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don't let your mind get in the way

Don't Let Your Mind Get In The Way

When entering a race for the first time, competing in varied and difficult conditions takes mental management. What I mean is being able to control, to some degree, the emotional and psychological state of your persona! My interactions as a coach have shown me how critically important mental game and tactics are for navigating success, fear, anger, and frustration.

If you’ve brought to the table the proper equipment, proper physical conditioning, and proper techniques for your type of paddling then mental conditioning is the next place to fine tune! A good coach will help you rid the mind static and tune in for success. Now before you all think I'm going totally Oprah on you, take stock of where you’re at with your paddling, fitness, and ski objectives. I highly recommend letting yourself check in with your mind space and determining “is it helping or hindering my progress?”.

Here are some dialogues and observations I have had with students that may interest you.

1. Rough changing waters intimidate and scare the hell out of us all! Take one stroke at a time to get through and breathe it out. Rough water skills can be practiced!

2. “Why do I always place last?” You can’t beat last place if you already have this mind set!

3. Negative self talk can become a self fulfilling prophecy. Avoid things like “I’m too old, out of shape, or not good enough”.

4. I get so stressed out with paddling, but I really love it at the same time! Learning to manage sympathetic and then amping up the para-sympathetic nervous system is needed.

5. Stop thinking so much while paddling. As Nike says “Just Do It”. Clear the mind and feel one stroke at a time while consciously breathing and looking forward.

6. “If I had a better fin or a better paddle I would have done better”. It’s possible that would help, but for the most part highly unlikely! The blame game is all about fear and anger most of the time.

7. “I don’t think your coaching will help me” or “I don’t need coaching”. This one always gets me! Even I consistently seek out coaching and advice from better and more experienced paddlers. Free your soul, listen, look, and keenly observe and admit you don't know everything. You’ll be thrilled how putting your guard down is so liberating and will make improvements you have only dreamed of.

It’s important to note that while we have our success driven coaching paradigm and we have our “right” way of doing things, we can admit it’s not the “only” way. There are several awesome coaches and paddlers out there paving the way for performance SUP. We are a small fish in a vast sea of skilled practitioners.

Our way just works for us and our students, who continue to meet their goals of improving while enjoying the process. For private coaching please reach out and let us help take you to the next level!

vermont si and sport sup coach jonathan bischof
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