After last weekend's less than stellar performance at the trial I think I've finally twigged to my own understanding of that age old advice to "practice what you're not good at, not what you're good at". As many of us do, I've spent a fair bit of time learning new techniques and then applying them to bigger obstacles or harder terrain. Last weekend finally made the penny drop that what I really need to concentrate on is getting the techniques reasonably dialed, then instead of making the obstacle harder, just make the approach and exit trickier. Approach from an angle, try it with a really slippery surface, put lots of little rocks in the take-off zone, make the exit more scary, make the approach tricky so it's hard to stay balanced, and so on. For me it now makes more sense if I think about making an obstacle I can do into something I know I can't do, rather than trying to work out what it is that I'm not good at. I tend to look at things and ask myself if I think I can succeed on it. If I say "No" I tend to go away and work on something until I can come back and say "Yes". Now I realise I need to deliberately setup things that I don't think I can ride. Obviously, and particularly because I ride alone, they need to be low consequence obstacles, just setup to be way hard. I need to fail much more. Yesterday I applied this to some fairly simple obstacles that I'm completely comfortable on. I was rubbish when I set things up in a way I really didn't think I could ride. I was nervous, half-hearted in my attempts and generally more reflective of the crappy riding I do in events. But I got better as I practiced. It's still going to be fun trying bigger or harder obstacles, but hopefully I'll now be more interested in just making existing, easy obstacles much more difficult. Obvious really, but it's taken a few years to see it.

Posted by Peter Mack at 2023-05-05 00:44:34 UTC