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Old 05-11-2010, 08:40 AM #1
J. Stein
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Thread of the Week: When is today the day?

In either 2000 or 2001, the team was at the World Cup, on Sunday, at a ridiculously early hour (we forgot about daylight savings). I remember the morning; the field was deserted except for a police car and small handfull of event staff getting things set up. It was still dark out, and there was a fog over the ground that made everything misty. It was still cool and damp out, and it was quiet and peaceful (made more remarkable by how loud, busy and rushed the venue would be in just a few hours).

Jerry Braun saw me, walked up and shook my hand and said something that really hit me, something that stuck with him at every single tournament we've played since. He said, "Welcome to Sunday at the World Cup. Now the real tournament is about to begin."

I thought about that last weekend after practice. We had been trying some breakouts that we knew probably would not work, but we wanted to figure out if we could make certain bunkers off the break. We started a match with 187 and they clubbed us like baby seals for the first 4 points. So much so that the team backed off the new breakouts until we could get our heads straight. I wasn't in the pit, but I walked over and asked why we changed and I was told, "we were getting killed and now we are winning." And so I explained, in my customary calm and dispassionate way, that we weren't trying to win at a practice, we were trying to lose.

“If you're not making mistakes, you're not taking risks, and that means you're not going anywhere. The key is to make mistakes faster than the competition, so you have more changes to learn and win.” (John W Holt, Jr). And while I understand that losing sucks, that it can be demoralizing and that demoralizing your team can carry risks greater than the cause of the demoralization (in this case the losing); taking risks & pushing yourself to try new things is the only way to discover your boundaries. You have to be willing to get shot off the break in order to see how far you can break out. And you learn best through losing. Plain and simple.

But the idea that you lose in practice to win in events is pretty easy. Take that to the next level. All professional athletes talk about finding an extra gear for the playoffs.
  • "NBA players go 100% all year, but they kill themselves in the playoffs. That's when pride and reputations are on the line, and someone like LeBron James hits an extra gear, and his game goes to a place that we never knew existed."
  • "The best way to describe it is we were in first gear early, we went to second gear, third gear, fourth gear all through the season and then we shifted into overdrive in the playoffs and they kept riding," says Don Cooper, the White Sox pitching coach then and now."
  • "Right....but now is when teams that are really good start ramping it up to that next level for the playoffs. Can this team take it to the next level, do they have a next level this year? Guess we will see but what I am saying is can Anderson keep bailing our less than average Defense out when teams are cranking it to the next level?"

Ronnie Howell, the captain of the paintball team Nemesis, once said, "I will trade a win today for a win tomorrow every day of the week." His meaning being that he'd take second in D2 if it lead to a first in D1 or second in D1 if it lead to a first in Semi Pro. If you follow that logic to its logical conclusion, there is only ONE tournament that you are trying to win: Pro at the World Cup. Everything else is just practice.

So there you have it. You practice to learn for tournaments. But your tournaments are practices for other, bigger, higher stake tournaments (or are they)?

I guess the bottom line is, when is today the day that you don't trade the win from? When is today the day that you go out not to learn, but to demonstrate what you've learned?
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Old 05-11-2010, 09:25 AM #2
187 cRew it's Murda!!
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first...we clubbed you for 7 straight points

second...I think the elite teams play in that overdrive CONSTANTLY. obviously not in practice...but ANY and EVERY game played in a tournament playoff and prelim. Those teams should NOT care who is on the otherside or...what portion of the tourney they are competeing or which tourney it is.

THAT is what seperates the elite teams from the flash in a pan teams.

using pro sport examples notwithstanding...because their "prelims" are so long they need to reserve intensity or they will be blown out by the time it comes to possible elimination.

In tournament series of SHOULD be fighting everymatch as though its your last. If you are only beating teams 5-4 that you SHOULD be need to recheck yourself as a team. tehe is NO learning experience in a tournament...thats what practice is for.

-you SHOULD lose in practice...but there is a time where youcan only lose so much in practice. you need to use that time to adjust and start righting the ship. all sports MENTAL toughness is the biggest part. thats why if YOU or YOUR guys think they should be beating us (impartial and general statement) and they are getting smashed...things need to be changed or maor damage can be had...especially going into a tournament..

If your players go in knowing they are trying a bunch of things (a point 187 is VERY good at handling) and knowin its quite possible they will "lose" in practice....then so be it....e.g. we kept pushing the brick on dorito side ...even though you adjusted and started shutting it down....we were looking for new ways to get there.....if we lost the point who cares....but we also HAD that mental thought so not to get discouraged.

EDIT: A good example of this is...the yankees every year they have won the WS they have had a losing record in Spring take that as you will
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Last edited by bmoney003 : 05-11-2010 at 09:30 AM.
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Old 05-11-2010, 10:10 AM #3
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I agree completely the worst feeling in the world I had by the end of the season was when we were crushing people in practice. I had no idea if we had the best breakouts or the other team just had not figured out how to stop us yet.

