October 11 – The Sine Wave Of Coaching

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Coaching is so damn odd. I go through some stretches where I have maybe 2 sessions per week, and then I will randomly get an explosion of students and applications. I got like 3 or 4 applications last week and have been setting up a lot of new sessions, and some old students have come back at the same time. No complaints from me at all, except having to wake up for a 10a session this morning, lol. Going well though, and I think everyone is happy with what’s going on.

I do want to reflect a little bit about coaching this post…so if it bores you, lo siento. Coaching has changed a ton since I started, which was about 2 years ago. In that time I have coached roughly 120 students. I remember my first few sessions were pretty rough. I didn’t know how to structure a session or what to look for or how to approach improvement. I don’t think I used an application for almost 4 months, which is nuts being an application is a great time to get information from a prospective student.

The thing that shocks me the most, although it really shouldn’t, is WHAT is coached now v back then. Back then I almost ran a curriculum that I rarely deviated from. I would do a sweat session, then session on Isolating and LP play, then a session on CBing and 3bing, and mix that up with HH reviews and sweat sessions. The standard number of sessions was about 5.5.

Now, most all of my students already know about ISOing and CBing and have an idea on 3bing. The knowledge students already have is insanely different, and goes to show how much tougher the games are now v then. It is also very standard that a student takes like 3.5 sessions, and most just need detail fixing (betsizing, a little work on aggression, etc). And most want to learn how to be solid LAGs or a mixture of TAG/LAG…where as then people thought 17/15 was waaaaaaaaay too loose. How times have changed =)

I love coaching. I have grown so much as a player, coach, and person in general from it. Having to talk my thought process out and teach someone else how to think about something isn’t easy, and in doing it, has helped me improve ten fold. Growing from a 12/7 to a 22/19, and being able to explain the “difficult decisions” with relative ease. My coaching has gotten a ton stronger, (special thanks to Datakid for this, who spent a lot of time giving me feedback) and I hope it reflects nicely in my sessions. And I have grown a ton as a person. Learning how to work with many different student types and also learning about people, their motives, and normal areas of weakness.

I really hope to continue coaching for a long time, and although the money is cool, it really is a great experience (and thus a large part of the reason why I suggest people take on a protege). Sorry for boring those that don’t enjoy me talking about coaching…just wanted to get that out there. Hope all is well



My name is James "SplitSuit" Sweeney and I'm a poker player, coach, and author. I've released 500+ videos, coached 500+ players, and co-founded the training site Red Chip Poker. Contact me if you need any help improving your poker game!

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