Want to Learn a New Skill? Get a Coach5 min read

Michael throwing the skim board down and surfng on the water.

You’ve decided to learn a new skill. That’s great! I try to make it a point to learn 1 new skill at any given time. Although, currently I am learning shooting, skimboarding, and singing.

Unfortunately, I can’t be great at any one skill when my time is split trying to learn 3 new skills. Starting at zero with a new skill is a lot harder than already having a few years of experience in a skill you decide to attempt to improve upon. You first must learn the fundamentals to build a strong foundation from which you can begin to excel in that skill.

The initial stages of learning to skimboard are probably the most unsafe paired with hardly any upside. The pros and cons of each stage of skimboarding look something like this:

  1. Drop on the board: This involves running with the board on the sand (forget trying to run to the water for now). You drop the board and place both feet on it consistently. Pro: A correct drop allows you to slide forward on the board as you run. Con: You could pull your groin with a slight misstep. I did that and was out 4 weeks.
  2. Slide into the water: Once you’ve dropped on sand, you can learn to ride the board out to the water while practicing balance. Pro: Feel the board lift and effortlessly glide when you reach the water. Con: Potentially fall on your back while riding in the wet sand. I did this and broke my toe.
  3. Turn in the water: Wait for the water to pull back out to see and find the wet sand to ride the board into the water. Run at the shore in a 45 degree angle and then make a 90 degree turn as you practice moving your hips and maintaining balance. Pro: You feel control over the board. Con: You lose control of the board and the powerful energy of the wave throws your board out from under you and directly into your shins. I did this and walked out of the water with two bloody shins. Onlookers on the beach were entertained.
  4. Surf a wave: Now that you can drop consistently and ride out to the water, focus more on improving how you time the waves. Start running at the right time and catch a wave with your board. Pro: Feel the energy of the wave pushing your board back to shore. Con: Time the wave wrong and get a free spinal adjustment and head smack as your board is thrown above you straight into the back of your head. I did this and have a bloody ear and neck where the board banged into my head. I continued skimming for another hour with my friends though.
  5. Get Barreled: I haven’t been barreled yet.
Skim Boarding as the sun sets

As you improve in a skill like skimboarding, there can be a greater risk for injury, but also a greater reward. The rewards are exponential in relation to improvement.

I get a kick out of learning new skills. I’ve learned how to skateboard, skimboard, surf, snowboard, wakeboard, play guitar, sing, shoot guns, use Photoshop, edit videos in Final Cut Pro, and edit audio in Logic Pro X.

Learning the skill is the hardest and least fun in the beginning. The payoff is so small and the amount of effort required (physically and mentally) can be exhausting. If I was serious, I was constantly seeking to improve with the help of a coach.

I didn’t hire a coach for every skill. The only skills I’ve paid coaches for are singing, shooting, and playing guitar. For the other skills, I didn’t pay a coach.

You got coaching for free?

I became my own coach. Being my own coach showed I wasn’t as serious about becoming great in the other skills.

Already, you don’t know what you’re doing by learning a new skill. On top of that, you are trying to act as a coach by attempting to objectively evaluate yourself and make corrections to what you are doing so you can improve.

A coach isn’t an expert at implementing that skill. However, the best coaches can bring out the best in their coachees.

In the video below, Mike Tyson discusses with Joe Rogan how influential having a great coach was in his life.

In another interview, Tyson discussed that he could never be a coach. He mentioned that being a great coach involves so much more than knowing just how to box.

Hire a Coach if You’re Serious

I believe becoming great at something requires objective feedback and expert knowledge to effectively help me improve. We can’t possibly have these qualities when just starting a new task, but a great coach does.

With singing, I attempt to do both. I watch a singing course to learn the concepts while immediately implementing them. Every day I practice singing exercises to get the proper muscle memory for producing pitch. Lastly, every 6 months I travel to my coach, Ken Tamplin, to receive in-person corrections that ensure I am implementing the knowledge correctly.

Coaching myself while also hiring a coach has proven to be the most effective at improving my singing ability within the last year and a half of me learning.

Share This Post

Popular Posts