Just got back from a weekend of snowboarding at Perisher. I have been snowboarding on and off for a few years now, the last occasion being a week in Queenstown, NZ a couple of years back. At the end of that trip I had gotten a solid foundation and was ready to take the next step. However, circumstances prevailed and life got in the way and I was only able to get back to it now.
Two years away from the cold stuff is a reality check, as the body knows what it is capable of and what it used to be able to do. It hadn’t forgotten how to transfer weight from heels to toes, or point my arm down the mountain and look where you want to go. The problem was all above the shoulders.
Strapping in and heading down my first couple of easy runs to warm up, I was feeling confident and linking my turns, controlling speed and velocity, constantly looking out for obstacles and others on the slope. However, once we progressed to the steeper stuff, I started to hit the mental barriers. Once I got the speed up, I tried to dig in and slow down, which meant I occasionally caught an edge and gracefully face planted or landed on my ass (thank god for bum guards).
Before I head into the crux of why Repetition is so important, I want to contrast this experience with the drive back from Berridale to Sydney. I was driving a friend’s car which I hadn’t driven before, and not that familiar with the roads. However, I have been driving for over 18 years, so it was such a simple transition. I hear from friends who don’t drive in the city because it’s too stressful, or if they’ve just got their licence how scary it can be. It is hard for me to imagine and visualise that driving stress, but if I compare it directly to my recent snowboarding experience, I can absolutely understand how it can be stressful if you are unfamiliar with it!
Which brings me to the point, if you get frustrated with an exercise or activity because you aren’t good at it straight away, you have to keep on doing it until you are!! Complex body movements like squats or pushups, punching and kicking, don’t come naturally for everyone. Simple repetition won’t do it either, you must make sure that your technique is correct and safe. That is the value that a good training partner or personal trainer brings. Form a good foundation, build your confidence and fitness over time, and then you’ll be ready to start cranking the intensity and complexity up!