Sticking My Oar In To Try Something New!

"goal achievement"  "the great gordino"November 2012, and I’m trying a new sport. It’s not the first time I’ve tried a new sport after an Olympics, and there are some great goal achievement lessons to be had…

This time it’s rowing.

Since London 2012 I looked at beach volleyball, but the ‘open’ day the club set up seemed to be ‘closed’ as no-one was there when I turned up.

I was curious about the discus, but was told when I went to the athletics club that they wouldn’t be throwing any discus anytime soon, and I felt about as welcome as a bad shoulder injury.

Before the Olympics I wrote about Helen Glover, who had never tried rowing when the 2008 Games took place, and she went on to win GB’s first gold medal this time.

So, I got in touch with the local rowing club, and went down for an induction session. They were very friendly and welcoming, which was a relief after the two previous sports.

I was due to go on the water the following week, but it was pouring with rain so I had a session on the rowing machines inside. Then the week after that was the service of Remembrance, so I wanted to watch that.

Eventually it was sunny day that coincided with me going to the club, and it was time for my first go on the water. The coach pointed to 3 men standing by a boat and told me I was ‘with them.’

I did ask if they knew I was a total newbie, and they all nodded enthusiastically, so I went with it, which is all you can do in such an unfamiliar situation.

I was put at the stroke position, because that meant the coach was facing me in the boat, but it also meant I was the person that the other 3 had to follow – no pressure then!

We set off, and although I often got it right, I often got it wrong, which led to lots of boat lurching and juddering, and a lot of stop/start. I felt bad for the other 3, but kept telling myself that they had all been learners once.

It felt a lot like learning to drive – not particularly difficult, but a lot of different things to think about at the same time when learning, and as the coach shouted instructions at me, I followed those only to realise I was making mistakes elsewhere instead!

Then the coach told us we would go for an exercise which had us rowing with our eyes shut! I told him I had been doing that for the last half hour, to not much laughter let me tell you. I had hoped for little chuckle at least, but nothing.

In fact, when we rowed with our eyes shut, it went better, because we were concentrating on our ears, to hear the blades in the water and the seats moving back and forth.

That allowed us to get in better rhythm together without the added input of vision muddying the water (quite literally).

I had a great time! It was a lovely sunny day, the water was still and the weather mild.
When we did get it right together, the boat flowed through the water, and I had clear glimpses of what might lie ahead with better technique.

I apologised to the other 3, and they all encouraged me which made me feel a lot better. That picture of my blistered hand is a sign of shocking technique – that hand is only supposed to be gently holding the blade, but it’s clear I was gripping it like a good’un!

The goal achievement lessons aren’t hard to spot…

– You have to take action. It was action that took me from the idea of trying rowing to being out on the water actually rowing.

– Get ready for unexpected delays. Some people get on the water on their first day. It took me 3 weeks of waiting, but the patience was well worth it.

– Lots of parts have to work together. When all 4 rowers worked in tandem, the effort required from each of us was much *less* than when we worked out of synch.

– Get ready to learn. Much like driving a car, it can seem daunting to try and get lots of different things right at the same time, but with perseverance, the brain will soak up the lessons, get to grips with the new techniques, and progress will be made.

Look to your own goal, whatever it may be – have you taken action? Are you ready to spend a lot of learning time, with setbacks along the way? The questions may seem simple, but honest answers could make a huge impact on your journey forward.

By the way, if you want to read my article about Olympic rower Helen Glover, it’s here:
Goal Achievement – Here’s Hoping For Helen!

Feedback appreciated as always, as are shares, likes, tweets etc!
‘Til Next Time,
Health & happiness,

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