First and foremost, remember training is a deeply personal thing. Think of training as making your way through a spooky forest. There are lots of paths through the forest and they all lead to different places. As you are setting out through these woods, you will find many different ways to train. Some will work and some may not, some may work for a while and stop working over time. Some may even work for one element but not another. Let yourself be flexible and try a variety of training methods, and try training with new people. A fresh set of eyes can be extremely inspiring. Here is one nice little path I have found quite useful in my coaching recently. Please feel free to walk along and see if you like the view.
I found that a few of my students were feeling as if they were not progressing as rapidly as they had envisioned, and were leaving classes and privates feeling discouraged. No matter how many times I pointed out little things that were working better for them, the entire trick wasn’t perfect and thus they had “failed”. One student in particular used this mantra and would repeat it every time she was preparing to do one trick: “high wheel, knees forward, long forward, big push, quick turn, knees together, place foot, hips forward, don’t step out.” This student has now set the bar so high (demanding that she perfect at least 9 steps), there is almost no way she will perform each of these micro movements perfectly. Thus every time the student attempts the element, no matter how many of the 9 items she does well, if she fails 1 then she has “failed” and feels crappy. I’m sure you can see how a training “path” like this can lead you through the brambles. So how do we subvert this? Micro Goals!!!!!
This one student worked her but off and came up with an awesome idea. We all know that lots of things need to be in place for an element in German wheel to work, but if we try to work on everything at the same time, it can be overwhelming and inefficient. Instead, pick one goal, (a micro goal!!!!) and save all your focus for placing one piece of the puzzle at a time. Once the piece is in place, not only will you get the sweet relief of success but then you can move onto another piece. Since implementing this she has had a much more positive class experience 🙂 Huzzah! By allowing yourself to take the pressure off of doing everything right the first time, you can have the focus to make actual, tangible progress. Suddenly that bridge that you fell out of wasn’t a failure because you fell, it is a success because you kept your back leg straight. And you know what? After you can keep that back leg straight, then you can work on keeping your arms straight. And then, just maybe, you won’t fall out. You may find yourself leaving class jubilant and rewarded instead of downtrodden and dejected, hopefully looking forward to attacking that scary trick instead of dreading it.
So I’ll just leave that there. Try it out, see how it works for you. This can be a very helpful tool for particularly scary elements or when you want to polish an element and make it not only work, but look pretty too! Have fun wheelers.