Analyzing sets and building your skill set

The theory
Have you ever thought about why some people have been in this community for a really long time, and still can’t open correctly? Ever wondered what separates one guy’s constant improvement from another guy’s struggle? Well it really boils down to one thing: how well you incorporate your experience to your skill set from what happens in field.

What really determines your rate of progress from what you were (and are) to what you want to become is your ability to build your own skill up. Imagine that your skill level in pick-up (although this concept goes for every skill) is a brick wall - the bigger the more skillful you are. Every time you bring in new information and analyze this information you are adding a brick to your skill wall. But here’s the rub: in pick-up this has got to be information from experience and not something you’ve read about! This is why people fail in field… they have all this theory in their head but they don’t really know how to use it because they haven’t experienced it. They might think they know how and when to use it… but they don’t. Think of theoretic information as bricks lying right next to your skill wall ready to be put on your skill wall, but until you’ve really experienced using that theory in field… that brick won’t add to your skill level. It’s just not there yet.

Building the wall
Your objective is of course to build your skill wall up. Now here’s the beauty of it: it’s really you (and only you) who are in control of how fast you are building that wall. Add bigger chunks by doing a more detailed analyzation of every interaction. Add more chunks by being social more frequently. Combined with a theoretical knowledge and understanding, you will reach your goals faster than you could imagine and your skill level will sky rocket.

The outcome
First ask yourself this question: Is the outcome of the set the most important thing for you? Say you can run the same set twice - the first time you run shitty game but come away with a make-out, and the second time you run good game but come away with nothing. What would you prefer? Stop reading and really think about this, because it’s important.

Well the answer is: As long as you learn something from the experience, the outcome is of less importance! It’s generally good to be outcome independent, but that implies that you actually learn something from the set you ran good game. So if you realized that you ran shitty game the first time, analyzed what went well and what didn’t, and then added a brick to your skill wall because of that - well that’s better than running good game and not learning anything from it (and I don’t think I have to tell you that if you would have learned more from running good game than that’s preferable).

Set analysis
Every set and every interaction you do should be broken down and analyzed. Don’t get me wrong here; I’m not talking about putting on your thinking cap and calculating mad genius equations about every set… but you really should have a grasp of what you did right and what you did wrong in every set. Depending on your current skill level, these things might be big (like coming in with negative energy or be generally insulting in set) or small (micro calibration). You hear a lot of beginners saying: “Well uh, she was a total bitch”. No, she’s not a bitch. You did something that triggered her to be a bitch to you… instead ask yourself what you did that made her act like a bitch to you.

Did you:
• Have good body language coming in?
• Open correctly?
• False time constraint, neg/tease (correctly as in not insulting) and stack?

And so forth. The more steps you can break your interaction into, the more you will learn and be able to change to the next set. This is what analyzing sets is all about! Break down your interaction and give yourself both positive feedback (as in things you did well and you plan to keep doing) and constructive negative feedback (things you want to get rid of or alter so it benefits you). Also realize that what you think caused the bad response or blow-out could have its roots in something you did earlier in the set. It might not solely be the most obvious thing that got you blown-out, but a combination of things.

Constructive feedback
It’s important to give yourself constructive feedback. If you go “well I certainly fucked that neg up”, that won’t help unless you go “what can I do to change the way I deliver that to make it work?” afterwards. Find the source of what went wrong and then figure out how to solve it. Just finding the source won’t do… that’s like finding out you got a flat tyre on your car and then keep riding on it without fixing it.

It’s also easy to blame something or someone else if a set goes stale. Don’t ever do this. Excuses like “The music was too loud” or “She wanted to dance and I don’t know how to” are just that… excuses. If the music is too loud, talk louder or move the set to a quieter location. If she wants to dance, find a way to be interesting enough so she wants to stay. The only way to build your skill level up is to be able to pinpoint your weaknesses and work on them.

Wings and pivots
Your wing or pivot can give you feedback that you might not notice. However, your wing can’t change anything about how you are behaving for you. You have to take that step yourself and change whatever you’re doing wrong. Only you can add bricks to your skill wall. Appreciate your wings feedback and figure out what you can do to change it into something positive.

Negative state and when to analyze
When you are out sarging in a club and get blown-out and you don’t have a strong inner game, it’s easy to lose the good state you are in. Analyzing the set right after a blow-out can be an even bigger mood-breaker, so what I suggest is to take a “mental picture” of the sarge and remember it and analyze it later. Just quickly go over what you think was the biggest key factor that went wrong, store the set away for later evaluation and then get back in that good mood. Don’t go around over-analyzing in the club… that will probably only confuse you and make you miss sets. Above that, it’s a good way to train your remembrance and make you remember situations and bring previous sets back from your memory.

If you are not already actively trying to learn something from every set you are in then you are not progressing as fast as you could be. Focus on yourself and figure out what your doing wrong in sets as well as what you are going to do to fix this.
Only you can build your skill wall as high as you want it to be.