Monday, March 09, 2009

The 3 Secrets
to becoming
A Perfect Paddler
I first ran across this concept many years ago at the first meeting of a night writing class at a local university. The instructor began with, "There are three secrets to great writing...." The class went on for several weeks during which each of us tried to achieve the holy grail of becoming a great writer. During that time, I noticed something.

A few of the students seemed to have intrinsic skilsl and were writing fairly well right out of the gate. At the end of the series of these classes a few were writing no better than they had on the first night. Most of us, however, had improved, and it was interesting to see our different interests. Some were doing fiction, one stories for children, one science fiction and so on. During our time together, some of the students became very good, maybe excellent, writers. It was as if they had tapped into the 3 secrets.

So it is with kayaking students. Some get it all right off, some never and many slowly but surely master it. Then, some of those excellent paddlers go on to specialize in traditional paddling and rolling, some race and many make long voyages in all sorts of conditions. Watching their progress and seeing how fast and how well some of them get it suggests that they intuitively know the 3 secrets.

Since that first day in writing class, I have observed people in all sorts of pursuit who have magically progressed and learned a skill, a language or what have you. When I talk to them, they are unable to explain exactly how they did it...and made it look so easy. They just shrug when asked and walk away. At such times I am brought back to that first night of writing class when, to paraphrase the instructor, I heard, "There are three secrets to becoming an excellent kayaker, and no one knows what they are."

Paddle safe...


bollocks said...

I enjoy reading your blog. Thanks for the cerebral perspective. Cheers.

Silbs said...

Thanks for the kind words.

RoyM said...


as a teacher...I expected the lecture to at least include 2 out of 3

What gives?

Best Wishes :)