If there’s one thing that keeps us coming back to kiteboarding, it’s the feeling that we get on the water. The feeling of freedom. The feeling of the wind on our faces.
When we can’t kiteboard, we dream of it. We plan our next trip. We obsess over forums and watch countless videos. It’s the kite bug and we’ve got it. But unless you’re in the Southern Hemisphere, kiteboarding right now might be inaccessible to you. I’m currently in Hood River, OR where the temperature is hovering around 5 celsius. Kiteboarding right now is unappealing and in fact dangerous. But the fact that I can’t actually go out and kiteboard doesn’t mean that I can’t do any number of things to improve my skills during the off-season.
There are three main methods that I rely on to keep myself “kiteboarding” through the winter. Those are visualization, working out and maintaining my gear.
The first practice of visualization we should now be very familiar with. The act of visualization is a practice that develops momentum when learning new things or staying on top of your current skill set. Athletes from Tiger Woods to Michael Jordan to Muhammed Ali all practice visualization and have relied on it to achieve their stratospheric success. Visualization is helpful for maintaining the skills that you can already do and it’s crucial when you’re learning a new trick or skill. Use the often time in the winter to strengthen your self-belief muscle. Before your body has developed the muscle memory it needs to land your tricks consistently, you have to work extra hard to get there. By visualizing how the trick looks and how your body is going to look and feel as you do it you start firing the necessary nerve pathways in your brain. You lay down the basis for making the trick happen. If your mind believes, your body will follow suit. Alternatively, if your mind doesn’t believe, chances are you won’t ever get there.
A good visualization practice will keep your already developed skills sharp through the winter. Despite not being able to physically practice your maneuvers, visualizing yourself stomping your tricks or completely your tacks will keep the physical movements fresh in your mind when you’re next able to go kite. Utilize this practice for learning new grabs, learning to jump or learning KGB’s. I guarantee that it will keep you that much sharper for your next session.
The second tool for maintaining your kiteboarding level through the winter is to physically work out. Maintaining your kiteboarding muscles will go a long way in keeping your stamina up for those long downwinders come Springtime. A good physical practice is rooted in three things: endurance, strength and range of motion.
Endurance and cardiovascular training is essential to maintain. Not only for a healthy heart and waistline but because you don’t want to be short of breath next time you’re out for a session. Weak lungs and water don’t mix. Maintain your cardio by jump-roping, running or playing tennis. It doesn’t really matter what you do here, just move!
The second component for a strong kiteboarding practice through the winter is to maintain your strength. Kiteboarding is a great total body workout. But don’t wait until your next session to work those muscles. We want to feel good when we’re riding, not so sore that we can’t go out. Incorporating strength training into your regimen will enable you to ride with that much more speed, power and fun!
Finally, don’t forget about range of motion. As kiteboarders, we’re constantly hunching our shoulders forward and using our strong ham strings to edge upwind. Over time, our chest and legs become tight. Keep your body in top shape by stretching, incorporating fluidity exercises and working to increase your range of motion, especially in the areas that are strained by kiteboarding.
The final component in keeping your mind and body primed for kiteboarding is to maintain your gear. The off season is a prime opportunity to ensure everything is up to par.
You can always read more from Sensi at here Sensi Bikinni’s Blog.