Sometimes, I get surprised whenever one of our clients aren’t happy with themselves after 3 days of classes, saying they could just “ride a little bit” and couldn’t “ride well on both sides”.
A couple of months ago, we had a male client who was over 60 years old. He had reached to us several months ago to book his kiteboarding classes. When we talked on the phone, he said he was looking forward to trying kiteboarding, but he felt a little doubftul and fearful because he thought it was mandatory to be really strong and skillful. I told him otherwise, and added that this is a sport everyone can do, from kids to people over 70 years old alike. I also let him know that here in Cancun we have very good shallow and flat water conditions that make the learning process even easier and safer. Finally, we had our kite sessions and, at the end of the course, he came back smiling from the water along with his instructor.
When I asked him about his experience, he said he had absolutely loved kiteboarding and that he wished to come back in the next few months. However, he also said he felt a little disappointed because he had not been able to ride well on both sides. Just that day, I was riding near the man and (just like almost all my typical kiteboarding days) it was filled with lots of falls and bumps. So I asked the man: Did you see me riding? Did you see how many times I fell? I have been kiteboarding for 11 years now and I still keep falling a lot everyday, because I want to learn some new tricks, push my own limits, break my own records. And the reason why I’m telling you all this is to let you know that mistakes are part of a learning process. Just keep getting back up and try all the things you like, and only then can you still feel alive. I can still remember when I was learning and, even though I’ve always done sports, I thought this sport in particular might not be fit for me after all, judging by my poor performance. Well, it’s been 11 years since this sport changed my life. So if you have doubts too, my invitation is to reflect on these questions:
How much practice has a national soccer player required in order to play with the team?
How many hours has an orchestra musician needed to play an instrument?
How long has a commercial pilot devoted to practice?
Even though these are all different activities, they all share something in common: practice and consistent dedication. Does it take talent? It sure does. Does it take optimal physical traits to achieve it? We could think so. But now go ask a commercial pilot how many hours of flight are required in order to become airline staff (however talented, phisically enabled, and motivated you are). The difficulty in kiteboarding will depend on the objectives you set and how realistic you are with them. ¿Once you’ve figured this out, the rest will come with –guess what? – practice. Of course, if kiteboarding is really your thing. Last but not least, just stop comparing yourself to anyone who has been riding for longer than you have. Keep in mind that every case is very personal and that it is equally important that you enjoy it and have fun in the process, even when you fall.