Leading the Wheel- how to be a good partner for your wheel
Your first few German Wheel lessons can be overwhelming. There is a lot of new, and that can lead to some overload, but have no fear the more you do the slower everything starts to happen. The first few times you do any trick there is a lot to focus on. Lets break down the most basic move, the cartwheel. You’re holding onto 2 bars, pointing your feet, going upside down, switching your weight while upside down, trying not to arch, trying to look straight ahead, trying to breathe, thinking about which hand you have to let go of to stop. That is a lot! So break it down. I like to think of it like that old arcade game “Wack-A-Mole”, focus on hitting a single target each time. If you try to hit every mole at the same time you will miss them all and get no little paper tickets and you will be the only kid going home without a toy. Don’t be that kid! Take your time, focus one element each time and when you feel like you “got that one” then move onto another.
Okay so now it’s your 3rd class, you feel pretty confident doing cartwheels, maybe you feel like they are already starting to become old news, don’t be lulled into complacency, now is when the real work can begin. Since you don’t have to focus on the mundanities, you can play with some of the subtleties of the wheel. Cartwheels are the perfect place to start exploring the idea of “Leading the wheel” this principal starts with the cartwheel and applies to every single wheel trick.
Lead the wheel! What does that mean? Well it means you have to tell the wheel what you want it to do, not wait for it to push you in the “right” direction. This means a lot of specific things that are not really possible to write down because they are always different; you have to “feel it”. It is going to be slightly different every time. Here are some of the “Wack-A-Moles” I look for to see if I am being a good leader. If you ever feel your hands banging into a handle or if you are slamming against the wheel, you are not being a good leader. A good leader doesn’t need to beat his team into submission; he must lead by example. If you want your wheel to go to the right you better be leaning that way yourself. If you find yourself fluctuating a lot, making the wheel slow then speed then slow; you are being a bad leader. A leader must be consistent so his team knows what direction he wants to go. If you find yourself exhausted, you are not being a good leader. Share the burden with your team, if you find yourself tired after only a few turns it means you are working too hard, chill buddy, don’t forget to breathe and let the wheel do some of the work. The most important thing to remember is that the wheel can only do what you are telling it, so if you feel like you cant get the wheel to do what you want, reexamine the signals you are sending. They may be muddier than you realize.