Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The Purpose of Practice Is To Practice With Purpose

How often do you find yourself taking the time to enjoy the pleasures of casting practice?  I know that we all have angling as our first preference, but what about taking your casting skill to the level of the artful endeavor that it represents.

Even those gifted with the greatest of natural abilities must look at it this way and if we do then practice will have purpose.

Making the most of our practice time involves a level of readiness that we must be willing to create.  For me my rod and line are clean with the leader measured and the line slicked.  I have already gone over my video from the last practice, made notes and then created a new practice plan.  I stretch my line, set up my distance targets and then because I practice with both single and two hand rods I start both with the same exercise as a means to get into a grove and limber up.  The Overhead Cast.

This might seem too basic for most of you but let me explain why.  The elements involved in a tight loop overhead cast are exactly the same as the finish for all other casts.  Sure there are things like aerial mends to contend with but those are called mends because they are executed after the forward stroke.  There are also casts that involve the manipulation of directional changes in your line, but they are made by understanding what it takes to alter or enhance your grooved stroke.  I also make a point during this warm up to cast wide open loops as well as tailing loops with purpose.  To be able to control my line to that degree means I understand the physics as to what makes a good cast possible.

My practice plan is formulated by item and time.  I determine the amount of time necessary to do the job correctly and do no more or less than what the plan dictates.

You must know yourself.......

Never push your practice farther than what your physical and mental limits might be.  That is, unless you are studying for a masters level proficiency.  For those of us who simply want to improve only a limited amount of time should be spent for practice.  It is important that we stay motivated and have fun.   It is very important that we understand that the smallest of details realized during a practice creates major improvements in future practice.  These small findings are needed to create a complete understanding.  The perfect cast is made of many perfect moments in time.

There is only one hard and fast rule to observe  .....Eye Protection Must Be Worn.....

The fly stays in the box......

One important aspect of practice is a need to be in a state of mind that lets you concentrate on casting.  Feeling the grip flex and watching our body and the casts and thinking about every aspect creates the environment toward improvement.  Your mine must be free to think and come to conclusions.  Sometimes casting is a puzzle.  We watch the line and it is making a sharp little turn at the lay down and if we are having a fly on the end of the leader we might switch off casting to fishing mode much too easily.  Being in the mind set that casting is the objective is the first thing to do in order to improve.

What should I practice?????

A complete practice plan starts with an item.  Let's say a roll cast is what we decide.  The next step is not to go outside and start to roll cast.  The next step is to study the roll cast.

I do a lot of pantomime indoors getting ready for a practice element.    I take the grip section of my rod and slowly go through what I expect the movements will be to make a proper roll cast.  I go to my library, YouTube, IFFF site and my collection of notes taken and printed over the years.  I read, act out in my mind and write on my plan Roll Cast 12 minutes.  Because I have done my reading and study and even a Thai Chi dance on the roll cast I have prepared the set up and can have a very rewarding session with only 12 minutes.  I video every session from a distance far enough to see my body yet be able to talk to the camera with my notes.  Don't try to take written notes.  Use a smart phone or a tablet or camera but taking notes will only keep you from thinking and will add too much time to the process.

That's it.  The total circle is complete and you are ready to watch yourself, find the faults and write into your next practice plan an aspect or two in the roll cast that needs attention.  Say four minutes forming a larger and more pronounced D loop.

The total can be broken down to the sum of the parts to work on to complete the total.  Slow motion frame by frame is a great tool for this.

So, give it a try.  Improvement will be noticed paralleled by understanding and when you make that perfect roll cast  to a 5 pound brown, without thinking, the ringing in your ears is only the sound of Purpose coming through....... 

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