Diary of a middle aged kayaker

Archives for psychology

World Masters Games, Auckland 2017; Dropping the weight of expectations.

The WMG have been my training focus for the last couple of years, and I’ve put in plenty of time and effort to prepare. It was a treat to be on the start line with world class paddlers like Peter Micheler, Vincent Fondeviole and Donald Johnstone. Off-water, the camaraderie of the Masters Games made it [...]

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Look through the gate

I was recently tackling short gate sequences on the two big drops at Lee Valley. These ‘feature moves’ are easy to get wrong, but they feel fantastic when you nail them, and require a precise combination of boat speed, angle and position.  Typically this involves coming down one side of the drop and surfing across [...]

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Familiarity or mastery?

I had an interesting intersection of learning in work and paddling last week. My company, Performance1, hosted a workshop that explored what it means to work with the “millennial generation”. These are people aged in their 20s to early 30s now making up the majority of the workforce in many organisations. One of the characteristics [...]

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Re-learning old lessons

One of the curious things about human nature is that people (and I mean me) can be a bit slow to learn, despite being taught the same lesson time and time again. One of the lessons I keep having concerns the expectation trap. This is the way that expectations, even positive, seem to interfere with [...]

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2014 Slalom season over – winter training and some proper rivers

The 2014 slalom season is over. I had two goals, first of all to gain promotion to Premier Division (done) and second to race well and achieve my best result at the British Open. So how did I get on? If I look at the results of the British Open I should be content; after [...]

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Slalom update – process or outcome?

I wrote about the challenge of goal setting in my last blog post. Having a clear outcome goal increases motivation, but can also be tricky because outcome goals are uncontrollable and take our focus into the future, and being future focused during a competition tends to increase anxiety. This is a very personal challenge for [...]

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When goals get in the way

I’ve long been fascinated by the way goals can help or hinder performance, right from my early days of competition.  Having a clear objective ‘should’ be a good thing, but it seems to me that this isn’t always the case.  It takes a bit of care to choose the right goals. Over my winter slalom [...]

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“You don’t stop paddling because you get old, you get old because you stop paddling”

The 2013 slalom season 2013 has been an amazing slalom season. I’ve achieved much of what I set out to do and really enjoyed myself along the way. My first slalom career lasted from 1978 to 1990, so I feel immensely appreciative that I’m able to have a second crack at this brilliant sport.  Watching [...]

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Ivrea World Masters Games

I’ve written a descriptive report of the Masters Games for Sportscene (http://www.sportscene.tv/whitewater/canoe-slalom/news/canoe-slalom-at-the-torino-world-masters-games) so now I’m taking a much more personal perspective, in keeping with the ethos of Diary of a Middle Aged Kayaker. “Have no fear of perfection – you’ll never reach it.” ― Salvador Dali I came across this quote at a Dali art [...]

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Final preparations

I’m now in my final few days of training to complete my preparations for the slalom at the World Masters Games.  The WMG takes place in Ivrea on 7 August, and it’s been the focus of my training for the last 15 months. When I first wrote about the WMG back in December, I said [...]

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