So is Rory McIlroy’s current loss of form due to a natural blip in an athletes career or due to his current sponsor, Nike’s equipment?
We will probably never know for sure but it does raise a common issue that I am confronted with both as a full time equipment retailer and a part time instructor.
Personally I consider “blaming the gear” a trap that at times I need to be careful of not falling into myself.
Repeatedly I will hear complaints about: boats being too slow/heavy/big/small/safe; paddles being too heavy/delicate/brittle/long/short; and shoes being too slippy/clunky/etc… Likewise we apportion blame to other personal issues: “I was too tired”, “I was hungover”, “I was afraid of the water”.
Rarely, if ever, have I heard: “I didn’t practice enough”, “I should have been better prepared”, “I should have trained harder”, “It was my fault(!)”.
It’s nice for our own psyche/ego to have a bad guy (the gear) to blame but it’s not going to improve our paddling and in reality we’re going to end up stuck in a rut.
Now I’m not suggesting we need to beat ourselves up over our personal ability every time we get off the water but we do have to be aware and take a realistic approach.
All equipment does not suit every paddling style or every paddling location or every paddler size. It takes an experienced paddler who can put their own ego aside to realise this and advise others.
Once a paddler is matched to their equipment (right size, right shape for the right type of water) as best as can be, then they should focus on their own paddling performance and take ownership of their success and their failings (and improve on them).
So the next time you miss an eddy on the river, will it be because of the hull shape of kayak you are paddling or because it’s been 3 months since you were last on the water?
Next time you can’t get that elusive 3rd flatwater end, will it be because you haven’t got the latest and greatest freestyle machine or because you’ve been too busy trying to get your flatwater loop?
And next time you miss your roll, will it be because your paddles are too short or because you didn’t put in enough pool time over the winter?
See you on the water,