There is no sandbagging, as it’s not necessary with the higher team handicap limits. In this league, we have a different caliber of player, not there to complain or pay the bills, but just to have fun. Our league is so competitive, that we’ve literally won just by making sure our Scorecards are neat and accurate so we keep all of our Bonus Points.

What do you like most about being a Team Captain?

I like forming a team with balance and the biggest thing a captain can learn is when to sit and when to play. I set the tempo, I start out hot, set the momentum by putting up a solid player to get the first win. All we really need is 3 wins, although the 4 and 5th win are nice too! I also like getting the team together to practice. Warming up before a match is not practice and I’m on the table for hours a day, 5/6 days a week. Like tonight, it’s a night off league for us and the team is coming over to my house to get a practice session in.

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

Communication, organization, patience, willingness to learn, and leading by example. You can’t tell someone to be positive when you’re not. I have zero tolerance for negativity, it’s cancer. I’m really serious about the positive attitude, bad for me personally. When I see that someone isn’t having fun, I’m wondering why. Worse thing you can do for your game is have a negative attitude. Best way to get out a slump is take your time, breathe, and pocket balls.

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

You have to be a people person, 7 different personalities can come with 7 different sets of problems. Communicating and getting people to call me if something is up can be challenging but most of all, I just want to make sure everyone is having a good time and enjoying themselves.

What advice do you have for future UPA Team Captains?

Realize the reason that you’re there is because you have fun and enjoy the game. Missing and losing is all part of the game. When you first start out, you’ll want to get a feel for your players, and know that it may take a session or 2 before you win. Just be patient. God gave you one mouth and two ears for a reason, talk half as much as you listen and listen twice as much as you talk.

How do you coach your players?

Take your time, slow down. Two words, SLOW DOWN. Look at your shot 3 shots ahead, where is the cue ball going to be? When someone breaks, whether it’s my player or their opponent, look for that 8-ball, look for the problems. Do you want to leave the problems for the other person or deal with them immediately? Really map out the table and be patient.

Describe your playing style:

Aggressive, I like to get it. I like to be professional when playing, I don’t talk, I sit and I give the courtesy to the other player. You’d be amazed at how many players will adapt this mindset just by seeing others do it and appreciate it.

How has playing in a UPA league evolved your game?

UPA is the only league that takes it to the next level. A 6 in UPA is a honest to God 6. It’s the best game of pool that you’re going to get out there in leagues.

How many cues do you currently have?

6 cues, but I only shoot with one cue – a rawhide with a Predator 314 shaft. I also use an Elite break cue and a Lucasi custom jump cue.

Favorite pro and why?

Rodney “The Rocket” Morris. Rodney comes down often and will give lessons and I used to get fatigued due to the way I stood. He’s liked the way I shot but told me to change up my stance and it’s changed my game tremendously. I invested my last cash placing winnings into lessons with Rodney.

Thank you for your time Thomas, it was a pleasure speaking with you again and we look forward to seeing your team back in Vegas this June!