We lost every game 0-9 the day before we played the PSP Chicago layout at NEPL and got whopped by a couple teams that we should (in theory) have been a lot better then. We then went out and won the tourney because we figured out all the things we could possibly do wrong.

I think a bigger thing is game planning and learning to figure out what works and what doesn't. A lot of teams at the d4 and even d3 level really dont plan on what they are going to do. Zone control is a mysterious word to a lot of people. I never used to see teams besides mine writing down other teams breakouts (at the lower levels) but lately its happening more and more. It is a good thing I want to get pushed and be better.

I think the most idiotic thing is when teams load up their all stars in practice go out and smash lower level teams, playing on and wiping. It does nothing to smash teams in practice. You have to try to push the envelope and get better doing things you might not normally do to find the edge of your abilities. I think it is something that a lot of teams dont understand. I also think it doenst help that some teams are not cohesive enough that if you are getting shot up in practice you have to worry about your spot on the team.

Practice against teams that are two or even three levels better then you and then play in tournaments that are at or one level above you.

I know some people say well you should play tourneys against teams that can beat you. I agree that you should not sand bag, but the line for me is if my team is in a tourney they should have a legit shot to place and a chance (say maybe 10% at least) of winning. If I dont feel that way then I dont believe it is worth it because then it just becomes a really expensive version of practice.

I think these threads of the week are a great idea by the way. I just found them today. Its been enlightening.
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Old 05-11-2010, 02:33 PM #4
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i know that for me, i roll up to every tournament thinking i'm going to win it and if there is one guy left on the field i want it to be me.

its not being cocky its being confident. if you don't have confidence going into an event then you might as well not show up.

Originally Posted by J. Stein View Post
I guess the bottom line is, when is today the day that you don't trade the win from? When is today the day that you go out not to learn, but to demonstrate what you've learned?
bmoney said it best. every tournament is THE DAY. practice is the days that you trade in for the win on the day of the event.

i know there is something to be said about winning world cup over any other event but if you don't know how to win because u gave away the first 3 or 4 events, what makes you think u will know how to win when u roll up to world cup?

"winning is contagious"
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Old 05-12-2010, 04:20 PM #5
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I wouldn't like to trade a win today for one tomorrow because there might not be a tomorrow.

Sometimes it can be hard to keep a team together for many reasons so you may not get the opportunity tomorrow to win.

It's pretty much win or die. I need to win now because I don't really know what tomorrow will bring me.

The thing with paintball is, you don't play enough to be able to make many mistakes in tournaments. There are so many teams and so many prelim games you play. You need to win as much as you can now because you can't control how well other teams are going to do when you play in different brackets.

As far as practice goes, I don't put too much stock into wins and losses.
there should be some kind of goal to accomplish every time you get on the field though.
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Old 05-13-2010, 04:01 PM #6
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Every time you step on the feild should be "the day". As a good player to begin with you should be trying to improove your game, try diff things to give ya an edge. It's with that attitude you place your self in more situations and the more your in the more times you can get out or make a productive move. I see way to many people/teams take it easey cause "this counts!" " it's a tourny be careful". I like people that don't bring everything to every game, makes me look better when I bunker thier ***.
Point being always be playing your best and always be trying new things, obviously save the stuff tour really unsure of for prac. but I'd never hold anything back, ever...
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Old 05-13-2010, 05:11 PM #7
187 cRew it's Murda!!
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Practice your weaknesses. Play tourneys with your strengths

Don't be afraid to lose
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Old 05-14-2010, 09:58 AM #8
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Originally Posted by bmoney003 View Post
first...we clubbed you for 7 straight points
In your dreams bmoney, it was 4 in a row, then we took the next 3 after that point, we went back and fourth. Anyway I get what jeff was looking to do, collect data on our breakouts. veryone knows that it's not about winning at practice, but how many teams really follow that course? I know it was hard for me to send the lines out game after game with a breakout that I knew was not designed to work for us. The guys did what they where told, even though I got some looks from different people. We got the information we needed and hopfully we can build a better game plan with it. Our game plans are always "work in progress"
And to get back to what bmoney said about practice your weakness, you can't get better advice than that. Last year NEX had a tuff time and one of the many reason was the lack of figuring out what we were bad at and how to repair it. We would come up with 4 workable game plans, and used those plans against local teams (and it worked) When we went to nationals and got totally different breakouts from other teams, we didn't know what to do to win. And that was our weakness, we had the ability to see the problem at hand but had no idea how to correct it. I think the best thing that could have come from last year was the experience I gained watching NEX lose. Hopefully that will come in handy this year. So losing as much as it sucks, does teach very valuable leassons as long as the player/coach is paying attention and has the ability and the drive to learn and overcome them.
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Old 05-15-2010, 05:01 PM #9
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If you are not failing, you are not trying. It is a great feeling to play on people with a similar or higher skill level, let alone if you beat them. It is a much better feeling than crushing someone with less skill level than you. Probably the reasoning for me keeping a pump in the gear bag. Do whatever you need to do in practice to turn your weaknesses into strengths, so that come game day, you can win. Just remember to keep having fun.
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