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How to Win Your Next Competition!


With 15 years of competition experience, Ryan and I have really learnt many lessons along the way on how we feel is the best way to create a run and what you should be thinking about leading up to a competition.



In the weeks leading up to the competition...


When riding at your home cable, you should be thinking about what tricks would work well in a run and how you could link them up when you get to competition. You want to be practising your tricks to get them clean and locked in ready to piece them all together when it counts.


Before arriving at the park, it's sometimes good if you can look at a layout of the park plan so you can see what features they have and start to get an idea of how you would piece together your run there. Sometimes this might not be the exact run you end up sticking with but having some idea before you get there can make it less overwhelming when you arrive.


For your first few laps at the park, have some fun, play around and figure out what works for you. Quite often at the end of this first ride you may have no idea what you want to do yet but that's okay, you're just getting an idea of what is possible. It's also good to consider that you don't want to ride so much you tire out your body or your mind.


Once you have an idea of what is possible, it's going to be time to create a run in your mind that you will want to do in the competition. In the majority of competition formats you will have 2 runs and your best run will be counted. Not all competitions are judged the same so if you can find out from an official beforehand how it will be scored then you can understand what you should be doing.


Some competitions have sections that are scored for example, the front straight rails, back straight rails and maybe a kicker section or air trick section. Other competitions have more of an overall score where judges are looking at your full run. It's important to know this, along with the format of the competition as you can then plan your run accordingly and use this to your strength.


There are a few main things to think about when putting you run together, an easy way to remember these are D.R.I.V.E:


D - Difficulty

How hard are the tricks that you are doing?


You want to try and balance this with a level that is high against your competitors but also trying to keep your run clean without crashing. This ties in nicely with the next point which is...


R - Risk

Are you playing it safe or are you taking risks in the run?


For example starting out with a really hard first hit is going to score more than just one which you can land every time. This can also help if you are trying to decide which trick is going to score higher in your run. If when you are doing that, one trick feels harder, it is pretty likely that the judges are going to score you higher on the one that is harder for you to do.


I - Intensity

Is the level of difficulty consistent throughout your entire run or have you just got one good hit and the others are weak?


Try to make sure that you have solid hits on all features rather than just focusing your efforts on one or two. Quite often, if you come straight off the dock and send a big kicker hit and then back up it up with a solid rest of the run, this can be a great way to make an impact on the judges.


V - Variety (Composition)

Variety is a big one, also known as composition, it is probably one of the most important factors in a run especially in more advanced levels of competition. Are you spinning in different directions? Using both switch and regular stances? Flips & Spins? Using both sides of the cable? It can be easily seen by an experienced judge when a rider is only spinning in one direction or only using the most comfortable stance, so by switching between both it can add a positive effect to your score.


Make sure that you try to cover as many different skills as possible in your run. Another thing to remember when it comes to variety is that the judges will be seeing lots of the same runs throughout the whole contest. What can you do to make you stand out? The judges will remember your run if you do something that others aren't.


E - Execution

How clean is your run? Butt checking and sloppy landings will really affect your run scores so if you can keep it clean it's going to score better.


It is sometimes considered that doing something big, clean and grabbed can score much higher than a more technical trick that is done in a sloppy manner. If you ride and you have amplitude with a clean run, where you are doing your tricks higher and making them look nicer this will often stand out from others.



 

Contests can be a difficult balancing act between all the above factors. We've just got to try and find that sweet spot where you are confident with all the tricks in your run whilst keeping the level of riding high.



TOP TIP: Remember that the judges have sat there watching riders go around the same course all day long, so anything unique or different that you can add to your run is going to surprise them and impress them most likely leading to a higher score.


It's also important to consider the flow of your run. This is how well you link together the tricks and how nice the run looks. If you can flow from one side of the cable to the other without switching stances, this is going to look a lot nicer than a run where you are shaking the cable around and not making things look smooth.


Another important part of competing is consistency. In some of the top riders that podium frequently, you will see the level of consistency in their riding. This is often created through repetition of tricks where you do them so many times it becomes muscle memory and becomes easier to do them under the competition pressure. This comes with more and more practice but also with competition experience of dealing with nerves or pressure.


One final tip would be to keep your options open. When you are practising, don't only focus on your run. Keep a few different options available for if you need them when it comes to it, in finals for example. If you can practice a few different hits on each rail, this means that if you needed to switch something out in your run, you still have some other options that you can keep hidden away in the back pocket for when it's needed.


As you progress through a competition there will be different rounds. Usually starting with qualifiers, then into semis and then onto finals. You will often see in the more advanced competitions that when it gets to finals, the riders are usually going all out for 1st place. So if you make it to the finals and you already know you are in the top four riders, then quite often the best option is to go out and have two attempts of putting down your hardest run to go for the win. Unless you know you can play it safe and still win.



There is obviously a whole lot of other factors that go into competition, but we hope that these few tips here can help you to get the next victory that you are after. Remember, competition experience is a huge factor too, so know that every competition that you enter can all help lead to that one big victory!


Check out this video to see what it's like behind the scenes at a Pro cable comp like WakeDuel!



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