Trying to Get Up on One Ski When You’ve Never Skied Before?

Written by Jonathan

As some of you know but most of you don’t I love to water ski (since the age of 7), I get a lot of joy in cutting hard over the wake, spraying the girls that sun tan on the doc two cottages down and swallowing my pride when I wipe out right after. It’s the only sport I have ever done purely for the recreational aspect of it.

One summer when I was in university I dated a girl that always knew what was ‘best’ and she couldn’t really be told otherwise, in other words she was always ‘right’. She saw me water skiing and ‘knew’ she could do it as well, if not better than I could. This meant she was going to get up on one water ski right from the start. The conversation she had with my father went something like this.

‘I’m going to get up on one ski!’
Dad- Are you sure? You’ve never water skied before.
Yes I snow skied a couple of times
Dad- They aren’t really the same
That’s fine I will be able to do it
Dad- Okay whatever you say

After 40 attempts at getting up on one ski (it was probably 20 but it felt like 40) she resigned herself to getting up on two skis. On the second try she got up. Held on for ‘dear life’ and barely made the little loop we usually do.

Now, there are a lot of lessons here (obviously we aren’t together anymore) but I’m going to focus on the couple that apply to everyone.

When you watch someone that has been doing something for 15 years they can make it look effortless. You can’t reasonably expect in one afternoon to be able to do what took them so long to master. Using them as ‘your bar’ (at least initially) will only discourage you and set you up for failure.

She wasted a ton of time trying to get up on 1 ski when she could have easily started on two and then tried dropping one several times in the same time span. If you’re doing the same thing over and over again and constantly failing you should probably try something different.

There is nothing wrong with getting up on two skis first. It took me 2 years before I could do it and another year after that before I could get up on one. To make the best progress you need to start where you’re at, not where you want to be.

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