BAMSA’s latest academic paper on the physicality of bridge could contribute to bridge being recognised as a sport. Although bridge is primarily a mental activity, there is a physical element as well. Players expend energy and experience fatigue during a long event. The latest BAMSA paper discusses how they prepare for and deal with this both on a personal level and as a partnership.
In sport in general, and bridge in particular, it is not possible to separate ‘mind’ from ‘body’ when considering how to perform at optimum level. As well as physical sensations of travel, time and temperature affecting players’ perceptions of their performances, confidence provides an additional component within and between partnerships. It is important to have an awareness of others such as partner and the opposition to perform optimally.
Simon Cope, an English player who recently won the Soloway KO Teams, says:
“I think of it like a tennis player, sometimes the tennis ball looks like a football, it looks huge and you’re just going to hit it clean. Another day it looks like it’s this tiny little golf ball and, you know, that’s how I find bridge sometimes. … Confidence in bridge is a difficult thing. It can knock it out of you really quickly, and you can gain it quickly as well. It just drains… you think, how could I do something so stupid, how could I? Surely I know better than that.”
There are many supporting quotes from the players in the paper. For example Brian Senior, a professional player in England, points out that nerves can help you perform well:
“You should be a little bit nervous and thinking you really need to get it right. Then once you’re sat down and you’ve started playing, you need the nerves to disappear. But the best matches are the ones that are really sweaty”
Read the full paper here: The Physicality of Mindsports Through Elite Bridge Players’ Sensorial Experiences: Presence, Confidence, and Bodies in The Sociological Review.
A two-page summary is also available.
For other BAMSA papers see the Research section of the Bridge: A MindSport for All website.