Or putting the shoe on the other foot.
I was going to write about SSS round 2, which went pretty well (ok, it was great!) but that can wait a bit. You can see all the videos and results over at the SSS website if you want.
I want to write briefly about learning, learning new, alien skills and the art of excellent teaching.
I'm lucky enough (wellll ... pretty lucky, wellll ... extrordinarily lucky ...) to be being exposed to a new skillset by a teacher/coach with some of the best teaching skills I've ever experienced. Learning new skills is hard, especially in an environment where you're way outside your comfort zone.
In a really fortuitous twist to this tale, at the same time as I am being taught new skills, I am in parallel, teaching new skills to the teacher who's teaching me (a swapsie, you might say). I am teaching whitewater kayaking and basic track cycling, I am being taught .. wait for it ... Ceroc modern jive (I think that's what it is anyway? All I know is I keep tripping over!). Yes, dancing. Me .. Dancing .. You want to push my comfort zone, that is IT! I can fly a plane, SCUBA dive to 55m on mixed gasses, play violent contact sports, climb rocks and ice, race sprints, paddle down rapids, kill spiders and ward off snakes .. you name it, no worries, but dance? Ohhh ... I'm game enough to admit to being petrified of dancing.
This is a very interesting position to be in, when teaching skills a teacher needs to know when to back off, say nothing, let the student experiment and make (harmless) mistakes, and when to intercept and cut off any frustration or danger with the right cues. Timing of this is critical or the student either doesn't get the chance to learn (over teaching is waayyyyy too common, just SHUT UP, STEP BACK AND LET ME WORK THIS OUT FOR MYSELF!) or gets hurt and/or frustrated to the point that they can't learn (spit the dummy time or get injured!).
The teacher must have the absolute trust of their student that they are looking after them. I'm putting my student into dangerous situations in whitewater rapids and on steep banked velodromes. I'm being put into a social context that I am deeply unfamiliar with as well (who wants to look like a dickhead in front of your partner's peers?). Trust is vital. Having a teacher or coach that you trust gives you the backing to be able to push you limits.
I also think it's important that the teacher not pretend that a new skill is easy - track stands are not easy, eskimo rolls are not easy, swan drops are not easy (really! I threw that in because I tried to learn that last night and last week and it's tricky!), power cleans and proper squats are not easy. None of these things are natural, they need to be learned and pretending that they're easy harms the trust relationship between a teacher/coach and their students. They're worthwhile to learn and will take time and effort and will be rewarding when learned. They are not easy to learn.
To cut a long story short, I think it's a great experience to be taught something new and totally alien and I'm not just (slowly!) learning how not to bowl over dance partners, but more importantly, I'm learning a lot more about how to teach and coach, by being a total novice student all over again in the hands of a brilliant teacher.
Oh, I won B grade on Sunday at round 2, undefeated (although Ian McGinley and I were very very close) and rode a PB flying 200, I'm only a 10th off breaking into 12 seconds at Blackburn. I think it was world Vegan day on Sunday, I had a couple of steaks to celebrate.
totally off-topic - Canoe Vic whitewater rescue training ...
My next purchase will be a dry suit ...
I'll be all over the place!
July 2011, it's going to be busy. I'm going to Adelaide with the NTID and VIS kids on the 22nd for a sprint race meeting for J17's and J19's and then staying on for a week to assist/learn/get in the way with the pre Junior Worlds camp. The camp is three weeks long and takes the kids going to Moscow from the race meeting on the 23rd and 24th through 'til their departure to Moscow. I've been given the opportunity to stay with them for the first week and assist Sean Eadie. Along the way hopefully I'll get a lot of learning done. I'm looking forward to it, but I will be away from home for a week and will miss a couple of our winter DISC sessions.
In actual fact, I'm probably going to miss almost all the DISC sessions through July, on the 16th and 17th I'm (assuming it goes ahead) doing a whitewater rescue course. So I will probably miss that weekend also, and this coming Sunday I can't make it either. I've written a program that the guys can do without needing much guidance. Nathan's going to run this Sunday, I'll work something out for the others that I can't make. Ergo anyone?! Nah ... I didn't think so! Anyway, it's going to be hectic, this July.
I do have heaps of reading to do. I believe that any good coach needs to read widely and understand a lot of "stuff", so one of my current reads is a textbook on exercise physiology. Things are going well in the 'Haus, I lifted an equal PB deadlift yesterday (and can feel it today .. stairs .. urgh!), power's been down a bit on the bike for the last couple of sessions, but I think that'll come good soon. the other sprint squad people and assorted ring ins are all lifting well and their numbers are getting better on the track too. It's all good!
$20 and you can have one too!
Riding around in circles gets pretty cold
It's proving to be a cold winter, and riding around in circles on the motorbike at DISC is .. pretty chilly. It's been around 10 degrees or so in there for the last couple of sessions, and after a few laps, one starts to shiver somewhat!
So, how do we keep warm? I have a few layers on, but one nifty thing I got recently is a kayaking neoprene skullcap. Yep, a rubber hat (insert gimp joke here now). One of these, nifty!
Next week I'm off to assist the NTID and VIS guys at the Oceania track championships in Adelaide. That's why we moved Spin forward a week. I'll be carrying Hilton's bags mainly, but it's another great opportunity to gather experience at elite level, even if all I do is carry heavy stuff and push buttons on stopwatches I'll be soaking it all up and learning as much as I can. It'll be quite different to the NTID sprint camp I went to way back in July, where I pretty-much ran the show for all the NTID sprinters for two days, it'll be a good intro to how it's done with more coaches present etc.
I'm supposed to be in at DISC today with the squad (my usual Wednesday, 11am -> 9:30pm or so), but I've got a bit of a cold, it's not enough to stop work etc, but it is probably contageous, so I've pulled the day off so I don't share the bugs with the guys in the squad who are racing the Metros this weekend and/or are going to Adelaide.
Last weekend I was given one of the most enjoyable jobs in cycling, I was asked to commentate at the Country Track Championships. This was heaps of fun, I hope I added some value to the event and didn't make too many mistakes. Two days in a row of full-time commentating is not as easy as it sounds. The next time you get cranky with Phil and Paul, just try doing it yourself! Maybe it's the non-stop yapping that's brought on this cold?
Anyway, I'll be right in a day or two. I spent some of today getting equipment for the 'haus, we now have a pair of 20 and a pair of 25kg bumper plates. These are expensive things, some of the guys are strong enough to need them now (good!). I had another visit to the physio which was positive - my cranky shoulder is slowly improving (about time!) - I got out on the water on Monday evening and surfed some standing waves and felt very happy in whitewater, so that's good. I hope to be able to get some heavy squats done soon. It'll be a long rebuild, I reckon I'll be pretty happy with a 120kg squat to start with! But .. slow progress is good.
You hear me baby? Hold together!
Totally off-topic, sorta ..
I had another hydrodilation on Tuesday, which was quite different to the first one I had a month or so ago - it felt very different anyway, although the procedure was the same. I now have almost a full range of motion, which is great! I did an ergo session on Thursday and put out a peak power value that was the best I've done since January, so that's good. The things you can do when you can actually pull hard on the bars!
While the joint sounded and felt like a bag of ball bearings being rattled around, it didn't hurt. Good! So this arvo I'm off to paddle the Homestead Loop on the Yarra, it'll have some big water in it after all this rain. That'll test out the joint!