I may have watched ‘that puppy video’ a few too many times this week. But it was just so similar to what I see when I watch skaters trying out something new! At the beginning he takes one look at that high staircase and his little face just says “Nope” and heads off in the opposite direction. Then his very patient owner gets down to his level and sees it from Puppy’s perspective and encourages him to watch and learn. Notice how Puppy comes back to the stairs – because he trusts his teacher.
Literally one step at a time – his owner gently nudges and encourages him to copy what he’s doing – stretching his arms down to the next stair and then wiggling his bum round onto the level. Puppy’s not at all keen to do this at the start. His squeaks and body language make that clear! But it’s so lovely to see he trusts his owner so much that he’s prepared to overcome his fear and give it a go.
My favourite part is when he’s almost at the end of the main flight of stairs and he starts to experiment by himself – reaching his back leg out instead, before quickly realising that the way he’s being taught – front paws first – is the best way. And then I just love the way he manages the last three stairs all by himself.
What can you learn from watching this about your skating? When you are starting something completely new – you’ll be going through many of the same stages. “Nope!” Followed by “Ok I’ll give it a go but don’t let go of me!” (Maybe that’s when you’re learning crossovers for the first time or using the jump harness) and then “ah, that seemed to work!” followed by “Yay! I can do this!”
It’s also demonstrating the importance of breaking down that big goal into bite sized pieces. Puppy’s big goal is to get from the top to the bottom of the stairs. And he does it LITERALLY one step at a time.
So when you are about to tackle something big and new and scary, and you’re heading into ‘overwhelm’, remember that puppy. Break it down into smaller steps, trust your coach, watch and learn and don’t forget that little jump of excitement and a tail wag to celebrate when you’ve done it!