We have all at one time or another stood on the shoreline and mind surfed a few waves before paddling out. Sure, pretending we’re Dane at Rincon is fun and all but what if it actually helps us perform at a higher level.
We sat down with Kenny Spracklin, an Athletic Therapist, and Performance Specialist to discuss a simple habit that can help us surf better. Kenny, who has worked with a plethora of professional athletes from the NHL, NFL, and our Canadian Olympic Team, suggests something as simple as a visualization session before we paddle out can massively increase our performance.
Remember that scene from Cool Running’s when Derice decides to forgo a night out with the team? He opts to stay in his room to study the track before the infamous Jamaican bobsled run. Or, what about when the camera zooms to the Olympic snowboarder with their eyes closed, visualizing the motions of each hit of a pipe run before dropping in.
It’s a simple fact if you can picture yourself scoring the winning goal before the game, the greater your chances of actually scoring the goal become. Not only that, if you can visualize everything in between, like fumbling the puck and recovering you become more prepared for anything and everything the real game throws at you.
So how does it work?
It’s called predictable brain training. Through visualization, we build a brain to muscle neural pathways. Sounds complicated? It’s really not. The idea is to develop a routine. Start visualizing your surf about an hour or so before you get into the water. We might have overplayed the Dane Reynolds reference a little, but visualize the best surfing you’ve ever done. Visualize in slow motion your body position and weight transfer. This mental repetition will ultimately transfer to muscle memory. These movements will become second nature.
When it finally comes time to paddle out, you’ve already visualized yourself surfing dozens of waves, you’ve hit dozens of sections, and gouged out dozens of your best turns. The Dane element comes in once these maneuvers become so familiar they require little to no thought. Now it’s ok to toss in a huge punt on the end section. Before long this will become second nature.
Words & Images: Scotty Sherin