Friday, July 18, 2008

Z Health, Kettlebells and Kiteboarding?

I had an amazing time this past weekend kiteboarding up on Mille Lacs here in Minnesota. It is probably one of the biggest lakes in MN and the wind was cranking! I am not sure of the exact wind speed, but easily mid 20s and gusting up to mid 30s mph at times! Huge whitecaps all across the lake and waves knee to almost waist high at times! Yeah, for you ocean riders this is nothing, but keep in mind this is MN! Credits to Denis for the pics and Steve Blaine in the top pic.

Check out the video below from Dr. Knap and Denis showing all the amazing moves! If you do a "where's Waldo" you can see pass by in the background around the 2:42 and 3:18 mark with a bright yellow Cabrinha kite (Switchblade II 2007 8meter--LOVE that kite). Some amazing riders were out rocking it--both kiteboarding and windsurfers alike.

Z Health and Movement
I credit a recent discussion with Frankie Faires about sensory information during high "flow" times. I will save you a long discussion, but I am sure everyone has had times were they felt "in the zone." At that time, did you experience more or less sensory information? Think of the reverse--poor movement and even painful movement; more or less sensory?

I have noticed a DECREASE in sensory information when movement is better or my skill level is higher. Pain tends to make you highly aware of certain movements, but overall movement quality is less. When I pulled both my hip flexors and groin area a few years ago, I was very aware of all movement! For the record I really don't recommend this as it was the most PAINFUL injury ever! Way worse than busting my ankle snowboarding and ripping my right shoulder completely out playing broomball. I had lots of sensory information, but Penguins had a much better gait (walking) pattern than I did for a long time!

The conditions were not ideal for those who were new to the sport, but after drinking tons of water for first 45 minutes on my first session I started to figure it out a bit more and had an absolute BLAST. Easily in the top 5 best kiteboarding moments ever for me. A huge breakthrough was that I was able to ride only looking at the waves with only an occasional glance at the kite; even though I was still constantly moving the kite to keep my power/speed up.

The even cooler part was the change in my thoughts. For those new to kiting, in order to keep a constant pull from the kite, you need to move it around to keep pushing air over the kite in order to create force (or go fast enough to force more air over the kite); so you pull in on the control bar on the right or left side to cause the kite to move in the sky and keep it at a constant pull. Similar to the same ides to fly a Snoopy kite, but imagine one that is 24 to 50 feet across with enough power to yank you off the water at times!

This past weekend my thoughts were OUTCOME based---instead of thinking "pull my right arm in more, let out more, etc" they changed to "I need more speed, less speed, higher angle to change the line of pull, etc" again without constantly looking at the kite. So my body (movement) became more autonomous (auto pilot) in regards to the kite and also LESS sensory-- more movement based.

In the past I tried to really focus on feeling the kite move in my hands without looking at it, when maybe I should have focused on what OUTCOME (via movement) I wanted to achieve to short cut the learning process. Perhaps we should teach what we want the outcome to be and let our body figure it out. This applies to other areas too, esp. education, projects, etc--assign the outcome and few rules and let the participants figure it out. Randy Pausch illustrates this idea in his book "The Last Lecture" also (almost done with it, but so far I HIGHLY recommend it).

KBs and Z Health and Riding Long Hours
I was also very grateful for the weight training sessions with KBs and other forms since my legs were great the whole time! For those of you who have ridden waves or even moguls in the winter on a snowboard or skis, you are familiar with the constant motion of your legs as you go up and over the waves. I only had a little groin soreness and right hip flexor that cleared up within 2 days. So if you are looking to maximize your time on water, drop me a line!

Life is short, so enjoy the ride