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Ronan's report

Sunday April 1st 2012

Apparently there is still quite a bit of debate within psychological and psychiatric circles as to whether the unconscious mind exists. Even if it does exist the scientists have lots of different theories as to how it might work.

I wish they'd get their act together because I seem to spend a lot of time when I'm teaching dealing with the unconscious.

Just to be clear, I'm not saying that people are actually not conscious when I'm teaching. I'm not that boring, and anyway it would feel a bit weird.

No. What I mean is that a lot of the time the unconscious gets in the way of a good loop.

Conscious mind: "good timing means letting the loop unroll before starting the subsequent casting stroke".

Unconscious mind: "yeah right. You know that loop's going to drop and tangle the undergrowth behind you. There's no way I'm waiting around for that to happen. Go, go, go!"


Instructor: "I'll tie another bit of fluff on, then..."

Conscious mind: "To make a nice roll cast, the power stroke needs to start slow and finish fast".

Unconscious mind: "You know that without a proper backcast there's never going to be enough line behind you to load the rod, and you've got all that line on the water. Smash it with all the power you can muster!"


Instructor: "That was a nice fat loop, I particularly liked the way it landed at your feet..."

You can demonstrate all you want. You can pantomime the right movements and timing. You can draw diagrams. You can ask questions to check understanding. It's all looking good. Then you put a rod and line in their hand and the unconscious wakes up and buggers it up every time.

Just how the unconscious mind can wake up is a mystery to me. Someone should do a study on it.

One way to keep the unconscious in it's box for a while is to try to do things badly. Aim to cast fat loops, and then cast tails. Aim to let casts fail by underpowering. Allow yourself/them to break the rules. It's ok if the line hits the ground. It's ok if the loop collapses.

Sometimes, because we aren't worried about screwing up we find our own way into making a good cast. We prove to our unconscious that there's nothing to worry about, and allow ourselves to learn something useful.


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