Tuesday, March 27, 2012

From amateur learning 1

There is a big difference in learning something in an amateur way and learning it in a "professional" way. And by professional, I dont mean, learning it in a way so as to make money out of it. When I say professional, I mean, learning it from a coach than by learning it yourself. Or learning it the right way is perhaps a better way to put it.

We all learn to play badminton for instance. The way we play is an antithesis to way it is played in a "real" game. In the way we learn, the objective is to hit the shuttle at the player -so that the amateur game does not get spoilt by having to pick up the shuttle. Also remember, most of the time, the amateur game is played not on real courts, but just a few lines that define the boundaries. And really, we are playing, "goodminton" not badminton - where the objective is to keep the shuttle in play, not outwit your opponent. You play this way for a few years and then by chance hit the courts for a "real" game and then realize that the whole idea of the game is to outwit the opponent which in turns means that you hit "cross" or "away" from your opponent is standing. The objective is to outwit your opponent by tiring him and making him run cross court (which is the longest distance).

Take Scrabble for instance. Scrabble, when played in the amateur fashion is all about making long words and creating as many opportunities for each other to "join" words. Yes, you will try and block some of the scoring opportunities, but the thrill is about making long words. And yes, dont think of making 2 and 3 letter words - they are for sissies. And then you realize that "pro" Scrabble is exactly the other way round. You dont necessarily make long words - the idea is to use those 2-3 letter words and create a lot of "joining" opportunities with those small words and crowd your opponent out of the scoring tiles and use them yourself.

A lot of times, the transition from amateur to professional happens in ones own minds when you figure out that you can win by using these techniques. It is apparent, but not quite obvious at first sight.

Part of the answer is in the fact that when you play as an amateur, you play for fun. When you play as a pro, you play for fun too, but the fun is in winning through strategy. More on this!


  1. It depends on what is the purpose of learning , i may never want to learn scrabble if I have to use words like Yo and Xi...any day prefer the joy of a 7 letter 50 point bonus word (once got Rhythms and was gloating for ages) .... and the sheer elation of a well aimed smash on your opponent... am glad i did not learn these things 'professionally'

  2. And what are your thoughts on stuff that you did learn "professionally?


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