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mrt1212



Joined: Feb 26, 2013

Post   Posted: May 26, 2018 - 23:17 Reply with quote Back to top

So I'm reading Angela Duckworth's book Grit and I'm about halfway through and have a lot of food for thought.

Two of the ideas she talks about in Chapter 7 and 8 is the seeming dichotomy between directed practice which is hard, exhausting, yet fruitful and flow where everything you are doing in the midst of whatever activity feels effortless. Secondly she talks about purpose and uses an old chestnut of three brick layers working on a structure and how they see their contributions - a means to a personal end or something much greater, a calling.

I'm sure long tenured coaches know exactly about the 'flow' where in the midst of a game, whether a tourney or one off, everything just clicks in almost a supernatural way. In BB we obviously have dice that can help reduce or enhance the perception of difficulty along with there being some zero-sum actions by your coaching counterparty that yield better or worse opportunities. Even accounting for that though, there is definite access to that 'flow' state borne out of the repeated practice they put in even subconsciously.

But...lets take a step back from that and look at the reason for playing. When I initially started playing I was already in the right frame of mind to play. I wanted a game that was dynamic, novel, had short term and long term ways to engage with it and way to take my mind off of other things in my life. Over time though, I started to realize that this game and really any other game is a metaphor as to how we approach other things in life. I reckon that it is not merely coincidence that those who have longer tenures aren't just grinding away in the ether occasionally getting validation - many of the longer tenure coaches are here because it is the task of playing BB that is fruitful and the outcomes validate that fruitfulness more than often enough.

So let's tie this back to directed practice. One of the fundamental roadblocks to long term enjoyment of this game is that some coaches view the output of their play as the fundamental objective of playing. There is no delineation or separation of practice and 'for real'. Every result matters equally and serve as that positive feedback mechanism to keep interest. Is that really the best way to approach it though?

I can't account for every individual's method, attitude and purpose but I reckon that one of the biggest gaps between short term engagement and long term engagement is the complete lack of directed practice. Now, what do I mean by directed practice?

I mean setting time aside to focus on the game itself completely, challenging yourself by handicapping yourself either by team or by opponent, by setting up sub-goals to winning outright like minimizing reciprocal blocks or dice rolls. I can imagine some of you rolling your eyes at this and thinking "I'm here to have to have fun and relax and enjoy myself" and I will respond "Then why Blood Bowl of all games, with all the dick punching moments?"

I myself spent years and years grinding away trying to figure everything out on my own and while I am marginally better than where I started, I probably could be much further along if I had more directed practice. I've played a huge portion of my games stoned which is probably indicated by the results and for what it's worth, there is nothing wrong kicking back with a glass of whiskey, your favorite beer, a fat bowl, a bump of cocaine and playing.

For some, myself included, substance imbibing is/was a way to cope with the initial adrenaline rush of getting a game and the overwhelming excitement and anticipation of playing such a dynamic and novel game. And as time has gone on, I no longer get that same euphoric rush from merely getting a game together in Box or Ranked. It's still there with tourney and league games given the stakes and putting practice into play but even then, I'm not overwhelmed to the same extent I once was where it's almost intrusive thought processes and patterns. But you have to ask yourself "Does this support a greater objective that I have". Only you can answer what your objective is and whether imbibing supports that.

But if your goal is to incrementally improve and be marginally better today than you were yesterday you need a framework to engage that way. You need to figure out where your shortcomings are and where you can shore them up and unfortunately for new coaches there is a huge experiential and information gap that comes to coaches through experience. Some, like myself, take a way longer time to start asking the right questions, even internally. Some folks, already have a framework from previous life experiences on where to start internally auditing their methods and objectives.

With directed practice you need to not only have an outsized challenge and complete focus. This is already a distinct possibility if you're facing a long tenured coach with a long tenured team. But you need specific feedback on the actions you took within the game.

And again, this is where there is an information gap - from both sides of the equation. Long tenured coaches who are at ease with the game will invoke "It depends" without fully exploring what that means or going over other possible moves at the same point. Internally, they know what those other options are but for whatever reason don't articulate them. And on the neophyte side, merely having the gumption to ask "what did I do wrong or where can I improve" towards the larger community is hard - you're admitting that you don't understand the parameters of the game fully and that it was you, not the dice that lost you that game. Even asking one on one after a game can prove difficult as it feels like an imposition on the other coach's time.

But this is essential to improvement and where I see so many neophyte or struggling coaches falter. They are unwilling to admit to their inexperience, their lack of understanding and chalk it up to the dice or the opposing team/coach being too steep a challenge. There is no shame in knowing you are behind the curve if you are. There is no shame in wanting help to improve yourself. There is no shame in getting your butt whooped and then immediately asking for pointers.

The other aspect of directed practice isn't just the quantity of the time put in but the quality of time put in and this is again, where feedback and asking the right questions come into play. It's about being fully cognizant of what you're doing and what the objectives are on any given turn and forward looking turns is essential and why I suggest that imbibing can hinder that.

