Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Struggling for Objectivity : Emotion Part 2

A comment by Eric Rodwell in an interview struck a chord
"The key" says Rodwell, "is to use energy constructively.”

When I next saw him at the Yeh cup, I asked him to elaborate. He did not seem very enthusiastic about detailing his thoughts, possibly worried that they might be viewed as frivolous. After I prodded him a bit, he shared with me a great insight and I am quoting him (not exact words, but hope to have captured the intent) :

"For example, one drain on energy is emotion. I find that I play my best game when there is no emotion involved. Emotions based on the state of the match, being pissed off at partner, hatred for the opponents or a hand where we got a poor result are distractions. They hamper my game and I try to stay clear of them.

However, different things work for different people. I know some people who can not play their best game unless they have enough emotional energy coming out of the same factors that do nothing for me

And then the line that I liked the most
I find that emotion distracts one from the process of being objective.”


  1. Calming The Mind So The Mind Can Perform

    There's two seconds left in the championship game, your team is behind by one point and you are at the free throw line shooting two shots. You're keenly aware of the situation and you, like everyone else in the sold out arena, know how important these two shots are. You can feel your heart pounding and your legs are a little weak as you bounce the ball and prepare for your first shot. You take a last deep breath and push the ball towards the basket. You watch with considerable anxiety as the ball hits the front of the rim and bounces straight up. It comes back down and starts rolling around the rim, finally dropping through.

    As the ball drops through the hoop you feel a tremendous sense of relief. It's as if all the weight of the world has been lifted from your shoulders. The ball is passed to you by the referee for your second shot and you step up to the line and dribble the ball. This time, there is no thought of failure, there is no doubt in your mind. You know that you're going to make the shot. You take the last bounce, look to the basket, inhale, feel your knees bend slightly and begin pushing the ball towards the basket. It's effortless and you're in total control, you know before the ball leaves your hand that it's going through without even touching the rim. You feel the excitement as watch the ball spin through the air in slow motion towards it target. The moment almost seems frozen in time for you.

    Just before your second shot, you entered what athletes refer to as "the zone." One of the primary roles sport psychologists is to help athletes get into the zone and stay there. To do that, they have to quiet their thought processes and shout out distractions to simply let themselves perform.

    That is the Zone
    It is never a state where emotions have the upper hand.

    There are 4 type of concentrations we engage in every day
    Broad external focus
    Broad internal focus
    Broad external focus
    Narrow internal focus
    Emotions makes us fall back to internal focus directed at ourselves, and by doing so, our mind no longer pay appropriate attention to the external cues that are relevant to the game

  2. As Rodwll says, different things work for different people.

    I'm reading a poker book now in which the author recommends getting angry at the other players at the table. He says you should find things about them that you hate or that disgust you. He believes that this will give you an "image" that will cause other players to fear you and you can take advantage of them.

    Obviously he believes that and it must work for him. It wouldn't work for Rodwell, nor would it for me.

  3. wish we had more blogs by payes like sartaj who seem to have an insight into what makes a bridge player improve.. i enjoy reading sartaj's comment ..keep blogging sartaj we need more of these gems...

  4. Poker is fundamentally different from bridge - at poker, you have no partner. As a result,
    I think that those who apply poker strategies
    to bridge are on the wrong track.

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