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It’s all in the Mind

Posted: Sun Sep 27, 2020 8:21 am
by Paul Arden
A good page from James today ... n-the-mind

I’ve usually fared well in overhead competitions. Accuracy however that’s another story for me. No doubt because I don’t practise anything like as much as I do for distance. I have had problems in the WCs 5WT. But maybe not making the line too slick to handle, not putting the line on the water instead of the platform, not borrowing gear from others might be a good list for me! Hopefully I won’t get to add to that list next year :D

But in terms of actual casting I’ve regularly thrown better in competition than in practise.

I think that there are a number of things at play here. The first is casting when other people are watching. James seems to experience this problem and I know he is certainly not alone. Just about everyone has this problem. Not only in competition but also when coming for a lesson. The mind thinks “I’m being watched” and the body tenses up.

For me I think casting and teaching in public, and giving demos at fairs, which absolutely scared the shit out of me in my mid 20s, actually turned out to be a good thing. There my focus was in trying to talk down a microphone to a crowd eating sandwiches and actually because of this good casting has always been trying easy - I was never worried about that bit; it was the hundreds of people I was talking to that concerned me :D Funny I’m fine with that too nowadays. Probably just an age thing. Now I actually enjoy it!

Funny though, I really don’t like public speaking without a rod in my hands. Mark Surtees imagines that everyone is naked, not only that but at an AAPGAI meet while giving a definitions talk, he actually told them that :laugh:

Anyway the best way to deal with being watched is to be watched. One way to deal with it is to try to ignore it and focus on the groove. The other is to demonstrate. Mid 20s onwards I cast a lot in public and I’m very comfortable with it. I would go to trade shows and there would be an indoor pool with no one casting - I would always be the first one casting.

There is another problem in competition however. When we practise we cast for hours and hours. We find a groove and everything flows. In competition we stand around for hours and hours and then we walk up to the platform and have 2 or 3 minutes to find that groove. And that is hard.

So what I do is train that way. Start from cold. Two minutes or whatever it is to get those big casts hooked up. I have a routine. Fist cast 75% power, straight down the line. I think body shift and form. I think targets. I think straight. Next cast open up slightly, maybe 85%, trying to hit it late, leading with the butt. Straight. Third cast 95% working on the launch. And then it’s flat out. I (almost) always go on the third cast. I breathe around this - in, hold, out, in, hold, out. And always try to remember to breathe while retrieving and placing the line.

I try to feel that I own everything I can see. The course, the platform, the crowd, everything around me, even the competition itself. When I’m in the groove I feel it happening late, and directed towards my targets way off into the distance, and I feel like I’m standing on top of the world.

I’m sure that we are all different, but being comfortable casting in public is going to help, so make yourself do it and best of all make it harder by teaching them. And to deal with casting from cold, have a little casting cycle that you use to enable you to throw your best in the time allowed. That drill is very, very important for me.

I’ve personally never cared about winning or losing. I just want to throw my best. So long as I do that then I’m always happy.

