Sunday, October 11, 2009

Seach for excellence

Before tackling specifics like the ways to identify and improve focus styles, I thought I had better review my improvement plan. Bridge is fascinating because it involves some many different aspects of performance.

Here are the components of what I think would be a good performance improvement plan.

Focus - maintaining intensity
Focus - use appropriate styles
Focus – regaining
Intuition – appropriate use
Unforced errors – reduction of ...
Pre-game preparation – maximize potential for entering “The zone”
Probabilities – knowledge of card combinations
Probabilities - Statisticallly winning bridge actions (bidding)
Bidding system – appropriateness and correct usage
Knowledge of opposition strength and weaknesses
Predictability of actions by opponents based on study of international experts games
Technical skills
Spatial skills (thinking in patterns)
Logic – use of ( all the card play techniques we love)
Inferrential skills (*)

Training versus practice
Acquisition of technical skills (technical/mental)
Acquisition of knowledge
Acquisition of mental skills

Targetted practice of application of skills and knowledge
Hands Analysis (own)
Hands analysis (experts)
Targetted practice of mental skills

Here in OZ, there seems to be a fashionable trend that playing online is not a road to bridge improvement. At best, I think this is misguided. Thanks to the internet, you are not restricted to playing with people from your geographical area.The internet gives us access to resources that cannot be obtained in our little island. Playing against strong opposition from various countries is something we lack much here.

(*) A dog story

Dog-logic: inferential reasoning in a two-way choice task and its restricted use
Experiments were designed to test whether adult pet dogs are able to show inferential reasoning when searching for their toy in a series of two-way choice tasks. The experimenter placed a toy under one of two identical containers and then provided some information by manipulating the covers: either both containers were lifted or just the empty or baited one. There were other trials when the experimenter not only revealed the corresponding container but manipulated also the other one without showing its content. In the second experiment the same conditions were used except that the content of the containers was revealed by strings without any human manipulation. Results of the two studies show that dogs are able to use inferential reasoning by exclusion (i.e. they can find the hidden toy if they have seen where the toy was missing). However, dogs were able to solve the reasoning task only when they could not rely on social-communicative cues (directional gesture and gaze cues) or could not use any other simple discriminative stimuli (movement of a container) for making decisions. This suggests that dogs are often prevented from showing reasoning abilities by pre-existing biases for social or movement cues. Results of the third experiment also support the primary importance of social cueing because in another object-choice task, individuals preferred to choose the ‘socially marked’ container (touching, gaze alternation) to the remotely moved one when they had no visual information about the location of the toy.

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