Human Limits

Exploring performance and health with Michael J. Joyner, M.D.

Photo of Michael J. Joyner, M.D.

Up Tempo & March Madness

I have been really impressed by the University of Louisville’s up tempo style of play during March Madness.  Yesterday they beat a very good Duke team 85-63 in a way that reminded me of the best game I ever saw by one team, a 1977 NCAA tournament game between #2 San Francisco and UNLV  that Las Vegas won 121-93 (with no 3 point line) .  Like UNLV of old, the Louisville team of 2012-13 plays up tempo and tenacious defense.


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Is Relaxation is the Key?

During a web search for “Louisville & up tempo”, I stumbled onto a web site by the jazz drummer Joe LaBarbera.   LaBarbera wrote a great piece “How to play up-tempo jazz without getting tired”.  In addition to some detailed technical advice, here is something on how relaxation during a performance is the key:


“O.K., so now back to the issue of playing up tempo (fast) without tiring. One major reason I have discovered over the years for fatigue is a lack of relaxation when playing. You may have seen some drummers who look like they are working very hard when they play fast while others achieve the same thing seemingly effortlessly.  One thing that has served me well over the years is the ability to stay relaxed at the drums……”


Here is a clip of Mr. LaBarbera teaching and playing with a high school band in 2010.


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Relax & Win

What LaBarbera says and shows is consistent with some of the ideas I have discussed in previous posts about relaxation and mastery.   The paradox of success in many fields is that it flows from a strange combination of total effort and total relaxation at the same time.


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