A couple of notes:
1. Carolyn Riegle pointed out that the BOATING steps are like a football quarterback going through his progressions as he is deciding where to pass the ball. I like that analogy. Another good analogy is that of a golfer’s pre-shot routine. The key idea is practice the discipline so that you get all of the information you can use.
2. One might object that this planning process takes a lot of time. My answer to that is that this is a time during the bridge hand where it’s expected that everyone will take the time to think about the hand and what their plan is. Another way of thinking about it is this: A bridge hand takes on average 7 minutes. The bidding should take about 2-3 of these minutes. Planning the play after the opening lead is worth at least a minute. This leaves 3-4 minutes to play the hand.
3. A quick note to clarify something I said yesterday about remembering the opening lead. I suggested that for some people writing a thing down helps them to remember it. It’s OK to write down the opening lead when you write the contract on your scoresheet. However it is against the rules to go back and look at that note during the hand.