I've been applying the problem-solving variety of practice to my MTB boulder plateau
No significant progress to report but the process is encouraging
Portions of my practice sessions last week included my attempts to put into practice what I featured in my August 1 post with the quote by Noa Kageyama, namely an approach in which:
… your efforts are centered around conducting experiments to (1) clarify what you want, (2) figure out what’s holding you back, (3) brainstorm solutions that get you closer, and (4) test yourself to see if your solutions are sticking
I'm stuck on a boulder plateau, as I mentioned last month.
Here’s a one-minute series of video clips that illustrate my attempts to implement the approach:
What you see initially are two static non-riding body rehearsal techniques in which I’m trying to keep my hips hinged while I jump up on the boulder, attempting to lunge my upper body forward. I show one of many attempts that weren’t successful.
It then occurred to me that more of a mini-bunny hop technique might be helpful, so I did a few of those next to the boulder. But I didn’t have the confidence to try it, as a miscalculation could send me OTB. Since I’d not practiced my bunny hops in many months, I got out the bunny hop bar a few days later to see how rusty I was. Yes, I was pathetic, but more importantly, I noticed something.
As I started to level out, my poor bunny hop form looked very much like my poor form on the boulder. Here’s a comparison image of screenshots:
Whereas here’s a comparison image of screenshots of Ryan Leech (RLC Online MTB Coaching) on what it should look like:
So, where am I now in the above-mentioned problem-solving process?
Clarify what I want
I want to improve my skill in getting over higher obstacles (ledges, logs, boulders, etc.)
Figure out what’s holding me back
My inability to more quickly unweight and then vigorously extend the bike forward as it starts to level out over the obstacle
Brainstorm solutions that get me closer
An improvement in my bunny hop technique to gain greater height
Test to see if my solutions are sticking
To be determined
Lessons 22.2 and 23 of RLC’s Bunnyhop Master Class online course (where I’m a coach) have drills for fixing my height problem. Here’s a screenshot of the “flattening out position with bent legs” drill on a grassy slope:
Here’s a 10-second clip from yesterday’s practice session (Strava session link here), me doing the slow mini-bunny drill on the launch slope of a small tabletop jump:
It felt like I was getting the hang of it. More importantly, my morale is high. I’m curious. I’m not frustrated about being stuck on a plateau. This type of practice is indeed an “engaging, engrossing, and gratifying experience,” as Kageyama promised.
And it represents key elements of what’s commonly known as “deliberate practice.” See Atomic Habits author James Clear’s excellent overview of the phrase, originally coined by psychologist Anders Ericsson.
Next is to develop a plan for improving the other elements of a higher bunny hop.