Thursday, October 9, 2008

Confidence and active learning

You're going to fuck up.
It's a part of learning.
But remember this: Please, please, please fuck up actively rather than passively.

What I mean is this: it's better to go out, try to do something, and do it wrong than to let your self-doubt keep you from making the attempt, or keep you from attempting it at 100%. It's easy to half-ass it going into it and tell yourself 'well, I knew it wouldn't work...' It's much, much harder to trust yourself, fuck up at 100%, and then figure out what went wrong.

One trick of active learning is to prepare yourself for the task at hand by putting the stakes in perspective. Never are the stakes so low as at practice: there's nothing on the line except how much you and your teammates improve over the course of those two hours. That being said, two hours of your life should be high stakes indeed.

The next step in preparing yourself is to realize the very basics of the role you're fulfilling: what constitutes success? When you're cutting, it means getting open and catching the disc. When you've got the disc, it means throwing a good pass to another player. When you're playing defense, it means that your man doesn't get it on the open side, and he doesn't break you.

Getting the disc-- you deserve it.
When you're cutting, you need to believe that you deserve to have the disc as well as anyone on that field. We believe it, or we wouldn't put you on the field; if you don't believe it, you shouldn't have let us. Use the system so you know when it's your turn. Never let your defense dictate.

With the disc-- know your throws and trust your dump.
When you catch the disc and pivot downfield to look at eight or ten guys running around like idiots, ten seconds can seem like a very short time. Once you can always trust that you can turn and throw the dump pass, even four to six seconds seems like a lot of time.
Take a breath. Throw a fake. Is there a deep cut you can hit? Is there an under cut on the open side you can hit? Is there a break throw you can make? That's all there is to it. Every thrower has a different routine of making these checks, and modifies them if the team strategy dictates (i.e. you might pivot and look first to see where Francis is, if he's your partner.) But when it comes down to it, it's not worth freaking out because your dump will always be there for you.

Defense-- know your job and do it.
Don't get beat under on the open side. Ever.
Don't let him throw it to the break side. Ever.
Don't let him score on you. Ever.

These things are what you need to step onto the field believing that you are going to do, come what may. With these as your fundamental inner truths, you now have time to process the actual game-situation realities that will happen.

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