Monday, October 20, 2008

Balance in the dark

Continuing yesterday's post about balance: it's all about relaxing your mind, concentration and focus (and practice, practice, practice...). Focus is to be taken literally: rule nr. 1 balancing on the rope is: "Focus on a single point. Pick one point, and focus intently on it. This will help you find and keep your balance." When you have difficulties finding a point to focus at - things are getting hard: Balancing with eyes covered or shut, or just in darkness is extremely difficult.

Some weeks ago I learned a lesson about "balance in darkness" paddling the K1-flatwater racing kayak. In the past months I had quit a lot of practice paddling this (wobbling) kayak and had gotten rather confident with its (lack of) stability. But during the last paddles on the club-evening I suddenly felt less comfortable in the K1. First I thought this was because I had an off-day. I didn't realize that the big difference actually was that I was paddling in darkness now (days are getting shorter, alas). But this became very obvious in the week after the clinic on the "Forward Power Stroke" with Oscar Chalupsky. I was a bit late on the club evening and decided to paddle alone to work on my technique paddling the K1-racer. When I put the kayak in the water it was already dark and it started to rain. After a few "power strokes" my glasses were steamy, my sight blurred and I got blinded by the lights of the cars passing by. Forget making attempts to concentrate on "body rotation": nothing to focus at, I stiffened and lost balance. Bracing failed and suddenly I swam in the canal in the middle of the city of Woerden. A very stupid action indeed: paddling solo - in a kayak without flotation - no light, dressed in a black chill-cheater suit... I should have known better!

Lessons learned:
- things happen ;-(
- use a stable platform to work on your techniques!
- bad sight is bad for balance!
- don't forget dry clothes and a towel!

So happy no-one noticed!

No comments: