The Archive : The Magic of Making Mistakes | The Irish Duelist

The Archive : The Magic of Making Mistakes

For the last week or 2 I've been stuck thinking of a regular slot for my Thursday articles. Last week I just slapped my European Championship interview up and that was that, but I've found an answer now. There are plenty of articles on Yu-Gi-Oh! out there, but outside of maybe a few websites that get a lot of traffic, most of these articles will go unnoticed or just be forgotten about. So, on Thursdays I'll have a look around and re-post any that I find appealing.


The Magic of Making Mistakes
Bryan Camareno
June 14, 2007
View all articles by this author

If you know me or have met me before, you’ll know I freely admit that I lose more often than I win. I’ve seen the power of mistakes and how they can help you become a better player. Mistakes in gameplay are often opportunities to learn more, and can make you a much smarter player as well. What a concept!

Why is it good to lose?
There’s a wealth of knowledge to be gained from losing, though no one really enjoys it. You’re much better off learning from the experience of losing than trying to force yourself to enjoy it. If you don’t learn from your mistakes, then you won’t be any further along than when you started. So, there is a “catch” to this theory.

Even the champs don’t always do well
There is an idea circulating in the gaming public that the champions always win and that they never make mistakes. I’m sure some people believe that the secret to great tournament results is never making mistakes and never losing a game. I sincerely hope that you aren’t a part of that crowd, because you are in for mountains of frustration and wasted time.

A core difference between good players and mediocre players is that good players don’t dwell on their mistakes. They learn what they did wrong and move on. It’s just that simple.

Learning how to lose is important
You have to learn how to lose before you can benefit from losing. By that, I mean that you must have a firm understanding of what mistakes are, and how you can use them to your advantage. You must also understand that you are not defined by your mistakes, and that everyone makes mistakes sometimes. There is no such thing as a player who does not make mistakes. Most players are very good at lying to themselves in this respect, and they are doing nothing but a disservice to themselves.

Again, learning how to lose is simple. When you make a mistake during gameplay, think hard on these questions:

What events during the game led me to make this error in judgment?
What can I do to prevent this from occurring again?
What did I learn from this mistake?

When you lose, you can ask yourself similar questions such as:

What can I do to be better prepared for next time?
What did my opponent do well that I didn’t?
How can I use this experience to my benefit the next time it occurs?
What did I learn from this loss?
Should I make improvements to my deck as a result of this?

If you ask yourself these questions, you’ll be much more apt to extract critical information, and that will help you become a stronger duelist.

The Secret of Consistent Players
I’ve learned that the player who plays the game the best usually wins. However, even the player who plays better than everyone can sometimes lose. It doesn’t matter how good you might be in one tournament or one format, because your job as a player is to play your “A” game as often as possible. That’s really the secret: it’s all about consistency.

You won’t always win. That’s just the nature of the game. Sometimes you’ll just lose. Sometimes you’ll make a mistake which will cause a loss. It happens. That one rogue deck might ruin your tiebreakers and you won’t make it to the Top 16.

Just remember that it does happen. Make sure you focus on playing at your personal best.

Good ol’ Yu-Gi-Oh! Wisdom
Here are some tips for optimizing your play skills:

Remember that losing is a part of the game. You gain more from losing than winning.
Be decisive. Make your plays and respond accordingly.
Learn quickly from your mistakes and move on.
Don’t whine when you lose. It is OK to get upset, just don’t whine.
Don’t make the same mistake twice.
Focus on what you are doing, not on what your opponent might do.
Practice, practice, practice. In low-stress environments.
Always have a Plan B: anticipate your opponent’s moves, but don’t try to predict them. Anticipation and prediction are two different things.

Things to remember
I remember a quote about Hall of Fame baseball players that went something like this: “You only have to average three out of ten to make it to the Hall of Fame.”

To me, this just reinforces the concept that you cannot expect to win 100% of the time. It doesn’t happen. Yes, you can go undefeated all day in a ten-round tournament. Can you do it five times in a row? Not likely. It’s an unrealistic goal.

One reason why many players don’t perform well on a consistent basis is that they dwell too much on past mistakes and past failures. There’s no point in trying to fix something that already happened. There will always be more tournaments and more chances to win.

You are remembered in this game for your greatest accomplishments. I’ve had my fair share of accomplishments on the local and Regional level. Many players who know who I am won’t remember the string of humiliating losses that preceded my most recent Top 8 finish. I had dropped out of four Regional Qualifiers due to poor records before that Top 8 victory.

The trick is to not worry so much about what other players might say if you lose. They’ll forget about it eventually anyway. Take Theerasak Poonsombat (or Adam Corn). He’s never won a Shonen Jump Championship, but he’s finished Top 8, Top 4, or in the Finals of many others. Does that make him a less skilled player than a two-time Shonen Jump Champ? Of course not. Besides, you’ll forget that he’s never won a Shonen Jump Championship when he finishes with another amazing record. Winning a Shonen Jump Championship for him would be almost anti-climactic.

I’ll leave you with this quote to think about:

“Your competition is voracious and hungry. They’re out to steal your lunch. If you’re not getting any better, you’re getting worse. In fact, they hope that you’re not getting any better.”
-Brian Tracy


I quite liked this article, and it resonates with the Play to Win piece I posted on Tuesday. Basically, it's an article asking you to be reflective about your losses/misplays and how you can take them on board and improve in the future. The player who complains or dismisses his losses will more often than not be the one to repeat those errors again in the future. The players who constantly try and improve however will eventually improve given the right attitude.

I remember when I was starting out competitively at my locals. I used to always use up my Fissure/Smashing Ground to clear an attack and do more damage, even when I had a stronger monster on the field. I lost more games that way than I won back then and the better players noticed it in the way I played. They told me that 'damage isn't everything' and that it doesn't matter how fast you bring your opponent down to zero, just that you bring them down to zero. After that I was using my cards when I needed them and not just 'because I have them' and started to improve. It's the kind of attitude that more people could do with to be honest.


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