“I’ve gotta do my 10 sets”

How many sets should you be doing per session? The common answer is 10 sets in about two hours, but sometimes that meant forcing myself into sets which my heart wasn’t into. As I progressed from beginner to intermediate, that notion, which was once so simple and always obeyed, started to fall by the wayside.

I had to acknowledge some new principles:

  1. There is an internal cost to each approach, and I was no longer seeing the upside of conquering my approach anxiety.
  2. My calibration was better and therefore I could afford to cherry pick some sets, while discarding others
  3. I no longer needed to overwhelm my hindbrain with the Daygame skillset (I haven’t mastered it yet, of course, but most of it is on auto-pilot)

So the notion of “I’ve gotta do my 10 sets” went out the window, but to be replaced with what?

I was winging with Mazz recently and went off on a tangent on how you can’t optimise within the infinite. This links into the modern day phenomena of us having too much choice. Humans can decide which jeans to buy when there are two options, but if there are 100, we can never be sure that we made the right choice.

What I’m getting at is that I had to replace the hard limit of 10 sets with something else. For example, “I will do as many sets as I like in two hours”, or “I will walk my Daygame route twice”. Alternatively, I’ll stick with the hard limit of 10 sets but instead say that I’ll do six to 10 sets with a time limit of two hours. That links to what I was saying yesterday about the sunk cost fallacy. Let’s say I get to six sets and am feeling down in the dumps, the six to 10 rule allows me to slink off with my tail between my legs, happy in the knowledge that I didn’t skimp out on the effort. I don’t have to think to myself I’ve got to six, I might as well get to 10. I find heuristics such as these golden as they alter the psychological payoffs from your actions.

The vital condition is that the hard limit (or limits) aren’t based on the success of the session. Targets like “get two numbers” or “keep going until I’m in state” just don’t work (both of those example have a hypothetically infinite number of sets per session). They encourage spam approaching which will compound whatever vibe you began the session in. That’s a recipe for entering the “pussy repellant state”, the effects of which I feel for the rest of the day or more. (As an aside, I personally don’t give a shit about spam approachers and hold nothing against them – as long as what they’re doing doesn’t affect me negatively).

Yours unfaithfully,

Thomas Crown

2 thoughts on ““I’ve gotta do my 10 sets”

  1. Interesting way of thinking however sometimes I try hard to avoid spam approaching but it’s really hard when you are not in state, I have to use spam approaching sometimes to build momentum…


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