Thursday, May 14, 2009

Stop digging

Regaining focus - RRR

If you want to climb out of a hole, the very first thing you must do is stop digging…

Once something happens that affect your focus, there are 3 basic steps to regain focus. This must be practiced actively in training games until it becomes automatic.


To ensure you regain your focus when a distraction does interfere with your state of mind, it is essential that you are consciously aware that you are at a distraction point. Through experience, you learn what situations are more likely to infer with your mental state. You mind may feel restless, your breathing changes, your body temperature rises. Or if a game is not going well, you may feel overwhelmed, despondent. Make a list of them and learn to recognise your mental reactions.


Create a trigger to interrupt or stop the counterproductive thought(s). This trigger can be a:

  • Verbal cue – Develop a few key words or phrases that you will use to stop your mind. Examples words are: Cards, stop, switch on, 7NT ( J ), I love this game…

  • Visual picture – the moon, water..

  • Physical action – Put down your cards, pick them up and re-arrange them, hit your fist against your hand, stretch, get up and get some water, throw away the distraction by putting it in your pocket ...


You now need to get your mind back to the bridge focused state. This is equivalent to a mini repeat of your pre-game routine. Use a focusing technique that you are comfortable with

  • Count backward from 10

  • Take 5 to 10 deep breath. It may help to count each breath you take

  • Imagery – This is something you will have developed and practiced before hand. You may have a few images that can be used depending on how much time you have. Between games, you may bring back the image of the last word championship, or one event where you performed well. Or instead of bringing back the image, bring back how you felt at that time.

  • With less time available , try to find your center, or imagine yourself bending all your energies toward the game

Now the world is your oyster

PS : Just remember that RRR must be used in practice matches. It must become second nature


  1. You're going places in bridge that have been under-appreciated, and I thank you.

  2. I'vr become aware of the importance of recognize and refuse bits. Will try and implement Relax as well.
    Nice work Cath !

  3. Congratulations to Sartaj on good RRR implementation this week when he and his team massacred the field to win Australia's Spring National Open Teams easily. Warning to all:
    I'm re-reading this blog, to attempt to emulate Sartaj in future. Peter Gill