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Practicing Without A Table?

Part I

Numerous posts have been made on this site of how to practice your craps toss when you don’t have a craps table available.  But, can you actually practice without a physical table, and without a set of dice?  I believe you can!

In 1971 I was living in the Los Angles area and was interested in quitting smoking.  A woman from the LAPD that I was working with at the time said she had used Psych-Cybernetics and Self Hypnosis and was able to quit smoking cold turkey!

At the time I was not a big reading fan.  In fact, I had made comments after college that I didn’t care if I ever read another “technical” book.  Understand that I am married to a woman that loves to read!   After one of our cross country moves I found her sitting on the floor reading a newspaper as we were unpacking.  This isn’t a big deal until you understand that the newspaper was the packing material and was at least 2 weeks old!

Needless to say, I bought the books suggested by the LAPD woman, put the principals and techniques to use and was able to quit smoking, cold turkey.  Over the years the techniques that I learned, from these two books, have been extremely useful to me in a number of circumstances.

I won’t go into Psych-Cybernetics in any real depth.   The book is still available and you can get your own copy.  However, the book states, “Experimental and clinical psychologists have proved beyond a shadow of doubt that the human nervous system cannot tell the difference between an actual experience and an experience imagined vividly and in detail.”  What this means is that you can vividly imagine a desired experience (practicing craps) and it is almost the same as physical practice!

The book details an experiment where three groups were used to test this theory in shooting baskets.  Each group was tested at the beginning and the end of the experiment  which lasted for 20 days. 

The first group practiced shooting baskets 20 minutes each day, the second group did not practice at all, and the third group spent 20 minutes imagining they were shooting baskets and when they missed made mental adjustments.

At the end of the 20 days each group was tested.  The first group showed a 24% improvement, the second group showed no improvement and the third group showed a 23% improvement!

My oldest son was injured in a football game in September of his junior year.  It was discovered that his kidney on the left side was malformed and the hit was just too much for the kidney to take.  The damaged kidney was removed and so ended all forms of contact sports.

In January, just four months later he took up gymnastics and just 16 months later placed 8th in the state finals.  It would have been quite a feat if it had been in only one gymnastic event but he accomplished it as an all-rounder competing in rings, floor exercise, parallel bars, high bar and pommel horse.  How did he do it?   He practiced in his mind!

After he began his gymnastic career I gave him two books to read and study, Psych-Cybernetics and Self Hypnosis, the two books that I had used to quit smoking some seven years earlier.  He amazed his coaches when he would be shown a trick one day and be able to come in the next day and do the new trick.  His coaches couldn’t believe it and asked him how he could do it so good within 24 hours.  He simply told them that he practiced in his head and if he could do it in his head he could do it at practice and in a meet.

Many years ago my brother-in-law and I were at the Desert Inn in Las Vegas and I had a number of great sessions at the craps table.  I was coming up on my 20th anniversary and decided to buy my wife some gold jewelry.  Some of you may remember the DI’s Gold Room.  I had always wanted to win enough to be able to shop there.  This was my opportunity!

It was in May and my anniversary was 4 months away.  For the next four months I thought about that trip and the fun we would have and the success we would have at the tables.  I saw myself winning and winning at the craps tables.

It turned out to be one of the best trips we had ever had.   It was also the first time I had experienced holding the dice for a long roll, some 50+ minutes!  I was playing at a $5 table and walked with over $1100!

A number of years ago a friend of mine built his own stair-stepper, constructed using hinges, springs, and auto shock absorbers.  In fact, he built two and offered one to me.  His wife commented that he got more exercise building them than actually using them!

If you have built your own practice table, then use it.   I don’t believe you need the perfect practice table, just practice.  You’ve probably read about the MP perfecting his long-ranger in the back of his AM General Hummer.Long Tables = Po$$ibilitie$ )  If he can do that, then you and I can practice on all of our homemade tables and improve our game. 

And, when you don’t have a table available, try practicing in your mind!  In an upcoming article I will talk about some more experiences and discuss more about the “how to” aspect.

Until then, remember, any win is better than any loss, any day.

Paul

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