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Posted in: General

UNLUCKY -the use of this word when giving instant "feedback"

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  • We all have a strange relationship to luck and a misconception of what it is and how to control it. Most, like everything else, it is based upon conformational bias and cognitive dissonance.

    Truth is, it’s ALL luck, but our ego’s kick in the control freak in our brain, that we have some mythical power over luck. As would anyone addicted to gambling believe they know that they can predict the heads and tails, the run of luck, lucky streak, purple patch. They are desperate for there to be a predictable pattern in the dice.

    “Whether you believe you can, or believe you can’t, you probably right.”

    You break down that famous Ford quote, it claims…

    belief about probability makes randomness predictable. It doesn’t, but…

    Because there is no such thing as true randomness, i.e. everything has a cause in a causal Universe, we assume once we control the cause, we get a different outcome but as usual, we break the rule, “correlation is not necessarily causation.”

    A lot of bad and successfully bad coaches, use cognitive dissonance and conformational bias to “help” their athletes become more successful. Assuming this is a website for “thinking coaches”, I’d assume you don’t want to be successfully incompetent?

    This goes as a hierarchy…

    Unconscious incompetence

    Conscious incompetence

    Conscious competence

    Unconscious competence

    The problem comes with Dunning and Krugger, “both Unconscious incompetence and Unconscious competence feel the same.” Because they are both unconscious.

     “Living is easy with eyes closed, misunderstandings is all you see.” John Lennon

     As children we didn't have the opportunity to choose our beliefs. We didn't choose our religion, or to speak English, we didn't even choose our names. The most common way we store information is by agreement. In a sporting arena, the need for attention is part of the agreement, and we put our attention to understanding, which we use to predict things for success.

     Unfortunately, children can believe everything adults tell them, that's part of the conforming agreement. As coaches we can set ourselves up as information gurus, success facilitators. Problem is, that's our information, our view of success, it's cultural, the culture you were brought up in. What has that to do with anyone else, is the assumption of things like luck.

    One of the first things I coach kids is, “if adults are so clever, the world wouldn’t be in the mess it’s in.” I want them to think for themselves, rather than rely blindly on information.

    As children, we never had a choice what to believe or what not to believe. We never had a choice with even the smallest of these agreements. But when we do agree to socialise, psychologists call this "domestication of the human being". Just as we domesticate animals, we domesticate our children, "to fit in, to conform" Nietzsche calls this herd mentality but (and this is the important bit)…

    we are elite coaches, trying to help elite athletes, what has that got to do with the herd? There's only supposed to be a few on stage and the vast majority in the audience. We expect, quite rightly, our athletes to do and think differently from the herd.

     Good and Bad Luck is basically about win and loose which is, all basically about rejection and reward, we conform so as not to get rejected, and we conform in order gain the reward. Fear is the punishment of loosing the reward or being rejected. Most parents of the kids you coach use this strategy. The fear of not being good enough, eventually can mean we become someone we are not. If we learn it really well, we domesticate ourselves until we've created so much control, we believe we have power over the random. And perhaps in a sanitized, homogenized world, we do?

     There is a kids program call Jamilia and the Lamp, it's tag line is, “The 7th child is always lucky”, I assume the rest aren't so lucky. One thing is for sure, every child that watches that program, gets the message drummed into their sub-conscious.

    Like sheep, because of social conditioning, being ourselves is the biggest fear we have, elite athletes can't be afraid of themselves and therefore don't need the concept of luck, especially to blame for not winning.

     True greats are ruthlessly honest and never blame luck and random chance for their loss, they deal with it; true greats work to stack the probability in their favor.

     Wendy, I’d suggest, Think Fast, think Slow, D. Kahneman and Methods of studying coincidences, Diaconis/Mostella

     · Tennis 2Be likes this.
     
  • herd mentailty is summed up very well by the recent Louis Smith quote;

    "Lions don't need the opinion of sheep."

     
  • 1. I never to use this word as there are very little luck in what we try to do.

    2.  Not applicable when coaching

    3. You are trying to do something that you have no control over.

    4. Luck is not what someone cn work to improve but skills are.

    5 Do not use this word!

     · Ralph Samwell and Tennis 2Be like this.
     
  • The word unlucky is often said in coaching ie when a player drops the ball but this is the chance for the coach to analyse and correct the reason the ball was dropped was it a bad pass or a bad catch?

     
  • Hi Wendy.  My first contribution - but a subject I find interesting, so here goes.  I play and coach bowls.

    I use the word, but generally when playing competitively, not in coaching.  Even so, I did make a point of referring to this expression in a blog post https://wordpress.com/post/bowls2020.wordpress.com/523 last year, when I pointed out that saying "Hard luck" too often could be depressive, and can actually damage performance.  

    In a sport like bowls there is scope for good or bad luck, as well as skill. ("Line, length and luck!").  I do think it is allowable in real matches - if someone has just sent a bowl 25 metres and it is a centimetre from the target before falling the wrong way, it is indeed "hard to bear", as they say in Northumberland.  But even so, I do try to limit my use of this, and when I am myself being encouraged by a playing partner it is much more effective to hear "Great effort!" or "What an effort!", and/or "Next time!"

    In general the word must mean not getting what you deserve, or getting more bad results than good in life.  But you have to beware of personal choice or actions.  You would be unlucky to be run over by a bus if you were merely standing at a bus stop.  But if you were run over having decided to run across the road you would have been careless/foolish, and couldn't blame luck.  There's nothing wrong with the word as such, any more than there is with good luck, or being lucky (winning a lottery).

    All sports must have an element of luck, whether it is bounces of the golf ball or football shots hitting the wrong side of the post, or a cricket ball hitting the stumps without moving the bails.  But no sport can rely on luck - it would be a simple game of chance.  For coaching, the learner is not there to get 100% accuracy or success, but to show that certain techniques or efforts are understood and carried out.  That's why the praise (instant feedback) should be on the effort and process, not on the precise outcome.

    I could only really imagine using the word in coaching if (say) some external event took over, like a bag or something blew across the green to impede a bowl which was on track to doing what was required.  

    Longer than I meant it to be, but it's a really interesting question that you have raised.

     · Melanie Mallinson and Rob Maaye like this.