Here’s the story. Early December last year I go out for a practice session, my first since a 5 week fishing trip to Tassie. After loosening up a it I try a distance cast. It lands nicely and close to the tape but it’s a bit short. I repeat the cast several times with much the same results. Huh? Where did that other 15 feet of distance go? It all feels nice and relaxed and the accuracy is fine but clearly something(s) is wrong with my technique. How can that be when I’ve been fishing most days for 5 weeks, catching my share and generally hitting the targets?
Nothing else for it but to video my casting and analyse. Doesn’t take long to find the problems. One look at the first few casts and I know what’s wrong, basically several of the things that used to be wrong with my distance technique – insufficient body rotation, lack of weight transfer, tracking error out to the left on the back cast, too much rotation too early. Bugger! Back where I started as long as 2 years ago. Cringeworthy.
Well yes and no. Out to the outer reaches of the “kill zone” where targets can be hit confidently and comfortably I’m fine. Yes I’ve regressed but, in my defence and while I was away fishing, my technique adapted to the demands I placed on it. It is also fair to remember that standing knee deep in the water, having to avoid the shrubbery on the back cast and covering the target fish before the opportunity passes ain’t the same conditions as chucking a long line in the local park. Lastly it’s a more general reminder that play is rarely a substitute for practice in many sports. The envelope of technique has to be nurtured and pushed if it is to be maintained and extended.
No way I’ll rest until the missing 15 feet have all been recovered and after a couple more sessions I’ve got roughly half of it back. Don’t get me wrong. It’s been hard work. However, the problem won’t be solved completely until I insure against future loss. The insurance policy is only in draft but when finished it will include some clauses which trigger review – things I need to notice in future and fix before they get out of hand. Without vigilance we default to old habits. Without a lot of practice we don’t consolidate new habits as much as we like to think we have.
I really hate to say it but I have a sneaking suspicion this is another instance where progression is the only alternative to regression. Either I go forward or I go backwards; staying still isn’t really a viable option.