I like to swim. I’m not very good at it, but I do it five times a week and it’s a great way of improving my fitness (hey, I’m an online poker player – exercise is pretty foreign to me). One thing that I’ve been mulling over recently is the concept of being In The Zone.
Every now and then, I get into a great flow where swimming feels completely natural. I glide through the water without fatigue and without even having to think about my technique. This is my swimming A Game.
Most of the time, I need a little break after a dozen or so lengths. My technique starts pretty well but, as I tire, my time deteriorates and I get pretty leggy. This is my B Game.
And then there are times when I get into the pool, swim five lengths with considerable exertion and then go for a sauna. I do not want to be in the pool, and the pool does not want me. Ours is a loveless marriage. This is my C Game.
Over time, I have noticed that my C Game days have decreased from once a week to once every few weeks. My A Game days have increased in turn; in any given week I will have at least one of these. My B Game is my standard, and it has improved dramatically. As I swim more regularly, what is my A Game today will be superceded by next month’s B Game. Next month’s C Game will equate to today’s B Game. In other words, improvement is a moving target. Tommy Angelo calls this ‘improving from the bottom up and from the top up’, and I think he’s bang on the mark with this one.
I did a coaching session this week with a student who plays the 18-Man SNGs on Pokerstars. He did not play flawlessly; I would say that he played his B Game. However, his B Game this week is vastly superior to his A Game of three months ago. Improvement may not be easy to measure in yourself, but hard work ensures that these In Flow A Game moments occur more frequently. And that is a pretty good target to strive for.