Ask the Pro – Why should I play in events where I'm a higher seed?
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Question: Why should I play in events where I’m a higher seed? If I only play higher events, won’t I have a better chance of pulling off upsets and avoiding bad losses?
Coach Larry Hodges: It all depends on whether your goal is to be a Champion or a Spoiler. Champions have a burning desire to win, and enter tournaments with the intent of winning events. Spoilers have a burning desire to pull off a major upset now and then and so gain temporary rating points, and so they avoid the events where they would be seeded.
If your goal is to be a Champion, then you must think like one, and learn to execute like one. Consider:
- You’ll never learn to play under pressure unless you put yourself in that position regularly, by trying to win the events you can win. There’s little pressure in playing higher-rated players.
- You’ll never learn to defeat lower-rated players regularly unless you play them regularly, and learn to mow them down. Every time you lose to a lower-rated player is a lesson on something you need to work on; every time you avoid playing a lower-rated player to avoid losing is a lesson lost.
- When you learn to mow down lower-rated players, you can apply these same techniques to higher-rated players.
So you have to ask yourself: are you playing to be a Champion, or to be a Spoiler looking to pick up a few temporary rating points?