Less Wrong is a community blog devoted to refining the art of human rationality. Please visit our About page for more information.

CurtisSerVaas comments on Sports - Less Wrong

12 Post author: adamzerner 26 December 2015 07:54PM

You are viewing a comment permalink. View the original post to see all comments and the full post content.

Comments (25)

You are viewing a single comment's thread.

Comment author: CurtisSerVaas 28 December 2015 09:13:07PM *  3 points [-]

I was extremely extremely dedicated to it back in middle/high school. Actually, it was pretty much all I cared about (not an exaggeration). This may or not be crazy... but I wanted to be the best player who's ever lived. That was what I genuinely aspired and was working towards (~7th-11th grade).

This was me, but more like 6th-9th grade.

Off the top of my head, I think the main benefits I got out of playing competitive basketball were: 0. Physical fitness. 1. Ambition and competitiveness. 2. Something fun I do occasionally now. 3. Hard to describe mental skills related to practicing shooting form.

Elaboration on 1: I think it's really awesome how much "excellence porn" there in sports. You can go on youtube, and see tons of motivational videos. I wish there were the equivalent for intellectual domains. The closest you get is Paul Graham's essays for startups.

Elaboration on 3: Practicing shooting feels similar to meditation. I'm trying to pay close attention to tiny details of A. how my body is moving, B. Whether that feels like a good motion/shot or bad motion/shot C. How the ball actually moves. Furthermore, there's metacognition to see how your shot/motion changes when you're playing less close attention to it (e.g. when you're actually playing a game. Or, if you were focusing on improving your form in your legs, and then you switch to focusing on your form in your arms, you may notice that your leg form degrades again. Furthermore, you notice that leg-form and arm-form are not independent, and that there are local optima and that sometimes you have to get worse in order to get better.).

There's a lot more I could say, but I'll leave it at that for now.

Comment author: adamzerner 29 December 2015 02:36:00AM 0 points [-]

Cool stuff! Glad to hear from someone who's had similar experiences :)