Monday, April 22, 2013

On Confidence

by Crazy Ivan

One of the hardest things to learn for new Myachi Masters is what tricks to teach to who.  It's a pretty delicate balance when you're introducing somebody to the game; It the tricks you give them are too easy, they won't be challenged and they won't have fun; If the tricks you give them are too hard, they won't be able to do them and they won't have fun.

Clearly, what you're looking for is a good middle ground where the tricks are challenging enough that they might not master it right away, but easy enough that they won't get frustrated.  Now this would be relatively easy if every person you met had the same skills going into it, but people don't come out of cookie cutters and no two are ever alike.

There are, of course, some basic cues you can look to.  Age is the biggest one, obviously.  If I'm teaching a six year old to play for the first time, I'm not gonna start off with foot tricks.  Similarly, if I'm teaching a 16 year old, I'm not gonna start off with a bunch of trap moves.

But even among the same age there's a lot of variance when it comes to skills.  I could teach two people and they could both be, say, 12 years old, guys, baseball players and the same basic height.  That doesn't mean that they'll have the same skill level.  Heck, they might not even be close.  One of them might be able to hit an Under the Leg 360 on the first try, while the other might struggle to do a Hulk.

There are a lot of clues that you learn to pick up on as a Myachi Master.  You can learn a lot just from the way a person catches.  You can learn a lot by whether they're paying close attention to what you're saying or just tackling the trick full-speed-ahead.  You can learn a lot by how they respond to the first trick.  But if you really want to know how good somebody's going to be at the game, there's one factor that tells you more than all the others combined: Confidence.

The thing about confidence is that if you have enough of that, the skill comes naturally.  If I'm teaching, say, a 13 year old girl to play and she has a "I'm going to get this" attitude, I know I can teach her some tougher tricks because even if she doesn't get them right away, she's not going to give up.  But if I'm teaching, say, a 21 year old man with a "This looks hard" attitude, it might not matter that he's actually naturally better at the game than the 13 year old.  He's going to give up the second time he drops it so I have to give him super-easy moves that I know he'll hit.

I only bring it up because I probably hear "I'll never be able to do that" fifty times for every time I hear "I'm going to get this".  I hate hearing the never and I love hearing the going because I know that both of these statements are true and the only thing you have to do to switch from "never" to "going" is changing what you say.

I know you've heard it before: "Whether you say you can or say you can't, you're right".  Far be it from me to drill an old cliche into your head, but honestly, it's the most important thing a person can learn in my opinion.  Confidence makes the difference no matter what you're trying to accomplish.  And if there's nothing you're confident about, odds are nothing is exactly what you'll accomplish.

And the coolest thing about confidence is that it's free.  It's the only thing I know of the you can get just by pretending that you have it.  One of the main reasons that I've been able to stay stoked about Myachi for the past ten years is that I know that every day I'm helping people, both young and old, to build confidence.  And it doesn't matter if it's confidence in their Myachi skills, their social skills or their ability to learn new stuff, because confidence is "fungible".  If you get confidence in one area, you automatically get it in the other.

I've talked a lot about confidence before on this blog and, word of warning, I'm quite confident that I'll talk about it again.

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