Is Your Child Ready To Win?

SouthOz_Yasmin_Feb2014Many young surfers right now are entering surfing competitions to test their abilities against others. With the full support of their parents, they embark on the competition journey with expectations of success and long-term careers.

The thing is though, that when a surfer enters a surfing contest, if there are 100 entries for example, there is only one winner. So 99 of the entrants leave disappointed, licking their wounds and trying to working out what went wrong.

The main reason why the majority of the 99 surfers loose is simply that they do not have the skills to be successful. In their “surfing package”, there are missing pieces, or skills that work in some surf conditions but fall apart in others. The finalists and the eventual winner on the other hand, have a more complete “package” and use their skills to receive good score from the judges and dominate their heats to the final.

So what should be in a surfer’s competitive package?

Good fitness levels

Extensive manoeuvre repertoire
     [Good technique]

Quality competition preparation

Quality wave selection, especially under pressure      [Good decision-making  abilities]

Dominant positioning in relation to their opponents

Hassling ability in tight situations

Coolness when under pressure     [ability to relax]

Confidence, no matter the surf conditions

Being excited, not fearful     [enjoy the competition environment]

The more boxes a surfer can tick as being strong in their performance, the more likely the child will be successful. If there are boxes that can’t be ticked, then the child is not ready for success. In the early rounds of a competition, a surfer can have deficiencies, but as they move closer to the final, these deficiencies are exposed, causing the surfer to have reduced scores or be eliminated from the contest.

One way any parent can assess the readiness of your child for success is to assess their success rate on a daily basis. Success rate refers to the ability of the surfer to finish their waves in control. So for example, finishing 3 out of 10 waves is a 30% success rate. 7 out of 10 is a 70% success rate. Successful surfers I have coached have a daily success rate of above 80%. That means, that in 2 foot fat choppy surf or in 6 foot sucky beach breaks, they usually finish their waves 8 out of 10 times.

And that’s the real reason why they win. Because when they surf a competitive heat, it’s just like what they do everyday. Their consistency in their daily surfing carries over to the ability to have consistency in the competitive heat. Where as, the surfer not yet ready for success, who has a low daily success rate, may have a solid heat in the early rounds of the competition, but may fall apart in more challenging surf conditions later in the event.

So, if your child is not successful in the competitive arena right now, it probably is that they simply don’t yet have the skills in place for success. Evaluate what went wrong, pinpoint their deficiencies, work on those areas, and competitive success may come later when they have fully developed their surfing package.

Want a full review of your child’s surfing performances? Contact Martin Dunn, Australia’s most experienced and successful surf coach:

[email protected]