Chris Akrigg appears on here quite a lot as he’s a rider who produces meaningful content that people can learn from rather than the more common photogenic riding shots. His latest offering is no exception.
In Chris Akrigg Process: The Tree, Chris talks us through lines he’s envisioned he can ride on a fallen tree and goes on to show/talk us through the build and subsequent riding of the lines he’s built.
If you go beyond this narrative though, the film details some of the reasons why Chris is as good as he is at riding bikes. In a snapshot, learning points you can take from this film are:
- Pushing his limits – During the film Chris makes a couple of references to the fact that he’s pushing his limit of ability with what he’s proposing. Not so far that it’s impossible, but far enough that its a challenge. By doing this he continues to develop his technique and ability.
- Repetition – The key to skill acquisition is repetition and Chris rides at this tree 22 times in the (just under) 10 minute film. You can bet he took a lot more practice runs on top of this too until he got things right.
- Failing to succeed – Chris shows a multitude of fails before he succeeds (in some cases the success doesn’t come). By repeatedly pushing himself to perform at the limit of his ability he’s bound to fail but, as the film shows, rather than become disheartened from repeated failure Chris becomes motivated by the failure. This has repeatedly been shown as a key trait of highly successful people. Of the 22 attempts the film documents, Chris succeeds 3 times (possibly 5 but I’m not sure Chris would have taken 2 of them). Could you stay motivated with a 13.6% success rate?
- Use of Mental Imagery & Rehearsal – Chris visualises the line and how he intends to ride it and you can see him doing this throughout the digging process. When it comes to riding the lines though, you see him do something different. He begins to ‘feel’ the movement as he visualises it and you see him start to turn his body and posture his hands as if he’s holding the handlebars of the bike because riding isn’t a visual activity, its a physical activity.
There are more takeaways than the four I’ve listed above but for me these were the key ones that stood out in this film. How often do you use the traits/behaviours when you’re riding?
If you’re going to take the time to practice, practice like the elite.