In a previous chapter of the 24-7 boardsports resource section I looked at how you can get more from your time on the water over the year - keeping yourself motivated & loving your sport. Now I'm going to focus more on how to approach an individual session the right way & start getting those short term goals ticked off.
Make time! Look at your schedule. Is there a point where you could make a couple of hours to sail? We often go early when the conditions are on. It's always quieter & you are don't have the baggage of the day to think about. Slam a couple of coffees down & get on with it! Early doors are popular with the instructors & the shop staff - I think that says a lot.
Remember the P's. It's a crap acronym, but proper preparation prevents poor performance. Plan ahead - check the forecast & the local weather stations on the day, before you drive to the beach. Don't waste your time - Try & go to the right beach for the wind direction!
Perfect tide state at Calshot
Check the tide, it's critical at Calshot to be here at the right time of day. Getting the tide right can make the difference between getting a session or not. Buy a tide table, learn how to read it & what the different tides mean for your sport. Don't be afraid to mark up your tide table with the best tides. Here I would block out the Neap tide days as excellent for teaching kitesurfing. We get a long period of shallow flat water during the day. For windsurfing I would look to the Spring highs for water in the pond & a good sea state off the front. For surfing grab your stormrider guide & check when your break works.
Pack everything! Don't assume the forecast or even the weather stations are correct. It sucks getting to the beach with the wrong kit & you can't progress. Often the wind will change before you arrive or the local conditions will require different kit to what you expected. If you have a long drive to the beach or you just don't get the chance that often, it makes having big kit & small kit essential. You need to be able to get out whenever you can. Double check you have everything you need before you drive.
OK, so you've arrived at the right place & the tide is good. Set up what you think is the right size kit, but be prepared to come in & change if it's not right. Don't stick with the wrong size board, fins, sail or kite, you wont learn much over powered or grovelling.
Warm up with a few stretches & get suited up whilst you're warm. In the winter, if your cold to start with you'll never warm up on the water. Hit the water & take it steady to begin with, make sure everything is working & you're comfortable with the setup. Remember those short term goals your working on & run them through your mind as you warm up on the water.
Lucie's S-Bend progression session at 24-7 Boardsports!
Keep the progression sessions short & relatively intense. Don't leave trying new tricks to the end of the session. You can't learn when you're knackered - if you try you'll crash a lot & get frustrated with yourself. Try taking a big can of energy drink the summer or a flask of hot coffee in the winter. It keeps you hydrated & the energy levels up through out the session.
It's great if someone can watch or better still film you during your session. They can tell you or show you what it looks like & you can see what to work on. I like to work on a few different things during a session, to keep it interesting, but remember your goals - write them on your hand if you have to.
Can't learn without any mistakes!
Stick with it, but if you are crashing a lot you might be biting off more than you can chew. Stop & have a break & think about what's happening. Go back a step & revisit the basics of the move you're trying. It might help your confidence to put a helmet & an impact vest on when you're pushing yourself.
When you get home, write up your session diary. Note your kit, the conditions & what you learnt. If anything needs fixing, get it ordered & you'll be ready for the next session!