I love poker.
I think it appeals to the nerd inside me.
I know its hard to believe, but he’s in there. In fact, he lives right next to pretty much every line to the original Star Wars Trilogy and the absurd amount of Tolkien lore that I hide in my brain. You see I LOVE numbers and statistics. But more than that, I liking basing the decisions I make off those actuarial thoughts. Yeah, I used the word actuarial (told you that nerd was in there).
From that picture, there should be no surprise that I spend a lot of time planning practices every week. I look at positions that score at the highest percentage at the Olympic, World, or NCAA level, and then leverage that against positions in which we struggle to devise where to focus attention at practice.
Well, today all those hours got thrown right out the window.
Today was hot.
Not pretend hot like PCB Spring Break week either. Real Deal Holyfield, 96°, Atlanta summer humidity hot. So the heavy output practice I had planned was only good for wet socks and cramps. And neither of those was under my goal list for the day.
So with my calculated practice plan out the window, I turned to the other reason I love poker: I enjoy reading people.
You can learn so much about someone by just watching. So that’s what I decided to do. I stuck with the technique set (low level head inside finishes), and put the guys (and two girls) under some stress to see what I could gather about the group mentally.
I pushed them right up until the point I could tell the heat was becoming a factor, and then asked each wrestler to get creative with their head inside attacks. Basically to see how many different ways he/she could get to the same place. I was going to walk around feigning interest in their singles but really was reading response to the heat. I wasn’t exactly sure what I was going to get. I could have ended up with 50 pressure cooked zombies, but instead got a group of single leg rock stars!
I’ll take practices like that any way I can get them, but the nerd inside me pouted a bit. The kids absolutely crushed that practice, despite the fact that I only put about 10 minutes of thought into it.
But no one every got anywhere by pouting, so I tucked my lip back in and decided to do some learning instead.
I like look back at practices and do some deconstruct them (basically think backwards). I planned on putting the athletes in an adverse situation, and then gain feedback from their stress. But to really be able to do some in depth scientific work, I needed to turn the structure of practice over to someone else.
Due to lack of prep time, my only choice was to release it to the wrestlers!
Doing this gave their brain something else to focus on other than HOT HEAT or SWEAT. Once we got the thought process off those words, they were able to squeeze another 45 minutes of quality work out of themselves.
So when things get tough, activate your brain in a positive manner to produce results you’re looking for. Your brain can either be a sail or an anchor.
So what’s today’s lesson? Put simply: preparation is great, luck is good, but learning from the process is most important of all.
Oh yeah, and nerds are awesome!