I believe that most people who possess self-control, determination to succeed, and openness to learn, can become a winning player. Unfortunately, the correct balance of these 3 attributes is a tough recipe to mix. How you incorporate your experience, and what you learn away from the table is often a random mix of ingredients.
Can you imagine having all the ingredients to make a crème-brulee but not having the faintest idea of how it tastes? Most of the current coaching approaches are based on mathematical underpinnings. To win at poker, you must learn to successfully apply these underpinnings to your play. You can read everything that was ever published on poker. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean you understand it. Great players, great mathematicians, great theorists, and great writers aren’t necessarily great teachers. As you undoubtedly know, each of us has a different way of learning new things. A good teacher is quick to discover how his/her student learns best. In learning poker, each player has a unique learning style. A good coach will find the best way to present ideas, introduce material, and help the player reach his/her goals.
I come from a family of educators. I also happen to work in education – with some of the world’s most promising artists. One of my colleagues is a world-renowned Olympic sports psychologist. He often laments about the poor level of coaching that occurs in sports. Most of his criticism centers on the coaches themselves who fail to discover the unique way their athletes learn. In many cases, if coaches would change their approach, the results would improve. The problem isn’t with the information. It is how the material is presented. We don’t take enough time to understand those we teach. I am continually thinking about how my students learn. When I understand how they are thinking about a poker problem, I am more effective in presenting ideas. This is what I believe good coaching is all about.