Saturday, May 14, 2011

Contingency in Hockey

It seems that a lot of sports are actually exercises in contingency. Today, for example, I had a long conversation on the topic of contingency with the poor harried coach of the U14 hockey team that I manage (those of you who are paying attention will observe that I seem to manage only U14s. this is in fact the case. I think its the penalty of being new.)

Back to the point. The coach has desperately been trying to teach the girls the art of "two vee one" (and I quote). The idea behind "two vee one" is simple: try to take the ball to a part of the field where your players temporarily outnumber the other team's players.

Though it makes perfect sense in theory, in practice "two vee one" requires some very advanced contingency thinking under pressure. For example

IF she gets the ball AND I am behind her AND there are three opposition players coming from the left AND there is one opposition player coming from the right AND our strongest striker is running towards us from the centre THEN...

All of this in the split second it takes to run down the line on the right hand side of the field before the aforementioned three players reach you.

I am filled with admiration for those who manage to achieve this even once in a lifetime.

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