Cheers, Paul

Re: It’s all in the Mind

Posted: Mon Sep 28, 2020 1:05 am
by Michal Duzynski, where do I begin???
 Love the subject- good call James.
  Whatever I will write here says about my own experience and thoughts and might apply differently to other people.
   Same as Paul's thought " I don't care about wining, or loosing", well this doesn't work for me, I am there for the GOLD.
  Ofcourse throwing your PB in a comp and finish on the 20th place is ok, but.......
         In my case it is OVERTHINKING,         OVERTHINKING, OVERTHINKING.
  I've done 2 WC and few other small comps, and recent virtual casting competition.
 In case of competition fly casting we all know we have to rotate late, hit late, hit fast, haul fast, carry a lot , and track straight. And in our sport we dont have to be super duper fit, or go through expensive coach training and physios, it has benefits, but its not crucial.
  So for the same conditions during a comp , and lets say all competitors have 100% technique- who will be the winner??
   My research say- THE ONE WITH THE BEST MENTAL THOUGHNESS- yes a lot of mental training builds up the mental toughness. Like James said its all in the mind- bloody hell sure it is.
   My first WC- 2012, yes I cast a lot, but never worked on my brain, I had so much anxiety and overthinking in my had that I snapped the butt section of my TCR on a second back cast.
   After that during practice it was ok, but shit hit the fan as soon as I had to cast in the comp.
 I thought I had to change a lot before Cumbria 2018. For me,from Australia it was a big financial and time sucraface( pleasant though), and I could not go there with an attitude like" I dont care about wining or loosing", I go there for GOLD, think GOLD( there will be a lot of GOLD in this post).
  I knew you have to compeat more in between in order to build my mental toughness, and by doing so learning to deal with my anxiety, abd nerves,but how Im going to do it if I am alone like a num nut far far away down under, and I always cast alone, and even if I throw over the horizon nobody cares.
   Time to the WC is getting closer, I thought
- Italians they have a team,  they have a lot of little comp in between, and to list just a few:
- Swedish an awesome team
- Norwegian, an awesome team
- UK an awesome team
- Finland, Denmark, don't know, but there are some awesome names there and they have some in between comps like Nordic Open, and some Swedish comps.
  On top of that there is Tallinn World Cup. All of those competitions prepare the casters in some way in their mental toughness as well as mental help from  team members. It is an individual sport, but having somebody cheering for you helps a lot.
   NOW- What I am going to do? Alone, and I want to go for GOLD😁. and the overthinking began, I knew I will fuck up, I will be upset all the way back to Australia, and even more upset when I cast further in a practice then the guy who won the bloody thing.
  I could not let that happen and start reading and digging into SPORT PSYCHOLOGY- that was the best thing I ever did.
 First the sources and then what it did for me.
  After some research I bought the book
" The Champion' Mind", brilliant book and it refer to life as well not only sport. Even now I open the book at the random chapter and just go through it.
   Then I found this site, red a bit, and now they sending me monthly newsletters with some very useful info

 I am not sure, but I came accros this name Agostinho Cavalieri, sport phychologist from Brazil. I explained him my issue and he helped me a lot through 37 exchanged emails.

  Picture 2, I downloaded little e-book from this lady about 10 mental mistakes- golden thoughts.
  So there it was, I red, and I red more, start implementing all I red and it felt great.

   One thing all those sources have in common is

  I like the to analogies of Agostinho Cavalieri
1) when you bake a cake you don't just chuck in a pot what you have and look at the oven door waiting for an awesome cake to come out. You carefully choose your ingredients, focus on a process of adding the right amout if eggs, baking powder etc, and then the result will come as a nice cake

I like this one
2) When you want to cross a wooden bridge, don't focus on the other side. Focus on a process of crossing otherwise you might step on a rotten board and fall down before you get to the other side.
  The book says about anxiety. Some is good, its a, positive anxiety, too much is bad.
I like when they compare the anxiety to butterflies flying allover your stomach, but you have to tell yourself " BUTTERFLIES IN FORMATION", and then you cast😁.
  Visualisation, self talk, breathing technics it is all a part of mental training.
  What it did for me. Well, after applying all I've been told I went to Cumbria,very confident, I blocked all the uncontrollable factors and focus, focus on my GOLD.
  In Trout Distance I came 14th with couple 39.5m and couple 40m casts- for me that was HUGE achievement. Seeing Steve Rajeff casting only 0.5m further than me, and other big, famous names behind me, beating all Italian team( personal goal😁) that was my GOLD and  did it.
  ... and the best thing on the end was, it was that thought , IT CAN BE DONE, AND IT CAN BE DONE EVEN BETTER.
    Lately I left the mental training( not as much as before), and I felt the consequences during virtual casting comp. Practice/warm up all good, as soon as my friend started the clock, butterflies were allover the place again.
  I still managed to pull some nice casts going back to the tips from mental training, but it could be much better.
 I have a goal to get consistent with 50m casts with STD( in the right conditions), I was shy of camera before, but being mentally strong I said Fuck It, I will do it, and I did it in front of the camera, and it felt great

  Well, there you go, those are my thoughts on the subject.
  I still go and cast😁



Re: It’s all in the Mind

Posted: Mon Sep 28, 2020 1:52 am
by John Waters
Great subject, thanks Paul for your initial post and Michal for your response. There is a lot that can be said and this subject, I will not bore everyone with my thoughts other than to say the more you focus on the gold medal the less chance you have of winning it. Look across the total spectrum of both precision sports as well as distance sports, the gold medal is an outcome not a driver.