So now let's talk about flow and where I think there is a necessary split in how you approach different venues of play. If you view Ranked and Box as a practice field to learn things and tournaments as the place to apply that practice you now have a framework for growth and validation. If you're just trying to improve your win rate ahead of all else you might start tailoring your tactics and strategy towards that objective potentially missing fundamental aspects of the game that can be applied across team and opponent.

To me, I feel the ability to get into that effortless state can really be maximized if you assign different objectives to the play venue. It's not a simple trick that you wake up and decide to do but thinking about each venue as an entity with different objectives can help you get more quality out of each experience and get you closer to that 'flow' moment when the stakes do matter. It can also help lessen the ego punching outcomes of practicing and allow you to put the experience in its place and grow from it. Your winrates don't define you if you have a few trophies in the case. If winrates are all you have and you have a very dogmatic approach and don't seek to learn or grow, how much do you enjoy a loss? How much do you learn from a loss?

Finally, let's revisit purpose. As I said earlier, I came to the Blood Bowl with the right frame of mind to pick it up. And I stuck with it even though I ate dirt many times over. And now, I am sitting in a comfortable place with tons of room for improvement but with an excitement of sharing my experience and attitude with other people. Despite how some coaches engage with Blood Bowl, this game has helped me understand the world at a large better and helped hone an element of resiliency to defeat and failure. Everything this game has to offer directly in the moment and everything beyond that has started to flow back into my consciousness.

I speak for myself on this but I'm sure a few of you are nodding your heads in agreement - Blood Bowl isn't just a game, it is a way to understand the world around you. This is something you work on and hone and few understand that initially. But once you understand that you can enjoy every game you play on its own merits but also get back so much more from the game, in excess of whatever good feelings a win produces. You can gain social connections, a resiliency towards adversity, a deeper understanding of how you approach other aspects of your life. Ultimately the purpose of Blood Bowl doesn't have to be one thing or another solely - it can be an audit on your problem solving methods, ego, and resiliency. It can be a tool in your toolbox to break away from another problem in your life and get a soft reset in how you deal with life.

I've taken it pretty far and I'm sure a few are chuckling at how verbose I've been here and will reply TLDR. I'm sure a few are thinking "A Cigar is a Cigar" and that I'm experiencing something that doesn't exist. I'm sure a few look at the whole picture of how I wax on about Nuffle and couple it with this and then look at my performance and doubt me in some way like "Shouldn't you be a better coach than you are?"

But I put it to these folks to explain why I get such overwhelming fulfillment from Blood Bowl and Fumbbl where many before me and many after me have given up and move onto new things. To explain why my interest and dedication has been less worthy and less fruitful than anyone else's. And to put a lampshade on it, why I am so at ease in writing these lengthy diatribes that connect back to a book I picked up because it was suggested to me by my father after describing my engagement with Blood Bowl to him time and time again.

The fruit of Blood Bowl isn't just playing a game and getting novel entertainment out of it - it can be so much more. You just have to orient your mind to tending to an orchard and raising those crops. Then you can look around you and see that Blood Bowl is not unique in this regard but one of many ways to become a steward of your existence and then integrate even more orchards into your life.
garyt1



Joined: Mar 12, 2011

Post   Posted: May 31, 2018 - 23:11 Reply with quote Back to top

The Orchards analogy is getting a bit out there but the point of having little targets is a good one. Amongst all that text :-O
If you only enjoy increasing your win rate then you are going to be disappointed eventually. Though those who look into the details may be able to do it. I usually only dissect my matches with the major errors.

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DarthPhysicist



Joined: Jun 14, 2015

Post   Posted: May 31, 2018 - 23:27 Reply with quote Back to top

I wonder if anyone has ever used directed practice on Monopoly?

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JellyBelly



Joined: Jul 08, 2009

Post   Posted: May 31, 2018 - 23:31 Reply with quote Back to top

Wot?

You have time to read? You're not playing enough Blood Bowl! Razz

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DarthPhysicist



Joined: Jun 14, 2015

Post   Posted: May 31, 2018 - 23:31 Reply with quote Back to top

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eGDBR2L5kzI

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thoralf



Joined: Mar 06, 2008

Post   Posted: May 31, 2018 - 23:56 Reply with quote Back to top

Directed practice in Monopoly:

Quote:
After feeling a brief twang of personal satisfaction for taking money from the world champion when he lands in my territory, I end up owing him an extortionate amount of rent just a few throws later, forcing me to mortgage a few properties of my own. It's at this point that Nicolò makes it clear that he's done messing around and won't be accepting any properties as debt repayment. All he cares about now is ruining us.

The only player who doesn't end up screwed by Nicolò's tactics is Elio, who—in keeping with the traditions of Italian property magnates—continues to spend a significant amount of time in prison.


https://www.vice.com/en_ca/article/gy8en9/heres-what-happened-when-i-tried-to-beat-the-monopoly-world-champion-at-monopoly

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DarthPhysicist



Joined: Jun 14, 2015

Post   Posted: Jun 01, 2018 - 01:19 Reply with quote Back to top

thoralf wrote:
The only player who doesn't end up screwed by Nicolò's tactics is Elio, who—in keeping with the traditions of Italian property magnates—continues to spend a significant amount of time in prison.

LOL

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