You may think you know what practicing hard moves in easy water means, and I bet you don’t think of it as paddling the Narrows of the Green (a Class IV-V section).
Earlier this month I paddled into the Narrows of the Green to watch Green Race. For those of you unfamiliar with the race, it’s one of the premiere steep creek races in the world with over 150 racers and thousands of spectators in a narrow gorge. We’re fortunate as paddlers that they allow us to paddle in on the same course that the racers will paddle through. It’s a highlight for me every year because the river is fun, and I find the paddle in easier than the hike in! 🙂
There is a limited release on the Green so everyone ends up paddling in at the same time. Imagine at least 50+ paddlers bombing through the gorge together at the same time. (Insert freaked out emoji face here).
I can definitely be a nervous paddler so you would think this would freak me out, but because I’ve paddled the river throughout the years at varying water levels, and with small groups of trusted friends, I’ve cultivated a skillset, both paddling and mindset. Instead of getting freaked out by a chaotic situation, I find myself enjoying the fact that I can blaze by eddies full of people because I know the river so well and am confident in my ability to paddle well. The experience for me is actually fun!
Hard moves in easy water = practice in low consequence environments
When you practice your skills in low consequence environments you build your confidence. In this instance, the practice of paddling the river often and over time with small groups of trusted friends has built my confidence to be able to paddle confidently in a large, chaotic group. The same can be said when I’m paddling the Upper Gauley during Gauley Fest weekend. I’ve run Pillow Rock so many times over the years (and raft guided too) that I’m confident in my ability to run the rapid well regardless of the crowd.
So, if you want more confidence on the river, OR in any area of life, start by practicing your moves in a low consequence environment, and practice over time. Give your speech in front of your dog first, practice having difficult conversations with folks your trust before launching in at the Thanksgiving dinner table, ski the bunny slope over and over until you build your skill and confidence. Then take your moves into a more challenging environment. Keep doing that until you reach your goal.
Remember that exceptional results are created through patience, courage and consistency over time.
Want to learn more ways to practice hard moves in easy water? Join me for a free webinar on how to Master your Whitewater Mindset: Hard Moves in Easy Water. Thursday December 1st, 7 p.m. ET. Click here to register for free!