Re: It’s all in the Mind

Posted: Mon Sep 28, 2020 3:00 am
by Michal Duzynski
Hi John
" Think Gold" is in a context of self talk, visualisation, self stimiulation.
As I said what I did in Cumbria, for me it was GOLD.
Different mind gets stimiulated differently. I like to stay on the platform, and when I said think GOLD it means that I tell myself, you the best,,yoy can do it, you got this, you relaxed, you cool etc etc.
I dont go there and thik , " Ok here I am, I should be alright", that is BRONZE thinking.
Same with the fighters, look at their eyes when they face eachother- all of them have GOLD in their mind.
" Think GOLD" would be a metafore here for going for the best.
That is my understanding.

Having a good prize would be another risen anxiety level factor, but for different subject.

Re: It’s all in the Mind

Posted: Mon Sep 28, 2020 3:19 am
by John Waters
Thanks Michal, I understand where you are coming from. I think it is about being relaxed but focusing on what you want to see, feel or hear, both during and at the completion of the cast, at the expense of all other thoughts or encumbrances. There is no difference in accuracy or distance then.

In the two types of training we do in a casting year, focus on the above underpins both.


Re: It’s all in the Mind

Posted: Mon Sep 28, 2020 4:21 am
by Paul Arden
Focussing on the end result doesn’t really help me. I work through a list of actions (feel) combined with focus on the targets. It’s really for me all about hooking up big casts in the time slot allowed.

Focussing on the end result has never helped me in any sport. Triathlon is a great example; if I just think about the finish line I might as well not be there. Instead I focus on technique in each discipline and as I near transitions I visualise my pathway through. In fact focusing on the minutest detail is a great way of avoiding all the drama and pressure. Focussing on the outcome is a sure way for me to fail. I guess we are all wired differently :D

Trying to win everything has never helped me in any sport. Doing my best is all I focus on then I can enjoy the game. That way I can be happy for friends when they do well. Having said that in 5WT distance I’m not interested in silver or bronze, I want that gold with every fibre of by being and one day I will get it! But I never go out there with that attitude because then I’ll always let myself down.

It’s a particularly difficult game at the WCs because we need the conditions as well as technique. And the conditions vary between casters.

Cheers, Paul

Re: It’s all in the Mind

Posted: Mon Sep 28, 2020 6:13 am
by John Waters
It is interesting and shows that each competitor has a unique set of challenges and strategies when they enter a competition. As there is no general panacea, we need to keep experimenting to see what best suits.


Re: It’s all in the Mind

Posted: Mon Sep 28, 2020 6:44 am
by Dung Fly
A focused approach and the ability to relax quickly and effectively. Train as if every session is a final when everything matters. Look for an edge over your competitors, focus on enhancing that edge. Don’t worry about what everyone else is doing concentrate on what you need to achieve.

Over focusing, over training and spending too much time wondering about your competitors will not see you achieve your goal.

Re: It’s all in the Mind

Posted: Mon Sep 28, 2020 4:58 pm
by Paul Arden
Something Lars just said to me rung a chord. Don’t always cast down a tape. When I pick up distance training I don’t measure for three weeks. Instead I just enjoy the casting feeling. If you are measuring everything the fun stops.

Same with running actually. Watch off. No heart rate monitor. No map. (I’ve been lost many times :p). But that freedom feeling is as important as timing - maybe more so.

Anyway the nice thing about no tape is you are free to loosen up. That’s the feeling you need to find in competition. That’s really what my routine is for; to find the groove.

If there are any words of wisdom it’s to stop trying so hard. Build a routine that works for you and go with it. It’s a lot easier when you know what you are going to do.

Cheers, Paul