This next tip may reveal my more deceitful nature, but I hope you will look past my trickery and understand how a little slight of hand can often keep everyone a little happier.
Every now and then you may be put into a situation where you are asked to trust someone you don’t know at all. You may be showing up to wheel class for the first time and not sure if you can trust that “Chris Delgado” guy, you may be at a workshop working with a new coach, or just having a friend or spot you. Trust is one of the most important connections you must have with the person responsible for keeping you safe while you deliberately put yourself in harms way. A coach cannot effectively work with a student who does not trust them, believe me, it will be a slow and arduous process. But it is foolish to just blindly trust whoever happens to say they can spot you, that is how you crash. The other day I was watching a friend of mine training and he had a random person spotting him, one quick look told me the spotter was not paying enough attention to his student, lo and behold about one minute later I heard the crash of my friend because the spotter was too passive. Everyone walked away fine, what’s another bruise on the shin, but it didn’t have to be that way. Thus I introduce to you the spot check.
This works best when you are working on an apparatus or skill that you already have some experience with. So say I am going to wheel weekend and I am going to have a random person who has never spot me before spot me for a trick. Before I get to the trick I really need to work on, I will practice a trick in my mid range, something I can’t always complete myself but I feel confident keeping myself safe on. Warm your spotter up on a trick you know how to bail on, get yourself into a situation where they have to keep you safe, and see how well they do. Not only will this tell you if they can spot or not, but also will let you know what kind of spotter they are, are they a last minute save kind of gal, or are they the perpetual over spotting dude. Take a trick or two to asses your coach so you know how best to keep yourself (and your coach) safe as you move forward into more treacherous waters. Don’t be afraid to think before you leap sometimes, it is the best way to make sure you are able to jump another day.