Fly casting practice is something I've enjoyed since I first sarted fly fishing in 1995. I guess the reason I enjoy it so much is that it doesnt really feel like practice at all. I just love visualizing different types of angling scenarios, and then setting up my casting course to replicate those situations. Its a habit I learned several years ago from the great Ben Hogan that is outlined in the quote above.
I have very fond memories of my early days engaged in casting practice. I spent a lot of very early mornings on a local soccer field, honing and perfecting my skill set enough to be successful on the water. Once I got good enough to feel comfortable in most angling scenarios, I had to find new ways to keep the practice fresh and exciting. That takes a certain amount of thoughtful creativity, but it also takes some discipline as well.
The reason this weeks Front Page is entitled discipline equals freedom, is that in today's generation of young people, I see very little of that burning desire to master a physical skill through practice and persistence. It's not only disappointing, but very sad, because they have no idea of the freedom that is on the other side of the disciplined practice. Part of the problem is that they view it as WORK....and it is. But there seems to be very little realization that in order to get good at something you have to WORK AT IT.
U.S. Navy Seal Jocko Willink devoloped and popularized the life philosophy of discipline equaling freedom. And as Jocko wold tell you, that philosophy can be applied to everything from physical fitness, to nutrition, to business development to fly casting. And to be honest, I am so glad someone is out there preaching it, because it is a mentality that is sorely lacking in today's younger generation.
A few weeks ago Jackson and I were sight fishing some big Redfish on the Lagna Madre. Late that morning, we happen to spook a school of fish that we didnt see until we were right on top of them. As they bolted away from the boat, I went ahead and made a really long 100'+ cast with only one false cast in hopes of eliciting a strike. Unfortunately it didnt work, and the shool continued to move far out of range. Our guide looked at Jackson and said "You know less than 5% of the anglers that step on my boat could have made a cast like that" It was very nice compliment, but it also reminded me of the thousands of disciplined hours I've put in devoloping that skill. But, the fact that I could put myself in a position to catch a fish that only a very small percentage of anglers could have put a fly in front of is the kind of freedom I'm talking about.
Now if I could just figure out a way to channel that discipline into other parts of my life, I'd really be on to something!
Hope you all have a great week,