I had an interesting conversation with Jesse May in Paris regarding the book (yes most blog posts are going to be about the book from here on in). He was really psyched to see it come out as he was a fan of Jared’s anyway and cut a really good interview with him last year.
I was talking about one of the barriers we will likely face is that some people will have a negative perception of a performance coach, because it’s still relatively new to poker. It’s understandable too, because a great deal of people that claim to be ‘mindset gurus (hate the word guru btw)’ have next to no genuine qualifications to back up what they do. Before I met Jared part of me wondered if what he did was total bullshit, but I was relieved to find out he actually had the qualifications to back his work up.
In most other sports, the sports psychology professionals are qualified up to the hilt but in the more obscure games they don’t need to be. So one of the key points we will be stressing in the marketing drive is that Jared is a qualified counselor, has a full counselling licence, a degree in psychology and a master’s degree in counselling psychology; as well as a thousands of hours work experience in counselling and sports performance.
Ok, I was pretty much showing off on his behalf because I really want people understand this point. I was hoping all that would impress Jesse, but was amazed that Jesse was shocked and impressed enough that Jared a degree full stop, let alone a Master’s degree and a license. It’s amazing, because Jesse is such a well-informed figure in poker I would expect him to expect Jared to have credentials, but his response made me realise how low expectation poker players are in this regard, and unfortunately, how gullible some of the less savvy ones could potentially be.
If this was a mainstream sport, someone without the qualifications Jared has wouldn’t even make the interview stage of starting their career, they would get laughed at – it would be like an acupuncturist applying for a job as a spinal surgeon. If I was paying good money and was at the top end of the game like most of Jared’s clients are, I would expect qualifications stronger than the ones you can get for $99 in an hour over the internet.
It’s probably because psychology is viewed as ‘mysterious’ in a lot of circles that people can be a bit dumbfounded by what is and what isn’t a legitimate qualification. There is a real stigma around talking about feelings and emotion, they are viewed as intangible by many, which is why someone can profess to having Jedi like powers and spout out a bunch of incongruous ‘qualifications’ when claiming to be a mental game coach in newer markets like poker.
I’m not picking on any individuals here, but there are some straight up frauds out there who work very hard to confuse people into thinking they are qualified and educated to a high level in psychology. I tell you that as someone who is 100% completely unqualified to counsel anyone, I am merely a poker journalist who has developed a really passionate interest in psychology and performance after working with Jared so closely for 18 month. Yet by default I am probably less damaging to give mental game advice from than a lot of these so called ‘mindset gurus’ put together (I’d still be a fraud, just less of one).