Want to dominate your fantasy baseball draft? Be more like Tiger Woods.
And no, that doesn’t mean you should run around with your neighbor’s wife.
Have you ever watched Tiger Woods play golf? Studied his swing, his follow-through, his reaction to a shot?
There is a lot to be learned from his demeanor … lessons that are easily transferable to drafting a fantasy sports team.
First, let’s get something out the way. Tiger Woods doesn’t win tournament after tournament because he hits every shot perfectly. In fact, Tiger can slice the ball with the best of them from time to time.
What makes Tiger Woods different, however, is that he is extremely resilient. No single bad shot leads to another. It’s almost as if he’s expecting to sporadically misjudge a putt or put too much backspin on a chip shot.
When a mistake does happen, he isn’t phased one iota. He picks himself up and continues onward with just as much gusto as before.
Now, imagine drafting a fantasy baseball team with the same sort of determination and resiliency. That no matter what curve ball is thrown your way, no matter how bad a draft pick feels, you immediately bounce back up and prepare for your next pick.
It can be done, with the following steps pulled directly from the golfing prowess of Tiger Woods.
1. Expect to make mistakes. I have played fantasy sports of differing types for 14 years, and I have yet to meet an owner who felt that he/she totally nailed one of their respective drafts. Everyone reaches on a pick at some point. Everyone overpays for a player in a fantasy auction or mismanages their bankroll.
The problem is that when most of us commit a mistake, even a small one, it zaps our confidence and starts a snowball effect of more bad choices as we attempt to overcompensate.
Entering a draft expecting to make a mistake or two allows you to roll with the punches a little more freely. Leave your ego at the door.
2. No one bad draft pick will ruin your season. Mad at yourself for reaching for Chase Utley with the first overall pick instead of choosing popular picks like Albert Pujols or Hanley Ramirez? Don’t sweat it.
Even if the player you selected bombs horribly, you still have a slew of other players and other positions to help buoy your team’s chances. Imagine how few golf tournaments Tiger Woods would ever complete if he gave up after shanking a shot into a sand trap.
Just like a weekend-long golf tournament, your fantasy draft is a marathon, not a 100-yard dash.
3. Do your homework. Much like Tiger Woods studies every hill, slope, nook and cranny of every golf course he plays on, you should know your fantasy baseball player pool inside and out, as well.
Spend time at sites such as www.chinstrapninjas.com learning a variety of draft strategies, sleeper candidates and bounce-back techniques so that when faced with a blown draft pick, you have the knowledge to calmly correct it.
One vital tool involves keeping a close eye on live player feeds at sites such as www.rotoworld.com so you are on top of player injuries, lineup changes, etc.
3. Practice makes almost perfect. Tiger Woods has hit more golf balls in his lifetime than the entire population of most small countries. There’s no secret in the fact that the more comfortable you are in doing something, the easier it is to bounce back from a mistake.
For example, take someone who has driven a car for decades and watch how they react when a wayward raccoon waddles out into the middle of the road. Now, put a first-time driver behind the wheel in the same situation. Which car would you rather be riding in?
Much like a serious golfer becomes familiar with local driving ranges, so should serious fantasy sports managers become familiar with available media, cheat sheets and especially mock drafts. Just as we discussed in pointer No. 3 about doing your homework, you can learn so much more by getting active in live mock drafts.
There, you’ll get a better feel for the intense time-sensitive, adrenaline-pumping selections and decisions that must be made. The more you mock draft, the better you’ll fare in the real thing.
What are your suggestions for a successful fantasy drafting experience? We’d love to hear them in the comments below.