Friday, January 02, 2009

Hawai'i, and Hard vs Efficient

We bought our tickets for Kaimana, after some headaches along the way. We'll be spending a week on the Big Island after the tournament (3 days on the Hilo side, including the volcano, and 4 days on the Kona side at a TBD discounted luxury resort (yeah, recession)). From the time I started looking at flights, the price cycled between $600 and $900-1100 four times, and each time I missed the buying opportunity, I got sick to my stomach. The third time was especially painful, as I saw the fares and did a few other searches and got FF numbers and rejiggered and played whatifs, and by the time I hit "select flight", all the low fares had disappeared. We had almost resolved to paying an extra $900 for the three of us but waited it out, and at 9 pm on New Year's Eve, prices dropped again so I snatched them up. Fares are still at that price if you're willing to leave at 6 am.

I decided I'm going to play hard, not efficient, at the tournament. I'm playing with John Hammond's team, and it looks to have a lot of good players, he says, so I should have the liberty of burning my energy in short bursts without feeling like I have to be ready all the time for the team. My normal mode is to play efficiently. I spend a good part of my time doing purposeful walking on offense, and generally try to minimize damage on defense.

The two modes are not mutually exclusive, of course, but there are different mindsets. The downside of "play hard" is that you can play stupid, biting on fakes in order to make the big D, or being overaggressive on marginal throws. The downside of "play efficient" is that you can be too passive and thus let others make the turnover (and it can mask laziness).

Efficient play can work really well on offense if the team is smart and has the ability to reset at will. The team then flows as one, creates lots of open space, and punishes the poach (if there are fewer people moving around, it's easier to spot the poach and find the poachee who has moved to the open space). Hard play is more stereotypically frothy defense, but I prefer to think of it as good positioning like in basketball. I play hard at my pickup basketball game, especially on defense, constantly moving my feet and getting my body into position, not flailing with my arms. In indoor soccer, I usually play goalie, and I play hard there, too (though that doesn't involve running so much). I move around, run hard to get loose balls, diving even, and am willing to take a shot to the body to stop it. When I'm in the field, I tend to be more efficient, though I'm not as sure how to be efficient playing soccer since I don't have great control of the ball.


Mark Slivka said...

you should stay in Volcano village on the Hilo side, and check out the Four Seasons Hualalai on the Kona side. See you on the field at Kaimana.

Anonymous said...