Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Pool Sessions - Part 1. Working through the psych-out factor, or It's All In My Head!

8:55 A.M. on a Sunday at the Greenwich YWCA. 5 minutes 'til fun!

Wow, what a couple of weeks at work! It just seems like the stuff I have to do just keeps piling up in a way that I can barely keep ahead of it. That, by the way, is why a lot of my posts lately have been so uncharacteristically short - just haven't had time to really write.

But I have not been all work & no play at all!

For starters, I have made it to a couple of pool sesssions recently, as I always enjoy doing this time of year. I missed the first one of the series run by the CT branch of the Appalachian Mountain Club because it was too pretty outside, but I did make the second one and had a little bit of a breakthrough. Sorta silly one but still, breakthroughs are breakthroughs.

I always find it funny how much of a mental game rolling can be. I can psych myself out of doing a roll I'm capable of doing so easily. Or, I can set things up so everything's optimal & then I'll have a much better shot. Remember my New Year's Day handroll? Did you notice how I started out by almost ceremonially placing a Greenland paddle under the deck bungees? Well, the fact is I had not done a handroll that far into the wintertime before & I was setting myself up with the magic feather effect. My on-side handrolls are pretty solid, but for some reason I just never believe it's going to work. If there's a GP there on deck, I have my backup, I can relax & everything goes fine. If not, sometimes I just spaz out the tiniest bit, and then there I am banging on my hull hoping somebody will spare me the bother of swimming.

So there's one mental block that I give into more than I should. On New Year's Day, I was paddling with a Euro, and I actually borrowed somebody's GP. I wanted it there & hey, the handroll worked as usual, yay!

Another silly mental block I've had for ages has been the one that says "Bonnie can't do an offside handroll in any sea kayak other than a snugfitting Greenland boat". I don't even try that much. Rationally I know I could if I'd just work on it - in fact I did one last year in the pool, so I know it's possibly, but the self-psych-out factor is just there.

Part of this is that I'm frequently in strange boats at these pool sessions. Usually the way Sunday pool sessions work for me are that I go up & hang w/TQ on Saturday, then we go to the pool session Sunday morning, I borrow one of his boats & he brings his. Generally he has to leave early to go to work & takes his boats when he goes, but I stay & catch a ride back down to Brooklyn with one of the Sebago set. Usually there are enough boats there that I can borrow for the rest of the session.

Two weeks ago, though, I was completely swamped at work (are we seeing a theme here? ugh, yes) & failed to get in touch with TQ (who I thought was also swamped for some reason I now can't remember at all - just one of those things where my brain was scrambled from a string of 10+ hour days I guess) to make the usual arrangements, so I was coming up from Brooklyn. I called Stevie to see who was leaving for the pool at what time on Sunday morning; I wasn't entirely expecting to bring my boat as the cars usually carry more paddlers than boats, but I reached him just when he was heading to the club for the Saturday roof-rack loading & as it happened, there was space & he offered to bring mine.


So there I was in a nice warm swimming pool, with nose clips and goggles, and practicing in my very own boat for the first time EVER in the entire history of pool sessions I've attended. Gosh, it was nice. It's so strange, another one of these mental things is that I have got a thing about being in my own boat - there's just a level of comfort and security I get from being in my own boat that I don't even get from other Romanys.

Silly, innit?

Anyways. So as I was saying - there I was, in a pool, with goggles & a nose clips & 2.5 hours to practice in my own boat. Started with back-deck finish stuff, moved on to the forward-finishing stuff I'm less good at - that was all working pretty well. I didn't do anything spectacular, but it was just a good, solid, satisfying practice session.

I like to finish up with a few handrolls. Onside, onside, onside, whee, onside, another onside.

Then I thought, "Hmmm. Offside."

I had no excuses not to try. It was the absolutely positively perfect combination of factors. In a pool. With noseclips. All warmed up. GP on deck ready at hand. Everything working fine. AND for the cherry on the sundae of perfect get-over-it conditions, sitting in my own trusty Romany.

Nope, no excuses. Tuck right, over and...

wow. That was easy.

So I went ahead & did a whole bunch more! Sweet!

They had to kick me out of the pool that day.

Last weekend, we were back to normal, me boat-hopping through the session. At the end of the session, I decided that I should see if the offside would work in somebody else's Romany. Baby steps, you know, but still another step past this blockhead mental block.

Worked just fine. Wouldn't quite say that I've nailed the offside handroll yet, but in a Romany at least, there's been marked improvement in the psyching-myself-out factor, and that feels good.

Well, that's all for now. Last weekend's session was fun, too, but person does not live by kayak alone - there's the occasional Irish tune to play, too!

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