In 1994 I got to try riding a snowboard for the first time. It was a painful self-teaching experience. It required commitment and a vision of what carving a mountain like a surfer would be like but the wipeouts were on hard-packed snow. Ouch. Through perseverance and sharpened survival instincts, I progressed to the point that I could 'make it down' most runs on the mountain. It felt cool and I grew to love the sport.
Over the years I'd get the occasional chance to hit the mountain and enjoy a day riding. As years wore on I noticed that I'd call it a day earlier and earlier. I realized that this was because I had plateaued as a rider and didn't know how to improve.
Once my kids were of age we took our first family ski trip. I knew better than to try and teach them so I put the kids in ski lessons. I noticed the mountain also offered snowboard lessons. While I knew I could 'make it down' most runs I thought it might be a fun use of time while the kids were preoccupied so I signed up.
I met my snowboard coach for the day at the bottom of the chairlift. We talked about my level of riding and my goals for the day and then we jumped on the chair for my first run being observed. I was nervous but also hoping to impress so I gave my first run with the coach my best shot.
At the bottom of the run I got my first feedback...
- Good job, you've got some confidence on the board!
- You'll love carving more with some improvements to your form
- Let's practice keeping your shoulders aligned with your board
- Let's practice deeper trust on your toe and heel edges to get a deeper carve out of the board
At first, I was taken aback. Intellectually I understood shoulder alignment and trusting my edges. I THOUGHT I WAS doing that already. My ego wanted to resist but then realized my coach was able to observe where I only had the perspective of what I was doing from my cranium. So I welcomed the feedback and we started practicing on the next run.
A few small tips for keeping my hands on my pockets to stay shoulder aware and to listen for a silent turn on the edges. By the bottom of the run I had fallen in love with snowboarding all over again! When you've been on a plateau for so long you develop a false sense of competency. I was extremely thankful to have a coach observe and guide me to progression and a fresh passion for the sport.
Are you stuck on a plateau? Can you set ego aside and get some coaching from a trustworthy person? Are there ways you can practice something new? I challenge you to do so and work your way off the plateau, a whole new level of inspiration awaits!