Instinct v thinking

Oh why oh why is it sometimes easy to get a roll to work and other times impossible? Every practice session is different. Last night, just before sunset, I took my Tahe out with the root beer paddle for some rolling practice. I decided to go for it. So I put the paddle away and grabbed my carbon Novorca norsaq. I hooked it over the back deck. Flopped in backwards. Swept it out and forwards. And popped up onto the foredeck. First roll of the day, the reverse sweep norsaq, a success! Going for gold this time I tucked down on the foredeck flipped over and pulled off a forward-forward norsaq roll with ease. Jubilant from the success I repeated these two rolls. And then that was that. Not a single forward finishing norsaq roll for the rest of the session. I know what happened. I started to think too much. Concentrating on one aspect of the roll to the detriment of others.
Eventually I stopped beating myself up and swapped over to a few hand rolls. And then practiced my off-side rolls. I got myself really confused with my body position on an offside reverse sweep roll and nearly wet exited. I did the petrussen maneuver to get some air and flipped the kayak up with a butterfly roll. It was not my finest hour!

I have noticed time and time again that thinking too much can really mess up my rolls. One of my favorite training routines is to think through every step of the roll I am working on just before falling asleep. And then to revisit it when I wake up. Then practice the arm and torso movements on dry land. Then just go do it.
I am very lucky to have my mothers flexibility. Through the cajoling of Dan Segal I have returned to a twice daily stretching routine which is really helping me. Watching the new Maligaq and Dubside video has inspired me still further to work on my stretching.
I watched a great video of a woman rolling set to Celtic music yesterday. She inspired me to work on my static brace with no paddle. Boy, that was a quick way to drink some lake water. I seem to have lost the ability to flop into the static brace with no paddle. I can let go of the paddle once I am in position but unable to roll up into it at the moment. I think it is lower back flexibility, but I am not 100% sure.
It’s good to have something to work at. It’s not world peace, but it keeps me distracted from the ridiculous shenanigans going on in Washington these days.

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