Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Imagination and reality: dance or conflict I

Imagination plays a vital role in skateboarding. In order to learn a new trick it's important to be able to imagine how the board is to flip or rotate. This is especially so with the current technical flatland style of tricks. It is also important to know how you, the skater, are to execute the trick - from initial foot placement, to mid-air motion, through to a solid landing and ride off. In the mind's eye one is capable of imagining the entire sequence as though it was real; even to mildly feel an accompanying fear or rush.

Research has shown that practicing a skill in one's imagination is an effective way of improving the skill. For example, in one related experiment three netball teams were selected to participate in an experiment. The first team continued training normally, the second trained by imagining themselves shooting hoops properly, and the third suspended their training. The results: team one had improved the most, and the second team improved significantly more than the third. These results seem to indicate that imaginative practice is relatively effective.

Nonetheless, it mustn't be forgotten that imagination and reality are separate domains. In fact, there is often a vast gap between them. One may imagine oneself perfectly carrying out a particular trick yet that doesn't mean that one has the experience, co-ordination, strength, fitness level, or courage, to carry it out in reality. To blur the boundaries between the imaginary and the real can be detrimental in any area of life. In skateboarding, it can result in serious physical injury. Don't forget that in one's imaginings one can envision oneself running on the ceiling or flying the friendly skies - without a plane that is. In the intoxicating flow of imagination almost anything is possible; one must master the art of not getting swept away...                  

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