Continuing to Improve
(Written November 2019)
Have you ever watched someone continue to make the same mistakes over and over and over and wonder what is preventing them from improving? Have you ever watched someone else who seems to improve year after year after year, even if the improvement comes slow? Perhaps you fall into one of these two categories. What is the difference between the two? I'm going to attempt to address the main reason that some people continue to always improve while others reach a certain level and never improve more.
I have already hinted at the answer with two simple words in the previous sentence...."always improving". It is a mentality to always be improving. It is a state of mind. It is a way of continually and deliberately observing movements that you make with your body parts and constantly asking yourself "what do I need to do differently the next time that I perform this movement?" It is in this mentality of constantly taking notice of your movements in each body part that allows one to always be improving their windsurfing technique. Certainly there are some people who naturally have more talent at this than others. Some people are instinctively more actively aware of their body parts and what each body part is doing during given moments. Some people are so talented that they are even passively aware of each body part, meaning that they don't really have to think about it because their subconscious mind is doing it passively. But, for most us intermediate sailors, we really need to pay more attention to our movements. We need to be much more aware.
Let's take, for example, the carving step jibe. This is a move that most windsurfers aspire to be good at. Those of us that have been windsurfing a while have attempted this move hundreds or even thousands of times. It's a very complicated and challenging move to master. We are simultaneously performing movements with our upper body in one plane, our lower body in a different plane, and all while we are bouncing up and down on a wavy liquid surface in the fast moving fluid of air that is blowing all around us. There is A LOT going on. It's gonna take a long time to explore how each body part is performing throughout this movement. It's okay if it takes a long time. But, the key is to deliberately notice, on EVERY attempt, what went well, what went wrong, AND what you will do differently next attempt. Pay attention! Then, on the next attempt, be sure to focus on the particular part that you identified. If each of us simply follows this process we will continue to improve session after session, year after year.
It seems so easy and simple, but it's not always easy to REMEMBER to do this. Often times we are having so much fun just windsurfing that we forget to take notice of our body parts. Other times, conditions may be challenging causing some anxiety and again we forget to take notice. And still other times we just don't know what we want to improve, so we don't take notice of anything. But we MUST take active notice if we want to improve more quickly. Passive notice is still taking place, but it can be very, very slow to progress with passive notice alone. Most of us intermediate windsurfers do not have a subconscious mind that performs at a high enough level to allow us to progress with passive notice alone. And, even if we did, we would improve even faster if we actively took greater notice. So, do it! Get more actively involved in your progression if you want to improve. Remind yourself to remember. Even when conditions are challenging, remind yourself to remember. Get in touch with each body part more individually and then bring them all together.