Improving Performance After 40 In One Simple Step.
“It doesn’t matter!” I practically screamed at him.
For 3 days now I’d been bombarded with an endless barrage of questions…
Where should I be pointing the board? Where exactly should my hands be? Is my hip position correct? Does my bum look big in this wetsuit…?
Well ok not so much the last (it did) but you get the picture…
On the 3rd day I couldn’t take it any longer and my normal calm and smiling persona was replaced momentarily by the rage monster.
But I stand by my answer…
My student at the time was obsessed with the technical know how, the minute details of kitesurfing. The exact angles and amount of force to be applied each and every situation.
And it’s perfectly normal, very often we try to conquer a skill like kitesurfing with knowledge.
Interestingly the most effective way I’ve EVER found of teaching, is to cut away as much of the technical stuff as possible. To instead allow students to be present in their bodies. To have an image of what they are trying to achieve, enable them to feel what actually doing it would feel like and then forget about the technical stuff, the how, and let their body do it’s stuff.
I’d give them a VERY basic idea often just a few words of minimal explanation. Then point out someone who was doing it right and ask them to feel what it would feel like if they were doing what that person was doing.
If they couldn’t get it, I’d often actually put them in the position so they could.
Having done this I’d send them out and tell them to sing their favourite song at the top of their voice with an idiot grin plastered on their face. Or some other exercise designed to force them to focus on ANYTHING except what it was they were doing.
The obvious extension of this for me is the idea that coaching isn’t about how much technical information I can give someone. It’s about creating an environment where they feel comfortable enough to forget all that knowledge, relax back into their body and allow their body to take over.
Still not convinced?
Think about when you’re riding a wave and really in flow. Are you thinking about the technical details of what you’re doing?
Are you fully in the moment, in flow, just doing it, effortlessly?
Look, even if technical information did work, I couldn’t tell you exactly what to do. As a very simple example, your arms are a different length to mine, you have a different range of flexibility in your hips. So the technical information I would need to give you each time would be subtly different. Way too subtle for my brain to process.
Look at you will at the golf swing. The amount of words which has been written about The Perfect Golf Swing could fill 1000 libraries. Yet when you analyse the swings of 2 different golfers they are often TOTALLY different. Even if physically the golfers themselves appear pretty similar.
It’s not about the technical knowledge it’s about doing what works for YOUR body.
In short most people focus on the software…the detailed technical how.
Where they should be looking at the hardware.
If you can make this hardware faster, stronger and more resistant to injury, give it more stamina and faster recovery, if you can do all that…
Then you can’t help but improve in everything you do.
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