Sunday, February 13, 2011

Glenn Howard versus Greg Balston

You would have to be an idiot to bet on Greg Balston's team in this final. That said, there's a reason they play the games. Just because it seems pretty obvious that Howard's team will win, curling can be a funny game. 

It's not that funny. If he wins today, this will be Glenn Howard's 13th Ontario Championship. To win, the Balston rink needs to put away who they are playing, what game this is, and jsut go out and do what they can do. 

Easier said than done. Finals have their own level of adrenaline. Hack weight easily becomes board, board weight easily becomes normal.

For Balston's team, and for anyone in a final, it is best to think about the game one end at a time. Think one shot at a time if possible. Don't focus on who you're playing, focus on the shot you're playing. Because if you're thinking of the face that it is a final, you're thinking about outcomes.

Think about a curling shot. A 20-foot straight back run back on a guard is exactly the same thing as a nose hit. A hit and roll to the center is no different from a 20-foot angle run back triple. In both instances, it's important to hit the rock in the right spot. The difference is the story we give the shot. One is 'hard' and the other one relatively 'easy.' That's because outcomes add degrees of difficulty to shots. 

There's no difference in a final. A final adds degrees of difficulty because of the story we attach to it. For Glenn Howard, who has been in more finals than every player on Balston's team combined, thinking about this as just another game comes naturally.

Greg Balston's team needs to think about this game like it's any other game. They need to think about it like it's a nose hit. Nothing more, nothing less.

Again, easier said then done. But staying loose and staying focused will help.
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1 comment:

JFB said...

I remember talking to Matt Harris, just after he called a shot through a rock-width port. I commented on the skinniness of the port and he shrugged: if his rock didn't travel that exact path he would miss the shot he was after anyway, port or no port. The key is to remove it from your mind. Easier said than done! Wish I could remember if he made it. Let's say he did, makes for a better story.