Most of us look for an edge in our hockey pools by actively seeking out experts' advice. We read their articles and we ponder their recommended draft lists (side note: Yahoo has now released their ranking of the 100 top players for the 2009-10 season).
But no matter how many lists you agonize over and bring to your draft, it's likely that at some point events will overtake your careful planning and you'll be forced to make some decisions on your own. And often, it's the stickiest of situations where all we are left with is what our gut is telling us.
It's part of the fun though, really. Fantasy hockey is an opportunity to take risks, build something of your own, and then hope for the chance to say, "I told ya so."
And, as it turns out, listening to your inner, "amateur" voice instead of just mechanically following an expert plan, might actually help you on draft day.
But you have to know how to do it right.
Deciding with Your Gut
There is some solid science behind our gut feelings. They're not just emotional responses, and they certainly aren't some sort of cosmic connection to a higher plane. So neither taking Dan Cleary because your girlfriend is also a Newfoundlander, nor selecting Matt Stajan because your horoscope seemed to suggest that this is his big break-out year represents a gut feeling.
A real gut feeling is experiencing an intuition about a decision – without knowing exactly why.
Gut feelings often occur because our brains have made an important connection without fully letting our conscious minds in on the process. Many people who rely on making decisions under intense conditions, where mistakes can be catastrophic (whether on Bay street or in Afghanistan), have been trained to trust these feelings because when used properly, they lead to success.
So how can you take advantage of your gut feelings, too?
Research is now showing that often these gut-inspired "lucky guesses" are actually memories that aren't being consciously accessed, and the good news is that thanks to the internet, there is no shortage of fantasy hockey information out there to immerse yourself in. The bad news is that there is no possible way to memorize all the data out there. And if you try, you might find that your passionate pastime just became a frustrating job.