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CONTROLLED FA I L U R E H ARNE S S IN G T H E P O W ER O F FAIL U RE T O DELIVER S U CCE S S ? Te x t : J u l i e t E l l i o t t Illustration: Joel Benjamin I spend plenty of time failing. I’m sometimes the slowest, I might jump the lowest or I may be panting away at the back. Generally, it doesn’t bother me, I know I’m not useless; I might be racing against men or riding with pros who’ve been airing ten foot out of a quarter pipe since the age of three. I’ll ride with whoever’s heading out and if I want to race, I’ll race, why not? Coming last isn’t great, but not taking part is worse. But sometimes it does get to me; there are those bleak moments where I’m puffing and panting my way up a hill, chasing a gang of silky limbed, lycra clad men atop Carbon machines, and I just feel rubbish. ‘Why am I bothering,’ I ponder, ‘why do I put myself in situations where I know full well I’ll struggle?’

I’m kind of used to struggling. I ride mainly with men, and whilst I’m sure that many women could beat them in a race, the undeniably fact is that men are physically different to us ladies; they’re generally stronger and faster, hence the fact most competitive sports divvy us all up according to gender, offering separate mens’ and womens’ competitions. However, a lot of the more obscure events I’ve been involved with don’t have a separate women’s category so I often have to race the dudes and be beaten by many (though not all!) of them. So I’m used to struggling, but still, it can get to you. One glum evening, whilst riding home after being well and truly dropped just a short way into a ride, I was questioning the wisdom of participating in activities in which you’re simply doomed to fail, or to struggle a great deal. Is purposefully involving yourself in something that is just a little beyond your reach a wise move? Could it be destructive, potentially damaging the way you see yourself as a sportsperson and the way you’ll perform in the future? Or could these ‘controlled failures,’ situations I willingly and repeatedly put myself in actually be a beneficial motivational tool? The weekend before, I’d raced against an all female field and I’d been surprised by how good I felt, so maybe through enduring difficult moments, you feel even stronger when matched with people of your own ability; a great boost, and at just the time that you need it. I spoke to Sport Psychology Researcher, Laura Healy from

Profile for Coven Magazine

Coven Magazine Issue 5  

Action, Art & Adventure For Women. Issue 5. Summer 2013 Skateboarder – Elissa Steamer. Jeweller – Ali Forbes. Skateboarder – Nora Vasconcell...

Coven Magazine Issue 5  

Action, Art & Adventure For Women. Issue 5. Summer 2013 Skateboarder – Elissa Steamer. Jeweller – Ali Forbes. Skateboarder – Nora Vasconcell...

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