by Colleen Carroll
I get asked all the time, “How do you keep progressing” or “How do you stay motivated”? These are completely valid questions. Most kiteboarders will experience plateaus in their progression or times where it is difficult for them to get to the next level. Whether this is working up the courage to send a first jump or bringing it all together to land that first handlepass, we all face similar challenges holding us back from our next big progression breakthrough.
A lot of my success has come when I’ve traveled to a consistent kite spot with ideal freestyle or park conditions with a group of like-minded riders. We kite together everyday and just when your motivation is starting to waiver, your friends pick you up with a suggestion or by learning something new and exciting themselves. Recreating this environment that nurtures progression in a friendly and inviting way is one of the major driving forces behind running all women’s kiteboarding camps with my favorite kiteboarding partner, Sensi Graves.
Our next camp will be held in flatwater paradise; Dakhla, from October 12th – 19th at the perfectly situated hotel, Dakhla Attitude. With all of the amenities and accommodation located directly at the lagoon’s shore, we are certain that this is a fabulous place to step up your game and get off that plateau you’ve been riding!
And for those of you who can’t join us in Dakhla…
Here are my top 10 tips for staying motivated and progressing on the water:
1. Take care of yourself! Get a good night sleep, eat good food packed with lots of energy and drink tons of water (especially if you are somewhere hot – dehydration will leave you feeling drained in no time).
2. Warm up. When I’m excited to get on the water I want to rig and get out there as fast as possible! But warming up is just as important as committing to the trick you want to learn. If you hit the water with cold muscles you’re more prone to injury and are not ready to go full power. I love doing yoga first thing in the morning.
3. Watch videos of what you want to learn. Before your session watch videos of the trick your working on and try to break it down in your head. If you can get someone to also video you even with a phone or gopro review your attempts afterwards and analyze with the video of someone succeeded at it.
4. Set goals for your progression. This is a big one! Without a clear goal in mind how can we expect to get anywhere? Look at the fundamentals that you are good at and what is your ultimate goal. If you just learned to ride upwind and want to learn to do a raley to blind, you will want to set many small goals that will act as steps to get you to your end goal. Use each step as an individual goal and take on one with each session. If you aren’t clear of a good next step for your progression, ask someone around you who is a better rider than you.
5. Ride with other people. If you have a goal in mind, vocalize it to them and ask them theirs. When you see them pushing hard to get their own goal it will help fuel your fire to go for yours too.
6. Choose a riding location that is conducive to the style of tricks you want to learn. If you want to learn freestyle tricks – go somewhere with flatwater and consistent wind. If you want to jump higher or learn kiteloops try to go somewhere with strong wind. And if you’re just kiting at your local spot – decide what you’re going to work on for that day by factoring in the conditions that you have.
7. Try something else. If you just can’t seem to figure it out, I find it helps a ton if I take a break from what I’m trying and focus on something slightly easier for a bit. Once I’ve succeeded at that I come back to what’s more challenging.
8. Be consistent. Practice does eventually lead to perfect! Try, try and try again. Even better if you can try several days in a row as the same spot.
9. Celebrate the wins! This is one of Sensi’s favorite quotes and I’ve totally adopted it. Even if you’ve only accomplished step 1 to get to your ultimate goal – you have to relish in it! You’ve already succeeded. Feeling good about your riding will lead to confidence and confidence leads to commitment.
10. Commit. If you really want to learn hard tricks and maneuvers you have to fully commit. You might fall on your face. It might hurt a bit. But without commitment your chance of success is slim to none. You got this – believe in yourself!