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Ronan's report

Sunday November 13th 2011

Irrespective of our political views, I bet we all had a chuckle at Rick Perry this week. For those who didn't see it, this potential Republican US Presidential candidate had a disaster of a TV debate when he couldn't remember one of his own key policy proposals.

That someone who's presenting himself as a candidate for the job of "leader of the free world" has a complete brain-failure in public is funny. But it's also exquisitely painful to watch because we've all been there.

"Hi there! Now let me introduce you to... to err... errrÉ" Nightmare!

The harder you try to remember, the deeper that key fact fades into the misty recesses of your brain. In the end your mind is only filled with one thought: I CAN'T REMEMBER!

Or maybe a second thought: THIS LOOKS REALLY BAD!

At which point the logical thing would be to own up and say "Arrggh, IÔm having a brain-fart, please forgive me. I've forgotten your name". But instead we stutter to an embarrassing halt until someone comes to the rescue with the now-obvious fact, or we simply run away and hide behind a curtain, somewhere quiet.

The Scientists say it's the worry of screwing up that stops your brain accessing the right information. All your processing power is taken up with the "Don't Forget, don't forget!" thought, and nothing is left for actually accessing the info. you want.

I think a similar thing can happen in casting practice. The more you want to stop that tailing loop, the worse it gets. Gradually you tense up more and more, casting more and more frequently, and more and more aggressively. The only thought in your mind is "don't tail, please don't tail!"

This continues until your arm seizes up, or you run full pelt and screaming, driving the rod-tip into a tree.

I see it a lot with people training to be instructors. Their casting frequency is amazing. Cast, no good, pick it up and try again, damn! Try again, shit!, This time, nope. Again. Again. Arrggh!

Much better to take it one cast at a time. Take a deep breath before each cast. Check for slack. Check your stance. Check starting position. And go through the cast stage by stage, thinking about the right thing to do. Once you slow the pace of your practice it's amazing how you can suddenly become aware of what you're doing, right or wrong, and build in improvements.

That way, if you do find yourself forgetting a key policy in a TV debate you can say "I'm so sorry I've forgotten what I was about to say. But hey, check out this sexy loop guys!"

And watch those votes roll in.


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