Wednesday, May 13, 2009

When does the round begin ?

Every thought you think, every word you say, and every emotion you feel in the 5-10 minutes before the game has a major effect upon your results.

The problems begin if we start imposing business patterns and every day rhythms into the bridge. room. These rhythms and mindsets are simply incompatible with the game. There are too many distraction, too many random thoughts, too many emotions.
The pre-game routine is the time when we begin to focus on the game and we are letting go of the daily hassles and distractions.

Before we start playing, we must have made the game into our religion, the bridge table its temple and we are the gurus.

Pre-game routine

It should be the deliberate, the same before every game, take 10-20 minutes. Any preparation such as line-up, who is the match against, which direction we will be sitting should have been made already (if at all possible).

A routine could be:

  • Get to the venue early
  • Check the room arrangement
  • Go for a walk
  • Get yourself a drink
  • Sit at your table early and get your mind card ready. The surroundings should be absent from your thoughts
  • Go through your system card
  • Have a pack of cards and shuffle them
  • Minimise or eliminate the chatting
  • Use imagery to get into the right mental state. The degree of arousal required will vary according to individuals, some need more pumping up than others. (More on imagery later)
  • Just before the game begins,check the opponents system cards (even if you know them)
  • Count your cards always the same way. Shuffle your cards at every board
  • Don’t go looking at previous days scores !
  • If you have a captain, he/she will institute a routine, gather the team every day for a catch up.
  • Whatever routine you use, always use the same one

Your pre-game routine should become a ritual. Remember, bridge is your religion and you are the guru.

The element of routine must be present before every match. It may seems a bit much right now, but it will pay dividends the day you have a bad set.

Check out these guys, they all do it.

1 comment:

  1. I recall that when we almost won the PABF, George Bilski had instituted the policy of "players to show up at the table 15 minutes before play starts" and he religiously enforced it.
    It was very certainly a useful directive.